Thoughts on WinterJam 2007

WinterJam Winter Jam 2007I ventured out tonight for the first time in over a decade into the world of contemporary Christian concerts by taking my son to the opening night of the WinterJam 2007 Tour. It was a surreal mixture of Christ and culture and capitalism. A gifted evangelist passionately describing his abusive childhood while standing under a mirror ball, as people chatted or ate or bought various glow in the dark blinking headgear or gawked at someone dressed as a giant sweet potato (No, I didn’t make that last part up!). Teens milling about buying overpriced t-shirts and other merchandise including $2.00 plastic kazoos (No, not making that up either.) A President Bush impersonator singing a blues song about making the world safe for democracy and riding around on an electric scooter (too wierd for even me to make up). Not to mention six thousand people somehow thinking that jumping up and down simultaneously while exposing their ears to sounds loud enough to possibly cause permanent hearing damage is a good way to worship God.

And then there were things that just made you go Hmmmmmm…like those funky psychadelic light pillars in back of the stage…pretty colorrrssss…I wonder how many wells in Africa could have been dug for what those pillars cost…and why did they get turned on for only Steven Curtis Chapman and Jeremy Camp? More dramatic to use them for only the last two sets? Did the rest of the acts not want them? Or just not “rate” turning on the extra electricity to power them? Note to Steven Curtis: you didn’t have light pillars when I saw you in concert 20 years ago and you did just fine…I spent time focusing on the pretty colors and how they were controlled which I should have spent focusing on the music and the God behind the music… think about losing the pillars.

But in spite of all that, good stuff was there too. Hundreds responded to an invitation, and doubtless at least a few of those genuinely came into the Kingdom tonight. Dozens (including me) signing up to sponsor a child through Holt International. I genuinely worshipped (and rocked) (and cried) during Steven Curtis Chapman’s set, and God spoke to me through Jeremy Camp’s testimony.

So, what do I make of it all? That the concert was like me, a chaotic mess of spirit and flesh, of holiness and worldliness, that in spite of it all God condescended to use it to advance His Kingdom. I praise God for the good, and I wonder about the not so good, both in the concert and in me. Par for the course for living in a fallen world.

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