I found God in a mosh pit...
In the chaos of a concert. Some would say that God could never be in a place like that. I beg to differ.
I think God is everywhere.
It's people who tend to "put" him in places, and "eliminate" him from others....
The evening is a beauty, the temperature a comfortable sixty five degrees, the sun lazily setting to the west, casts long shadows across the sidewalks.
A score of other anxious and excited concert-goers spill out onto the walkways which surround the storied venue. It's enterances open into the darkness of the building, like giant black mouths, eagerly devouring the music junkies who have come from near and far to get their fix.
As my friends and I wait in line I scrutinize those around us. Some wear black t-shirts and bondage pants, others are dressed up nice, as if to go to the club. Some girls wear heels, some wear Chucks. Many smoke. There are guys with dreads, mohawks, and shag hair...
Quite the plethora of people.
As we enter the building we travel up the stairs and, upon reaching the top, step into the cavernous ballroom. The balconies are packed and the hum of anticipation, manifested in a steady stream of chatter, fills the air. There is an energy in the room and it is beautiful.
Even as the first band begins to play I feel that energy coursing through my body. The bass shakes me and runs up through my legs. The lights flash violently. My arms tingle and shake, there is a desire within me that awakes, a craving to jump around, to dance. To be crazy. It is primal, and rooted within us to want to celebrate.
Between the sets, the smell of cigarettes and marijuana fill the air; many people drink beers and throw their empty cups on the ground.
Just in front of me I see the back of a t-shirt which catches my eye; it proclaims "God Hates Us" and I can't help but smile, because just the opposite is true. God is here.
I think Jesus would have loved this venue. It is full of people. Real, authentic individuals who do not hold back their feelings, but speak and act what is in their hearts.
When the headliner comes on the crowd erupts in cheers.
It's the moment we have all been waiting for. They launch into a ferocious opening tune that takes the listner into the lead singer's nightmare. A song about loss, and pain...
The mosh pit breaks out in all it's chaotic glory.
There are no boundaries in here. No "personal bubbles." As I watch it I realize that it is the soul coming out. All the things we repress and hold inside. The way we act so proper all the time. Our souls are wild. Our bodies feed on adrenaline. We long for adventure and the unknown. Not mediocrity. Not complacency.
It makes me think how much time we waste putting on our little "shows" in life. How much time we spend pretending things are ok for the benefit of others, or maybe for our reputation's sake, when the reality is...sometimes things just aren't ok.
The incredible paradox of this place is that, while many religious people maintain that this is a place which celebrates death, there is incredible life to be found here. For some, music is all they have, it's what keeps them waking up day after day. It gives them strength to continue that they can't find anywhere else.
This is the one place in which they are fully alive.
The brutal honesty of the singer and this band's songs resonate with people because they are true. Many have experienced these things. I think God honors honesty.
This is not a place of judgement, but of freedom.
Lost in the lights and the music, a girl with scars on her wrist can finally feel at home. She spends her days covering up her wounds in fear and shame. She doesn't need to hide here.
She raises her hands and feels the music wash over her. For the first time, in a long time, she feels free.
A guy with a red mohawk blends into the colorful tapestry of personality, which is woven here. He isn't labeled. He just is. He is himself. He is accepted, because in this place different is not frightening.
An overweight guy becomes the hero for the first time in his life. The hero of the mosh pit. As he slings his weight around and lets go he finds a happiness that is pretty damn hard to replicate outside of this place.
When the world looks at him and silently laughs each day, when girls don't take a second look because he is not the masculine caricature society projects; all of these things are lost in a night of music.
The boundaries are gone. This is a place where all are welcome. This is a place that doesn't place emphasis on saying, doing, or wearing the 'right' things. It is about passion. Love. Honesty.
I think that this is a place where God is very prominent.
As I left that night, my ears ringing from the abuse, I smiled with the revelation I now know to be true...
God is in the mosh pits.