I waded into the crowd as hardcore band, Death Sentence, tore into their next song. The music became a wall that pushed into me, almost as forcefully as the careening bodies. All around me were enemies. And, having just turned 20, I took them all on. Eventually I emerged, soaked with sweat and with blood running down the front of my “Rebel for Jesus” t-shirt…. a triumphant Elijah, emerging from the midst of the prophets of Baal.
Biblical prophets and mosh pits don’t often go hand in hand. I agree that it is not a common connection so allow me to explain. I had taken a semester off from college and moved to Vancouver, BC. I was living in Christian community run by Youth with a Mission (YWAM). Our primary focus was ministering to and assisting the many street kids and runaways who flocked there because of the temperate climate, particularly in the winter.
At the concert, which was headlined by the Dayglo Abortions, I ran into an acquaintance. While myregalia helped me blend in with the punks, metalheads and skinheads who filled the hall, my t-shirt did not. It read “Rebel for Jesus” with “Rom 12:2” in the background. I got it at an Altar Boys (a Christian punk band) concert a few years earlier and it derives from a verse from the Book of Romans- “Do not be conformed to the things of this world, but be transformed.”
Anyway, when my acquaintance introduced me to some of his black metal buddies, it most certainly did make an impression. To be fair, they actually didn’t make much of an issue of it. But since I walked in the door with a chip on my shoulder I allowed their supposed Satanism to become an issue. Needless to say, the conversation went downhill from there.
And so it was that, in my post adolescent egotism, I began to envision myself as the prophet Elijah facing off against the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:20-40). Standing alone against overwhelming odds, but with the force of righteousness and indeed, G-D himself on my side, I pushed my way into the surging mass of humanity. At one point, I took an elbow in the nose and felt the blood running down my face, but I didn’t stop. Caught up in the adrenaline I kept on throwing shoulders.
I emerged transcendent, feeling affirmed in my (self) righteousness and glowing with pride over my battle scars. I made sure that I walked by the black metal guys so that they saw my sweat and blood soaked glory. Of course, most that battle took place only in my own mind. Truth be told, while many people noticed my shirt, they probably couldn’t have cared less.
So it is interesting that what happened next, took me out of my self-imposed isolation and into a most creative and enjoyable partnership. But that, as they say, is another story.