Friday, January 22, 2010

Treasure in way of these plastic buckets.

The Intuitive celebrated his 8th birthday about a week ago. He had decided that he wanted to go to a Christian concert that was being held nearby on his birthday. It was a major event and had several prominent CCM bands playing.

Winterjam--is what they called it.

The kids had fun and, more importantly, The Intuitive was excited and happy to be able to see "rock stars". The Intuitive's musical tastes lean toward metal/alternative/very loud.....and yes, he's only 8. I foresee this becoming an issue later. ;-)

Anyway....the kids were happy and thought the whole thing was awesome.

I held my tongue and later told DH that I was done attending Christian concerts. I just can't watch them anymore without cringing on the inside.

The weird combination of 40 year old men writhing on stages and trying to pump up the crowd and then attempting to make it a "God" thing.....I don't's just become too much for me to handle and process without becoming sick.

The entrance fee was $10 per person. The venue it was held in can typically hold up to 21,000 people. I would say that 90% of the stadium was packed. 19,000 people in attendance=$190,000. Add in the VIP section that cost $50 a pop=another $5,000.

Add in the hawking of CD's by the emcee in between each band 1,000 CD's at about $10 each=$10,000.

Add in concert T-shirt sales...conservatively....1,000 at $20 each=$20,000

So, let's see....that puts the revenue at around $225,000....and that's probably a conservative number.

Imagine my shock when halfway through the concert the emcee announces that they going to taking up a "love offering" to defray expenses for meeting at this venue, which is larger than the venue they were at last year. He announces that he thinks that about $5 per person isn't an overly high expectation, but if someone could give $20, $30, $50, or even $100 that would be awesome.

19,000 x $5=$95,000...+$225,000=$320,000

$320, one night....with constant hounding and guilt and manipulation.

$320,000 x 40 concert dates=$12,800,000.....that's almost 13 million dollars....and it's just a rough estimate.

Keep in mind that in between sets, "commercials" are being played promoting things like Camp Electric, a music camp for youth to train with CCM the tune of $749-$799. According to the registration info that $749 gets a camper a room with three other campers. 4 kids in one room at $749=$2996 per room.

That doesn't cover airfare and transportation to the camp.

If Camp Electric isn't your style.....maybe you could take a cruise with other CCM groups to the tune of $1062-$6831 per person.

Perhaps it's obvious why I was feeling sick by the end of WinterJam.

There was a time when I would have thought something like WinterJam was incredible. I would have rocked out to the music and Amen'ed the manipulative speaker who WinterJam uses as their "pastor".

I would have thought it was all very cool and spiritual and motivating.

Now, it makes me want to punch someone in the eye.

While part of my frustration could be chalked up to simply being older, I think most of it comes from the sheer contrast of talk about God being mixed up in a never-ending, self-promoting, capitalistic push to sell CD's and concert tickets and worship camps.

Oh ...and speakers who use phrases like "that's wack" or "got hooked up" in an effort to seem cool annoy me. Plus.....those phrases are about a decade past being relevant. Teenagers don't use them anymore. And...if you're a middle-aged white guy....quit trying to appropriate urban, hip-hop lingo.

It's sad....really, really sad.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

I have been fortunate in never liking large crowd venues anyway. Also, my mixed Puritan/Scandinavian heritage makes be uncomfortable with even legitimate emotional displays.

My wife loves Soulfest every year, as there are a variety of stages... well, I won't give you her view. It never convinced me. My sons have had different reactions, and these have not always been consistent from year to year.

Youth is an emotional time, and perhaps it's an appropriate expression, though it may be ephemeral. What are the other choices? Summer camp will play to the same emotions whether it is a church camp or not - and will cost you more. Or they will go to some other festival and absorb their values with your money there.

I recommend family camping, actually, and take your chances with whatever spiritual uplift for children is attached.

terri said...

I am thankful that the kids have an alternative to the constant garbage on secular radio......I just hate how it all gets mixed up into this bizarre combination of business, ministry, and self-promotion.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Second thought. It also might help to compare it to actual religious festivals of the past: Temple worship, the cycle of medieval feasts and fasts. In some ways they could be shallow, cliched, worldly, and right over the heads of many worshipers.

Not that this gets Winterjam, Soulfest, Icthus, and the like off the hook - Jesus did beat the moneylenders out of the Temple - but parts of it might seem less objectionable.