Alive and Learning: If You’re Not Offended Yet…

Alive and Learning Logo JPG

This summer, our Student Ministry program made the trek to Canal Fulton, Ohio for Alive 2009. Alive is a 4-day “Christian Music” Festival that involves popular CCM musicians and bands, speakers, workshops, seminars, camping, swimming and the opportunity to purchase nearly any popular “Christian Media” you could desire. This post is part of a series aimed at sharing my experiences during the week and what I learned through the process so that you might learn from our successes and failures.

This is my opportunity to rant. I already shared that there will be people at your music festival who are not at the same level of maturity or spot in the journey that you find yourself. There is some discernment to figure out who those people are. But there will be people there who will simply tick you off and you should be upset about these situations.

Alive has a midway of sorts where vendors are set up to sell food to people who are hungry or thirsty. While they are charging an arm and a leg for what you are getting, it is such a part of the fabric of society that I am not ruffled too much by that (other than the restaurant chains who have booths there that are charging nearly double what they would in their restaurant). What really got my blood boiling was the mascot for Quaker Steak wandering around on the hill by the main stage trying to get people to buy from their booth during the evening speaker! Honestly, if you want to walk around hawking your wares during concerts, fine, but during what is essentially a sermon from some really phenomenal people who are pouring out their hearts to share what they have learned about Christ with the crowd? Simply disappointing to say the least. (And sure, you could argue that everyone there is doing the same thing, and that not everyone would be reached by a sermon anyway, and you would be right to a point. It still reeks of commercialism overtaking ministry).

The other item that really cheesed me off was walking through the vendor’s tent. This is a staple at nearly every festival. People who have nothing to do with the festival are selling their merchandise, shoving t-shirts with corny cliches on the crowd. And they buy it. I think the worst item I saw was a zippered hoodie that was being sold for $50. Not a signed hoodie, not the booth that donated an identical shirt to a third-world orphanage for every purchase. Simply wanting to be paid $50 for their hoodie (they were also selling hats for $20 that I can find anywhere else for $10). And don’t get me started on the “it’s a gift for the ministry” argument. I hate that logic.

You will encounter offensive marketing and disgusting materialism and merchandising. Some of these people are only here to make a living. Some are genuinely trying to be honest, others are merely trying to rip you off. Try to discern what you should be offended by and react accordingly. And did I make any purchases? Yes. I walked away with a CD for myself, my wife and my daughter and spent less than $25. But did I buy any pathetic t-shirts or waste my money on something that had nothing to do with the festival? Nope.

Other Posts in This Series:
Alive & Learning: Going With the Flow
Alive & Learning: Connecting With Parents
Alive & Learning: Connecting With Students
Alive & Learning: Schedules & Discipline
Alive & Learning: Isn’t Everyone Here a Christian?
Alive & Learning: Touching Base With Your Group
Alive & Learning: Bringing It All Home