Friday, June 20, 2008

Ichthus Festival 2008

Another Christian Music Festival has come and gone. And as you can tell by this picture where on God's green earth can you find an all-American teenage boy, a hippie, a ROTC, and a plastic lawn ornament from someones nativity set all having a great time together?!?!?! You won't find this at some Woodstock wanna-be lallapoloza, monsters of rock, angry-hate-the-world music fest. Nope. It is only through the sweet vibes of Christian rock, punk, hardcore, metal, rap, worship, contemporary all thrown into a blender and served up in Wilmore, Kentucky!

Typically throughout the year I get discouraged by what passes for Christian radio. Why have the buzz words for Christian radio become "positive" and "Safe for the whole family"? The Bible sure doesn't hold to these labels. When I get up the nerve to give some of the local channels a chance I get an image of Christ that is so shiny and happy and squeaky clean. The happy DJ's come across as perfect Christians. I worry if at times our idea of Christian radio is really having a deep impact or if it is just another deterrent to outsiders. It is these thoughts I struggle with until I come on out to Ichthus!

Every time I come out to Ichthus I am reminded all over again that there really is some amazing music out there that not only uplifts but also digs into the pain and struggle of life (normally the songs you never hear on Christian radio stations). I was encouraged by Mark Hall of Casting Crowns, I stumbled into the deep impact that the band Disciple had on their crowd as I came across hundreds of people praying after their concert, David Crowder made me explode with joy for our great God and for growing up in the 80's, Family Force 5 brought down the house and let us go absolutely insane, MxPx had me moshing until I sweat through the 3 t-shirts I had on, and Warren Barfield helped me to appreciate the ups and downs in my marriage. I ran into other youth pastor friends, students I have met at other churches and through Chrysalis, and I deepened my relationship with my youth group and my adult leaders.

Now deep down in my heart I wish that Johnny Cash and U2 would be at Ichthus but Cash has already made the trip to heaven and is singing for a much bigger audience and U2, well, I'll just wait until they hit the road again. In the meantime, I will also be looking out for Flatfoot 56 and Toby Mac since the weather did not cooperate for their appearance at Ichthus. Thanks to all who participated at Ichthus: bands, speakers, organizers and volunteers. Every year brings memories and encouragement for me. It is a great way for the students to end their school year and begin to look forward to all that the Summer holds: camps, mission trips, activities, vacations, etc. It is the perfect spiritual boost to kick start a great Summer!

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