In a time where organized religion has been forced to recognize the rise of the "nones," the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn has launched a new ad campaign, "All Faces, Everyday Understanding," in which it classifies Jesus Christ as "The Original Hipster."
The blog Animal New York first noticed the ads that have been found on street corners, subway stations, coffee shops and bars in Brooklyn, where Christ is shown wearing red Converse shoes.
Although the modern version of Christ may seem a little odd, Monsignor Kieran E. Harrington, a spokesman for the Brooklyn diocese, told The Huffington Post that different depictions of Christ are quite normal.
"Historically, representations of Christ have reflected the population that was worshipping there," Harrington said.
While throughout history people have depicted Christ to look more like themselves, changing the cultural style of Christ is still somewhat new — as is the term hipster.
Hipsters have generally been identified as young adults or twenty-somethings who adhere to unconventional patterns. The Oxford English Dictionary defines hipster as "a person who follows the latest trends and fashions," while Dictionary.com simply explains the word as "a person who is hip." The need to be interested in art and jazz music was also mentioned.
While the automatic connection to Christ may not be apparent, Harrington explained in detail the connection that Christ has with the twenty-something hipsters of today.
"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."
A report by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life showed that the number of Americans who say they don't belong to a religion has grown, specifically among young adults. In a press release, the church said that this new campaign was created to appeal to a younger age group.
"Catholics yearn for a church they can relate to," the release said. "Launched on April 1, 2013, this campaign is geared towards reaching a younger, more diverse demographic by showing the cooler and more welcoming side of the Catholic Church."
Harrington expressed the same excitement for the ad and the hopes that many will feel welcome to attend Catholic services.
"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."
Yet, while discussing the ad with Time magazine, Harrington pointed out that the campaign never refers to the man in the red Converse shoes as Christ.
“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,” Harrington said.
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