The Hip Gnosis of the Church

kinnon —  July 15, 2011 — 6 Comments

Hip gnosis definitions1

How many issues in the Celebrity-Driven Church are created by our desperate need to follow people we think are spiritually aware/cool/hip - supposedly tuned-in to “the fresh things that God is doing?”

“Gifted people” who have some special insight into the mysteries of the faith – or at least the personal charisma to convince us thereof?

Are we suffering hip gnostics hip-gnotizing the church?*

*And yes, my addiction to puns is evidenced here. Does this make me a PUNdit? 



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

6 responses to The Hip Gnosis of the Church

  1. Bill, you may be right. I tend to view this as the manifestation of an age old problem of man – give me a priest, someone to go to God on my behalf. It seems to me that if I knew how to hear from God and I was in community with folks that heard from God, I would not feel compelled to find people to tell me what God’s saying.

    I know we *need* an intermediary, but that was and is fulfilled in Christ. He’s our connection. Not some superstar minister or the small-time pastor down the street.

    But, in our specialized andconsumerized society, it’s easier to outsource our relationship with God to someone who’s better at it than us.

    • Well said, Mike!

      Isn’t that the pathetic truth? When it is all about relationships, then we have to have our own relationships. We can’t foist them off onto someone else. But relationships are both the most blessed and the most difficult experiences … and, in the end, are the only Reality.

  2. I fear many of the celebrities are allowed to be in the place where the Holy Spirit should be for people.

  3. Wenatchee The Hatchet July 16, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I’m going to have to listen to Dark Side of the Moon at least once now that I’ve seen you use the “Hip Gnosis” pun, Bill. 🙂

    Of course what we usually do when we succumb to hip gnosis is that rather than admit that’s what we’ve done we prefer to rebrand this error as talking about how “authentic” and “real” the celebrity is, which paradoxically makes it even less possible for the celebrity to be either of those things. Suddenly, or not so suddenly, there’s an image to live up to. Rather than concede that the apostle James would say we are respecters of persons or with Paul that we are saying “I am of so and so” we contrive explanations as to why so and so should be talked about or regarded so much. Indirectly we lionize ourselves through our ecclesiological heroes. When Israel asked for a king like the other nations they got one! When they realized their mistake God told them that they still had to live with the king they asked for until they got the one God truly had in mind. The paradox was that the sin was not in asking for a king (the Torah predicted there would be one) but in what kind of king they were asking for.

    Wanting answers seems to be the big temptation and per that very old Michael Card song the questions may tell us a great deal more than the answers we’re looking for do.

    • JL,
      I was just telling my kids how I read Hipgnosis (the album art folk for those who don’t know) when I was a kid. Somehow my mild dyslexia turned it into Hip na gosis. I’m also surprised that I can’t find anyone else who has used the pun. And I originally wrote a Hip Gnosis post as the title of my review/critique of McLaren’s ANKOC. Emergents tend to love their Hip Gnosis. 🙂


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