Stuff Christian Culture Likes

Stuff Christian Culture Likes


#131 The hip-hop hug

posted by Stephanie Drury

hug2.jpgAs the Christian side hug gains notoriety, another type of hug seems to be evolving.

Since fewer people want to perform the prudish side hug it is morphing into the hip-hop hug, i.e., the half-hug where only half of each person’s chestal region come into contact.

As with the side hug, everyone’s naughty bits manage to steer clear of each other except that one boob gets mashed against the guy, so it’s sort of a win and sort of a fail, depending on who you ask.

hug4.jpg



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Rocky Presley

posted February 23, 2010 at 5:11 pm


I have a friend who went to a church where there was this deacon who loved to give the full frontal hug to which ever sex possible, except he would take it one step further. He would grasp you just above your butt and pull your naughty bits into direct contact with his. Listerine helps to remove the taste that is currently in your mouth from throwing up a bit.



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Amy

posted February 23, 2010 at 5:46 pm


This was the hug I actually grew up with if we bothered to hug at all, but it may be that we’re PNW and more touchy-feely?



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Billy

posted February 24, 2010 at 12:54 pm


I’m a total hugger, I don’t know why. I have certain friends that only get the hip-hop hug, others get the full monte. I freaked a girl out in Manhattan last month when hugged her after a great chat at a retail store (longer story than this, not as odd as it sounds). I don’t know why I’m affectionate like that, just am. But Rocky, what you described is a bit overboard.



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Still Breathing

posted February 25, 2010 at 3:51 am


I thought the hip-hop hug was a way of whispering sweet nothings in each others ears; well I assume that’s what’s happening in the top picture!



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Still Breathing

posted February 25, 2010 at 4:55 am


Being serious for a minute I can see how this can come about. When we share the peace (yes – in a Baptist Church) I, by instinct, am a full on hugger. This doesn’t usually present any problems as I’m about average height for a man (OK, slightly shorter than average) so I’m taller than most women and tend to lean slightly forward when hugging the women who then have the option to either leave a small space between our bodies or give me a full on brotherly hug.
I hadn’t even thought about this until I went to share the peace with one of the young women from the music team who happens to be about my height and as I opened my arms I could see a look of concern in her eyes. This rather shocked me but I gave her a rather tentative hug anyway and it seemed to be OK as we have shared the peace since without any embarrassment.
However does highlight the problem that what is meant to be a sign of brotherly / sisterly love and affection by one party can appear to be over aggressive and intrusive (or worse) by the other. I won’t be changing my hugging technique as I feel it is part of me but I can understand the problem.



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Sarah

posted February 25, 2010 at 6:58 am


I think it’s a multilayered problem. Culturally, we’ve oversexualized and simultaneously isolated, and most of us have lost, to some degree, the ability to relate physically to the people around us. And then in the church, where we’re supposed to be able to be more safely affectionate with each other, the obsession with sex and “causing others to stumble” renders most physical contact totally awkward.
There’s also the weird problem that comes from Christians trying to juxtapose cultural practices — as I understand it, physical affection in Middle Eastern culture, from which the Bible originates, generally is more relaxed (the “holy kiss” was normal), whereas Western culture, which gave us distance and reserve vis a vis Jane Austen and the waltz, is less comfortable with physical demonstrations of varying kinds of love. So when Christians try to engage in holy kissing, it feels uncomfortable.
It’s also related to the problem that gives Christians free rein to approach someone they barely know in church and ask how that person’s “walk” is going. Hold on, now! That’s an intensely personal question (not to mention the ludicrous lingo), the answer to which is reserved for close friends whose mutual support and understanding I can trust, without worrying about judgment or condescension. Just because you claim to share the same faith and express that faith in the same building with me once a week doesn’t mean you get a free pass to crawl into my head. Same with hugs. When someone comes at me with big open arms whom I don’t consider a close friend I feel trespassed upon. What, I have to hug you because you invited me to? Because it’s expected in this bizarre subculture? But you don’t even know me! And honestly, agape love doesn’t come without boundaries.
It’s a sham of intimacy that I find somewhat repellant. I attended an evangelical church in Indiana during a couple of the loneliest years of my life and at first was deeply gladdened by the excitement of my peers to see me every week; they’d throw their arms around me and ask, How ARE you??? It took me awhile to figure out that they might enthuse on Sunday, but they almost never called me during the week, and when they asked how I was doing they wanted a specific preformulated answer. As far as I could tell, the whole church culture was one of superficial concern — it wasn’t fake, exactly, but there was little emphasis on friendship (and what is more brotherly in love than friendship?) and a lot of emphasis on spiritual connection. But you can’t have the latter without the former and come up with anything healthy or attractive; you just have people who are too much in each other’s business without a foundation to give the knowledge perspective. Like the seed in Jesus’ parable that fell in shallow soil, when something difficult comes up, those relationships wither, because they have no root.
I’m a physically affectionate person by nature, but an intensely private one, and very aware of boundaries and what feels to me to be the proper progression of intimacy. I love, know and trust the people at work more than I love, know or trust the people in church, and I hardly ever touch my coworkers. Why should I have to touch church people just because it’s church? I love the passing of the peace at Catholic Mass, because it’s only the touching of hands (unless between good friends and family members), and it’s meaningful without being intrusive. (I’m not addressing what to do when you see someone in church crying, by the way. It’s hard for me to see someone in pain and not offer them comfort through touch. But that also depends on what the other person wants, because it’s not about me and what I’m comfortable with; it’s about them and what they’re comfortable with, and a lot of people don’t want to be touched in those moments.)
Human beings need touch; we literally die without it; but there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to go about giving and receiving it. A hug connotes deep trust and affection, and that’s something you don’t have with strangers and shallow Sunday acquaintances. The level of touch should correspond with the level of emotional intimacy. If the side hug and the hip-hop hug in Christian culture look stupid (and they do), it’s perhaps a natural avoidance of a level of physical contact that is out of proportion to the level of openness and mutual trust in the relationship. If it comes off looking shallow and self-conscious (and it does), it perhaps speaks to a need to reevaluate how we approach relating to one another. It’s totally possible to share a full-on hug with a member of the opposite sex and have it not be sexual or awkward; but that requires the mutuality that I find is generally lacking in Christian circles. It also requires submitting to the “be still and know” principle that the Doing Things and Avoiding Relationships crowd aren’t usually comfortable with allowing.



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Sarah

posted February 25, 2010 at 7:05 am


P.S. Still Breathing and Billy, totally not a specific criticism of you. Just offering up my perspective. :)



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Still Breathing

posted February 25, 2010 at 9:23 am


Sarah, I think it was criticism but of the most helpful kind; thank you.
I didn’t make it clear that I am also a member of the music team so this is someone I know but who is actually younger than my daughter. My initial reaction was hug, then I saw her doubt and wondered if I’d over stepped the mark.



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Billy

posted February 25, 2010 at 1:28 pm


Sarah, no problem. I only hug the people I am happy to see, I often wear my emotions on my sleeve. If I don’t like someone for some reason or another I tend to avoid them. I won’t be rude if I have to talk to them, but I tend to be stand offish, maybe that is bad, but I feel like a hypocrite otherwise. Men or women who are very important to me or I truly look up to generally get the full on hug from me, it’s my way of letting them know that they really mean a lot to me. If I just met you…hand shake. Last Sunday there were three girls talking in the atrium at Church, two of whom I knew well. I gave the two a hug and told the third that “the first meeting was a handshake, next time expect a hug.” I was kidding, I think she got the joke.



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Sam

posted February 25, 2010 at 5:02 pm


Is that Prince William and PDiddy? How awkward!



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Kevin

posted February 25, 2010 at 10:40 pm


I really hate when people hug those they barely know. Especially when they hug me. I only hug close family and even my close friends usually just get an affectionate fist bump or arm-punch.
I am really, really uncomfortable with uninvited physical contact. You don’t know me, don’t touch me. You can shake my hand, but that’s about it. I even hate being tapped on the shoulder. It’s not that I’m some kind of cold, hateful person who hates human contact, I just have very specific feelings about personal space.



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Still Breathing

posted February 26, 2010 at 5:47 am


Kevin, The point about sharing the peace in church with a hug is that our fellow Christians ARE our close family(Mark 3:31-35). However once a church gets over a certian size there will always be those you know better and that is where I use a hug.



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Sara

posted March 8, 2010 at 10:51 am


As a person living in Asia, this is one of those posts I really have a hard time relating to…



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