Jewish Journal

NYT discovers hipster Christians

by Brad A. Greenberg

November 8, 2011 | 1:14 pm

Paging Brett McCracken ...

Hipster Christians are nothing new. Here’s how you spot them. And McCracken wrote a book about the fad.

But The New York Times seems to find something fascinating about tattooed Christians who wear skinny jeans and find value in referencing Woody Allen in a sermon.

The focus is on Resurrection Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn and its pastor, Thomas Vito Aiuto:

Mr. Aiuto, 39, bristles when his church is singled out as particularly cool. “I don’t want this church to be special,” he said over chicken mole at a Williamsburg taqueria. “I don’t want us to be a church for artists. I want it to be a garden-variety church. What we have to offer people is God.” He paused for a moment. “And I think our music is really good.”

While only one-quarter of the so-called millennial generation, those born after 1980, attend weekly religious services (according to a study by the Pew Research Center), young pastors like Mr. Aiuto and Jay Bakker, the son of the televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye, as well as groups like the Buddhist-inspired Dharma Punx, are tailoring their messages to young worshipers.

In Mr. Aiuto’s case, this can involve a certain irreverence (he made a rude gesture while illustrating a point about the parable of the prodigal son during a theological question-and-answer session after one recent service) and a dash of self-deprecation.

Beyond feeling totally stale, this story is all milk and no meat. No detail does more than graze the surface. I’m not sure if much interesting is still happening with Christian hipsters, but, if so, you won’t find it here.

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