We drove over on Friday, went to the conference in the evening, then on Saturday spent all day at the conference, listening to the teaching, dramas, and worship.
Acquire the Fire is a conference founded by Teen Mania, which sends teenagers all over the world on short term missions trips, and the conference goes all over America, kind of like a concert tour.
The conference has a theme every year, and this year it was “Collision” as in, having a collision with God.
The teaching was really good, the worship was okay, the bands that came with were pretty terrible, but the music wasn’t that important to me anyways.
The weekend was a lot of fun, hanging out with the guys and the youth group was really fun, and I laughed so hard, made new friends, and learned a lot.
However, what I really took away from the weekend, what really stuck out to me was one thing.
It sounds really awful, but I couldn’t get it out of my mind all weekend. The way this conference was portrayed, the people that ran it, the bands that sang, the speakers that taught, and the youth groups that came, all spoke one message to me: This conference is for perfect people.
Now I don’t mean perfect on the inside, because the conference really helped some people mend their brokenness inside and receive healing.
I mean externally. Only pretty people in the band, with pretty clothes, white teeth, and shiny hair. Only a good looking speaker with buff arms and a polished look. Only college volunteers that looked like they stepped out of a JC Penney’s catalogue.
There wasn’t one person there that I felt would really relate to me.
I want to go to conference to really be inspired and learn, not to suddenly self consciously realize that my hair isn’t straight enough, my figure isn’t perfect enough, my clothes aren’t stylish enough, because that’s all I could see onstage.
Maybe it’s okay to look polished onstage. But to me it just said, sure, we’ll accept you…but only if you’re the right type of person. Only if you’re a girl who straightens her hair and wears Aeropostale skinny jeans. Only if you’re a guy with perfectly clear skin and styled hair. Only if you have the look.
It made me sad. Sure there are a lot of people out there who can achieve that kind of look...but there are a lot of people who can’t. I’m not saying I’m ugly or anything, but I will never be one of those perfect people. I can’t afford to. I can’t go to the mall every weekend and buy new clothes, I can’t straighten my hair every day, and I can’t be that type of person. I don’t think they meant to send out that message…but they did, and it spoke to me strongly.
Of course the whole weekend wasn’t negative…I really felt God speak to me, and it was amazing. But…underneath it all was the constant undercurrent of “I don’t belong here”. I didn’t fit in…and I didn’t really want to. I didn’t want to be part of a crowd that wears what everyone else wears and raises their hands in worship just because everyone else does. I want to be more genuine than that.
It really does make me sad, that the mainstream Christian industry is sending out that kind of message, that Christianity is only for the RIGHT type of person…if you wear cheap clothes or have ratty hair than you don’t belong.
It breaks my heart to see it, I can’t deny. I expect so much more from a Christian conference, from Christians everywhere.
Anways…slightly depressing but that was what stood out to me the most.
And of course I couldn’t let you leave without showing some pictures of the trip, so here they are.
As you can see, we were pretty close to the stage..we got nice floor tickets :)
Now this was a really cool part of the first day on the conference. The session was all about repairing broken people, and a metaphor they used for that was repairing a car.It was cool to see it played out like that.
This was the part of the night where they asked people to lay down their burdens and sins before the cross and ask for forgiveness and healing..it was really cool.
Okay, this is a random transition, but I didn't take that many pictures..too busy. This was the place where we grabbed some beignets, I mean you can't go to New Orleans without having some..it was a cute place and the boys loved the beignets.
As you can see from this picture ( which makes me laugh every time I see it)]
These were the guys I spent my weekend with...incredibly dorky and hyper, but SO funny..those guys make me laugh like you wouldn't believe...and hey I finally got a picture of them..it's rather an accomplishment considering they avoid cameras like the black plague. I'm laughing right now as I look at it..it embodies them so perfectly.
This is my newest little buddy...she is SO cute, and has the funniest laugh....she will literally laugh at anything. she will just giggle on and on, it's hysterical.
My other buddy...this little girl...and DO NOT be fooled by her size...that is one precocious and hyper munchkin..but I love her to death just the same, she's too cute.
Okay, not an impressive amount of pictures, but I really didn't have time..I hope you enjoy the ones I have!
Have to go do some school now..but that was the rundown of my weekend, hope you girls have an amazing rest of the week.