Was Jesus a hipster?


If you can, think back to 2008. Remember when Sarah Palin mocked Barack Obama’s community organizing background? Do you recall how popular this slogan became soon after that?

Jesus Organizer

Remember in 2011 when some media outlets intimated that the Occupy Wall Street movement was simply emulating Jesus?

Occupy Wall Stret

Okay, well here’s the latest “Jesus meme.”

Jesus Hipster

I know what you’re thinking: What new age, trendy evangelist put this out? Rob Bell? Shane Claiborne? The kid who rapped about how he hates religion but loves Jesus?

All three would be wrong. This ad is actually part of a marketing campaign of the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.

Brooklyn, as you may or may not know, is home to a large concentration of skinny jeans-wearing, iPod-toting, RayBan-clad Bohemians, many of whom are not Catholic. Seeing how there’s no silver bullet that will make young adults attracted to the Catholic faith (other than prayer) some will say that this is exactly the type of marketing that is needed in the Catholic Church. I see where they’re coming from, but for me it’s too gimmicky and irreverent for my liking.

I grew up Catholic and, like many of the college-age persons this ad is targeting, I fell away from the Church when I moved out of my parent’s house. By the grace of God, I came back to the Catholic Church. But I didn’t revert to Catholicism because of a chic marketing campaign or a feeling that Jesus was a “cool guy” I could talk about corporate greed with over coffee at three in the morning in DUMBO (an acronym for a neighborhood in Brooklyn notorious for being home to hipsters).

Of course, I am but one of the 1.2 billion Catholics on this planet. My reversion story is different than others. Some people might like this type of ad. Others won’t, and will likely see it as offensive. So what do you think? Do you think this ad is effective? Is it appropriate? Do you think Jesus was a hipster? Let’s hear what you have to say.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org


About Author

Stephen Kokx is a freelance writer and adjunct professor of political science living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has previously worked for the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Peace and Justice. His writing on religion, politics and Catholic social teaching has appeared in a number of outlets, including Crisis Magazine, The American Thinker and his hometown paper The Grand Rapids Press. He is a member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and the Society of Catholic Social Scientists, and is a graduate of Aquinas College and Loyola University Chicago. Follow Stephen on twitter @StephenKokx

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