It’s no secret that the Catholic Church seems to be hemorrhaging practitioners. Like the old adage says, “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” A new ad launched by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn is marketing Jesus as “the original hipster”
So, who are they hoping to target with this new ad? Hipsters? I guess getting them to join ironically is better than nothing.In reality, though, this is probably aimed at attracting the youth. If you wander the streets of Brooklyn or Queens, you’ll probably see bus bench of phone booth kiosk where you can see some red Converse poking out of Jesus’s traditional white robe. As someone who wears Converse on the regular and would never be confused for a hipster, I’m not sure if this image conveys the exact sentiment.
Additionally, Roman Catholics did not invent the tag line “the original hipster.” Plenty of other people have claimed to be the original hipster; most commonly it’s dads who are labeled as the original hipsters. And they’re not the first to try and modernize the New Testament. St. Matthews in the City, an Anglican church in Auckland, New Zealand sponsored a billboard painted in the style of the Old Masters which showed Mary clapping her hand to her mouth in shock as she holds a positive pregnancy test. A Lutheran Church advertised, “Hipster Jesus loved your before you were cool.” And hipster Jesus stormed the Internet a few years back in series of memes featuring Jesus wearing dark glasses and offering quips like “Cause swimming in water is too mainstream.”
Is “hipster” Jesus part of push to make religion more attractive in the 21st century? Instead of raising Lazarus from the dead, hipster Jesus resurrects vintage clothing. In lieu of turning water into wine, hipster Jesus would rather turn it into PBR. And hipster Jesus definitely cures humanity of its attachment to being “cool.”
But perhaps the Roman Catholic Church is on to something — a way to bring a new crowd to fill out the pews during mass, though they might be more used to listening to Swans instead of psalms. Rev. Monsignor Keiran Harrington, vicar of communications for the Archdiocese of Brooklyn, said, “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."
Besides, the hipsters on the streets of Brooklyn are already emulating the long hair, scruffy, unshaven look that Jesus made popular back in the first century.