Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Seeing Creation from the Outside

GQ has an essay up on one correspondent's trip to Creation. Yes that GQ and yes the Creation festival at Agape Farm in Pennsylvania. It is a huge festival with thousands of people and John Jeremiah Sullivan wrote almost as many words about it.
I've been to a lot of huge public events in this country during the past five years, writing about sports or whatever, and one thing they all had in common was this weird implicit enmity that American males, in particular, seem to carry around with them much of the time. Call it a laughable generalization, fine, but if you spend enough late afternoons in stadium concourses, you feel it, something darker than machismo. Something a little wounded, and a little sneering, and just plain ready for bad things to happen. It wasn't here. It was just...not. I looked for it, and I couldn't find it. In the three days I spent at Creation, I saw not one fight, heard not one word spoken in anger, felt at no time even mildly harassed, and in fact met many people who were exceptionally kind.
This has been my impression of every large christian event I have been to. In most places, if you get 20,000 people together, they start to chafe against each other. Or they ignore each other. At Christian events, when someone drops something three people stop to help them pick it up. People bump into perfect strangers and apologize. I'm not going to say Christian conferences are heaven on earth or some crap like that, but I will say it is an interesting contrast. Sullivan notes more of them as you read. It is long but worth it.

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