A Theology for Hipsters (Part 18): Hipster Hot Topics (Part 4)

Stating that Christian Hipsters enjoy culture might be like saying Bob Vila has a beautiful beard: it’s an understatement if ever there was one! As they broke away from their Fundamentalist roots many Christians have found great spiritual insight and encouragement in the realm of television.

What’s interesting about television is that there has been a resurgence in thoughtful and engaging television dramas, and dramedies. The majority of television to date may still be composed of reality programs and predictable sitcoms, but shows like Lost, Dexter, and Mad Men are hour-long programs with all sorts of thoughtful themes built into them and lying just below the surface.[1] Themes about redemption, love, community, sin, and self-identity. They ask tough questions and force us to consider things that we don’t take time to consider in our daily routines.[2] This is the value that young hipsters have found as well and they indulge in not just television but music, movies, art, literature, and style to find all sorts of spiritual implications. Later on I will highlight some of the more popular and influential cultural artifacts of the hipster world. What’s important to note at this point, however, is that while their Fundy families try to avoid the world, young hipsters are very much engaged in it. They live in the same cultural context as their non-Christian neighbors and they are quite at peace with this reality. We’ll explore in more detail later their theological grounding for such actions, but at the moment we want to grasp the scene as it is. You might say we’re doing more sociology right now than strict theology.

Some Hipster favorites are controversial, but each program represents a level of clever writing not found in the average show these days. Selections of Hipster TV programs might include:

Weeds; Mad Men; The Office, 30 Rock; Lost, Heroes; Dexter; The Simpsons; Family Guy; Futurama; Parenthood; Avatar: The Last Airbender; How I Met Your Mother; Friends; Seinfeld; Community; Modern Family; Glee; Scrubs; Chuck; The Daily Show; The Colbert Report; Fringe; Sex in the City; and The Walking Dead.

Just to name a few. Think about some other spiritually insightful programs. What else would you recommend, how has it been insightful or thought-provoking for you?

[1] See David Dunham, “We Are All Serial Killers Inside;” “Lost, Community, and Redemption;” “Lost in Religion;” Richard Clark, “The Lost Finale: All Of This Matters”. All available at www.christandpopculture.com

[2] I have argued elsewhere that video games for Xbox are doing this too. See my article, “For Me, Story Was The Game Changer.” Christ and Pop Culture. February 2, 2011. http://www.christandpopculture.com/featured/for-me-story-was-the-game-changer/ February 14, 2011.

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