UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds
Courtesy of Pexels

Five hipster teachings for a fresh Lenten practice

By Pieta Woolley


Following in the footsteps of their hippie and yuppie ancestors, hipsters are just hated by their contemporaries. They’re easy targets because their clothes, music and ideas are so distinct — just like hippies and yuppies before them. And, insultingly to the rest of us, they’re flat-out contemptuous of the mainstream. 

But hipsters may be on to something. Highly educated and generally broke, they can see the future with blinding ease. In a post-jobs, environmentally collapsing century, they’re grasping on to kindness, simplicity, meaning and gentleness in part because the middle class shut its doors long before they arrived on the scene. So what’s left after wealth? That’s the question that these mostly millennials are answering — with their vinyl record swaps and food trucks, not to mention to their higher debt loads and delayed childbearing.

And coincidentally, deeply acknowledging the seriousness of chronic poverty and climate change is, like, seriously Lenten. Wander in the desert. Repent. Prepare the way.  

Here are five secular hipster teachings for a fresh Lenten practice.

1. Turn up some new tunes

Traditional practice: Prayer 

Alternative, indie music — far away from mainstream pop — is where we’re heading. Okay, I know, I know. Modern music can be difficult to decipher. And where to begin? I suggest downloading the Genius app, which annotates song lyrics as you’re listening to them on your device. Just let new music lead you into others’ stories and new ideas while helping your too-rational brain get supple again.  

2. Shop with your heart and your brain

Traditional practice: Repent

Looking for a hipster? Head to a farmers’ market, craft fair, food co-op, clothing swap or used book store. Consumer culture deserves this gritty rejection. After all, mass food waste, cruelty to animals, pollution through container shipping, pesticides and slave-like factory labour are the hidden costs behind much of what we buy. Alternatively, you can open your wallet this Lent and spend more on better.   

3. Evaluate your job

Traditional practice: almsgiving

Cash is so 20th century. Hipster currency is meaning. Is the work you do — paid or unpaid (think caregiving, internships and writing unsold screenplays) — feeding your soul? Is it healing the world? Use Lent to make sure that you’re fulfilling your sacred duties during your waking hours. 

4. Dress without impressing

Traditional practice: Self-denial

Buddy Holly glasses, skinny jeans and ear buds. It’s not like hipsters don’t have a cultural dress code. They do. But it articulates accessibility and connection, rather than financial or sexual dominance. A skin-tight Pink Floyd t-shirt is, after all, a conversation piece above all. Ditch your power costume this Lent, and let your light shine instead. 

5. Forgive your terrible family

Traditional practice: Atonement

Currently in their teens, 20s and 30s, today’s hipsters are likely to have divorced parents and grandparents, step-siblings, half-siblings and a whole lotta family bitterness zinging around them in every direction. Many have become experts at maintaining relationships with people that they love — those who literally hate each other. So take inspiration from these neutral peacemakers and settle those family feuds.    


Author's photo
Pieta Woolley is a writer in Powell River, B.C.
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
Promotional Image

Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

If statues could talk

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Stolen Mother

by Observer Staff

The daughter and adoptive mother of one of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women share their story

Promotional Image

Society

July 2017

From far and wide

by Various Writers

Meet 11 immigrants who are putting down new roots

World

June 2017

A suitcase for Cuba

by Christopher Levan

You’ll find more than giveaway toiletries and hand-me-downs in the writer's luggage. Each carefully chosen gift offers a glimpse into the lives of Cubans today.

Justice

June 2017

Undocumented

by Kristy Woudstra

Up to half a million people are living in Canada without official status. The ‘sanctuary city’ movement is growing, but the fear of deportation persists.

World

June 2017

Resisting genocide

by Sally Armstrong

In August 2014, ISIS attacked Iraq’s Yazidis, slaughtering thousands and forcing women and girls into sexual slavery. Today, the survivors are fighting for their ancient way of life.

Society

April 2017

Dear Grandkids

by Various Writers

Six acclaimed Canadian authors write letters from the heart

Society

March 2017

Called to resist

by Paul Wilson

Liberal Christians in the United States test their faith against a demagogue

Promotional Image