Last week a 12 year old girl told me I must be cool because I knew what Steampunk was. There you go I AM cool!. She has made a pair of Steampunk goggles which look like old fashioned driving goggles used in open top speedsters from the 1930s except with considerably more brass fittings, (on the goggles that is).
This got me to thinking. The Steampunk she was talking about is a look inspired by the 19th century steam era, around the time of the industrial revolution. It incorporates lots of tweed, parasols, lace up knee length boots, bowler hats, twirly moustachios and clunky, brassy, cool looking steam powered technology. You’ve probably seen the look in movies depicting Steampunk science fiction stories such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Steamboy, and, although not strictly science fiction, the 2009 version of Sherlock Homes with Robert Downey Jnr.
Steampunk is attracting quite a following with Steampunk groups cropping up all over the place. Events like International Pretend to be a Time Traveller Day and Tweed Rides are other manifestations of this love of old fashioned finery and the ambience it evokes.
I know Christians who use Christian reference materials which were created over 100 years ago in preference to anything else. They read Christian works by authors like John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody and George Muller. They seem to be living in a different world to the rest of us. Then again, in my church, hymns over 300 years old are regularly sung in the early morning service. Now there is nothing wrong with reading the works of these authors. They are widely acknowledged as powerful men of God with a message which is just as relevant today as it was when first written. But with so much modern material available to us in the forms of books, CDs, DVDs, commentaries, Bible studies, MP3s of sermons, RSS feeds, Christian Radio, Christian Podcasts all created by a wealth of well-educated, respected, modern day Christian authors, preachers and artists, why are there still Christians who doggedly refuse to embrace the new as well as the old?
Steampunk seems to reveal a hankering after simpler times, simpler things, cooler things. I wonder whether a Christian hankering for simpler times and simpler explanations to life’s issues is what drives us to seek out the works of centuries old Christian books, commentaries and hymns while ignoring the tidal wave of new resources available to us.
I think we should call this phenomenon Steampunk Christianity.