Jen Makes Hats

But who the hades is Jen Hatmaker?

I confess. I study religion in the United States and had never heard of this Hatmaker person until she made “mainstream” news by affirming the LBGT community.

So?

This got me thinking once again about the networks, ecclesial affiliations, and sources of information available to American Christians. I wonder, for instance, how many members of NAPARC churches have heard of or follow Jen Hatmaker. Conversely, how many of Hatmaker’s followers and readers have ever heard of Dick Gaffin? What does it say about a group that they don’t know about the other group? And how might a group change if it knew about figures from the other? Would Jen Hatmaker’s readers leave her if they read Dick Gaffin on union with Christ? And if Orthodox Presbyterians read Jen Hatmaker, would they sing more worship songs accompanied by guitars?

We often hear in this age of the internet how the old gatekeepers (magazines and newspapers) have vanished and readers are left with Google searches to figure out what’s important. And yet, the case of Jen Hatmaker suggests a world of gates with keepers that don’t regularly come onto my reader. Apparently, Jonathan Merritt thought Hatmaker was sufficient newsworthy and he’s at one of the old gatekeepers, The Atlantic. Plus the editors at Christianity Today also know about Merritt and Hatmaker to feature the story in their updates. For some reason, they didn’t feature Old Life’s series on Nelson Kloosterman.

In which case, mainstreams, creeks, and banks still seem to exist. Every once in a while we receive a reminder that we are several ditches away from the creek that runs into the river.

On the other hand, does Jen Hatmaker know about Glenn Loury? Would she be less popular if she did? Perhaps, the evangelical mainstream is several miles away from conversations that are arguably more central to life in the U.S. than dipping into the Bible for tips about “relationships, work, stress, sexuality, and forgiveness.”

Sure, forgiveness is weighty. Not sure it should be paired with stress.

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4 thoughts on “Jen Makes Hats

  1. Can the mainstreamline evangelicals even write about anything without acting like they’re bucking the patriarchy? I can’t handle Merritt because he only writes about stuff that gets on fundamentalists nerves and acts like there are actual fundamentalists who are reading it. Unawareness of your status (creek, cesspool, off-shoot, sewage pipe dumping into the mainstream) is really annoying more than anything. Like how everyone still on Facebook attends a megachurch but still posts articles about “relationship, not religion.”

    Like

  2. We’re all living in bubbles. Some bubbles are really big. Some are really small. Some bubbles contain other bubbles – The Gospel Coalition bubble contains the Tim Keller bubble. Some bubbles are off by themselves – the Joyce Meyer, John Hagee, and Joel Osteen bubbles come to mind. Some bubbles don’t get along with other bubbles: The Young Earth Creationist bubbles really don’t get along with the Cultural Engagement bubbles.

    And some of these bubbles are about to go POP!

    Liked by 1 person

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