Was Jesus The ‘Original Hipster’?

The Brooklyn Diocese has been putting up ads in the hope of luring more hipsters to church.

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Courtesy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn
Courtesy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn

In addition to making artisanal pickles, rocking out to vinyl records and riding their precious fixie bikes, hipsters could make going to Catholic mass their new signature hobby. At least, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn hopes so.

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Since the beginning of April, the organization has put up ads reading “The Original Hipster,” depicting a robed man wearing red Converse sneakers, throughout the New York City boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn — including the dive bars and coffee shops of Williamsburg, widely considered the Holy Land of East Coast hipsterdom. The blog Animal New York first noticed the campaign plastered on bus stations and phone booths and tweeted a photo. Then The Huffington Post, CBS New York, and CNN picked it up, and the image started going viral. (As Salon joked, the next thing we’ll see is a Cardinal Timothy Dolan cameo on Girls.)

But note that the ad doesn’t actually mention Jesus anywhere. “Everyone just assumes that we were talking about Jesus and that shows religious conversation is a part of our everyday discussions for all people, no matter who you are, no matter where you’re coming from,” Monsignor Kieran E. Harrington, the Diocese’s Vicar for Communications, tells TIME.

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The ad is part of the Diocese of Brooklyn’s latest attempt to encourage more young people to attend church. “You can be a hipster in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and be a faithful, good Christian,” Harrington says. “There are a lot of different depictions of Jesus. If you go to Asia, you will see depictions of Jesus as an Asian, and if you go to Latin America, you will see depictions that are very reminiscent of a Latin American.” Thus, maybe the “counter-cultural” people in Williamsburg may see in this Converse-clad Savior a little bit of themselves. “Jesus went to the highways and the byways, and we’re going to bars, restaurants, gyms, to get the message out.”

The Vatican has been consciously trying to reach out to Catholics on social media for a while, for example, through the Pope’s Twitter account, @Pontifex, which boasts more than 2.4 million followers. The  social media interns who manage the Church’s social media accounts even got their own fifteen minutes of fame earlier this year during Pope Francis’s ascension.

Laypeople are also trying to use viral memes to reach the young, with varying results: for example, the site CatholicMemes.com, which generates religion-themed photo memes and GIFs; its Facebook group boasts more than 85,000 fans, while another has more than 21,000.

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11 comments
JamesMiskimen
JamesMiskimen

"But note that the ad doesn’t actually mention Jesus anywhere. “Everyone just assumes that we were talking about Jesus and that shows religious conversation is a part of our everyday discussions for all people, no matter who you are, no matter where you’re coming from,” Monsignor Kieran E. Harrington, the Diocese’s Vicar for Communications, tells TIME."

The Ad does have the label: Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn. If you didn't already look at things with a religious idealism, then the label would definitely make the correlation for you. 

Dwayne Leon
Dwayne Leon

Pehn, the truth is in the Bible, the word of God, please take note that it's an individual choice to seek or NOT to seek the truth concerning Jesus Christ. Also, TIME, Jesus has many titles, and according to scripture, hipster ISN'T one of them... but I guess in this day and age, no reverence can be spared for the name of our Wonderful Counselor, the Holy son of God Jesus Christ... his return is very near however, and repentance is key for any who wish to be among the chosen few to be taken up... Peace be with you all...

Dale Klčo
Dale Klčo

If you try to make people believe it...he wasn't.

Tony Fong
Tony Fong

I think "original hipster" is an oxymoron.

Pehn Marques
Pehn Marques

The best idea of getting more members is to start telling the TRUTH, quit molesting CHILDREN and letting CHILD MOLESTERS still be PRIEST, as well as allowing them in the CHURCH with GAYS and MURDERERS; IDOL WORSHIPING....etc.

Peace_2_All
Peace_2_All

@Dwayne Leon 

@Dwayne Leon --- You Said: "His return is very near"

Hmmm... Haven't all you fundies been shouting that phrase from the top of your lungs from box crates on the street corners for, oh... I dunno... hundreds of years or so?

So, tell us D-Wayne... How near exactly ya' think?  I'd like your opinion without having to use the bible ...." no one knows but god, etc..."

You Said: " Repentance is key for any who wish to be among the chosen few to be ...**taken up**"

Why wait...? Isn't the "rapture" what you guys are salivating for ?

Peace...