The Same Kind of Same As Me

I normally like to think I’m pretty alternative. In fact, I’m typing this in an indie coffee shop while listening to a band called Explosions in the Sky that, I’d venture to say, most of my friends have never heard of. That might say more about my friends than it does about my alternativeness but that’s another post. I bought my wife a magazine nobody gets for Christmas and I often ride a bicycle to work. I love Kiva, I support TOMS (but can’t wear them), I read Shane Claiborne, I don’t own a PC.

I’m just a $2,000 point-and-shoot camera and a french press short of full-fledged hipster status.

The funny thing about all of it though, is that everybody else is doing the exact same thing.

When I walked into the coffee shop tonight it felt like I was entering the Apple Store. Seriously, there’s a sign on the door that says “no shoes, no shirt, no service for PCs (we have wireless for Macs). Everybody was trying out their new iPads and rocking out to all the Mumford and Sons they bought with iTunes gift card Christmas presents.

It all just felt like a big game.

I get on this blog and talk about how different and cool we are for embracing minimalism or not having TV and yet the truth is we just fill the idolatrous void left by those things with something else.

In reality, I’m about as pre-packaged as they come. I grew up in Mayberry, I played all the good sports, wore all the right clothes, parents paid for college, got a “normal” job after graduation and now…I guess sometimes I’m just trying to be different enough to make a difference.

It’s easy for Jen, it’s kind of just part of who she is. Normal people don’t wallow around in Netflix for hours on end perusing every North Korean documentary ever made. Normal people don’t feel faint over sewing machines made in the 1970s. Normal people don’t make their own New Year’s clothes.

And this I have learned in 6 short months — that alternativeness is not a goal to be attained. Actually, alternatives isn’t even the point. The point is that I step outside of my own little boxed up shrink-wrapped world to catch a glimpse of the grander plan God would have for both of us.

So, my wife, I’m sorry for when I trade the sins of materialism and conformity for the sin of self-worship. One is not better than the other, rather one is easier to cover up…

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I'm an aspiring freelance writer and blogger (which doesn't make a ton of sense when you think about it). I started a blog called Our Marriage Project and one about OSU called Pistols Firing. I love both of them, and I love my wife. And I love Kevin Durant, Explosions in the Sky, Tim Riggins, Blue Moon ale, Twitter, and the state of Georgia.

14 thoughts on “The Same Kind of Same As Me”

  1. I agree that alternativeness isn’t the point. To me, the point is to follow God’s will and use the gifts he gave us. Limiting the influence of popular culture can flow from that, as can voluntary simplicity and ‘being yourself’. But ‘limit’ does not mean ‘eliminate’. So, if God made you good at sports, be good at sports. If he gave you a good job, make a difference at that job. And if he gave you parents who could afford to fund your education, you can give away the money you would have paid in college expenses.

    BTW, my wife and I saw Shane Claiborne speak, and he is very, very impressive. Also, since when is Apple and Ipods, etc. alternative? If you want to make a statement with your OS, use Ubuntu.

  2. Explosions in the Sky is my favorite "let's be ultra-productive and at the same time super passionate" band to listen to. And if you really want to be countercultural, switch from Shane Claiborne to someone like Jonathan Edwards or John Owen. Then again, reading those guys for the sake of counterculturality (real word?) would defeat the whole point of your post.

    Keep on thinking.

  3. Wow! This is deep and so true! Those who seek alternative lifestyles for God… then have to be constantly vigilant in fighting against pride and self-worship. Thanks so much for your willingness to share this. You are not alone my friend!

  4. Dood, you just said that about as well as any 20something could say it. Not many people are seeing it. EVERY generation thinks they've discovered truth… And in a way, we do… It's just a prepackaged truth of one sort or another.

    The thing is, hipster thought has a LARGER platform (with media-power today) and so lots and lots of people who are only half-baked (and I mean that in the very best way… someone who is 22 simply can't have fully processed all the truth that they're right in the middle of living) get this huge platform to speak to people — they have a blog, or they even write a book…

    … And they cast aspersion on the church, or the Man, or whoever, with the attitude, of course, that finally they can see things accurately, all the things the church or the Man couldn't see.

    But in 20 years, they'll see that they only saw half the story, that they are passe and passed over and old hat, and their ideas are now in a new and fashionable package, and called by other names.

    Wise of you to begin to see it now.

    And it sounds like that Jen of yours is a keeper, and a good one. (I have a Jen, too, and she's the wisest person I know. We do well to listen to these ladies who know us so well.)

    Thanks for being refreshing to my spirit.

  5. They ain't U2, but yeah, there's a good deal of people who know music in the general that are familiar with EITS….so you are correct in saying that says more about your company than your alternativenessosity, mate. Although given how fractured the entire music scene (and more chiefly, entertainment in general) is, alternative as a genre or a descriptive term loses some of its weight.

    The word alternative implies not-of-mainstream which implies counter-culture which implies, to some degree, rebellion. The work and person of King Jesus Christ is a rebellion against a sinful world subjected to futility. Our choices, material and immaterial, should stem from aligning ourselves within that rebellion, the one that brought a sword and divided families. After that, the rest will seem relatively inessential, more an issue of flavor than anything else. Chocolate or vanilla? Coldplay or Vampire Weekend? If it's not coming between you and your daily glory of your Creator, then more often than not it's not really gonna matter that much.

    And speaking as someone well acquainted with the people of Silver Lake, the hipster Mecca of the West Coast, here's a list of some more things you'll need to enter into the Kingdom of the Hipster (though they shall never admit your passage)

    1. Skinny jeans. Preferably skinny enough that folks can see the outline of your junk
    2. Floppy hat. The floppier, the better. We were always taught growing up "It's a big hat, it's funny" but in hipster-reality "It's a big hat, it's awesome….or whatever"
    3. Scarf
    4. A v-neck for every day of the week.

    And to round it out:

    Q: How many hipsters does it take to change a lightbulb?
    A: It's a really obscure number, you've probably never heard of it….

    Porter OUT

  6. this is so funny. i relate so much. so much of what i do makes me feel unique, but then you go outside, and a ton of people are doing the same thing.
    my husband got a pretty unique haircut a month ago, and when we were at a gig for new years so many people kept coming up thinking he was their friend, cause there were so many guys with the same unique indie hair cut..

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