Yesterday I worked a side-job that ended up taking me to a heavy-metal music festival. I only did it for a little extra money, but I also enjoyed the change of scenery and getting to meet some new people, most of whom aren’t Christians. I don’t know why, but I often find myself talking and praying with people who aren’t Christians. I’m not one of those people who corner someone and make them talk with me about Jesus. I detest that. But for some reason, I often end up in conversations with people who want to talk about their pain and brokenness. So many times I have to hold back telling them how broken I am. Those conversations aren’t supposed to be about me.
So, back to the music festival…
First of all to be fair, there were a lot of genuinely kind people who said their please’s and thank you’s. There were people who were there having a good time and enjoying the music. I didn’t have many people act rude to me at all. But there was a definite darker side to the crowd there, and it was spiritual.
The kind of bands playing there were not your Metalica, Guns ‘N Roses type. Think more Devil’s Blood, Kill Your Mother, type stuff. I smelled a lot of pot—I mean a lot, and saw more cups of $12 beer than I could imagine. This combined with scorching August sun and extreme heat ended up sending a decent amount of people home in ambulances. The people selling water might have actually made more money than the people selling beer.
What was really noteworthy to me were the faces. Some faces had tattoos, some had weird makeup. I even saw a guy with a Sponge Bob ski mask (that was commitment). When I looked past the disguises though, I saw a lot of anger. Some violent and vile, nearly physical force was floating around amidst the pot smoke and booths hawking phallus-shaped hash pipes. I heard the anger in their words. Most people dropped F-bombs like they were shock-and-awing Baghdad. The word was on their T-shirts, giant belt buckles that said “F*@% You,” (but without the symbols) and passed around person to person along with the joints. My favorite of the day was a shirt that said “I hate everyone.”
Some people wore a palpable rage that seemed to surround them. I found myself getting angry at their anger. I was mad that they would tattoo triple-six’s and pentagrams on their bodies, mad that they would rejoice in depravity, and even madder that they would bring children to such a place. I was falling into the same trap. I realized this and then I was angry at myself for being angry, and for having such a judgmental attitude for these children of God.
I wondered how people could allow themselves to become so angry and hateful. I have been thinking about this a lot. There are people I know who deal with a consuming rage. Like a fire it starts small but builds up momentum as more fuel is introduced. It isn’t long before this unchecked anger is starting brushfires in all the relationships nearby, and you’re unaware of this because all that you can think about is the fire within you.
I can’t figure out how we can become like that. How does a terrorist ever decide to blow himself up on bus of schoolchildren, or someone decide to wear a shirt that says “I hate everyone?” Inside I wondered if I was the only one there aware that demons of rage were throwing parties in their midst. My second thought was, “What demons are dancing around me, as I dwell carelessly?” -Ryan