This past week, an international conference in Goshen explored the question that many outsiders have asked when encountering Mennonites on the street: “Are they hippies or hipsters?” This identity crisis was debated and discussed at length at the annual conference.
“Mennonites are all about peace and love, so I guess that’s a hippie thing,” said conference-attendee Walter Berg. “But we much prefer dandelion wine to marijuana, so I suppose that wouldn’t be consistent with the hippie ethos.”
Like the Mennonites, both hippie and hipster males wear full beards, and this fact caused some confusion during the panel discussion.
“Is the Mennonite beard more like the hippie beard, which is mangy and unkempt, or the hipster beard, which is neatly styled with beard balm and combed to perfection,” said Berg. “Again, I’m leaning toward hippie with this one.”
The hipster penchant for sarcastically appreciating things like knitting, vinyl records, and sweaters with wolves on them, however, did not go un-noted.
“Hipsters love anything retro,” said Berg. “So do Mennonites, though the Mennonites are not nearly so self-aware and ironic about it.”
Still, more evidence for the hippie classification seemed to sway the audience.
“In a way you could say that both Mennonites and hippies are committed agriculturalists. At least every hippie I’ve ever met claimed to ‘grow their own.'” said Berg. “Over all, I’m casting my vote for hippie.”
Dismayed at the growing consensus that Mennonites were more hippie than hipster, all the disaffected hipsters in the audience pretended they really didn’t care.
(Photo credit: by edlf2005/CC)