Saturday night a friend and I went to Autumn Blaze - its a Christian concert held annually at the Meadowlands that attracts some 14,000 teens and adults from Pa, NJ, NY and Ct.
Music included Reilly, BarlowGirl, Thousand Foot Krutch, and TobyMac. There were also a few other singers, a speaker, and an altar-call like invitation during which those who wished could meet with volunteer counselors and the rest of us took part in a GREAT worship session.
I STRONGLY recommend everyone take their Youth Groups there. Its great music, great speakers, very empowering, and the theology tends toward the generic. We had the cheapest seats available and it didn't hurt the show at all.
I came out of it renewed, invigorated, slightly deaf, and a bit conflicted. As an undergrad I attended an Episcopal Church but was also involved with IVCF. At first I got involved with them as they helped me during a personal crisis at the start of freshman year, but I later found that really enjoyed the worship, although I stopped attending for theological and personal reasons (and couldn't deal with the cattyness of many of the members).
But that really ended junior year.
I now find myself trying to balance a love of traditional worship with needing to break loose as part of my relationship with God. About loving Autumn Blaze and contemporary worship and getting a lot out of it and often having it truly help my personal relationship with God, while having sincere issues with some of the theology that often accompanies it.
I also found myself pondering some of the same things I did when in IVCF.... Am I one of them? I'm a Christian. Am I a Christian - by whose definition? Am I afraid to be, when I often dislike "Christians" so much. Where do I belong? Why do I feel as if I have to pick?
I guess in part because of the sort of activisty type work I do, its turned out that most of my friends are atheists, and I'm used to being a "token" theist. Even with friends who are theists are much more passively so (there may be a God, there may not be, lets move on). So there is something reassuring about being in a room with 14,ooo Christians... even though I suppose that many of them wouldn't "approve" of me, if they knew much about me... which may or may not be true.
Although I'm at Rutgers, I'm still deeply involved in the parish 50 minutes away where I spend middle and high school. I'm the youth group leader (I'm not particularly good with kids), webmaster, an acolyte, etc. However, as much as I love this parish, many of the people, and its worship, I find myself sometimes missing the possibility of being able to throw up my hands in praise of God... a rather embarrassing proposition for a standard Episcopalian liturgy snob.
I'm a bit hesitant to join a campus group because of the problems that stemmed from that as an undergrad. So I hope to spend the next few months when I don't have responsibilities my parish church hopping. I'm not looking for a place to land, but I'm sure God knows what he is doing.