Saying Goodbye

A few months ago I found out that this would be the last year Cornerstone, a music and faith festival hosted by JPUSA, would be happening. To say that my time spent at this fest has been significant feels grossly inadequate for describing the impact it’s had on me. My very first experience, in 1996, was to stay up until 4am with a biker pastor named Dan talking about tattoos and piercings and redemption and baptism. A few hours later I found myself in a lake, standing in front of a huge cross with the words “Jesus Saves” painted across it and being baptized my this ex-Hell’s Angel (more on this experience later).

Over the next 15 years I wouldn’t miss more than two or three fests. In my early 20’s the week of this fest became the only time I felt permission to be a Christian; the Church didn’t have space for the questions and struggles and doubts I was experiencing. I attended a few local communities, but knew I was an ever square peg in a decidedly round space. Over time I found some “temporary housing” in a small local church but still drove an hour once a year to go to my real home, a dirt field in Bushnell populated with the closest thing to a family I’d known. And who else can boast a family of 20,000+ 🙂

I found myself at Cornerstone. I found Jesus there. And I found a family. Now, as of July 7, 2012, Cornerstone has disbanded. They’ve shut the gates to my home and my family has scattered across the globe. I’m struggling to process the impact of this change on me, now and in the coming months and years. I’ve shed an inordinate number of tears during the past week, and my mind is still reeling with thoughts and questions and poetical musings. This post is a bit of an introduction to that journey; this blog will be the place for processing over the next few weeks. If you are interested in the details of my experiences at Cornerstone and the lessons I’ve learned, stay tuned. If you can’t take the personification of a music festival seriously (and I don’t blame you), skip the next dozen or so posts 🙂 For those who stick around, more than ever your comments and questions will be welcome. No reflection on Cornerstone is complete without relationship and dialog at its center.

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