I want to be a hipster. Not that kind of hipster. A new kind of hipster. The original hipster.

You might say, “What in the non-mainstream world could you be talking about?”

The hipster subculture typically consists of white millennials living in urban areas. The subculture has been described as a “mutating, trans-Atlantic melting pot of styles, tastes and behavior” and is broadly associated with indie and alternative music, a varied non-mainstream fashion sensibility (including vintage and thrift store-bought clothes), generally progressive political views, organic and artisan foods, and alternative lifestyles. Hipsters are typically described as affluent or middle class young Bohemians who reside in gentrifying neighborhoods. – Wikipedia

Just like every new generation of young intrepid souls, a sector of the current “Gen-Y millennial” has created a lifestyle vibe in an effort to stand out and be unique. At the core, it’s the natural inclination and desire to make a mark on the world, but as each one before it, the “hipster” culture is just another fad that will eventually fade away and morph into another fad as a new generation arises. But who was this “original hipster?”

Jacob was the original hipster.

Not yours truly, but the Jacob of Biblical times.  Oh you thought he was just a lying crook who stole stuff that didn’t belong to him? His brother Esau would probably agree with you, but you’d both be missing the bigger picture.

Aside from being misunderstood, Jacob was stubborn. He was passionate. He was a fighter. How do we know this? Here’s the account from Genesis 32:

“And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall be no longer called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. – [Genesis 32]

What would it be like to be able to say that you literally wrestled with God and then He broke your hip? But you were persistent, weren’t satisfied with the ordinary, wouldn’t give up until He blessed you, and wouldn’t give up until the breakthrough was made.

I’ve often wondered at what point during that epic all-night showdown that he began wondering, “Who exactly is this guy?” Historical Hulk? Ironman? Captain Canaan?

Jacob had just finished preparing a massive “don’t hate me” gift to his brother Esau out of fear for his life and family in hopes that Esau wouldn’t kill them all. Jacob gave explicit instructions to his servants to butter Esau up as much as possible before they arrived face to face. It even says that Jacob was “greatly afraid” and packed up his wives and kids and sent them across the river for protection while he stayed and waited for the arrival of Esau.

Isn’t that just like us? Fearing for our livelihood and making plans to thwart our imminent ruin as best as humanly possible? How many times have we done that in our own lives?

Then the crazy part happens. God shows up. Of course, like many of us, Jacob didn’t immediately realize it wasn’t Esau trying to strangle him to death. Only the fight or flight instinct kicking in, propelling him forward to fight for his very life.

Suddenly, after an entire night of wrestling he feels a sharp pain in his hip and realizes that his socket is out of joint. I’ve never dislocated my hip, but I’ve got to imagine it must be pretty painful. And that’s when he goes for broke and declares he won’t let go until he gets blessed.

That’s an incredible story. Jacob limped for the rest of his life as a mark and reminder of having encountered God face to face. The great preacher Jonathan Edwards once said:

“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” – Jonathan Edwards

It’s easy to get caught up in the trappings of the next big thing, but how do we anchor ourselves in the midst of the many shifting trends of our time? I believe it’s a matter of being intentional about where we set our hearts and affection. Every human on the planet has to choose where their affections will rest. For the believer in Jesus Christ, our highest affections must rest in Him.

I want to be known as this kind of “hipster:” the one marked by the uncompromising pursuit of God.

 

(Disclaimer: This post is not intended to bash hipsters or those who proclaim themselves to be such. I too drink only black coffee and wear beanies and plaid shirts. miffed? Inspired? add a wonderful comment below!)

It was an odd and unfamiliar feeling as the world’s most powerful man sat transfixed by helplessness.

With his chair tipped precariously at the head of a long table inside a tiny makeshift war room high in a Dubai skyscraper, he stared unmoved as the world erupted before his cold, calculating eyes. Two massive banks of flat-screen TV’s blared simultaneous live news coverage from a dozen different global networks. All had subtitles. None were muted.

The chaotic jumble of excited reporters and shocked newscasters rose in a roar of sound that was almost deafening but the superpower sat in stone-faced silence. Hope and desperation could be manufactured, utter helplessness was something new altogether.

The BBC news channel switched to a shaky live cut of a shouting young American woman and the French-born media mogul at the head of the table snatched up the master remote and muted all but the captivating image of the young woman. Her high-pitched yet surprisingly strong voice sliced through the suddenly reduced volume in the steamy room.

“Martin Luther King had a dream!” she screeched through a hiss of feedback from the reporter’s mic. “Martin Luther King had a dream! But I have a scream! I have a scream! This is my scream for justice!”

The crowd picked up chanting the phrase. People of all ages were rallying behind her in droves and she didn’t seem to know or care that it was happening.

The shaking camera panned back and zoomed toward her. She had a pretty face, delicate features engulfed by a mass of windblown auburn hair. She was wearing a flowing white summer dress with a pair of low red heels, and gorgeous by all counts.

And those eyes.

Her gray-violet eyes burned with a dangerous mixture of passion, rage and patriotism as she carried on in an unrelenting fury. And it was a candid shot of her sheer intensity and those enrapturing eyes that became the image of the century and the face of a pauper’s revolution.

When asked by the rumpled reporter what her name was, her reply was firm and steady and resonated across the world’s airwaves.

“Rosie,” she said. “Rosie the Revolutionary.”

This is a little creative writing piece that I did quite some time ago.

The night was dark and dreary. Even the moon failed to bring much light to the dismal conditions that encased the English Channel. To most honest folks, the weather left much to be desired; to the ten men huddled in a light assault craft, it meant everything. They sailed silently, staring into the murky darkness guided only by a small hand compass. Nobody spoke, only listening to the soft purr of the motor and the crashing of the turbulent waves. Nothing moved except ten pairs of eyes, and these told the whole story. Stubbornly, each man strove to pretend he wasn’t as scared as the fellow in front of him, but underneath the blackened faces and dull green uniforms, all felt the strain of the mission at hand. The bad weather was merely the camouflage, the real test lay dead ahead by two miles.

Lieutenant Maxwell knew his job. Get in, get the stuff, and get out. It was fairly simple, but completing the task would be a horse of a different color. The German radar station was heavily fortified, and everything depended on secrecy. The fact that these nine men were newly trained greenhorns going into their first combat played but little on his mind. Reaching the landing zone, and on time, was a more important issue.

And time was slowly slipping away.

Where was the landing light? It should have been there by now. Looking at his watch, Maxwell frowned. 0021. One minute late already. He glanced at his men closely huddled in the tight quarters of the boat. They all looked as nervous as he felt. If the light never came, how could they land? In the dark, they’d never be able to hit the selected landing zone. Shaking aside the first inclination of possible failure he finally broke the silence.

“See anything?” Maxwell whispered, glancing forward.

Without answering, the big burly Sergeant in the bow peeked over the top, his sharp eyes quickly penetrating the sheer wall of oblivion. “No, Sir,” he grunted quietly, and slid back down.

Lieutenant Maxwell sighed, shoulders slumped. They were going slower now, to lessen the impact in case they hit the rocks instead of the beach. He could only hope now that they’d land near the right place. They’d be late, but at least they’d be nearby.

“Lieutenant, we’re grounding.”

Lieutenant Maxwell looked up quickly. A small wiry Private named Tuck had his ear half-cocked, listening intently. He was an ex-sailor, who knew his stuff. Maxwell didn’t doubt his prediction. He looked at the man expectantly.

Pausing for what seemed an eternity, he finally spoke. “It’s sand.”

The entire boatful of men breathed a sigh of relief. Maxwell flipped the kill-switch of their faithful motor and again the boat was immersed in the eerie stillness, save the light scuffling and clinks of boots and men readying for landing. His watch read 0024; they had six minutes. He could feel the bottom of the boat scraping against the sand, the tide and momentum pushing it along. Slowing down, it came to a grinding halt. Everyone looked at the Lieutenant for orders. Maxwell moved silently to the bow and quietly climbed out. Wading gently in a few feet of murky water, he moved up the beach. The rest of the men looked on anxiously, and those in the bow slowly eased magazines into their Thompsons.

Furtively glancing around, Lieutenant Maxwell un-holstered his automatic pistol and crept up the small beach. Sweeping the area with his pistol, he could see nothing. And none of the landmarks he’d memorized. Retreating back to the water’s edge he gestured with his arm to signal the men to disembark. The soft splashes of water and popping of magazine clips were barely audible as they gathered around their leader and stole up the wet sandy beach. They were here, but not at the designated place.

Maxwell’s watch now read 0028. Two minutes. Gazing around, he wondered where they were. He hoped they weren’t east of the target; that would mean they’d have to fight their way to it. Unbuckling his radio from his gear, he turned on the volume to its lowest setting. The men crouched behind a small sandbank, rifles poised and ready, but none daring to speak yet. One of them waved his hand, and pointed at a barely visible roof-peak directly inland.

Maxwell followed his finger, a blank look on his face. Searching his brain for what this was supposed to mean, he suddenly remembered. Nodding at the scrawny Private, he stood up slightly for a better view. Thunderation! His fear was confirmed; they were east of their target. Pressing a small yellow button on his radio unit, he squatted back down to wait, glancing again at his watch. 0031. One minute late.

Suddenly a short buzz and pop came from the radio that Lieutenant Maxwell was unconsciously squeezing tightly. He jumped nervously at the violent interruption of the quiet stillness. Quickly muffling the speaker with his hand he held it to his ear. A crackly burst of static issued forth.

“Daisy needs milking”

Maxwell grinned slightly for the first time since the day before. In a low tone he gave the long-awaited order. “Let’s go a’ milking lads, shall we? Roll out!”

The eyes of a heart awaken from a deep respite made mandatory by the perils endured in recent conflicts. Great were the obstacles to be climbed, secured, and overrun. None would allow themselves to be removed easily, giving back in full the measure by which they were assaulted. Scars and battle wounds were mere trifles in the light of the raging fury by which they fought for supremacy.

But the bear, the lion or the giant cannot prohibit the Warrior Heart from beating the drum of war and declaring the sound of a victor; the sound of a courageous man who is ready to conquer his fears and stand for his beliefs. He is not strong in strength alone, but in the strength of his will to never back down or retreat; a passion to protect his kingdom from the advances of his foes; a desire to drive his neighboring demons into the sea until they are vanquished; and a resolve to conclude every battle as the unquestioned victor.

The Warrior Heart is not a ferocious warmonger only; he savors the simplicity of a morning sunrise as a symbol of his own dawn of a new day. He appreciates the beauty of the turning leaves as a new chapter of his existence. He sings along with the melodies of the wind and waves, lending his own baritone mark to the script of their brilliant symphony.

But not for too long; on the distant horizon the battle flags of the opposing army are seen emerging above the hills. The Warrior Heart is not afraid though. Rising slowly from the lush foliage of his own hill, a grin of subdued yet eager anticipation spreads across his still ruddy yet war-beaten face. Much slumber is not a thing of the wise. The Warrior Heart knows.