What is a bohemian? Bohemians aren’t just a quickly-growing population demographic. They represent a fast-spreading cultural mindset. A simple definition of a bohemian would be “a person with an attraction to an unconventional lifestyle.”
An unconventional approach to religion and spirituality stands in stark contrast to the Norman Rockwell-esque image of Christianity that many of us have grown up with. This unconventional lifestyle creates a lot of distance between bohemians and the local church, contributing to a large and growing population of lostness within the bohemian community.
Bohemians aren’t anti-religious. As a matter of fact, they are extremely religious, typically paying close attention to their spiritual lives, being focused stewards of their own health and the earth. They see spirituality as a “holistic” model of health: mind, body and soul. In some ways, they’re a lot like the philosophers Paul met on Mars Hill in Acts 17. Bohemians may have many gods that they claim for themselves while leaving room for the possibility of something else — an “unknown god.”
Over 2000 years ago, Paul showed us how to reach these people — even in 2019. If we look back at Paul’s approach to the ancient followers of unconventional thought, we find a road map that will guide us to redeeming a vastly lost culture.
If we look back at Paul’s approach to the ancient followers of unconventional thought, we find a road map that will guide us to redeeming a vastly lost culture.
Take time to observe and listen
It takes a delicate understanding of this culture to identify their values, tastes and distastes. Spend time walking in their world to see what they are giving themselves to and what interests them. Many bohemians love meditation. Connect them to discovering this biblical practice. Perhaps they love essential oils. Show them the aloes, myrrh, frankincense, olive oil and incense burning in Scripture.
Sit down and talk with them
Hear their ideas and listen to what they have to say. You may disagree with their beliefs. That’s alright. Don’t simply wait for them to stop speaking so you can interject your opinion. Instead, keep asking questions.
Connect their understanding to truth
Paul took the Athenian idol worshippers back to Genesis. In the same way, don’t be ashamed of Genesis 1-3, which tells us about God creating the world by spoken word, a talking serpent and the curse of sin. Connect their love of creation to a Creator.
Let them make their own decisions as you convey the truth of the Gospel
Some will not believe you. Others will want to hear more before making a decision. Others will accept, repent and believe. Your patience and lack of rebuttal will speak volumes to them.
Bohemians are a colorful bunch. Their approach to life is intentionally unconventional. Many would rather live homeless and free than live by the bonds of conventional society. Show them the unconventional surprise that true freedom is found in Christ.