Five summers ago, I was a just-out-of-college intern for the C.S. Lewis Foundation, working on the Oxbridge ’05 conference in Oxford and Cambridge. It was one of the most enchanting, life-changing summers of my life. On top of the many brilliant lectures I heard in Oxford and Cambridge, I had dozens of conversations over pints and pipes—at pubs at 2 in the morning, after an evensong service in some magical cathedral, or in the garden of The Kilns (C.S. Lewis’ home in Oxford). These were the conversations that sparked the first true ideas that would eventually become Hipster Christianity. When I got back home later that summer, I wrote “A New Kind of Hipster” for Relevant. Five years later, Hipster Christianity is out in stores (as of Aug. 1—the official release date).
If you have been to any conference, you know that the best connections happen outside of the formal conference activities. The spontaneous meals, prayers in the hallways, and late night talks with old friends and new are the richness of the Christian Community Development Association. Yesterday morning Mark Charles pointed out that “the American Church has bought into the false notion that relationships can be between organizations. Organizations do not develop relationships, people do.”
There were several opportunities this week to remember that and perhaps my favorite moment was a “dinner party” that started with my friend Kevin from New Orleans saying, “let’s get together!” and me replying, “I’ll bring my team.” Next thing I knew we each had invited about five people who then invited a couple more. When we finally got everyone in the same place at the same time we noticed a few individuals standing around seemingly with no dinner plans so we roped them in too.