Blog Post

Was Jesus the Original Hipster?

The Diocese of Brooklyn has come up with a novel way to make the Church more relevant to the young  - by comparing Jesus to today's "hipsters."

Jesus hipster posterThe Daily Mail is reporting that a new ad campaign by the Diocese of Brooklyn is getting plenty of attention for its unusual proclamation about Jesus Christ - that He is the "original hipster."

The diocese is using catchy billboards depicting a figure in a white robe with a pair of red Converse sneakers underneath. The ad simply states, "The Original Hipster." Beneath it is the invitation: "All Faces. Everyday Understanding" as a way to help young seekers find their way into one of the Diocese' 230 churches.

But why compare Jesus to today's hipsters, who are defined in the Urban Dictionary as being "a subculture of men and women typically in their 20's and 30's that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter."

Was Jesus really like this?

Well, not exactly, said diocesan spokesman, Monsignor Kieran Harrington.

"Historically, representations of Christ have reflected the population that was worshiping there," he told The Huffington Post.

Because Brooklyn is home to a large hipster population, the image of Jesus in Converse sneakers is relevant to the locals.

But it's not entirely far-fetched either, Harrington said.

"It doesn't seem to me so far-fetched that the representation of Christ would be a hipster," Harrington said. "More to the point, Jesus stood in contrast to the culture of his day. That's what a lot of hipsters do too."

The campaign was launched shortly after Easter with posters and billboards scattered throughout Brooklyn and Queens - at bus stops, phone booths,  restaurants and bars.

"We wanted to make it very easy for people to find out where they could go to church on Sunday," Harrington said. "The diocese is like the city, always reinventing itself."

However, the campaign isn't trying to take itself too seriously, he adds.

"If you have faith there is never a need to take yourself too seriously; life is so much easier when you have a sense of humor. Sure we are poking fun at ourselves, but also making clear that in Catholic Churches in Brooklyn and Queens everyone is welcome."

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