Festival Season

Posted June 20, 2008

So this is new.

Eight years we’ve been doing this band thing, and strange as it might seem to some,
today was our first bona-fide summer festival.
Amazing huh?

Yeah, not really.
But it was fun, and hot. Plenty hot.
And it did get me thinking.
What else is new right?

Festivals.
They’re so funny if you think about it.
All these kids and parents and bands and lawn chairs and blankets
and dirt and sweat and sun and sun block and t-shirts and tents
and frozen lemonade and hot dogs and speakers and guitars and
dirt….did I say dirt already?

And you’ve got all these crazy kids giving out free hugs,
all these emo kids with freshly shaven mohawks
and all these cool “I’m in a band and I want you to know it kids”
with drumsticks in their pockets and chips on their shoulders,
and then you’ve got all these kids on the stages,
blasting out tunes, licks, and bass, and doing their
best to “Rock the Flock” (as my old southern baptist friend would say)
and get all these kids to foam at the mouth and buy all their merchandise.

“Check out our merch table!”
“Check out or myspace!”
“Check out our new album!”
“SOMEBODY GIVE ME VALIDATION PLEASE!!!!”

It’s crazy how badly I want to command everyone to like us.
It’s amazing how much I want to be liked.
It’s insane how quickly I can become what I hate.

What’s going on here really?
Are we really lifting up Jesus or just ourselves.
Is He using us or are we just using Him?
I mean, we played our set, and the whole time I’m worrying that
we’re not “entertaining” enough.
What if we’re not getting the crowd to jump up and down enough and
lose their minds with emotion and heat stroke?
Would we still be a success?
What is a success and how do you really make disciples?
Why would God say in Amos and Isaiah “I hate your festivals!”
Would he hate our festivals?
Would he approve of what we’re doing and how we’re rocking
or would He just say, “depart from me I never knew you?

What are we doing anyways?

I don’t know.
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with this.
I don’t know what the best way to present truth is,
and I don’t know how to keep myself from becoming a celebrity.
Because after all, this world doesn’t need more celebrities,
it needs Jesus.
But there’s the rub.
These days those who bring Jesus get turned into celebrities.
As Francis Chan would say, we make a bigger deal out of the
Pez dispenser than the Pez itself.
Ok, so that’s a strange analogy but you get what I mean.
Do we really love Jesus or just the packaging?
Would you love truth as much if it didn’t have a blast beat and a hooky chorus?
Would you love Jesus as much if He only came in black and white pages?
No wonder the Israelites wanted a king so badly.
It’s like we have to have a golden calf or there can be no worship.

But you know, I don’t want us to be a golden calf this summer.
I don’t want to make more out of the messenger than the message.
More out of our image than the image of God.
May we always see the stage as a vehicle to someone greater
and not an end in itself.
May the Lord lead us through the festival season.
through the valleys and stadiums of temptation,
and on to rivers of joy.
We want to lift Him up, not us.