Constructing alternative christian identity :

Constructing alternative christian identity :

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Constructing alternative christian identity : an ethnography of jesus people usa's cornerstone festival
Johnston, Brian
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University of South Florida
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Christian Rock
Social Constructionism
Dissertations, Academic -- Communication -- Doctoral -- USF ( lcsh )
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non-fiction ( marcgt )


ABSTRACT: This dissertation examines processes through which alternative Christian identities are constructed, maintained, and performed at the annual Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, Illinois. Organized and managed by Jesus People USA (JPUSA), an urban commune in Chicago, Illinois, the festival includes non-traditional methods of religious expression including rock music, making camp, play, and community-building. Cornerstone Festival attracts and includes members of the Christian faith who would not otherwise be included in traditionally organized Christian groups and fosters interaction between these less enfranchised members and more traditionally minded and socialized Christian practitioners. JPUSA appropriates the festival format as a method of religious expression and practice that successfully includes marginal or fringe Christians by offering a site of "play," and thus avoids the more traditional frames of recruitment and membership of orthodox religious services. In order to better understand Cornerstone Festival's complicated place in the American religious experience, a theoretical framework is developed from research in social constructionism, rhetoric and cultural studies. This framework is used to extrapolate the festival's significance as a site for socialization, its role in the cultivation of alternative Christian identities, and the purposes for which attendees use the festival as a site for community-building. The primary source of data for this study is drawn from ethnographic fieldnotes and interviews gathered at the 2008 Cornerstone Festival. I conclude that Cornerstone Festival is a coproduced, ephemeral site buttressed by a symbiotic relationship between structure and communitas. Evangelical faith and practice receive a new treatment at Cornerstone Festival where rock music, rather than a point of contention, is in fact a unifying aesthetic experience.
Disseration (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2011.
Includes bibliographical references.
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by Brian Johnston.

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Constructing alternative christian identity :
h [electronic resource] /
b an ethnography of jesus people usa's cornerstone festival
by Brian Johnston.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 237 pages.
Includes vita.
(Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2011.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic dissertation) in PDF format.
ABSTRACT: This dissertation examines processes through which alternative Christian identities are constructed, maintained, and performed at the annual Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, Illinois. Organized and managed by Jesus People USA (JPUSA), an urban commune in Chicago, Illinois, the festival includes non-traditional methods of religious expression including rock music, making camp, play, and community-building. Cornerstone Festival attracts and includes members of the Christian faith who would not otherwise be included in traditionally organized Christian groups and fosters interaction between these less enfranchised members and more traditionally minded and socialized Christian practitioners. JPUSA appropriates the festival format as a method of religious expression and practice that successfully includes marginal or fringe Christians by offering a site of "play," and thus avoids the more traditional frames of recruitment and membership of orthodox religious services. In order to better understand Cornerstone Festival's complicated place in the American religious experience, a theoretical framework is developed from research in social constructionism, rhetoric and cultural studies. This framework is used to extrapolate the festival's significance as a site for socialization, its role in the cultivation of alternative Christian identities, and the purposes for which attendees use the festival as a site for community-building. The primary source of data for this study is drawn from ethnographic fieldnotes and interviews gathered at the 2008 Cornerstone Festival. I conclude that Cornerstone Festival is a coproduced, ephemeral site buttressed by a symbiotic relationship between structure and communitas. Evangelical faith and practice receive a new treatment at Cornerstone Festival where rock music, rather than a point of contention, is in fact a unifying aesthetic experience.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Payne Jorgenson, David Jane .
Payne Jorgenson, David Jane .
Christian Rock
Social Constructionism
Dissertations, Academic
x Communication
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
4 856


Constructing Alternative Christian Identities: by Brian Edward Johnston A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Depa rtment of Communication College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Co Major Professor: David Payne, Ph.D. Co Major Professor: Jane Jorgenson, Ph.D. Fred Steier, Ph.D. Maria Cizmic, Ph.D. Date of Approval: March 29, 2011 Keywords: Chri stian Rock, Social Construction ism Evangelicalism, Play, Community Copyright 2011, Brian Edward Johnston


Dedication This dissertation is dedicated to my son, Oliver, and to my love, Samantha. I would like to thank Sabra Vanderford Godair for recommending Cornerstone Festival as my dissertation topic. Additionally, I wish to convey my regards to those fellow travelers who accompanied me to my first and subsequent Cornerstone Festivals I am grateful to John Herrin for giving me access to the festival for this study and to JPUSA for allowing me to visit their community in Chicago, Illinois


Acknowledgments I wish t o thank my co advisors, David Payne and Jane Jorgenson, for their commitment to this dissertation Thanks, also, to Fred Steier and Maria Cizmic for their committee service. In addition to these committee members Michael LeVan provided considerable feedback early in the research process. Much of the content for Chapter Two was developed in a semin ar class with Dr. Priscilla Brewer, and t his chapter is dedicated to her in loving memory. Special thanks to Ken Cissna for his support, most notably his administrative support during the early stages of the project I am furthermore grateful to the Commu nication Department at the University of South Florida for providing me with funding and teaching opportunities during this process. Several colleagues provided moral support during the early drafts of this manuscript, including Tom Frentz, Lynn e Web b a nd Bud Goodall Although not directly involved in this project, it could not have been a ccomplished without the instruction of Art Bochn er and Carolyn Ellis


i Table of Contents List of Figures ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... iii Abstract ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. i v Prologue ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 1 Chapter One: Convergences of Faith and Identity ................................ ............................... 5 Jesus People USA ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 8 Contemporary Christian Music ................................ ................................ .............. 11 Socialization Processes at Cornerstone Festival ................................ .................... 19 Method of Study ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 21 Preview of Chapters ................................ ................................ ............................... 25 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 28 Chapter Two: Jesus People in Golf Carts ................................ ................................ .......... 29 The Jesus People Movement ................................ ................................ .................. 30 ................................ ................................ 34 Cornerstone Festival ................................ ................................ .............................. 38 Play as Socialization ................................ ................................ .............................. 48 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 52 Chapter Three: Making Camp ................................ ................................ ........................... 54 Waiting at the Gate ................................ ................................ ................................ 55 ................................ ................................ ............... 62 Hippie Preacher Land ................................ ................................ ............................ 71 A Conversation w ith Festival Director, John Herrin ................................ ............. 74 Virtual Tour of Cornerstone ................................ ................................ ................... 79 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 88 Chapter Four: Constructing a Christian Rock Aesthetic ................................ .................... 92 The Roundtable, Part I ................................ ................................ ......................... 101 Rubin ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 107 Ricky ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 111 Cart Security Duty: Wednesday ................................ ................................ ........... 115 Reminiscing Camp ................................ ................................ ............................... 118 Cel ebrating a Quarter Century of Cornerstone Festival ................................ ...... 121 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 125


ii Chapter Five: Variations of Music Experiences and Christian Identity .......................... 128 Jesus People Music ................................ ................................ .............................. 129 The Roundtable, Part II ................................ ................................ ........................ 136 Generator Stages ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 139 Cart Security Duty: Thursday ................................ ................................ .............. 147 Ev ening Shows: Headnoise, Sixpence None the Richer, Aradhna ...................... 151 The Roundtable, Part III ................................ ................................ ...................... 156 ................................ ................................ .... 159 Cart Security Duty: Friday ................................ ................................ ................... 164 ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 168 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 170 Chapter Six: Communitas and Structure ................................ ................................ .......... 173 Corne rstone Walkabout ................................ ................................ ....................... 175 The Tea House ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 183 The New Crew, Revisited ................................ ................................ .................... 187 Cornerstone Public Journal ................................ ................................ .................. 192 Cart Security Duty: Saturday ................................ ................................ ............... 198 Altar Call ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 202 Chapter Seven: Cornerstone Festival as Rhetorical Site ................................ .................. 211 Ethnographic Approaches to Studying Rheto ric ................................ .................. 218 References ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 224 About the Author ................................ ................................ ................................ ... End Page


iii List of Figures Figure 2.1: Asylum Tent Advertisement ................................ ................................ ........... 45 Figure 3.1: Encore 1 ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 81 Figure 3.2: Tents ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 82 Figure 3.3: Phone Booths and Toilets ................................ ................................ ................ 82 Figure 3.4: Advertisements ................................ ................................ ................................ 83 Fig ure 3.5: The Merchants Tent ................................ ................................ ......................... 84 Figure 3.6: Cornerstone Collage ................................ ................................ ........................ 85 Figure 3.7: Labyrinth ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 86 Figure 4.1: Rubin ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 107 Figure 5.1: Brother Red Squirrel ................................ ................................ ..................... 132 Figure 5.2: Generator Stage with Canopy ................................ ................................ ........ 140 Figure 5.3: Generator Stage with Dancers ................................ ................................ ....... 141 Figure 6.1 : Memory Blanket ................................ ................................ ............................ 173 Figure 6.2: The Tea House Message Board ................................ ................................ ..... 184 Figure 6.3: The Tea House Interior ................................ ................................ .................. 185 Figure 6.4: The Tea House Ceiling ................................ ................................ .................. 186


iv Abstract This dissertation examines processes through which alternative Christian identities are constructed, maintained, and performed at the annual Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, Illinois. Organized and managed by Jesus People USA (JPUSA), an urban commune in Chicago, Illinois, the festival includes non traditional methods of religious expressi on including rock music, making camp, play, and community building. Cornerstone Festival attracts and includes members of the Christian faith who would not otherwise be included in traditionally organized Christian groups and fosters interaction between t hese less enfranchised members and more traditionally minded and socialized Christian practitioners. JPUSA appropriates the festival format as a method of religious expression and practice that successfully includes marginal or fringe Christians by offeri membership of orthodox religious services. American religious experience, a theoretical fram ework is developed from research in social constructionism, rhetoric and cultural studies. This framework is used to of alternative Christian identities, and the purposes for which attendees use the festival as a site for community building. The primary source of data for this study is drawn from ethnographic fieldnotes and interviews gathered at the 2008 Cornerstone Festival. I


v conclude that Cornerstone Fest ival is a coproduced, ephemeral site buttressed by a symbiotic relationship between structure and communitas. Evangelical faith and practice receive a new treatment at Cornerstone Festival where rock music, rather than a point of contention, is in fact a unifying aesthetic experience.


1 Prologue an hour before my second and final presentation at the 94 th annual National Communication Association Convention. I do Four months ago I was in Bushnell, Illinois camping out with twenty thousand Scholar to Scholar session will help me translate that experience for an academic audience. My satchel is over matted photographs of Cornerstone, copies of my curriculum vitae, and business cards. In the back corner of the presentation space, I annex a portion of th e floor and begin putting the photographs together. The design is spontaneous: part aesthetic and grounds. These grounds are not limited to mere geography or the p ermanent and transient structures, but rather encompass coproduced social realities that are cultivated from personal public experiences and relationships. In the top center I place the first photograph of Rubin, a professional protestor who travelled to C foot video screen and a sound system that any t ouring musician would envy, is juxtaposed to a long


2 haired shirtless folk singer, strumming his acoustic guitar amidst a large grassy field. My favorite photograph, however, is a 1970s Jesus People era van that is completely covered in bumper stickers, in near naked attendees dancing pagan style to the deafening, fiercely paced sound of a hardcore band. space. The photographs are tacked precisely into place, descending into my shameless labyrinth of self advertisement. I steal a pitcher of water from a nearby suite in the hotel, along with cheap plastic cups. The stage is complete for my first foray into a S cholar to Scholar session. What did I find? I found weird matters. I found that applying theories of human communi cation from an office desk to the space with their communal values without atte ndees really being aware of it, but Satisfied, she moves on to the next booth and I pour a glass of my own stolen water. All this time, after the fieldwork and drafting the paper for this presentation, I had


3 merely focused upon the peculiar qualities of Cornerstone without genuinely exploring what those qualities accomplish. In point of fact, my theoretical frame f or this festival truly began to develop during this Scholar to Scholar Session, through conversations with visitors facilitated by the collage. is both succinct and enterta ining, bringing questions and points of interest derived from Scholar to Scholar s ession facilitated genuine dialogue, from which I gleaned a more this unique presentationa l process. *** Cornerstone Festival is the annual destination of approximately 20,000 attendees, hundreds of bands, a nd members of the Chicago based Christian commune Jesus Peo ple USA (JPUSA) who organize and manage the week long event. The festival includes seminars, a movie theatre, an after hours dance club, sporting events, attendee sponsored venues such as tea and coffee houses, a meditative labyrinth, and a skate board ramp. Most notable is the communal styled setting that participants, includi ng attendees, bands, seminar speakers, and JPUSA commune members share. I first attended this festival in the summer of 1995, returned in 1997 as an attendee and again in 1999 as a documentary filmmaker. However, while I obtained over 100 hours of video footage and audio recordings including interviews, concerts, and press


4 conferences I could neither formulate a clear picture of how this festival fit into the larger scope of American religious experience, nor articulate a sense of what the event mea nt for participants. Nearly ten years later I returned to this site, this time as an ethnographer studying the event for my PhD dissertation research As clich as it might seem, my coming into understanding of this festival meant first of all coming in to understanding of myself, which included processing my personal migration from committed evangelical Southern Baptist Convention member to agnostic. My goal is that what follows draws my self and readers into a space that is as hopeful as it is critical whereas a study of human communication is as much a collaborative production of what might be as it is an argument for what is Research projects keyed toward interests in the American evangelical movement enjoy increasing popularity. Cornerstone Festi val is among the most marginal yet this study breeches historical, social, and theological points of interest, it exhausts none of these. Rather, the point of this eth nographic study is to elucidate a rhetorical and representative participants. The year of this study marked the 25 th anniversary of Cornerstone Festival.


5 Chapte r One: Convergences of Faith and Identity Communication scholars, particularly rhetorical scholars, have long been interested in religious experience, as religion is par excellence the realm of persuasion (Burke, 1961). Communication scholars have al so been interested in the processes of socialization as persuasion (Burke, 1950; Payne, 1989) as such processes directly involve the strategic uses of communication techniques and environments. Indeed, the theory and philosophy of symbolic interactionism that founded communication study in the 20 th century is bound up with how we form self in interaction with community, and how institutional and ideological purposes. This pe rspective is manifest in the current interest 1997; Cissna & Anderson, 2002). The socialization processes through which social reality is created, maintained, and trans formed (Berger & Luckmann, 1966) are seen distinctly as determined in and through the practices of communication. In this study I consult heavily the work of Peter Berger, whose work with religion ( Sacred Canopy 1967) provides much of the experiential b ackdrop to the larger whereby the traditions or objectified meanings that buttress an ins titutional order are


6 passed on from one generation to the next (Berger & Luckmann, 1966, p. 92). The Subsequently, as conduct of conduct that others set for us, practices must be develope d by which social members make those meanings their own, internalize them, or otherwise reify those meanings in their own terms yet retain their essence. p. 157) is to convert persons from one reality or social role to a new social reality. This process formed with significant others who act as guides in the conversion process, facilitating a reinterpretation of the old reality and its set of experiences within the circumference of the new one. The social roles we perform father, teacher, citizen, neighbor, etc. buttress our primary socialization and to a large extent determine our personal biography. Because we interact with others, both personal and general, as types and in situations that are typical, we validate systems of knowledge through our relationships and conversations. So long as the daily routines of life are not interrupted, our inter subjective sense of reality retains its validity. Marginal moments, however, threaten our sense of security in this socially constructed world, and in our more lucid moments we sense that, first, things do not have to be as they are and, second, if reality as we know it is a construction, then it can be dismantled and re constructed as we might prefer. Because marginal moments are not


7 back into the fold. Berger and Luckmann cite religious, aesthetic, a nd psychoanalytic organizations and processes as especially effective in these cases. framework, however the festival seems to perpetuate rather than ameliorate what many in the evangelical community consider a threatening, or at least marginal experience: rock music. Instead of recruiting or resocializing attendees into traditional, or typical, one that does not fully assimilate, per se, into traditional Christian institutions but rather carves its own self sustaining niche into the evangelical scene. Indeed, Cornerstone reflects a certain degree of sophistication about socialization as it is organized around a transcendent social phenomenon, rock music. It may be that both the nature and kind of membership identities and bonds that are forged through this socialization. There is a sense in which a larger, different, yet more ethereal sense of Christian identity and community are forged at this festival. Central to my argument is that Cornerstone provides a liminal space for attendees to take as they wis h be that a complete immersion in the scene or mere play and thereby transcend the popular traditional boundaries in their everyday emulations of experience, but is relative to each individual attendee and is furthermore left to the attendees, who so choose, to integrate into their lives after the festival. Repeat attendees mo re inclusive form of Christian faith and practice, or validating some aspect of their


8 serves either as an annual renewal of this experience or a type of maintenance work for the changes they have integrated into their lives, per their Cornerstone experience. Their motivations for attending the festival include travel, play, making camp, and the chance to see rock music performed live and uncensored. They are also s eeking validation, and legitimating scene to which they pilgrimage, and this scene, in turn, provides them with the rituals of initiation, visibility, and community which they so desire. Jesus People USA sponsor is itself a marginal member of the larger evangelical order JPUSA is an intentional community of Christians in Chicago, Illinois located at 920 Wilson Avenue. Approximately 500 people reside in the community and share a collective purse that is reflect evangelical principles, its communal organization sets it apart from traditional religious groups and institutions. Indeed, JPUSA occupies a curious space in American s align with evangelical Christian faith; however, JPUSA shares ecological values more in line with progressive approaches to Jesus People Movement heralded in the lat e 1960s and early 1970s. The Jesus People Movement began in California, when counter culture youth began converting to Christianity yet refrained from joining traditional church groups.


9 They brought elements of then contemporary popular culture with the m into their communities. This included popular forms of entertainment such as folk and rock music, but also communal attitudes toward family, finances, faith, and living off the land (rural communitarians) or city block (urban communitarians). Jesus Peo ple were predominately new believers without any theological training in Christianity (Enroth, 1972). While most of these groups eventually dispersed into mainstream churches, others, such as JPUSA, have maintained their communal living style. ependence from mainstream religious institutions has allowed the group to experiment with new forms of expression and cultivate alternative experiences of Christian faith, thus forging a uniquely marginal space alongside more traditional American religious institutions. It is this experimentation that has also helped JPUSA remain relevant to and influence the trajectory of new generations of Christian youth. Although JPUSA represents a radical departure from traditionally organized Christian groups, the c religion in the process of legitimation is explicable in terms of the unique capacity of religion institutions, not only in regard to its communal living style but also because of its ro ck aesthetic. The JPUSA community began as a small group of new believers who traveled the country in a van, playing rock music and preaching the gospel. Each subsequent JPUSA generation has included musicians tuned in to the musical tastes of their gene ration, from punk rock to folk; from funk rock to Goth. As is the case for many of


10 Cornerstone Festival is grafted from commemorative space where the legacy of Christian faith and popular music that the Jesus People Movement fused continues to imp most eclectic site for annual gatherings of Christian rock musicians and their audiences. Community member John Trott expl as a fusion of faith and music that places otherwise opposed rhetorical communities in a setting where rock music rather than a point of contention, is in fact the central unifying theme: We felt that our festival could mirror Cornerstone as a bridge between young, culturally r adical believers and older, culturally zeal for God, and the old could lend stability to the young with some great teaching and one on one discussion. Both sides could le arn to respect and cherish each other. The music could be no holds barred rock, punk, or metal, with the sole requirement being that the musicians were believers. (Chapter Six: Cornerstone Festival) edge a nd now out of circulation music magazine, Cornerstone the festival embodies an ongoing dialogue over the spiritual efficacy of Christian rock.


11 Contemporary Christian Music Rock music is an integral dimension of the Cornerstone experience, however t he mainstream styles of rock marketed by the Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) ly encompass marginal forms of the genre, including alternative rock, hardcore rock, many variations of metal, Goth and punk rock. Although featured at Cornerstone, the acceptance of rock music into the CCM fold was hard won and remains a controversial if not suspect companion. Rock music was initially rebuked by the Christian community, most notably because of the perception that it encouraged rebellion, which was suspect to Body Piercing Saved My L ife: Inside the Phenomenon of Christian Rock (2006), is among the first serious examinations of CCM from a secular press. Beaujon, a senior contributing writer for Spin magazine, begins his manuscript by citing an experience at Cornerstone: The three tho usand kids jammed into this tent on a former pig farm in Bushnell, their bodies with all sorts of foreign materials metal, ink, even giant earlobe hole stretchers made from wood. Others have wildly colored hair. A lot of them thick glasses, tight T shirts, thrift store trousers Dashboard Confessional concert. [. .] But this is the annual Cornerstone festival, and expectations are different here. (p. 1)


12 Although most people understand CCM as merely encompassing easy listening genres of music, the industry includes a variety of musical styles and a complementary varie ty of audiences The unifying theme is that the musicians are Christians. However, though there may be a variety of musical genres, the CCM industry is by no means all inclusive. Some genres of music, most notably those genres considered rock music, are considered by many to be antithetical to Christian faith. The redeeming maneuver within the CCM industry for making the genre more acceptable for evangelicals included inoculating the s. exhaustive collection of Christian musicians including a comprehensive range of genres, from those considered more traditional such as praise and worship and adult contemporary, to punk rock and hip music artists and it is the first compilation of its kind. Powell views the collection as both the history of popular music, as rock music has always included of its aesthetic, and the history of Christianity (p. 7), insofar as contemporary evangelical either artist centric or content oriented perspectives. Powell, however, recommends an audience driven definition: identified fans of contemporary Christian music on account of a perceived connec tion to what they regard Powell traces the beginning of CCM to the Jesus People Movement, and claims that it is unique insofar as it is a genre of music born out of ideological conviction rather


13 than musical preference. It was because of this ideological conviction, suggests Powell, that early Christian music artists maintained a clear demarcation between their music and unbelievers, lest they ideological tenor of Jesus People Music was a turn off to those opposed to the Gospel and Christi Jesus People music pre dated the formation of the CCM industry. Initially, these musicians w ere independent artists with little support. Bands were formed within small and spontaneous communitarian groups in California. Those who committed to the performance of music full time supported themselves through constant touring and mail order purchas es of the few recordings that were made into EP or LP albums. The founding members of JPUSA, for example, met in California where they formed a community before traveling to Milwaukee for Bible and discipleship training. While in Milwaukee the community formed a blues rock band and, equipped with a van, electric guitars, drums, and amplifiers, hit the road to play rock music and share the gospel. Other Jesus People musicians performed folk rock, folk, and country music. Most notable of these was Jesus P eople musician Larry Norman, whose long hair combined with his talented songwriting skills became the early standard for Christian rock. Calvary Chapel in California stood out from among other church groups in that it supported many Jesus People musicians including Daniel Amos whose musical catalogue inclu des excursions into country new wave, and alternative rock.


14 As the Jesus People Movement waned, independent Christian music labels filled the music production void. Jesus People communitarian groups may have disbanded, but their former members still desired Christian music. These labels were often supported by progressive churches such as Calvary Chapel, but included individual sponsors. Although a market for Christian rock was formed from the Jesus People Movement, Jesus People musicians were betwixt and between two worlds, neither of which wanted to claim them. The general market did not know what to do with rock music that promoted Christian theology, and although well established gospel labels a pproved of these The beginnings of what is known today as the Contemporary Christian Music industry can be traced to 1976 when the gospel label Word Records was purchased by ABC. Throug h Word Records, ABC procured indep endent labels and Jesus People m usicians, sparked competition between other general market labels to do the same, and the CCM industry was born. Since that purchase, the majority of music that is produced, marketed, and d istributed through the Contemporary Christian Music industry is comprised of pop music in the form of easy listening and praise and worship. The iconic image of a long haired Jesus Peopl e musician living hand to mouth and gig to gig as much at ease perf orming from a front porch in F lorida as a bar in California was gradually phased out to make way for musicians whose music, lyrics, and presentation and easily accessibl e adult contemporary. Sandi Patti and Michael W. Smith also dominated the CCM scene in the 1980s, making the Christian pop rock of Degarmo and


15 strategically so as not t o alienate the base. Stryper was among the most popular and successful of this genre of Christian music in the mid 1980s. However, because Christian music was distributed primarily through Christian bookstores, and since the customers for these venues and Christian radio were for the most part evangelicals with a strong distrust of any style of rock music, the CCM industry promoted pop oriented music in order to appeal to a larger number of its customer base. Subsequently, these bookstores controlled distr Christian music genres. However, through independently owned and managed Christian music magazines, Cornerstone (later, HM for the mor alternative rock, was cultivated and maintained. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Christian rock bands including Kings X (hard alternative), Adam Again and Daniel Amos (a lternative rock), and The 77s (blues rock) garnered significant followings and cultivated a new customer base in CCM for their respective rock music styles. In the mid to late 1990s, bands including P.O.D. and Pedro the Lion (hardcore rock) as well as Six pence None the Richer (alternative rock, dream pop) and Starflyer 59 (shoe gazer, alternative and Festival was integral to the maintenance of this burgeoning Christian rock scene, promoting and supporting all forms of Christian music but most notably genres that were either marginalized or completely ignored by the CCM industry, including but not limited


16 to: alternative rock, blues rock, punk rock, jazz, dance, hip hop and rap, Americana, industrial, and Goth. Furthermore, because JPUSA is a self sustaining comm unity with beliefs that align closely with evangelicalism but sans the burden of institutional ties, and es a relatively uncensored space. Neither the CCM industry nor the evangelical community can force the festival to feature one or another genre of music. In addition to featuring marginalized genres of Christian music, Cornerstone Festival welcomes a var iety of CCM forms Because CCM is grounded in ideology rather than style, its criteria includes close exami nations of both its lyrics (Do the lyrics support Christian theology?) and its presentation (Are the artists Christians and are their performances clearly framed as a Christian event?). Jay Howard and John Streck (1999) extrapolate three forms of CCM to t to evangelize, facilitate worship, and exhort believers. However, because musicians of CCM, which produced alluring financial possibilities, a new conceptualization of to divorce itself from the trap of being framed as evangelical music whose only market includes other evangelicals (Howard & Streck, 1999). Thus, Christian musicians had to key themselves as entertainers. However, this re keying placed CCM artists in conflict with the evangelical


17 community, who see proclaiming the gospel of Christ the moral responsibility of all value was as much in what it did not do as what it did do (Howard & Streck, 1999) Subsequently, Integrational CCM garnered increased commercial success. These artists tried to walk the line between two industries, the general market and the Christian market; however, while the latter questioned their motives the former did not take their artistry seriously. The third and most recent rationalization of Christian music represents the most intriguing form. Transformational CCM is based in part on a belief that Christ can transform individuals from within their cultural preferences, ra ther than necessitating that individuals completely abandon their lifestyles: For Transformational CCM, mystery, ambiguity, and struggle are at the heart of authentic Christianity and, therefore, authentic Christian music. [. . .]. So, while at one le vel committed to the same ideals that drive the separational perspective (the communication of a religious message), those adhering to the transformational make a commitment to art a necessary condition for reaching those goals, suggesting that it is throu with Christianity that the gospel message achieves its redemptive power. (Howard & Streck, 1999, p. 197) take up resi dency. Although each of these three forms of CCM persists they represent divisive evangelical community that is increasingly invested in CCM as part of its experience of fa ith and capital. These forms also represent a complicated institutional


18 order: although Integrational and Separational CCM align operationally and clearly with evangelical doctrine, Transformational CCM constitutes an ideological shift within the evangeli cal movement insofar as it is predicated upon ambiguity rather than dogmatic approaches to faith. Cornerstone Festival is a pilgrimage and/or initiation site for Christians who identify with this Transformational form of CCM, and certainly for those attend ees who want to hear rock music uncensored and live. Attendees appropriate this festival scene as a site for negotiating an interiorly and communally meaningful identity that is seemingly lical parent culture. characterizes all youth sub retain a community. However, some critics believe that Christian rock, regardless of the originating impetus, is an abomination to the g enre. Robert Walser (1993) dismisses the idea of and style in order to present Chr not entirely credibl e. Popular general market bands such as Metallica and Poison were opening acts for Stryper, whose performances brought together audiences consisting of


19 both Christians and non politics and i 55). Additionally, by dismissing the genre of Christian rock out right, Walser fails to see the complicated splintering of CCM. Integrational and Separational CCM artists comply with his critique of the genre, however Transformational CCM artists and their audiences pose an alluring counterstatement to assumptions that rock music is merely, and whol ly if the pleasure it elicits becomes a legitimizing site for marginalized members of the Christian community. Socialization Processes at Cornerstone Festival In t heir treatise on the social construction of reality, Berger and Luckmann (1966) argue that as we interact we form concepts for ways of being, doing, and understanding; initiated into the meanings of the culture, learns to participate in its established tasks and 1967, p. 15). The relationship between identity and community is therefore reciprocal insofar ing at one with oneself as one grows and being at one with its future as well as its history


20 lematized by marginal moments that cannot be explained through typical or official forms of sense making: Every society that continues in time faces the problem of transmitting its objectivated meanings from one generation to the next. This problem is att acked by means of the processes of socialization, that is, the processes by which a new generation is taught to live in accordance with the institutional programs of the society. (Berger, 1967, p. 15) Berger (1967) believes that religion is an especially effective gatekeeper for maintaining the overall social structure. It is able to redress marginal moments when the reality of everyday life is brought into question (p. 44). Religious institutions develop rhetorical strategies and membership practices th at promise to ameliorate this dilemma, isolating 1989, p. 16). One residual effect of this process is that it creates a vision of an individualistic rather than a co mmunal world wherein those who stray from their socially (Gergen, 1994, p. 151). As a marginal Christian experience, Cornerstone poses a peculiar addendum to traditional institutional order and engaged in aesthetic practices that constitute significant att endees into accord with any particular denomination of Christian faith, but to facilitate (rather than ameliorate) marginal experience for the purpose of sparking dialogue


21 us and imagine what can be s een unifying practice of the festival, rock music, challenges (rather than accommodates) organizing pieties of evangelical faith. In so doing, attendees may be seen as relative to more traditional forms of Christian membership and practice, but they are deviants together In order to better understand these processes and their implications, I apply an ethnographic method of studying Cornerstone Festival tha t draws heavily upon participant observation and ethnographic interviews. Method of Study Qualitative research methods in the field of communication encompass a wide variety of procedures for gleaning a meaningful understanding of the complexities of soc ial life for the purpose of developing more effective and humane ways of relating to others. These procedures range in their expression from the rigorously scientific to the more artistically oriented. James Paul (2005) argues that methods of research ar e interconnected to philosophies of education, which are themselves products of ongoing contemporary struggles over the meaning and purpose of how we think about knowledge and its generative practices. Tierney and Lincoln (1997) see an interdependent rela tionship between our methodological choices and research goals, privileging forms of representation that draw upon authorial reflexivity. Whether it is in the form of the performance (Holman Jones, 2002), artistically styled qualitative research methods


22 explore the relationship between an exteriorly constructed social world and a meaningful personal life by generating new insights into human communication practices. For this ethnographic study, I embedded myself in the experience of Cornerstone festival for eight days to investigate how participants express and accomplish Christian i nvolvement in and with the scene and allows the researcher to elucidate cultural nuances that are likely unattainable through other methods of inquiry. Participant observation is king do in a culture are accomplished communicatively and are interrelated to the value system of that culture. The intense physical and mental energy required for a festival ethnography, especially for a festival centered around rock music, is uniquely s uited to what Ervin and your own social situation, to the set of contingencies that pla y upon a set of individuals, so that you can physically and ecologically penetrate their circle of response e Festival lacks in longevity as an eight day event, it makes up for in both intensity (of participation) and complexity The ethnographer thus experiences as well as observes a social g of values, beliefs, and attitudes and, in this case, how these are communicatively (1996) holistic approach to ethnographic practice ntive to


23 how she or he is personally affected during the process of fieldwork as a means of more problematical, as I am both a former attendee (1995, 1997, and 1999) a nd a former believer. However, instead of ignoring this potential conflict of interest, I select an approach to writing ethnography that complements my relationship to the site. John Van Maanen (1988) articulates the tropes of three types of ethnographi c research methods. Realist authors write from a third person voice, include detailed descriptions of everyday life of the people studied, and rely upon pre establishe d reveal both the methodological and personal processes of fieldwork for the purpose of contributing to the legitimization of ethnographic practice. These authors wri te from the challenges to assumed fieldwork experience. Although each of these two appro aches accomplishes the goals of an ethnographic study, the realist tale and the confessional tale segregate the author from members of the studied social group and from the readers. i mpressionist tale interconnects the sense making methods of the culture (the known) and


24 (Va n Maanen, p. 103), placing the reader in the fieldwork experience. Participants in these tales are transformed into characters with names, peculiarities, and a role to play in the dramatization. This dramatic control includes a troubling of the fieldwork experience therefore, draws upon the collaborative dynamic of storytelling, as readers imbue the f the related experience. This study also draws upon data collected from ethnographic interviews that were conducted during the 2008 Cornerstone Festival. Participating in the festival facilitated a respondents to negotiate the interaction along with the investigator and thus coproduce its results negotiated accomplishments of both in terviewers and respondents that are shaped by the interviewer and respondent, w herein respondents construct an identity for the interviewer how those being inter viewed represent the interviewer and her objectives to themselves 223). Throughout the course of the festival, I formed relationships with attendees, mostly by chance: waiting in line at the festival entrance, over coffee at a JPUSA sponsored


25 were either already aware or became aware of my dual role of attendee researcher. Ma naging this duality, for both my part and theirs, became a necessary part of the ethnographic tale. Preview of Chapters In Chapter T wo I historicize Cornerstone Festival by examining in more detail the Jesus People Movement and the JPUSA community as par evangelical heritage. James Davison Hunter (1983) positions American evangelicalism in relation to modernity, arguing that evangelicalism successfully infused its ideological preferences with 20 th Century Am ajectory. Hunter believes that both accommodation and resistance. This dub ious bargain, however, meant that evangelicalism had to adjust to the vicissitudes associated with mode rnism in order to maintain the value s Bible is the inerrant Word of God, (2) the bel ief in the divinity of Christ, and (3) the the human s ifferences arose among evangelicals in precisely how to implement this doctrine resulting i n what Jon R. Stone (1997) calls a liberal and conservative divide. While groups of Jesus People, such as JPUSA, share a commitment to the evangelical doctrine that Hunter cites, their desire for autonomy and progressive forms of community set them apart, or marginalize them in relation to the larger


26 social development from a handful of two time drop outs to an eclectic Christian Festival. In Chapter Three, I explore processes of making camp at Cornerstone, which includes an examination of the festival as a coproduced event. JPUSA frames Cornerstone as an opportunity for bringing together Christians who identify with marginal experiences of Christian faith with more traditional ly socialized Christian practitioners. However, it is the attendees who activate this frame as travelers seeking an experience of self, community, and faith that is atypical of their everyday lives and routines. Indeed, one important theoretical thread i n social constructionism is the physical or psychological relocation of society members, a repositioning of self, so that a new vantage is gleaned from which assumptions about identity and structure may be Cornerstone are accomplished almost by the collaborative effort of navigating to and within the festival. In my first days at Cornerstone, I explore this symbiotic rela tionship between crews and the festival grounds. In Chapter Four I examine the ongoing struggle between the evangelical parent culture ideology (grounded in dogmatism) and the burgeoning Christian rock music aesthetic (grafted from ambiguity). This str uggle includes the cultivation of alternative orientations to Christian identity and community through the impious piety of Christian potential source of distress f or its members; yet, this sort of challenge is necessary for a


27 development of a new orientation includes the merging of categories thought to be mutually exclusive. Ideolog ical ramifications, in this case, include the merging of a rock aesthetic with Christian faith. Two interviews articulate this merger from the vantage of its competing pieties, represented by Rubin, who protests the festival outside its gates, and Ricky, a resident of nearby Macomb for whom Cornerstone was a life changing music, particularly the rebellious tenor of rock music, in relation to their faith. In Chapter Fiv Music scene, examining the variations of music experiences and their implications for represented at the fe stival, yet it is the marginalized Transformational form that seems musical experience at Cornerstone, I provide a more holistic interpretation of the forms by placing Small (1999) explains that the experience of music involves the production of performance is doing its job, that it is indeed bringing into existence, for as long as it lasts, relations among the sounds, and among the participants, that they feel to be good or purpose s for making the scene, their shared experiences of musicking produce an integrated environment for the performance/construction of alternative identities. socializing agent f or alternative Christian identity. The festival forges a sustainable


28 marginal space that is outside of the parameters of the dominant parent culture, but in the process it becomes a legitimating system. Cornerstone festival is a liminal space for attende es, estranged from home yet cultivating community. Spontaneous instances of community spring from attendee sponsored sites, such as The Tea House. JPUSA attempts to incorporate these communities into a normative framework for the festival by including th excesses of structure, it can never substitute for it, for when it does, it transforms into that comm Cornerstone Festival, I explore the relationship between structure and communitas and Conclusion JPUSA facilitates a form of religious experience that is outside the parameters of d their participation in its scene that confers upon the festival its credibility as an alternative religious experience. By participating in the festival, forging relationships and conducting interviews with attendees and members of JPUSA, I generate a c learer picture of the communicative practices at Cornerstone Festival and how these practices are used to accomplish alternative forms of Christian identity.


29 Chapter Two: Jesus People in Golf Carts In chapter one I discussed Cornerstone Fest ival as a site for socialization that privileges marginalized forms of religious expression, most notably rock music but including a variety of religious and popular forms of expression. It is an ephemeral space from which attendees achieve objective mark ers of identity through processes of ritual, visibility and community. Cornerstone attracts and includes members of the Christian faith who would not otherwise be included in traditional organized Christian groups, and fosters interaction between these le ss enfranchised members and more traditionally minded and socialized Christian practitioners. Cornerstone Festival operates at one level to commemorate the existence, survival, and good works of the JPUSA organization. It is a celebration exhibition of their primary aesthetic, rock music, and it effectively publicizes and perpetuates their existence and status as a Christian organization. The festival is not a recruitment mechanism, not directly; however, it does serve as a means to sustain community me mbership as a working vacation for commune members. Additionally, for some events. For others, it is a pilgrimage, often annual, to re experience and reaffirm a long standing loyalty to the Jesus People Movement, or perhaps JPUSA specifically; but certainly, and most notably, to the event itself.


30 rock music founded in the original Jesu s People Movement. The cultural possibility and Christian music scene), are to be found in this historical movement. I argue that JPUSA uses the music festival f ormat as a method of religious expression and community building that successfully includes marginal or fringe Christians by offering a site for experimentations with self social i dentities and roles accomplishes a reorientation to (or renewal of) Christian faith. The Jesus People Movement In his exhaustive annotated bibliography and general resource of the Jesus People Movement, David Di Sabatino (1999) refers to the Jesus People The Jesus People Movement began in California when counter culture y outh who had already dropped out of mainstream American society, started converting to Christianity. Sociolo gist and Jesus People scholar Ronald Enroth (1972) cites the years 1967 and 1968 as the starti ng point of this movement These counter culture con verts, hippies turned Christians left the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco, California for other locations along the West Coast. Converts opened coffee houses, formed folk and rock bands, and proclaimed a message of salvation through Jesus. Howe ver, this was not the typical gospel message:


31 The most important defining characteristic of the Jesus People is their fundamentalist insistence on the simple gospel, an essentially anti intellectual and anti cultural view of the world as a wrecked and sink ing ship from which as many as possible must be saved. Another defining characteristic is their strong apocalyptic belief that we are living in the last days and that they are the last youth generation that will live on the earth. A third trait is their espousal of the charismatic gifts, primarily speaking in tongues, but also physical healing and other manifestations generally associated with Pentecos talism. (Enroth, p. 16, 1972) The Jesus People were united in a general di strust not only of secular soc iety but also of mainstream religious institutions. They were particularly frustrated with churche s inability to relate the gospel to their generation (Di Sabatino, 1999) Though some groups of Jesus People garnered support from established churches, p art of the defining characteristic of the Jesus People was their self sufficiency both in living communally and re tooling a traditi onal gospel message for a new generation. The primary reformulation of this otherwise traditional evangelical message was through rock music: The synthesis of rock music and Christianity seemed a natural consequence of hippie Christian could sing about that which was most important to them, namely


32 Jesus Christ. The development of Jesus rock music proved a viable medium for unique expressions of faith. (Di Sabatino, pp. 135 136) Converts were encouraged to form communes usually in cities, where service to the poor, the strung out, and the disposses sed could be directly engaged. Di Sabatino cites Ashbury as the first of its kind: The group gained modest financial support from a group of Baptist ministers whose attitudes toward the zealous converts was best described as cautious but open. Their daily activities revolved around evangelistic efforts, walking through the Haight to talk with anyone that would listen and inviting them back to the Living Room for food and further discussion. (p. 8) Enroth explains that these are houses where young people who want to get back on their feet can also become grounded in scriptu re. While the Jesus People benefited from financi al and theological support from mainstr eam churches, they also bridged a generation gap and possibly a credibility gap be tween the non religious counter culture and the traditional Christian congregations. However, while some viewed the movement as an opportunity for relating the gospel to a new generation, others viewed the Jesus People as a new mar ket for selling kitsch commercial products : movement is a sincere but shallow attempt to transform the message of the establishment into the groovy gospel, the motives of other fringe elements are somewhat more calculated than evangelistic. The revolution itself is not free of commercialism, but m ost of it sale of buttons, stickers, books (a few), record albums, and other


33 paraphernalia s operations. Some, however, are not so pure in heart, most notably a privately manufactured Jesus Medallion sold ma il order for $14.95 through the Hollywood Free Paper Melodyland, of Anaheim, California, sells Jesus People watches and similar novelty i tems. (Enroth, p. 153 154, 1972) Enr oth concludes his study of the Jesus People unsure what the lega cy of the moveme nt might be, though he does acknowledges its potential: The communal style of life adopted by a substantial portion of the Jesus People may last for a long time, whatever the attitude of church people may be. It has many potential advantages: the sense of spiritual belonging, a substitution for fatherless or otherwise deficient family units, and economy in meeting material needs. But it also isolates a small group of believers from the larger household of faith, and so far this disadvantage has outweighed the potential advantages more often than not (Enroth, p. 219, 1972) The movement effectively f used evangelicalism and counter cultur e activism. However, and a tendency toward anti in tellectualism raised doubt about the vitality of the movement A lthough the JPUSA community has its roots in the Jesus People Movement, JPUSA seems to have evaded some of the trappings, such as exploitative commercialism, separation from secular society, and anti intellectualism. Indeed, The festival includes seminars that appropriate methodologies for understanding contemporary society and the increasingly fragmented nature of


34 suspect social order, including: postmodern philosophy, psycho analytic theory, gender studies, and de return is perpetually nigh, a theological point that can lead to an apathetic view of socio cultural and environmental causes, the community invests its energy in helping the poor, the maltreated, and the dispossessed in its local Chicago community. In this combine d effort of servicing its local Chicago commun ity and developing rock bands that tour both nationally and internationally, JPUSA has solidified a space for itself in the margins of the American religious experience where the cultivation of a Christian identity independent of the evangelical parent cul ture is possible. This peculiar identity, played living in Chicago. Intentional communities are in the tradition of Utopian societi es in that they seek out more positive alternatives to the st atus quo (Miller, 1998). It is a that ultimately determines its vitality: The search for community is also a quest for direction and purpose in a collective anchoring of the i ndividual life. Investment of self in a community, acceptance of its authority and willingness to support its values, is dependent in part on the extent to which group life can offer identity, personal meaning, and the opportunity to grow in terms of stan dards and guiding principles that the member feels are expressive of his own inner being. Commitment to community norms evaluative orientations, redefining his sense of values and prio rities so that he


35 identity and ( Kanter, 1972, p. 73) JPUSA embodies this role today while also meeting the requirements for commu nal sustainability t hat Kanter describes life and a shared purse sets the community apart from mainstream religious institutions. Thi s same commitment places JPUSA wit hin the tradition of progressive approaches to housin g. The community promotes its religious beliefs by marketing its domestic values. JPUSA does not believe that communal living is the only correct way for Christians to live, nor does JPUSA believe that everyone is calle d to live communally. However, JPUS A is proud of its independence from mainstream secular and religious institutions, and this includes its commitmen t to a collective purse : All finances brought in through these businesses are pooled, and all expenses, from house payments and utility bills to shoes and birthday parties, are met from this fund. All cars are shared in common. When we are blessed with much we all abound; when there is little we abase. The secret is to be thankful in all situations. The Lord keeps us on our knees. (www.jpu good of the group rather than the profit of an individual. New members perform domestic tasks such as washing dishes, serving food, building maintenance, and cleaning. businesses or ministries. Members of JPUSA include adult and youth singles as well as families. Singles are encouraged to gravitate toward a family for emotional and spiritual support. JPUSA has a unique perspective on this process: An interesting thought is the


36 traditi in the F t be fitting if the redeemed are to live in an eternal community relationship with one another in the ). Singles share a room with members of the same gender. These rooms are large enough for a writing desk, chest of dra wers, and triple high bunk beds. A married couple or a single parent with a child over four years of age is given a single bedroom, rather than an efficiency space to occupy. For long term members of JPUSA, including those who are born into a family in the commun ity, this arrangement is comfortable. However, prospective new members are encouraged to visit for two to four weeks before committing to this style of living. In lieu of potential arguments and litigation between members leaving the community and JPUSA, certain parameters have been set for the turning over of assets: help everyone involved be sure of their purpose and motives (and not be swept away by a whim of the mome nt), JPUSA has instituted certain safeguards. First, members are not obligated to donate any assets. Second, members are not permitted to donate substantial assets (except vehicles) to JPUSA until they become regular members. ( In order to join JPUSA, prospective members must fill out an official fo rm that designates how long they would reside if admitted to the community. A one year of nine elders. Upon ratification by the elders, a member can renew residency for an additional one to two years. At the end of the second contract, the


37 member has the option of renewing residency for two to five years. This contract, called a covenant, which is viewed as leaving in volves difficulties for both the individual and the group: Who will help you move? We would hope that your actual departure date would be one where friends say good bye to friends. Maybe those on your floor could be asked to help you pack up. We again would hope that you might meet with the board of pastors to pray together one last time. We hope your final days here will be days of fondly remembering our shared community experience as well as looking toward the future with expectation. ( ) After the successful completion of a five year contract and subsequent approval for another five year contract, one might be c onsidered a regular JPUSA has maintained its community for nearly forty years. During this time the community has experimented with theological concepts they found lacking and with their collective purse and shar ed living space is un appealing to an increasingly incorporated religious industry. Unlike other communitarian groups, JPUSA has not withdrawn to rural spaces or private lands, but rather maintains its community in Chicago. An essential aspect of this co


38 with nearly twenty thousand attendees. Corn erstone Festival There are approximately twenty five Christian music festivals each year in America. Many of these festivals include rock music on its playbills, however the ences founded by a conglomerate of five families, is held bi annually in May and July in California. The festival draws popular CCM acts and well known Christian authors Charter busses take out of town attendees from camping grounds and hotels to festival sites, including several merchandise tents. Conversions, baptisms, and altar calls are an important facet of the festival. Ichthus, sponsored by local Asbury Theolog ical Seminary, is a weekend long festival held in June in Wilmore, Kentucky. Conceived in 1970 as a Christian answer to Woodstock, it is the longest running Christian festival. The highlight of Ichthus is a mass communion, sometimes consisting of more th an 20,000 attendees, toward the end of the weekend event. Creation Northeast in Mount Union, Pennsylvania is held at the end of June, every year beginning in1979 Creation Festival Northwest was inaugurated in 1998 as an expansion of the original. Creat are strictly managed, appealing to particular demographics such as children, late night concertgoers, and both easy ted musicians biblical activities in the


39 festival and cites an attendance, including both events of over 100,000 in one year. popular musicians and speakers and garner impressive numbers of conversions, a comparatively low attendees for conversion, recruitment, or recommitments of faith. W hile there are formalized settings for worship services and conversion testimonies, during which altar calls are part of the performance, these are clearly cited in the festival program, avoiding the bait and switch tactics of typical evangelical services. Proclamations of faith may also occur during music performances, and indeed upon occasion some attendees make proclamations of faith in Christ and even ask to be baptized in Cornerstone Lake. However, JPUSA does not engage in the same itemization of the se proclamations as is typically the case at other festivals, which must often meet a certain quota of conversions and recommitments of faith in order to appease sponsors and financiers. For these Cornerstone enjoys a isco where they joined a pre existing Christian commune. After a year of discipleship training in Milwaukee, which included Bible Study and street witnessing training, the group formed a blues rock band, purchased a van, and traveled the country playing r ock shows and sharing the


40 gospel, including a stint of approximately one year in Gainesville, Florida. Thus, before settling in Chicago, JPUSA developed its identity in relation to its mobility. For years, clothes and musical instruments its only possessions. This nomadic styled mobility complemented its theology that the collaborative community building (as opposed to permanent church buildings or which JPUSA endeavored to accomplish its mission. Cornerstone is in one sense a commemorative site that integrates these unique rock music and communal living. Commemorative reflexive act of contextuali zing and continuously digging for the past through place. It is a process of continually remaking and remembering the past in the present rather than a commemoratin identity. Those who attend Cornerstone festival as an annual, ritualized pilgrimage contrib ceremonies, Elder Glenn Kaiser invites attendees desiring more information about


41 Indeed, throughout the history of the community, JPUS media and technologies has been one of prayerful openness and experimentation, seeking to find room under the Lordship of Christ for all manner of human creativity and expression. We are particularly excited about the possibilities sug online. ( ) relationship between the past (Jesus People Movement) and the present (the JPUSA commune) However, as the festival program demonstrates, Cornerstone is concerned wit Jesus People Movement. The 2008 Cornerstone Festival Program is an artful, well crafted, reference guide to the festival. On the inside pages, festival director John H errin, in his welcoming five years of Cornerstone (p. 3). that marks the occasion. The title is drawn from the Old Testament story of God, in the form of a burning bush, telling Moses to embark on a visionary mission to re enter the California in a van, settling in Chicago purchasing the farm and burning away the brush five years since that first festival,


42 own, and so broadened our idea of what Cornerstone is Program, 2008, p. 42). Director Herrin (p. 3) adds that because of the struggling economy, JPUSA will help attendees make it to Cornerstone by offering ticket rebates for volunteers. The ticketing is strictly itemized in an attempt to be fair (p. 63): Purchased By: APR 30 MAY 31 JUNE 20 GATE Full Event w/4 Day Access Adult (12 & up) $115 $120 $125 $135 Group $110 $115 $120 $125 Youth (6 11) $38 $39 $40 $5 0 Child (5 & under) FREE FREE FREE FREE Family (2 parents w/3 Children) $311 $313 $315 $325 Family (1 parent w/3 Children) $261 $263 $265 $275 These prices go up by approximately $10 per extra day of attendance. My ticket for attend ing as an adult purchased at the Gate, for the entire week, cost one hundred thirty five dollars. The program lists nearly two hundred hours worth of seminars. Indeed, one of the longest lasting, non music based facets of Cornerstone is the extensive le cture series. A despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage, need not be lived again. Lift up your eyes upon the day breaking for you, gi ve birth again to the Please take time to read about the 200 hours of seminars, workshops, and discussion groups covering music, social justice, practical spirituality,


43 re lationships, and a host of other important issues. It is this annual opportunity to share together and renew our vision that brings so many of us back year after year. (Cornerstone Program, 2008, p. 40) The Underground and Urban Alternative Subcultures Tent envisions ministering post nks, homeless youth, artists, travelers, ravers, rainbows, Goths, the music scene the scenes that really birthed post modernism through their anti modern, anti corporate, and anti identif ied role as an urban Christian commune Missional Communities / development, nurturing and maintaining of vibrant, holistic, caring, intimate, outwardly acred Anarchy: The Image of God s, violence, and destruction (p. 35). The Cornerstone X Change hosts over 35 topics. The speakers include eighteen men and


44 are as eclectic as they are intended to be inte llectually stimulating. However, music is the main draw. JPUSA invites over ninety one bands to Cornerstone to play at approximately twelve venues. Including the generator stages, there are over six hundred bands playing e Project 12/Grrr Records Stage (p. 14) is the official The Underground Stage (p. 13) includes some of the edgier genres of Christian rock, including: p u nk rock, speed m e tal, and Goth. Robert Goodwin, a JPUSA member, hosts this stage. He resides next to the tent in a trailer and plays MC during shows, which begin at 1pm and end at 1am. From 1pm to 5pm, Thursday through Saturday the pre gathering the most votes plays a pre I spend the majority of my time attending shows at the Gallery Stage (p. 18), which in its A.M. incarnation is a coffee house. This locale is my anchor amidst the fieldwork, I double up my time by sitting in the back, taking in music performances. I am camped between venues Encore 1 and Encore 2, known during the afternoons as the Indoor/HM Magazine and Label Showcase. JPUSA reaches out to un signed bands drawing to confirm the slot. Bands perform 12 6pm. Bands selected have a 15 minute


45 set, 15 min. change over. Backline gear is not provided. Bands confirmed and scheduled to play must arrive backstage 20 min. prior to set time or will lose their set and will not during one of the most popular festival time slots beginning at 6pm on Saturday night. If there were a competition for the most eclectic page of the program, the winner en, features both Vacation Bible School styled events, such as sing along songs, and Bible instruction through performance, subculture safe ring place for discussion, thought, fellowship, music, and art. The Asylum tent is run by a collection of believers who minster within the Gothic sub heal to top hat and draped in leather and cha ins, this group of attendees is surprisingly elusive. I found a sole advertisement for their Asylum penned to a small board outside of an attendee sponsored Tea House. Their sense of humor is as endearing as it is creepy: Figure 2.1 : Asylum Tent Advert isement those so inclined at Cornerstone.


46 from painting and clay sculpturing to a st means to be royalty and how to use their hidden strengths and talents to serve the true King. The spice mice, knights, ladi es in waiting, maids, and jester princes will all be there Kingdom of God above all els 12pm, Thursday through Saturday at the Gallery Stage: Breakaway is a perfect place for your youth to connect with one another and t eens from across the country. The purpose of Breakaway is to develop a community within the larger community of Cornerstone, and to experience times of great sharing and worship that will encourage and challenge your teens in their personal journeys with God. (p. 36) rock band Korn, will share his journey to faith, how he found God, quit the ba nd, kicked on 3 basketball tournaments, 7 on 7 soccer tournaments, and a s katepark that also hosts a Bible study at selected times.


47 more seriously toned aspect of the for good reason. The ci nema of the Balkans expresses deep divisions and woundedness, often with a dark humor and psycho punk gypsy energy. Yet giving in to the temptation to view the seemingly irreconcilable differences of the Balkans as utterly alien to ourselves requires forg etting nearly identical conflicts across the planet and throughout history. The possibility of reconciliation (as seen, for example, in South Africa) seems an urgent matter for all of us who must live with Otherness. (p. 45) Additional seminars and lectu 47). The film series highlights a Cannes winning title, Four Months, Three Weeks, Two Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007) about ab ortion and Once (John Carney, 2006), an alternatively styled musical about a Dubliner and a Czech immigrant who put together an independent record album. section. Opportunities fo r volunteering and recycling are covered in detail. Smoking is permitted and foul language is tolerated to a point. No pets, alcohol, illegal drugs, fireworks, open fires, or un authorized merchandise sales are permitted. The festival grounds provide fr ee water, however attendees are on their own regarding food (A


48 supplies tent has modest non perishables for sale). The list of FAQs has at least two A tent, sleeping bag, Bible, pen and notebook, spending money, lantern or flashlight, water containers, campstove or grill (if cooking out), cooking utensils, dishpan or basin, table, cooler, canopy, umbrella, sweater o r jacket, lawn chairs, campstool or blanket for concert seating and campsite, earplugs, modest swimsuit, towel, rain gear, sunblock, insect repellent, walking shoes, boots or sandals for rain, strollers for wagons for children. (p. 59) This final section of the program prepares attendees to think of themselves not as mere tourists of Christian kitsch, but as serious travelers as campers, who bring a pen and notebook as complements to their ear plugs and pocket knife. The program fames attending Corners tone as a mindset, a meditative journey of leaving the comfortable, daily routine of home for the unexpected and likely strange. Although a definite structure is built into the festival experience, including daycare for or young teens, the majority of the festival experience is imbued with a chaotic energy of hard and fast rock music, a vast sea of camping tents and a late night labyrinth of stages. This traveler camp experience pulls attendees out of their day to day co nsciousness, out of the serious business of participating in the socio economic realities of daily life, and anticipates one of the key facets of Cornerstone: play. Play as Socialization At Cornerstone, play is a form of socialization insofar as it is a m eans for attendees to experiment with new orientations to Christian faith, or to engage in a


49 renewal of marginal Christian membership. This includes, for example, translating audience participation practices at a hardcore show as a form of worship, or tra nsforming their appearance from socially spiked hire and temporary (sometimes real) tattoos. For some attendees, the mere attendance of a rock show is a taboo activity; for others, for whom the m argins of announcing their identification with marginal Christian practices. of play, wher giving oneself over to the situation stands in contrast to a normality of to a more expansive imagination, including reflexive perceptions with which attendees experience themselves experiencing an alternative way of perceiving themselves, and the mselves in relation to other selves. Cornerstone is primarily a music festival and the live performance of rock music participating in the performance of live musi c is simultaneously individual and communal, and is potentially transformative in cases where the performance resonates for attendees as a marginal experience. Some Attendees describe their experience during a rock show at Cornerstone as a harmonious conv ergence of personal identity and faith within a larger sense of community to which they do not otherwise have access: to where we can


50 no longer recognize anything but can nonetheless perceive with the greatest intensity. (Seel, 2005, p. 158). One meaning of the term, resonate, is to relate harmoniously. An may resonate in regards to the amelioration of an internal conflict or validation of an expression of faith or exploration of otherwise suppressed identity. However, this resonance, by virtue of the communal nature of the festival, finds its expression re real (camping out with others). The attendance of rock shows is one example of play at Cornerstone; however, this form of play is also communicative insofar a s it resonates for some attendees as an agency for identity work and performance. Cornerstone Festival is a site for identification beyond the parameters confines of attendees typical social world. In this sense, play at Cornerstone subverts the tens i on between dogmatism and doubt and creates a space for the interplay of alternative frames, or ways of experiencing faith that is atypical to traditional Christian practices. Stephen Pepper (1942) explores the interplay of belief and doubt where the latte r is a prized (p. 4). A dogmatist, according to person persists in that belief with conviction. Acquiescence to a belief in spite of contradictory evidence is the definitive characteristic of the dogmatist; conversely a (p. 15).


51 doctrine, are the primary cognitive criteria for the dogmatist (p. 17). Pepper does not believe these cognitive criteria of dogmatists hold through if the questions involved are important unless some powerful authoritarian social institution imposes its dogmatism, and even then the evidence eventually seems to ense of self and commitment to faith are interconnected, play at Cornerstone cultivates an exploration of variations of Christian identity in the context of festival. that fa ttendees immerse themselves in a shared, ritualized experience of attending the festival. played by the Cornerstone attendee is thus a tool for e xploring the self, unburdened by the pressures of daily life, and in this way is a potentially liberating experience that lends itself to a reframing of faith through play : To reframe, then, mean s to change the conceptual and/or emotional setting or viewpoint in relation to which a situation is experienced and to place it in another better, and thereby changes its ent ire meaning (Watzlawick, Weakland, & Fisch, 1974, p. 95) Cornerstone is therefore a rhetorical event as much as it is a ritualized experience Play is the primary organizing principle for that is essentially concerned with belief, yet challenges stereotypes about how those beliefs are performed. Performance, in this case, is antithetical to the mainstream


52 religious space that demands reserve, control, and distinct power relations. Play is furthermore dangerous to an i nstitution fearful of change, or invested in credibility derived from dogmatism. JPUSA, however, is predicated upon change and the ability to experiment with a lternative expressions of faith styles of living, relational behaviors, and theological precept s. Cornerstone thus provides a space f or attendees switching roles: to play at being the other while lear ning to be creative and find their own paths to faith, which may begin with acknowledgement of the complexity rather than the simplicit y of belief: Learning to savor the vertigo of doing without answers or making shift and making do with fragmentary ones opens up the pleasures of recognizing and playing with pattern, finding coherence within complexity, sharing within multiplicity. Impro visation and new learning are not private processes; they are sha red with others at every age [. . ]. We are called to join in a dance whose steps must be learned along the way, so it is important to attend and respond. Even in uncertainty, we are res ponsible for our step s. (Bateson, 1994, pp. 9 10) J a medium for attendees to perform identity work Conclusion The Jesus People Movement was a truly provocative cross pollination of 1960s counterculture and evangelical faith. However, this movement is conspicuously absent from studies of evangelicalism (Hunter, 1983; Stone, 1997), which privilege officially recognized evangelical organizations in lieu of considering the larger religious cultural


53 socializing agent outside the circu mference of American religious institutions is made (relative to intersections of entrepreneurial evangelical spirit). In 1984 a group of Jesus People that had been forgotten by the press and the public, and for whom the movement was not a mere fad but a sincere and sustainabl e commitment to the pursuit of their version of Christian faith, held a music festival at a park near their hometown of Chicago, Illinois. People came to hear bands play rock music for Jesus. They sang songs not only of folksy praise, but also soulful bl ues, lamenting impoverished housing conditions, increasing divorce rates, and government institutions found to be as ineffectual as they had been indifferent. Twenty five years later, nearly twenty thousand attendees convened in Bushnell, Illinois at Corn permanent location to make camp and listen to live music. Some came because it was cool, others to make a splash in the alternative Christian music scene; still others came to break their hometown scene for something other: to slip into a sense of self where the fusion of punk attitude and Christian faith is not an anomaly, but a requisite. In the proceeding chapters, I present my case for Cornerstone Festival as a site for the construction of alternative Christian identities.


54 Cha pter Three: Making Camp In the preceding chapters I have traced the evolution of alternative Christian identity from the Jesus People Movement of the late 1960s and the formation of the JPUSA commune in Chicago. I have also foregrounded the kind of i deological purposes is a celebration of this community and its tradition, and i t reaffirms the place of music this way, commemorative of the past, and JPUSA members no doubt both celebrate and reaffirm that membership identity in their part icipation in the festival. play music, take a vacation from their usual lives, and, a s we shall see, to celebrate their own personal and community histories with music, Christianity, and the festival itself. While JPUSA is the sponsor for the festival, a festival is itself a site of diversity, drawing in many different interests and conne ctions. As I will show, people are here not only to preach and pray, but to teach and learn, buy and sell, to reconnect with old friends and to encounter new people, to make it as musicians or to make the scene as music consumers, or to simply reestablish or to initiate their membership in a broader community that


55 Cornerstone symbolizes. This chapter is an ethnographic journey through the first days of the festival, where I witness the coming together of these different elements as they stake out and esta blish their presence and participation in the festival. It points to the co production of a number of people and purposes. Waiting at the Gate It is 1,177 miles gate in Bushnell, Illinois. The first fifteen hours of the drive are a blur of state lines, highway patrol cars, and stale coffee. One night in a posh hotel room rejuvenates my spirit and mark hours of driving remaining when I mount the I 64 corridor toward St. Louis and hang a the name given to the annual gathering site for Cornerstone Festival, is nestled into an otherwise unspectacular region of the country. I go right, so I pull over. A storm has rolled up behind me and the wind carries a light mist of rain. I pull out my camera to capture a few images of the sea of corn that rolls in getting there. The location is foreign to everyone including the JPUSA, who translate their urban Chicago communal living style to Cornerstone Farm, and the Bushnell locals, who see their tiny town more than tripled in size by the quantity of attendees. Their fields ar e transubstantiated by the frightening sounds of Goth, punk, and hardcore rock and are alternately serenaded by the jazzy, folksy talents of bands like Over the Rhine.


56 normalizing Thi s unreality is a kind of credibility, insofar as it is simultaneously sacred and transient. Friendly Towers and toured their block of Chicago, the farm offers a rejuvenatin g change Cornerstone Farm offers a respite from that surveillance. Yet, the group is no less a spectacle if not a mystery to attendees, many of whom are unfamiliar with organizers. Cornerstone is a pilgrimage into the strange. Its camp dynamic begins with the physical journey to the site and gradually attunes attendees to its communal sensibility. Already, the smells are a refreshing change of pace: fres h rain, horses, and cow shit. These will soon be accompanied by the smells of campfires and sweat. I pull into a roadside diner for a coffee and rest before finishing the last two or three miles. Inside are a handful of travelers, also en route to Corne rstone. They are in their late teens, early twenties at the oldest, and could pass as a punk rock band. I overhear them talking about the festival play list, already mapping out their daily routines around the bands they want to see. These attendees sig nify the first wave of what some local youths merely see as twenty just a rock music festival it would be easier for me to process, almost typical, but the ideological implications o f Christian youths making camp in a space that is outside the parameters of their parent, evangelical culture complicate this scene. directions to Cornerstone. I turn right o nto a gravelly road and stop behind a line up of a


57 dozen or more vehicles. The gates are not going to open until tomorrow morning, so I settle into this place in line as my campsite for the night. I watch a group of attendees in an old pick up truck park ed directly in front of me, sorting camping gear and negotiating sleeping arrangements for the night. They remove a blue tarp that covers their gear in the truck bed revealing a couch mounted against the cab. It starts to rain as they pull the couch down they are shocked, as if processing those days as antiquated and ancient. Around her e, I I set up my camping chair between my car and their pick up truck. For the next few hours, from the comfort of my virtual front porch, I alternate between sucking on sunflower seeds, toking on a cigar, and jotting notes into my spi ral notebook; trying to reintegrate my senses into this new generation of Christian cool kids. In my notes I call join their hacky sack circle. There are seven of them and they are nick named according hacky sack since the sixth grade, twenty four years ago. I join their circle and manage to keep the sack bouncing a couple of times. sack, just sort of hanging back l


58 s joke chuckles. Yep, they have stories. Amanda glances around the group with a drive, and we would drive here and my best friend we come from Cincinnati, which is a six hour drive we would come and every year would take us a different amount of time Tyler and Amanda debate who was to blame for starting the prank war that year Veggie Tales television series) the results were not good. He was mortally wounded p roceeded to unearth Larry and crucify him, tying him to a make shift cross complete freaked out. Yeah, it was pretty hard to bear you know. My friend was crucified after he


59 and tourism. He and his friend revel in getting lost, to the point that getting lost along the way is part of the journey. Larry was the latest in a series of otherwise meaningless kitsch artifacts th at are, by virtue of the travelling and subsequent storytelling, transformed into poignant life markers. The meaning becomes located in the experiencing, the doing of travel as much as the destination. Travelers know that they will return from whence the y came; however, that liminal space between home and the return is a kind of freedom. The stories these travelers tell are the kinds of stories any group of young people might tell about their camp experiences, their band trip to Washington D.C., or thei r journey one summer to Bristlecone National Park. A view of Cornerstone that would miss the kinds of personal experiences and participation the play and diversity w ith which these kinds of attendees mark their own pleasures, memories, and stories of the festival. These memories and experiences are not usually or completely unrelated to their Christian identities and n either is their music. Yet the workings and functions of the festival have to do with providing a site where other kinds of social and identity work can be accomplished, and this is true of all kinds of sites and places that become objects of tourism.


60 For their part, JPUSA envisions Cornerstone as a site that facilitates the confluence of conflicting worldviews within an otherwise segregated or highly stratified within eva communal space. From this encampment, JPUSA expects dialogue to arise between more traditionally minded Christians and marginal practitioners of the faith. JPUSA massages attendee musical genres, but also by providing avenues and spaces for reflection and discussion. a public space for intellectual critical discussion of film and social which broach issues related to alternative Christian community building. JPUSA imbues the event w ith its communal values through loosely framed goals facilitating dialogue, privileging of the marginal and the marginalized rather than direct control. In this manner, Cornerstone Festival is a medium through which JPUSA and attendees coproduce an id medium inclusive encampment of varied buil ding. This integration of self social negotiations into the festival experience, or respite from daily life or traditional forms of Christian experience It may also o therwise cultivate new orient ations to Christian identity


61 combina tions of cultural elements (MacCannell, p. 26), such as rock music and Christian values. It is certainly likely e the site offers something they are lacking at home, be it the freedom to attend a punk rock o its featuring of otherwise marginalized musicians and alternative forms of Christian membership practices. Attendees, such as The New Crew, coproduce this scene by including it as a form of initiation and ritualized membership to their community of trav elers. Hours have passed since the hacky by advertisement. They sport kids of their demographic. After hours of walking the line of cars and playing their music from a walkman for impromptu concert. They brought their own generator and staging for hosting bands that are hoping to make an unscheduled splash at the festival. Buzz takes over the line and maybe fifty New Crew. VERA SUN plugs into their amplifiers, complete with the seemingly requisite unintended feedback that cuts my eardrums, and conducts a slapdash but loud sound check. Their first song chan nels the unmistakable sound of h ardcore, a style of rock that is popular among this generation. The screeching guitars, crazed rhythm section, and screaming vocals rip into the otherwise quiet cornfield. I realize just a few notes into their first song


62 why VERA SUN was not officially invited to play at the fes I wake up to the Illinois sunlight with a corn field on my right and what would otherwise appear to be the remnants of a pagan bonfire to my left; but thi s is Cornerstone Festival and a truck load of gear just cruised by, driven by a tatted JPUSA commune member from "Friendly Towers" Chicago. I slept in the backseat of my car last night, with the passenger windows down to let in the breeze. Sometime in th e early morning the temperature dropped and the sweat that engulfed my slumber froze. My head on my pillow, my legs unable to stretch out, I covered my face with the hood of my rain jacket. Later this morning, I dug out my cargo shorts and put my freezin g feet into the pockets. Two of them slept on the couch suspended across the bed of the truck and up against the cab. One of them slept inside the truck with feet hanging out the dr The rest slept inside a large camping tent, tied off between their tent and my car. A make Although I am the only person over thirty in line, and most o f the people around me appear in their late teens and early twenties, later in the week there will be a large influx of a more varied demographic. Fathers camping with their sons and daughters, thirty something parents camping with their stroller bound ch ildren, groups of late twenty singing praise and worship songs to the gentle strumming of an acoustic guitar will be camping next to groups of young punks swigging beer and smoking weed (though neither


6 3 alcohol nor drugs are officially permitted at Cornerstone), and dating partners or friends will be quietly camping next to large family reunion styled enclaves. Locals from Macomb and Bushnell will camp out for a night, if only to ge t away from their small towns, disappear into this spectacle, and find themselves neighboring travelers from New Zealand or Goths from inner city Chicago. The camping locations at Cornerstone are surprisingly varied. The geography facilitates numerous s tyles of camping to complement the type of experience people are seeking. The bulk of the festivities occur upon a large, relatively flat plateau called the punks, Goths, hardcore kids an d bands trying to make the scene camp within and immediately route to Mai n Stage. Here, they enjoy the shade and shelter from the sun and frequent families. Another popular site is the beach. Cornerstone Lake is at the base of a steep drop off from main stage and the exhibition area, and winds around the grounds to the East. Some of the more sporting people camp around the lake, swimming and participating in basketball tournaments and other forms of competition and leisure. A small number of attendees camp around the small strip of gravel road that overlooks both Main Stage and Cornerstone Lake. On the one side they have a premier view of every Main Stage act from 7pm to 11pm, Wednesday through Saturday, and on the other side they have th e best view of the annual July 4 th midnight fireworks.


64 The only noticeable segregation is enjoyed by two segments of the Cornerstone population, including the festival musicians and speakers, each of whom has a designated courtesy trailer for refreshment s. While some invited guests of JPUSA stay in motels in nearby Macomb, the majority camp among the attendees. The speaker venues include a series of rectangular open air tents with space and chairs for a small PA system and fifty persons each. This camp is in the back of the primary festival site, where it is well separated though not far removed from other venues. spontaneous. Invited, performing guests of JPUSA (headlining bands and spea kers) are provided the opportunity for private space, and at least one space receives preferential treatment for families. Another tier to this stratum is the unofficially privileged: returning crews that lay claim to camping spots that they have staked o ut as there own in previous years. These are not necessarily prized for their location, but nostalgically significant as sacred pilgrimage campsites. For first time attendees, or for groups of attendees driving from different locations to meet up and rem inisce at Cornerstone, site selection is spontaneous: Whoever gets there first selects the camping spot and the others must find and adapt to it. For first timers, part of the adventure includes securing a campsite before having explored the space. Making camp at Cornerstone is also pragmatic. Those who view the gritty, live performances showcased at the myriad generator stages, or the performances energized Stage, will announce this preference by camp who are passing along their hippie faith to their children congregate under the tree line in


65 Main Stage during the evenings, while the kids can explore the hardcore ruckus along There is a special relationship, therefore, between the JPUSA organizers and the attendees. JPUSA frames the range of experiences by designa ting the camping grounds, determining the sponsors for the primary and secondary venue sites. However, to participate in the festival and who initiate new members in to the scene. For JPUSA, Cornerstone is a commemorative event; but it is the attendees who have invented the festival as a sacred pilgrimage site, which subsequently confers to Cornerstone its credibility as a site for cultivating alternative Christian id entity. of the gates. Rumor has traveled down the line of cars claiming the gates will open at rs of The perpetually pained face, they look like they just got out of Bible Study. I sli de the headphones over my ears and Chase starts the first track. I do a double take, looking this music is coming from these kids. The first track is a brilliant rock a nthem: Great lead guitar is shamelessly confident. Subsequent tracks are hit and miss.


66 that the first show is essentially a warm up gig at one of the generator stages, before an important appearance at the Indi Stage. I ask them about their musical influences and the however, that the Beatles are their biggest influence. This makes sense; they are part of the Millennial Generation, and, par for the course, they identify most strongly with their pod) and distribution (i tunes) technology. Based in Charlotte, North C arolina, the band has been together for three years. Two of the members have been writing songs together since they were ten years old, and they are ready to break out and make the scene. Chase and Robby are anxious to move further down the line to peddle their music and to distribute play list fliers for their band. I ask them just one more question before Robby is the quieter of the two, but he speaks up first this time, though they both get rstone, for each of us it was a bout $450, which included finishing up our EP, gas money, mastering the CDs, attendance, and stage fees Stage. JPUSA. But they have heard of musician Gl enn Kaiser, JPUSA elder and original


67 them for sharing their music. They walk further down the line of cars, cold selling their EPs and handing out fliers with their show times In an instant, the gate watchers vanish and vehicle engines turn over as the gate opens. The line quickly splits into two rows, consisting of those with tickets and those, like me, without. I purchase my ticket at the gate and rejoin the line. JPUSA m embers and festival volunteers, who arrived early for this specific purpose, direct us to a large flat field, a waiting area where we form multiple lines with much spacing between. The line of cars stretches all the way around the bend where the gravelly road we were parked at Sunday meets the paved road leading into Bushnell, and even that road is jammed with vehicles at a stand still. Rock music is blaring from car stereos all across the field. I can turn my ear one way and hear Led Zeppelin, another a nd I hear The 77s, yet another White Album (1970). Attendees from the next line over take advantage of a gap in the parking lines and play a game of tackle football. The line starts to move and I feel anxious. It has be en a long while since I was the festival ground s to find a camping spot. I wave The New Crew around and follow them to their campsite, which is cushioned against one of the sporadic tree lines, well off of Main Street but en route to Main S tage. Limbs reach over their site from the tree line to provide a protective canopy, shade that will be much welcomed as the festival progresses and midday naps become a necessity. I am impressed by their preparation and how efficiently they set up camp. I, however, am hesitating. I intended to camp next to thought I should be here to interview an d observe The New Crew, follow them as a case


68 study throughout the festival. But making camp here feels like settling: situating the tale to an isolated group within a larger festival experience. I decide to go with my gut feeling and camp elsewhere. I t is a risk. At a festival of this size I may not see them again. I break down my tent and hastily load my gear into understand and wish me luck. I take off, tooling and weaving through the campground. I backtrack toward the South entrance, turn onto a well worn grassy path that this site provides a peaceful space for processing towards this location for its nostalgic value. In prior years, the crew that I traveled here with chose this site, which is couched between Encore 1 and Encore 2, as a matter of pragmatism. If we camped here, whe re the first shows of the day begin and the last shows of the day end, then we could slowly migrate from our site to Main Stage and catch as many shows as possible en route back to camp. After a quick lunch, consisting of an orange and a turkey sandwich, I sling my digital camera over my shoulder and stuff the laptop and consent forms into my backpack. In dire need of coffee, I make for the food court, hoping that at least one early bird vender is brewing today. Pay dirt comes in the form of a small, por table venue. The front of the caf is rolled up and an awning extends out, over a few small tables and chairs. Each table has a candle in the middle, no doubt to draw attendees like moths to the flame during the wee hours of the evening, amidst the cacop hony of rock music, sweat, and typical festival activities. My table has a journal attached to it via a


69 their Cornerstone experience. I make an entry and return t o people watching. On cue, a Goth couple passes by. They are dressed, nose ring to boot buckle, in all black, including long sleeve shirts and light weight, long pants tucked into heavy, over sized boots with large metal buckles. His hair is long, hangin g down below his shoulders, and finely combed. Her hair is shaved on the sides leaving only a Mohawk. He is walking in front and she behind. He holds a long chain leash in his hand. The leash is attached to a dog collar that she wears around her neck. Thirty minutes later, I see this same couple walking back the way they came, but this time he is on the leash and she is leading him. This form of play at Cornerstone is also a performance. The Goth couple is well aware that, for one, their attire and sadomasochist display is not a typical Christian gaze. They exaggerate their marginality and thereby turn the festival grounds into a stage. On the one hand, I appre ciate this performance for its aesthetic value. Goth style is an outward expression of an inner struggle to accomplish authenticity amidst what adherents consider a shallow, disposable society. However, the context for their performance, at a Christian t oned event, has as its goal something uniquely rhetorical: the merging of two forms, Goth style and Christian faith. idual Christians) and institutional (as individual Christians whose gaze reifies traditional Christian membership practices):


70 scene). The distinction however is complica ted by the fact that A can dialectically consider his own act in terms of B, thus to some extent looking upon that it is not felt merely scenically, as a set of signs, but is vicariously participated 1945, p. 283). performance of their lifestyle in this space is both a form of play and a rhetorical act. They objectify themselves as a spectacle, and the spectacle elicits from others an interpretation of this merger between Goth lifestyle and Christian faith. The onlookers, by virtue of completing this equation, are made complicit in its construction. For their part, the Goth couple achieves a validation of their presence, not just at the festival but as marginalized members of Christian faith. They are in fact part of a larger Goth community that has adopted Cornerstone Festival as its respite from th eir hometown scene, where they are estranged both by Christian and non Christian social groups. Their appearance at this festival was likely similar to that of The New Crew: a carved a niche into the festival experience to the point that, though still a small group of ornerstone Program. In this case, the Cornerstone scene is a medium by which attendees accomplish a multiplicity of purposes to be seen, to make the Christian music scene, to forge community, etcetera. However, other crews take up residency at Corners tone in order to


71 Cornerstone Festival for purposes of recruitment. He took part in the original Jesus People Movement and has since developed a business model that com bines brewing coffee and training young people for missionary work. He was sitting behind me at the coffee tent; noticing my incessant note taking, he introduced himself and an interview ensued. Hippie Preacher Land Bible Institute he attende the rules and all. And so, but I did feel like, while I was there God confirmed my call to conservative. I wan ted to be a, you know, hippie preacher, so to speak. A Jesus freak, He became an independent pastor, speaking at youth retreats and filling in for vacationing ministers. One such fill in became a permanent hire and at the age of 21 he was a church pastor. Like many churches at the time, attendance was waning due to an increasing, culturally inscribed generation gap between long time members and youth: a merger of the traditional church sermon with the burgeoning popularity of rock music. Five young people in attendance converted to Christianity at the end of the service and this gave him a free hand to experiment more with alternative church services:


72 to conform to the traditional church pastor setting. So I always had a motorcycle and I anticipating this, but For the Hippie Preacher, the coffee business is a means for prep aring young as a vacation from brewing coffee. The coffee business allows him to b e self sustaining, rather than dependent upon an organized church group. The business was initially started the vision of enabling people to train for the ministry. B y starting a ministry training center that gives, that pays people a stipend, not according to market value, but according amounts each of the people working the coun ter take they try to think of other people more than themselves and take less if they can, which is buy youth hostels and start tr aining centers and coffee roasting cafes where people can study for the ministry in Europe and Asia and get free tuition and free housing through


73 othe r hippie Christians and cited the original Hippie Preacher Lonnie Frisbee 1 as his hat he refers to as an oppressively institutionalized set of conservative rules. The coffee crew utilizes Cornerstone Festival as a working vacation, performing typic contrast to The New Crew. The latter is a loosely organized and spontaneous grouping of friends and travelers, but this crew is highly structured, with a clear hierarchy. you up in explain, apologize, or just be accou ntable. Yet, this self proclaimed Hippie Preacher turned coffee brew master draws on the persona of Lonnie Frisbee in a matter of fact way that makes his life choices seem inevitable and rational. And for that reason, it is 1 David Di Sabatino (1999) explains that Lon attracting like minded hippie eva ngelist whose penchant for spiritual experimentation would not only shape his own life but the sexuality, use of LSD and contraction of HIV AIDS has resul ted in a marginalization of his story and role in the movement.


74 easy for him, even natural, to turn the tables on me during the interview and ask if I am a need for resocializatio n, not because, in his view, Christian faith is somehow lacking, but because the roles and practices that guarantee or otherwise buttress the socialization process are inadequate. Both this episode and my encounter with the Goth couple exemplify how the However, while the Goth group seeks validation, the coffee house crew uses the site for f their small group of friends and their identification with the idea of diversity within the fold. Together, though variously motivated, these crews coproduce a multi purposed Cornerstone scene. A Conversation with Festival Director, John Herrin After my encounter with The Hippie Preacher, I introduce myself to the festival organizers by first securing a press b adge. Wendy Kaiser, original REZ band member co to an outlet adjacent to an ATM machine, where three attendees wait in line to make a withdrawal. I sit cross legged on the floor, uploading my interviews from a sma ll digital recorder to my laptop. JPUSA opens its gates to everyone, including, in my case, an ndy Kaiser wrote onto my b adge. However, once you are in, it is up to you to make of the experience what you will.


75 While in th been in contact regarding this study and with whom I am seeking an interview. The affable lady working the front counter turns to the woman behind her, and so on and so forth until w unavailable. The colloquial process is as endearing as it is ambiguous. I am told that the best way to speak with John is good timing, and to keep checking in at the festival office. JPUSA does not hire outside groups to help manage their festival. Approximately 200 members of the community work Cornerstone each year, supplemented by nearly 500 attendees who volunteer and receive significantly discounted ticket prices. These commun ity members and volunteers work alongside each other, fulfilling the responsibilities of managing the festival, including security, hospitality, ticketing and garbage and grounds cleanup. Eventually, my Southern hospitality styled pop in method works, an d I secure an low tech. Even the phone has a chord. This entire festival is run from a walky talky. John has an assistant who is calm and confident. Althoug relayed over the walky talky. As I try to conduct a fluid interview, people walk in from the front office and knock and enter from the side entrance. His assistant works the room expertly, but this only buys us a little time to converse. Except for his bushy beard and long hair, kept in a pony tail, John is unassuming. in, gray colored T shirt. His movements are laid back but his mind is constantly multitasking. John grew


76 up in the commune, from the time that he was a small child. His mother was a member of the original group of people who left California in a van, wi th changes of clothes, electric guitars and a desire to share the gospel. I ask him what the festival means for rock band that was turned on to Jesus. This story allevia tes the anxiety I have felt today, regarding the sheer size of the event. In the course of his telling this story, the festival transforms, for me, from an intimidating site and a daunting research task to a welcoming space and manageable project; from ne arly 20,000 strangers attendees to a few people in a van whose experience of Christian faith seems easily accessible. I ask John where the first Cornerstone Festival was held and when it was the Lake County Fairgrounds just outside Grayslake, IL. About forty five minutes north of Chicago . We moved people attended the first Cornerstone Festival and thi s number grew to approximately 10,000 in the first ten years. In the 1990s, the festival reached the 20,000 mark. Of these attendees, John estimates from festival records that 75% are between 16 and 35, and 50% fall into the 16 to 25 age range. Only 5% of the attendees are over the age of 50, which means that very few of the attendees have any direct experience with the Jesus People Movement. terested. He suggests I speak with someone who might


77 Cornerstone is in its 25 th year, has established itself as the most well respected festival for festivals. I ask John to breakdown the annual expenditures, how much money comes in and how muc h goes out, and to whom? It will cost approximately $1.5 million dollars to brought in $1 million. This includes the annual upkeep of the grounds, which cost $250,000 per year in mortgage, insurance, utilities, groundskeeper salary and healthcare, equipment, etc. (Although the festival will have lost money in 2008, Herrin explains later that the festival normally breaks even. If there is a surplus, that money goes in to a fund to compensate for years such as 2008, to supplement what the festival brings in.) I Cornerstone is probably responsible for bringing in about $45,000 annually, not counting the year gravel as well as mechanic services, etc, locally. Most of the production (sound, lights, talking, John takes a call from a prospective attendee needing access to an electrical source of power, for medical reasons. There are already 5,000 attendees here, and that number is now growing by the minute 15,000 more are expected to arrive by Frida y. John is patient, and he speaks with her for at least five minutes. I jot down cont


78 John and the attendee achieve some sense of closure to the interaction, and w ithout missing a beat he handles another flurry of walky talky and phone calls. I pick up our earlier thread, about the commune and what the festival means for thinks it m he begins, but stops again to take another call. He hardly speaks a word during this on ce again, to our conversation. He explains that this family member chose not to live at munity is not for everyone and there is no intentional community, whether religious or non religious, as an alternative means of social organization and sustenance in Ame rica since, comparatively, post World War II. While community may be difficult, JPUSA has seen a dramatic increase in the number of their own communities. Although besides community for community sak JPUSA. John says that living in community requires patience, and he sees that translated


79 I tell John that my goa l here is to simply try to understand what sense people make of their experience at Cornerstone; what brings them back if they are repeat visitors. I tell him about The New Crew, whom I met Sunday. I explain my thesis that Cornerstone is a pilgrimage sit e offering refuge from an overly controlling and dogmatic evangelical religious experience. John intimates that this is a topic he has been a site that serves as a so early years, their teens, and are relatively together, in tact, then they can decide on their wi site: it is a space for relatively free expression that is, in turn, used by attendees to appropriate their experience of faith to their sense of self, apart from institution al oversight. However, where there is freedom there is likely insult, and I ask John how an atheist can coexist with an evangelical during a hardcore show, such as the one I shared purse for 35, 36 years. People are going to make their own choices. At festivals like Creation, their founders want results, quantifiable by way of decision cards. We don experience of roughing it, living as a community for one week out of their year. Another phone call comes in, and John has to take this one. He also has visitors at the f ront desk and in the foyer who want to meet with him. When his assistant hands him a


80 walky talky, with yet another person requesting his attention, I offer John my hand and thank him for his time. On the most basic level, Cornerstone attendees are seeking an experience that cultivates a temporary change from their daily lives. Typical perspectives of the touristic process views tourists as consumers and locals as producers (Gmelch, 2004). However, both occupy a liminal space at Cornerstone Farm. This adds to the ephemeral experience, or mystical appeal of the event, insofar as its meaning is not bound to or determined or otherwise influenced by a regional ideology making camp which includes how attendees utilize the grounds, from the official and of designating some areas for particular usages, such as day parking or curfew camping. Monday is the first official day for the festival and more than half of those who are making their way to the festival will arrive today and stay through the entire week. After this interview with John, I feel encouraged to explore these festival grounds. Back at my campsite, I unload my backpack, re lace my bootstraps and start my first hike in Virtual Tour of Cornerstone Th


81 high frequency of breaking festival rules, including, according to The New Crew, drug and alcohol consumption. M y campsite is situated between Encore 1 and Encore 2 as both a pragmatic matter and a nostalgic indulgence. It offers a comfortable familiarity amidst the chaos of fieldwork, interviews, volunteer work, and the serious business of enjoying the festival. Even if I am taking a nap, having lunch or going to bed, I can hear music emanating from these venues. By Saturday, the grass between my campsite and Encore 1 will be covered in tents. Figure 3.1 : Encore 1 Most of the camping at Cornerstone is car based Attendees drive to a spot, navigating the multitude of grassy paths that trail off from Main Street, and settle into a nook between venues, or camp within a mass of other attendees exposed to the elements. However, other encampments provide protection from the not infrequent thunderstorms that roll through the Illinois farm country, and are only discovered by those who venture far from even the most unexpected paths. Conglomerations of tents form pseudo communities within the larger festival grounds.


82 Figure 3.2 : Tents My daily treks from camp site to venues, for observation, interviewing, or any number of fieldwork activities, are inundated with advertisements. A run of phone banks was once a permanent land marker at the festival; popularized both as a meeting locale and the only functional form of phoning home. Today, the phone banks are totems to an abandoned form of communication. The portable toilet, however, will never go out of style and remains an all too active shrine to the festival experie nce. Inside any given portable toilet is a conspicuous assortment of graffiti, aphorisms and propaganda, Figure 3.3 : Phone Booths and Toilets


83 The most popular festival billboa festival. It is centrally located in the middle of the densest camp sites and next to the showers. Attend ees also become billboards, flashing tattoos that announce their faith, permanently etched onto their bodies. Bands trying to make a splash in the alternative Figure 3.4 : Ad vertisements The most conspicuous venue at Cornerstone is the Merchants Tent, a marketplace shirt) to the sublime (an assortment of anti war, social activist groups soliciting membershi p). themed environment, including a large area of the Merchants T ent where attendees can purchase temporary tattoos, hippie beads and jewelry. Both independent vendors and vendo rs more closely aligned with major record labels can rent booth space and sell their wares, including CDs, T shirts, and stickers. For $575, all officially booked bands can have access to a booth on the day of their performance. John Herrin explained tha t JPUSA makes around $75,000 from the merchandise tent, most of which comes from booth


84 pilgrimage is a trip to this venue with a wad of crisp $20 bills. Figure 3. 5: The Merchants Tent Ducking out of the merchandise tent, I note that there are about a dozen permanent structures: Three shower houses, a pump house, and a barn. In addition, there explains, by longtime volunteers. Where, precisely, members of JPUSA camp is still a mystery to me. Festival spaces are either determined by JPUSA or appropriated by attendees. rounds and eventually winds around Cornerstone Lake en route to Main Stage. Increasingly, this thoroughfare has generators. The smallest generator stage that I encountered inclu ded an elderly black man, playing blues riffs in front of a snow cone stand. Far from this scene I snap a photograph of a long massive Main Stage and the proliferation of hardcore rock band s that populate the generator stages along Main Street.


85 Figure 3.6 : Cornerstone Collage However, not all venues at Cornerstone are centered in music. The Cornerstone escorts attendees along the Stations of the Cross. The Labyrinth is intended as an exercise in meditative self reflection. It is a quiet space, tucked away behind the speaker and music venues, beyond the kitsch food court and removed from the commerciali zation of the Merchants Tent.


86 Figure 3.7 : Labyrinth The Cornerstone scene derives much of its credibility from contrast, and this is Bushnell, which is, compa ratively, one fifth the population of Cornerstone Festival. The Bushnell Rotary Club has a booth at the festival, managed entirely by women in their fifties and sixties, sporting T One of the la claims Jane, althou gh there was trepidation on the part of the city. Community members were concerned that the festival would bring in copious amounts of alcohol and trouble, town, embod were dressed unbelievably [. .] it was everywhere, it was fantastic! I mean these outfits they would wear neat. wn where no one locks their doors.


87 The Cornerstone committee invited the Bushnell Rotary Club to participate in the event by providing services. From batteries to directions and recently internet access and cell phone chargers, the rotary provides service into one grocery store in town. They would buy a gallon of milk and they would stand there and drink it. They would rinse it out and then they would fill it with water. It was Rotary Club and Cornerstone enjoy a collaborative relationship: We put out all the signs that you see out on the highways and direction signs, you know, for Cornerstone. The Rotary does all that. You s tent, and all of our stuff that we have here. But anybody that sells for a profit, here [. .] they have to pay a percentage to the Cornerstone festival. B ut we do organization. Jane believes that this relationship is a financially and socially positive exchange for the city, providing the merchants an extra month of revenue. Althou gh the festival has been in this location for twenty Jane sees Cornerstone as a cathartic site for attendees to shed the identities that likely burde


88 st There is a pause during our conversation while Jane attends to a customer seeking together like including attendees from nearly every state of the union and from overseas. However, t lacking. She explains meeting a man in an orange jump was up here on some kind of probationary thing and he was visiting. [. . .]. I was Conclusion Cornerstone is a festival, and like many festivals is a coming toge ther of people and agendas that collect around a theme or common interest. While one theme of Cornerstone is Christian identity, another is rock music and the kinds of membership practices that accompany any music scene following a favorite band, meetin g others who are doing the same, initiating new members into a crew. These and other purposes co exist in the larger event. Yet another common interest or the me to be found here is


89 travel and making camp; the leaving of home and coming to gether of people who socialize. Attendees encounter new experiences and forge new relationships no differently t han the many tourists and trave lers who vis it national parks and tourist sites all over the world. Mark Neumann's (1999) study of Grand Canyon National Park for instance, notes the multi layered and thrown together agendas and forms of participation found at such sites, as we ll as the kind of tourist/traveler experience seeking that brings peopl e together ence personal edification, a return to nature, intellectual discovery, or, as Neumann discovers in his liberating break from daily routines and social roles, it may a lso produce a structure in the form of a communal experience (Neumann, 1993, p. 203). Cornerstone Festival provides attendees an opportunity to not only distance ev Christian practice and membership. Cornerstone is an ephemeral space that is brought into being by attendees, realized in an intersection of physical space and personal ide production are both transient (the generator stages, portable toilet graffiti) and permanent (Main Stage). I spend the evening attending impromptu performances around the festival grounds, including early bird bands playing at the increasing number of generator stages. It is nearly midnight when I return to camp. I have tuna for din ner, then check my


90 turned to red light. My tent is small, but of high quality. Once inside I remove my socks and stuff them into my hiking boots, which I place outsid e of the small entrance. The Twenty minutes after finally closing my eyes, I switch the headlamp back on and dig out my n otepad to jot down a few loosely contrived thoughts, set to the faint serenade of hardcore music quietly infiltrating the tent. I recall my experience of crewing here at Cornerstone in the mid and late nineteen nineties: r typical daily grind of work and school and relationships, nor was the draw to Cornerstone merely the music that we cool. We made camp a form of communicating our love fo r each other, our desire to be interdependent. To camp was to reminisce, and reminiscing was not mere nostalgia binging: it was storytelling, and storytelling is a kind of identity work. Making camp was a means for bringing the kinds of memories we wante d to have into existence. Indeed, travel is a migration from one set of relationships, where we perform and reify our roles as responsible members of an institutionalized reality, to another set of relationships. In this liminal space of travel and maki ng camp, the Cornerstone attendee experiences a re positioning of self relative to his or her typical social role. This process makes possible an alternative perspective of self and other in relation to the parent culture. My first two days at Cornerston e, both outside and inside the gates, marked the


91 inauguration of my dual role of attendee researcher. Although attending Cornerstone alone at times affected difficult feelings of isolation, it allowed me to appreciate the crew dynamic of attending the fes tival. When The New Crew makes camp, they are also, for the duration of the festival, constructing their own community within the larger festival scene. Although there are elements of the festival, not sponsored by JPUSA, that would draw them into this or that evangelist training program, attendees are travelers together by virtue of their crews. Indeed, the crew experience at Cornerstone supplants an individualistic value of travel, and for that matter of Christian faith, with a communal one, whereas the goal is to privilege a communal rather than a personal experience. Cornerstone crews are thus self legitimating communities of travelers, formed by chance or intention or a combination of both, who collaboratively navigate t o and within the festival Some crews, such as The New Crew, return to Cornerstone annually and cultivate a share d fe stival history First time Cornerstone attendees who travel or meet up with a crew experience an estrangement of their otherwise typified relationships with through processes of making camp As travelers community. This collabo rative act coproduces the scene as a site for leisure, liminality, and play, but also meaning making through community building.

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92 Chapter Four: Constructing a Christian Rock Aesthetic s is the garish, over sized belt buckle. My father was a long time fifth grade Sunday school teacher and deacon at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas. I cannot recount how many clip on ties drobe, an amalgam of hand me downs and second I attended age appropriate Bible classes. During the evening s ervice, dad humbly distributed the offering plates along with the other deacons before joining us somewhere in the back or off to one side or the other of the church. It was during the evening service when baptisms were performed, which also meant joining the Southern Baptist Convention. Our denomination derived its namesake from the act of fully submerging those making a declaration of faith in Christ as the son of God and our personal Lord and youth program. After the Jesus People Movement, many evangelical churches adopted programs that included newly styled Youth Pastors respon sible for mediating between the older and

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93 example, were considered gateway activities to sexual perversion and were thus alternative universe of Contemporary Christian Music, PG f ilms, summer camps and all eclectic record collection. of Johnny Cash, John Denver, Emmy lou Harris, The Righteous Brothers and Eddie Rabbit. En route to school in the morning, it was a radically different scene in my oldest Triumph, AC/DC, The Rolling Stones Jimi Hendrix and Talking Heads. After school I Blood On the Tracks (1974) and the Beatles White Album (1970). During my later adolesce nce, and for my contribution, I added the likes of U2, R.E.M., Public Enemy, and Guns and Roses to this mix. My subsequent official split from the Southern Baptist Convention began during my first year of junior college, empted to dismantle our music collections. Eric Holmberg is an ordained minister and founder of the video production company Reel to Real Ministries and The Apologetics Group, an organization that promotes Creationism, anti abortion campaigns, and other c onservative stances on social issues that appeal to the evangelical community. In video documentary indicted as the root

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94 Holmberg argues that the lyrics in combination with the sonic constitution of th e music alter listener s process es. Holmberg furthermore believes that uniquely addicted to music, due in part to corporate marketing campaigns whi ch sell values as a method for peddling products. Holmberg frames the organizing structure of music as a force capable of negatively affecting cognitive thought processes and implicates popular music as The documentary promises to take buttressing his stance that sees popular music as corruptive of Christ ian values hardcore and hip hop as part of his indictment of the American music scene. The documentary targets both parents and youth, including reenactments at the start where youth are depicted as flawed and nave and on the path to self destruction. Holmberg appears in front of a vast soundboard in a darkened r ecording studio, projecting an image latter includes rock music and hip hop because these two genres take over the body, a cognitive metamorphosis not unlike, he claims, what happened to the youths responsible for the Columbine school shootings. Holmberg argues that cultural chaos is one result of the musical dissonance found in particular genres of music most notably al ternative rock, hip hop, metal and Goth insofar as he sees a link between musical and cultural dissonance. Thus, combined with

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95 anti between mass murder and rock music. He implies that insofar as the beats of rock music and rap are derived from West Africa, a pagan mentality is imbued in these genres. Appropriating studies in ethnomusicology and interviews with Keith Richards and Dr. Dre, Holmberg cites cognitive researc h by Richard Pellegrino that powerful surges in are elicited by rock music Finally, Holmberg correlates the effects of music on the brain to social ills, and calls upon parents to dnesday Night Bible Study sessions. Our Youth Minister expected us to acquiesce to the Christian music and genres of Christian music that the film indicted. During the weeks that center ed upon this topic, I sat quiet during discussions that disavowed alternative viewpoints. When I did voice my opinion, it was after the last session, in the church parking lot: I cranked up revved its straight six cylinder engine more than was necessary, and drove off never to return. thesis, though still popular among many e vangelical Christian groups, is merely one side of the debate regarding popular music a nd evangelical faith. In point of fact, during the Jesus P eople Movement popular music and rock music were considered artistic forms of expression that were well within the purview of God and

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96 faith in Christ A songbook from the era compiled and publishe d by Yohann Anderson in 1972 and reissued in 1982 contains nearly 750 praise and worship songs. Anderson explains his rati onale : This songbook tries to reflect all of life under God; therefore, all kinds of music ive acts shine on everyone, whether they together and are deliberately kept out of fixed categories to give more of a feel of Anderson reiterates in hi s short introductory essay that this songbook is designed so that musicians can learn the tunes and play them without having to rely on sheet music The goal is to produce a collective experience of the power of singing without int erruption or self consci ousness, a planned spontaneity: DO NOT PLAY THE TUNE [. . ]. Half sing and talk the tun e with feeling and intensity [. . ]. Use lots of rhythm instruments, e.g., bongos, maracas, sticks, etc. They really help. The major breakdown in group singing o ccurs when the leader is not free enough to be sensitive to the people singing. Also, if you want to lead music effectively, you need to listen to it and work with it. If music is the universal language, then it behooves you, as a communicator, to know t hat language. Like Holmberg, Anderson links the cognitive power of music to its spiritual potential: The new studies being conducted on the brain tell us that when the right brain (the spontaneous, artistic and musical side) opens up, it becomes in harmon y with the left brain (logical, analytical), which then functions at a much higher rate. New

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97 knowledge is transmitted and new decisions are made faster and easier. We hope Under th e influence of music, learning is easier, enjoyable, efficient, and memory facilitation is greater. linkage is a more positive interpretation Anderson includes popular music songs of the day as part of the Christian praise and worship experience. As well as select traditional hymns and songs that Anderson and other Jesus People wrote, songs by Paul Simon, Donovan, Barry McGuire, Chuck Berry, Sandy Chapin, John Denver, N eil Young, Don Henley and Glenn Frey, and Elton John are included. Thus, while Holmberg believes the sounds, arrangements, and form of popular music negatively affects the spirit, is imbued in these arrangement s by the coming together of believers; spirit, in subsumes and appropriates the style that Holmberg views as irrevocably corrosive. the same studi es linking music to cognitive effects reflects an ongoing split in the Christian community. appropriate manifestations traditional versus angst ridden rock, for example are to a large degree (Howard and Streck, 1999, p. 6). This struggle to define the relationship between form and faith in the Christian music scene is uniquely played out at Cornerstone, a Christian

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98 festiva l predicated upon the belief that rock music is sanctified music by virtue of the Cornerstone is, in one sense, a touristic site for play; an opportunity for attendees to experiment with alternative forms of Christian faith. The festival is also a scene that outside of their typica l institutionalized roles and experiences. At Cornerstone, marginalized forms of music, most notably rock music, are appropriated by attendees to both validate and announce their identity, which in turn contributes to the construction of alternative Chris tian identities. This process of appropriating rock music for purposes of identity work and community building at Cornerstone Festival is a communicative act with ethical implications: Action is fundamentally ethical, sin ce it involves preferences. [. . ] The ethical shaped our selection of means. It shaped our structure of orientation, while these in turn shape the perceptions of the individuals born within the orientation. Hence it radically affects our cooperative processes. The ethical is thus l inked with the communicative [. . ] not merely as the purveying of information, but also as the sharing of sympathies and purposes, the doing of acts in com mon [. .]. (Burke, p. 250) At Cornerstone, action in the form of play and coproduction is deri ved through the impious piety of Christian rock. Burke (1954) tells us that piety is devotion to a s

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99 that certain forms of music are ap propriate and other forms are not. Piety is also a system builder in that it validates linkages between experiences and me anings and thus relation to these. Chris tian community is one example of a shared orientation, and its Yet this same orientation also limits the possibilities for choices of action within that environment. For Burke, action is lin generational, as these preferences construct an orientation into which future members of the community are in itiated. It follows that our cooperative processes are affected by this merely as the purveying of information, but also as the sharing of sympathies and purposes, the doi same time, it Cornerstone attendees remake evangelical Christian identity by grafting something that is oppositional to its traditional piety (punk roc k, for example), but yet is an integral part of their experience of faith altering the signifying tropes while retaining the essential doctrine of what it means to be an evangelical Christian. By virtue of their infusion of rock music into their experie nces of faith, whole new possibilities regarding attitude and value are introduced. Spiked hair and tattoos at Cornerstone are

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100 simultaneously play and challenges to the evangelical status quo. These become rhetorical practices insofar as they are means o f representation, of constructing and communicating an alternative identity. Indeed, The relationship between experience, expression and signification is therefore not a constant in subculture. It can form a unity which is either more or less organic, st riving towards some idea of coherence, or more or less ruptural, reflecting the experience of breaks and contradictions. Moreover, individual subcultures can be continuous with t he values of that community, or extrapolated from it, defining themselves against the parent culture. Finally, these differences are reflected not only in the objects of subculture style, but in the signifying practices which represent those objects and r ender them meaningful. (Hebdige, 1979, p. 127) n of the interplay of the audiences for Christian rock at Cornerstone provides a glimpse into this unique Christian subculture where rock music, typically a dividing line, is here used to bring these two groups together in community. In what follows I ex amine more closely what seems at first glance a peculiar marriage of rock music to Christian faith. The conflicting perspective represented by Anderson and Holmberg between music and faith is embodied at Cornerstone in the characters of Rubin and Ricky. Rubin is a preacher from Los Angeles, California who protests the event at the festival gates and Ricky is a festival volunteer who lives in

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101 nearby Macomb. Debates over the fecundity of a Christian faith that is supplemented by rock music are visceral at Cornerstone, insofar as attendees have grafted a rock music aesthetic to their identity as Christians. What was once a mere debate is now a struggle to define the meaning of this kind of experience within the circumference, no matter how marginal, of Chri stian faith. The stakes of this debate include the retention of new generations of Christian youth within the fold. The Roundtable, Part I Wednesday morning feels exactly like three days in a row of sleeping on the ground. Last night, I dozed in a nd out of others arriving and making camp around my tent. This morning I finish the last of the bread and cheese, then treat myself to an apple and chase the apple with a couple pints of water. My stench can no longer be covered with gratuitous amounts o f deodorant. It is time for the infamous Cornerstone sulfur water shower, a short walking distance from my camp site. The shower is cold and it stinks, but it does the trick. Outside the showers, in towel and hiking boots, I keep the personal hygiene en thusiasm rolling and shave at one of the outdoor sinks. Back at volunteered for cart security: Wednesday through Saturday from 4pm to 8pm. Today, I wear the press ba dge around my neck and stuff the volunteer badge into my cargo shorts. These hiking boots are on their last leg, but they protect my feet well from the elements, including the random pools of mud like the one I just splashed through. En route to fresh cof fee and good conversation, I hear a man yelling through a bull horn. It sounds like preaching, street witnessing style which includes a simple script or goal which is then pursued through extemporaneously delivered arguments for the

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102 purpose of eliciting d efensiveness on the part of passersby. Often times these evangelists peoples how tangential to the moment, because it is thought that by quoting scripture, in whatever c onsciousness of the unbeliever. My first thought is that this pastor is a friend of the ven for evangelicals. At the Gallery Stage, where I was sitting less than eight hours ago, I claim a table by laying down my backpack before purchasing my first cup of coffee. I must look like shit, because the man working behind the counter laughs and look this haggard. This elicits my first smile of the day, and just like that my Wednesday morning blahs have been obliterated. As he hands me the fresh hot coffee, I notice that the affable server is tatted along one arm. I al so notice that he is wearing a pink wrist volunteer, or JPUSA according to the colored elastic wrist band they are given this year, JPUSA wears pink. My coffee t ender explains that a community member designs and produces the mug each year, and that the proceeds go back into the commune. I proceed to pour through the festival program. I cross reference speakers with bands, and bands with special events. I sense a presence looming well over my left side

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103 He introduces himself and typical of Cornerstone introductions, we talk about our drive time, the weather along the way a nd how exhausted we are. Todd and a friend are here on a combined father daughter road trip; hoping to either reconnect with their daughters or hang onto the relationship they now have for one more summer, before college and maintaining eye contact and hi s pleasant demeanor, which includes a perpetual smile on the ious: what interest does a self proclaimed atheist from a secular university have with a Christian osure that resolves my others is self defeating to my argument, but maybe still working out the particulars of my un pecial person with an audacious message of love and

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104 for him it was the op Todd, the process was equally gradual, but the questions that led me away from our intersectin is my first de g in awoke this morning to a virtual carnival of tents surrounding my otherwise isolated gentle guitar strumming praise and worship session s at night and up early for campfire prayer breakfasts. Instead, I was wakened an hour into slumber to the seemingly call drank cases worth of Keystone Light (empties littered the site in the morning) and went into town (nearby Macomb) for tequila when

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105 the night, they retired to their tents but turned the site into an open around the festival g Christian youth to other secular festivals. So, their bands have fans that care less about their theology than Christian youth follow Tooth and Nail bands to secular festivals, and non Christian youth follow those same bands to festivals l d, referencing the lifestyle of drugs, alcohol, sex, and coarse non Christian based events is tolerated, yet the inverse is generally not true for general market bands. Furthermore, the audience exchange is at best conspicuous. Most Christian festivals are quota oriented, setting as their goal (which they must meet to satisfy their sponsors) a pr e determined number of religious conversions and recommitments of faith. While organizations such as Greenpeace and ONE Campaign

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106 engage in recruitment practices at general market festivals, their efforts are rarely fueled with the same fundamental fervor as their religious counterparts. However, religious c onversion is not a goal of J PUSA's Cornerstone Festival. This is not to say that if the o pportunity presents itself they are not interested in conversion. Cornerstone is already equipped with a ric h support group infrastructure for such occasions, b ut the festival is not organized or managed for that purpose. Neither is JPUSA trying to re socialize fringe Christians back into Christianity I f they are at all motivated to that end, it is t o encourage those who occupy the margins of Christian faith to stay on t he fringe; to be a JPUSA wants to bring older and younger generations of believers together in dialogue through camp an intergenerational exchange o f ideas and experiences. Recalling my conversation with a relative term. While 50% of attendees are age 16 to 25, approximately 25% are 26 to 35 and 10% are 36 to f orty nine. is for the ongoing vitality of Christian faith, however one interpre ts it, relative to the here other Christian festivals make musicians sign contracts in which those musicians itemize their sins over the past two years, JPUSA only cares that the musicians consider themselves Christians, in their own defining prerogative includes those who are at best confused over their identity as Christians, because JPUSA counts ambiguity as

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107 also invites opposition. After my conversation with Todd and Dan, I pick up the Rubin investigate the source of the bullhorn from this morning. Rubin is in mid oing at a Christian concert? Read the Bible. [. . .]. Be a means to be a new creature. Putting tattoos on yourself [inaudible], being [inaudible] of fashion is Figure 4.1 : Rubin Cornerstone. I want to kno believes that Corner

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108 Jesus he sees at Cornerstone, rather than representative of valid alternative expressions of faith, are a form of Christian Rubin sees these alternative performances of Christia thesis about music; he worries that both the style of music and the kind of participation it ims Rubin, a Los Angeles native and annual gate comes out to join the conversation. Attendee 1: Would you guys like some water? Rubin: No thanks. Attendee 1: Well, we have Gatorade. Rubin: take some Gatorade though. Attendee 1: Sweet, ha ha, what now? I win! Rubin: Ha ha ha. Hey, what are they charging in there today? Attendee wondering.

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109 the form of participation including tattoos and rock music, are mere styles, markers not of a genuine people in this parking lot be mentioned. [. . .]. So aside from feeling real good and the beat, you have people in this parking lot most likely going to hell. And so, music aside, they need to be told this which desire quantifiable alleg iance to their doctrine. Ambiguity is unacceptable. In addition, Rubin sees Cornerstone as a misguided if well intentioned attempt to appease As I am packing up my gear to leave, the small contingent of attendees calls out must have been one of the local pastors from Bushnell or Macomb. This conversation reaches an impasse and Rubin, seeing that I have my tape recorder on, launches back into his critique of the festival as a detrimental appropriation of secularized popular culture.

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110 er, Rubin believes their lifestyles are not so much advertisements for Soon, y Rubin argues that style subsumes spirit, that the trappings of the world dim the believer. Conversely, the attendees believe that spirit subsumes style. Both Rubin and the attendees concede that style is superficial, but each party interprets superficiality differently. Because the body and the soul are integral to their identity, the attendees believe that their adornments, whether tattoos or i pods, are extensions of their faith. Rubin, however, believes that these attendees are not cultivating a style that will communicate their faith to non believers; rather, he views their per by the popular culture industry. I ask Rubin if I can take his photograph, and he obliges. His voice, amplified by the bullhorn he wields, represents a dogmatic allegian ce to evangelical Christian faith which does not differentiate between pronouncements and performances of faith, the ates the festival as a socializing circumference of evangelical ism

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111 Ricky I met Ricky and his son Dale while interviewing Rubin. Ricky is in his early 50s and spo rts an unmistakable amalgam of retro British punk gear, including a red beret, leather vest and combat boots works third s fe stivals, beginning in 1992 and including consecutive attendances from 1994 to 1996, of the festival and he sees diversity of faith interconnected to diversity of mus ical styles. understand about Christian rock, and God had to open my eyes just because, at one point, I was like some of these people that hang outside our gates and preach against Ricky shares with me his personal testimony of coming to faith in Christ, adding that his love of music and his newfound faith was initially a contradiction that he could and records, targeting these elements of popular culture as somehow connected to his went so far as to destroy the albums, not wanting to profit from selling them and as a n, from counter culture to Christianity. On the one hand, the first commandment warns

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112 ct upon Fr ancisco, we had John Michael Talbot, we had Scott Wesley Brown; we had all these insofar as the evangelical Christian community views the conversion, or resocialization, of these general market musicians as validating the faith; yet, the Christian base expects hen we look at uncertain about the legitimacy of the Christian alternative music scene. Though it pains him, he confesses that he sympathizes with where Rubin is comin g from. lost pre of personal faith through Christian rock music community. He describes the f irst time he saw the band perform at Cornerstone: were going all over the stage, up and down. [. . .]. Glenn was stopping and doing something to the guitar, and Wendy came up there and made this statement, been in other bands and they always start and they play two and they finish. So I play our songs

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113 Wendy, I think, is the only lady that can make him blush like that. ion of this event draws out a subtle, yet important function of Christian rock. It was not merely the genre of music, or the lyrics, that he identified with: it was stage m impious piety (relative to an otherwise dogmatic and conservative evangelical faith), not just on a personal level, but experienced communally at Cornerstone. Much of the fashion styles at Cornerstone follow in suit their preferred genre of rock fash ion perpetuates innuendo about what goes on inside the festival, regarding the consumption of alcohol, illegal drugs, and fights. However, he places the onus upon local churchgoers who respond to festival attendees similarly to how early believers respond ed to John the Baptist, a New Testament prophet who is said to have dressed in animal hide: Actually, I should be thanking God for those people. I really should, because if everybody said this is a good thing, then we should be worried. And so, is this p are attacking your Christian brothers. We get that from Macomb as well.

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114 Ricky explains th to a close, but Ricky proffers one final thought regarding the protestors, including the outsider, Rubin, a nd the local pastors who accompany him: saved. Would you say those people have compassion in their hearts? No, they heresyism and with this place. Ricky is supportive of the Cornerstone scene, however his preferred relationship between faith and rock music aligns less with the ambigui ty of Transformational CCM and more so with the exhortation, worship, and testimonial aspects of a Separational form. however, Ricky occupies a curious liminal space. Rick y sees general market rock music as antithetical to Christian faith, yet he embraces this genre mediated in the form of sees itself accomplishing an alternative Christian identity, yet proclaiming an adherence to traditional evangelical doctrine. The attendee that argued with Rubin, defending his right as a Christian to sport tattoos and c is an example of this perception, which amounts to an

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115 impious ld they are at Cornerstone Festival. Rubin feels compelled to attendees reveal that their sense of personal identity is interconnected to this scene; to Cornerstone as an ideological campsite where they construct alternative Christian identities. Cart Security Duty: Wednesday I decided before arriving at Cornerstone that volunteering would be a good way to view the festival; that it would provide a vantage that mos t attendees never experience. The Cornerstone security office is a small trailer, located at the nexus of activity. It is adjacent to the festival office and medical center. A small, orange and plastic netted fence marks this important territory and I c ross its threshold with some trepidation. The hopes of getting to know JPUSA on a more intimate level. I mount the office steps, knock, and enter, thus inaugurating my time as a member and walky at this since morning. I set my backpack down in the cor ner, under a countertop that is bolted onto the side of the trailer. Ron, a tall black man exuding a calm vibe, is one of the heads of security and is a long crisis. Main Street is jammed at the nearby corner, visible from the large window above

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116 the countertop. What sounds like an urgent crisis coming from the other end of the walky talky is met by Ron with composed assurance. Nothing is resolved, but the sense of urgency is defused. I introdu ce myself to Ron and he tells me to have a seat. I tell Ron about my study and he seems excited. I him ask how long he has been with JPUSA: A the sound that a multitude of generator stages hosting hardcore bands produces. he says, referring to the various fashions of punk, Got h, and hardcore, adopted by attendees at Cornerstone. Ron calls it, a call comes over the walky talky. Plenty of cal ls have come in, and Ron keys on the important message s ok out for fake JPUSA bracelet s. ng blue from garbage to find the bracelets and have held onto them all this time. When more volunteers arrive, Ron hands me an orange v est (one size fits all ), a walk y talky and the key to cart #7: he says, and turns his attention to gure out where the ignition is located and turn o, do you

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117 know how to put thi which I appreciate because he coul d have made me feel like an idiot. her v ehicles roll by, new arrivals searching for a campsite. People making the trek to Main from Main Street and travel down a small path that runs beside a pond, slowin g down to along the grassy paths that interconnect along the farthest reaches of the campsites. Some youths throwing a Frisbee move off to the side of the path, smi ling and giving me a Hanging a hard right, back toward Main Street, my memory of attending the festival and l in their dark sunglasses, By the end of my shift I feel invigorated, despite all the highs and lows that go press, confidant and confederate and former true believer turned cart security. Outside the office, Andy, festival security supervisor, runs through the primary rules of conduct which begin with nev er hesitating to call for backup if I feel intimidated by a situation.

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118 a Reminiscing Camp I return to camp after exploring the festival grounds and taking in more live music. My understanding of how the Corn erstone scene works for attendees is beginning to crystallize: otherwise marginal forms of expressing and experiencing Christian faith are privileged at this festival. Not only are the processes of this socialization non traditional, but the end goal, if there even is one, is that attendees appropriate Christian faith to their lifestyle, rather than adjust their lifestyle to a pre existing dogma. based form of attendance, facilitates bonds and social network s between attendees whose marginalized membership practices are validated. However, while rock music and its many sub genres is the central unifying theme at Cornerstone Festival, rock music has been, and remains, a marginalized form of expression for Chr istian youth. My introduction to Christian rock was inaugurated by two friends who were attending classes at the local junior college by day and working as DJs at the local TX, Russell and Chris sat me down in a corner and brought me tape after tape directing me to this or that song. They pillaged the dusty corners where the misfits of CCM including alternative rock, blues and metal bands were stashed. Traditional Gos pel, popular and easy listening forms of CCM dominated the shelf space. I was hooked, immediately, The Eyes, and The Pride of Life (1987). I left that day with a stack of CDs by Danie l Amos, Adam Again,

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119 The Throes and The Lost Dogs. The artistry was top notch even if the production quality From the late 1970s i nto the early 1990s, Christian books tores like The S croll were the primary power broker in the distribution and sales of Christian Music. This conspicuously well organized gatekeeper was especially discriminative with rock music: Christian bookstores, reasonably, decided to take the path of least resistan ce to and the Christian music industry was relieved to give the bookstores what they wanted. Christian singers like Dallas Holm and Cynthia Clawson took nonthreatening stances to new heights. Their pleasant music had lyrics that rarely strayed from safe themes like gratitude toward Jesus and was an ideal soundtrack for evangelical Christianit ]. By 1980, when Christians were key to the elec tion of Ronald Reagan, the face of Christian music was no longer a hairy ex hippie with a thatch on his face and a song in his heart (Beaujon, 2006, p. 29) Christian r ock was developed by Jesus People m usicians in the late 1960s. F rom this time through t he 1970s, groups sustained their presence by constant touring and mail order distribution. However, as Beaujon notes, unlike its easy listening counterparts, Christian rock was not readily assimilated into the CCM industry. When the popularity of CCM bu rgeoned in the 1980s, the rock music that was banned from the churches found performance spaces in coffeehouses and nightclubs, and rack space if sparse, on Christian book store shelves. Today, bands are sought after to perform for youth g roups in churche s, or at clubs

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120 churches, seeking t o draw youths into their fold. However, Christian r ock was view ed most suspiciously by church groups : Jesus Music provoked controversy from its inception. Traditional churchgoers made no distinction between long haired Christian rocker Larry Norman or guitar icon Jimi Hendrix. The established church remained convinced that anything born out of rebellion would only beget further rebellion. Hippies extolling the virtues of Jesus to a frenz spiritual compromise (Di Sabatino, 1999, p. 136) But there were those who effectively rebelled against the censorship and created a niche in the bookstores for alternatively styled Christian music, pr edominantly rock music but also including rap, techno, heavy metal and shoe gazer music In lieu of industry support, the Christian alternative rock scene in the early 1990s recalled the Jesus People music scene of the late 1970s. The ideology of the musi c had changed, from dogmatism to ambiguity, but similar to early Jesus People m usic the distribution was sparse and the marketing was predominantly word of mouth, like my experience at The Scroll. The music that Russell and Chris introduced me to represen ted an edgier Christian music scene. Steve Taylor (alternative rock, pop r ock new wave) indicted evangelicals for perpetuating segregation and racism; The 77s (blues rock) inclu ding owning rather than suppressing sexual desire; The Lost Dogs (country, blues rock) and Adam Again (alternative rock) broached otherwise taboo topics s uch as divorce, anti war appeals and calls for social activism. These themes may not be especially or iginal in the general market, however for a Christian youth audience, many of whom were banned

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121 from purchasing non Christian music and listening to non Christian radio stations, this was quite rad ical As DJs, Russell and Chris pushed back against this ce nsorship, playlist at the local Christian radio station. Though censored from much of Christian radio, these musicians were easily accessible at Cornerstone Festiva l, where we could hear them perform these records that proffered a reality that contested traditional evangelical dogmatism The festival served as a site for t he marginalized person of faith to participate in an alternative experience. It was also a tim e to bond with friends as travelers in a space that was outside of our typical soc ial environment crewing in a communal space. It was a time for de bating the particulars of our Christian faith and the avai lable freedoms and limitations that we perceived within its fr ame including the ongoi ng debate of what it meant to b e in the world, but not of the world, insofar as this maxim related to rock music and its accompanying aesthetic. Cornerstone was for us a site where we could invent the sort of space both physical and spiritual, we wanted to celebrate. As fate, or serendipity, or maybe just dumb luck would have it, the timing for the fieldwork portion of this study coincided with an important landmark for Cornerstone Festival. Celebrating a Quarter Century of Cornerstone th anniversary, all officially sponsored exhibition area venues are shut down between 6pm and midnight. Main Stage, however, remains open and I join the throng o pilgrimage in its own right. The venue is the typical the primary draw for the festival and

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122 typically features a recent convert musician from the general market. A long time tradit ion within the evangelical community has been to recruit popular general market artists into its fold and put them on stage as advertisements for the gospel. Bob Dylan and Alice Cooper are among the most notable, while M.C. Hammer, who played Cornerstone This is also t he first year that a film has made it to Main Stage. Director Jim Miss HIV (2006) argues that although HIV AIDS is a preventable disease, a seemingly irreconcilable confluence of religious, activist, and political ideologies continue to imped e progress toward a more aggressive and comprehensive prevention strategy. Before programs can be successfully implemented, it is argued that these ideological camps must either resolve or compromise their stances on matters of social change upon sovereign nations. HIV/AIDS remains a difficult topic for many judgment against homosexuals. JPU this film resonates with the more liberally minded of its attendees and challenges conservatives. I veer off Main Street halfway to my destination, taking an alternate path to Main Stage through a heavil y wooded camping area. There are sporadic gatherings around games of horseshoes and cards, all including rock music blaring from boom boxes. The latter is like touring the history of Christian rock. The 1980s heavy metal rockers Stryper

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123 spill out of one next. I also hear the unmistakable 1970s rock of Larry Norman, the quintessential Jesus People musician. Further down the trail, a sophisticated composition by Charlie Peacock (art rock), with its beautiful melodies and complicated changes, entertains an equally composed group of fifty somethings, grilling a medley of vegetables and steak. This chi ldren are likely kicking up dust in a gauntlet at a hardcore show somewhere in the exhibition area before those venues are closed for the Main Stage celebration. Instead of delving into the midst of the crowd gathered at Main Stage, I find a spot of cool grass and lie down, resting my eyes while catching fragments of storytelling that recollect and reinvent personal and collective memory. I hear people comparing decades worth of Cornerstone festivals, from the 1980s and 1990s to the 2000s. I suspect, ho wever, that this is the exception given the more sedated locale I chose to settle into. The average attendee is an early twenty something and many are here for the first beginnings during the Jesus People Movement. It is typically the case that new attendees know virtually nothing about JPUSA, including parents who co travel here with their tee nagers. The Main Stage playbill reflects this eclectic generation bending. Flatfoot 56, who made their big splash here at Cornerstone in 2006, is a Christian punk band from Chicago, Illinois that features Scottish Highland Bagpipes. Another act, The Le e Boys, are likely the most talented among a generation of young Christian bands

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124 of sorts, for the CCM industry as increasingly rock music is an accepted form of mu sic among evangelicals. However, this by no means suggests a radical shift, insofar as these pening acts to more traditional festival favorites, including long time friends of JPUSA: The 77s, The Lost Dogs, Over the Rhine, and Charlie Peacock. Community elder Glenn Kaiser shares the stage with a variety of invited musicians and the David Crowder annual July 4 th Fireworks. En route back to camp, I divert into a virtual labyrinth of venues in the exhibition area, official and off grid: Got h, punk, jazz, folk, club, and hardcore. The only genuinely unifying theme among them is that they are, for the most part, marginalized forms of music within CCM. In the past, the CCM industry, along with its parent evangelical culture, could easily cont rol the genre; however, with innovations in both recording and soon be a young attendee pod casting from a generator stage at Cornerstone. Social network sites mig ht complete this swing toward an independent Christian youth community. In the late 1960s it was folk and rock music that made Christianity relevant again to millions of American youth, ushering in a new generation into the fold of a then waning religious another paradigm shift. The house lighting pours out of Encore 1 as I navigate the maze of rusted metal garbage cans, tents, and fellow zombies. The bands have stopped playing for the

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125 evening, but I can hear the distant rumbling of the Dance Club from the other end of the grounds. This rumbling is complemented by the harmonizing sounds of a small group of attendees gathered at Encore 2, singing worship songs to the accompaniment of an acoustic guitar. Back at my campsite, these sounds are drowned out by the clanging of tequila bottles, laughter and spontaneous bouts of cursing. I pass out in my tent on top of the sleeping bag, too tired to change out of my clothes. Conclusion For youth culture differentiates itself both from its parents and its parent culture. However, a Christian rock aesthetic, insofar as it occurs at Cornerstone festival, includes both y oung and old sharing an experience of Christian faith in the context of making camp. These generations share in common an experience of marginalization within their chosen faith. passion for typically marginalized forms of rock, access to social media sites, and prowess in digital production technologies, may be the start of something groundbreaking. Certainly, Cornerstone Festival represents the carving out of a more sust a inable niche for Christian rock, one that does not need the support of the CCM industry or its evangelical customer base. Processes of play and dialogue are copr oduced forms of socialization. T hese Cornerstone, are communicative acts that bring into being for the duration of the festival an alternative experience of Christian member ship. Chr istian rock is an impious piety

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126 insofar as it grafts an otherwise antithetical form of expression, rock music, to a traditional form of Christian faith. Attendees navigate the oft ambiguous space between these forms, pulled at times in opposing and the more traditional evangelical voice he embodies serves as a validating antagonist works counter intuitively, though equally effective, to typical forms of socialization One attendee who came out to the gates to confront Rubin wondered later why JPUSA did not directly engage Rubin or have Rubin and other preachers who also came to prot est the festival removed from the grounds. John Herrin explained to me later that he in fact went the other direction in this case. He extended an invitation to Rubin to enter the festival and take in its scene first hand an invitation that Rubin refus ed. By not taking action against the protestors, by letting Rubin and others attendee or crew to consider for themselves; to engage in some form of action, be that ig noring or engaging Rubin, or to take up as a matter of discussion on their own terms and for themselves. Indeed, action is reciprocal insofar as it facilitates internalization of the social order while contributing to its construction, or ongoi ng objectifi cation of reality: Religious legitimations arise from human activity, but once crystallized into complexes of meaning that become part of a religious tradition they can attain a measure of autonomy as against this activity. Indeed, they may then act back upon actions in everyday life, transforming the latter, sometimes radically. ( Berger, 1967, p. 41)

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127 R eligion is especially effective to redress those marginal moments when the reality of everyday life is brought into question by bringing these experience s into the realm of a Berger, p. 44). However, because music in general and rock music in particular includes aesthetic processes and forms of participation which are atypical to traditional orientations of evangelical faith, the otherwi se mere marginal experience that attendees have at Cornerstone, combined with the uniquely communal experience and structure that JPUSA brings to the site, facilitates a sustainable subculture. The coproduced dynamic of Cornerstone Festival is buttressed by social networking sites and the recent trend among young evangelicals for social activism. Through this form of hyper mediated coproduction, emergent cultures that spring up at the festival are more through a process of opposition to diffusion, from resistance to incorporation (1979, p. the ir alternative forms of Christian practice, the opposition and resistance they receive from the evangelical parent culture helps sustain rather than diffuse their subculture. desire to be rea d exchanging the church house for the camp ground in order to participate in an alternative tyle of all date, the coproduced aspect of the festival helps both attendees and JPUSA resist an insidious incorporation of their scene. Whether this resistance can hold indefinitely, however, remains to be proven.

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128 Chapter Five: Variations of Music Experiences and Christian Identity In chapter four I examined the conspicuous fusion of Christian faith to rock music piritual efficacy. JPUSA frames Cornerstone as a space for Christian youth to celebrate a rock aesthe tic. For attendees, Christian r ock is a means of forming community and of forging identities alternative to the evangelical mainstream that sees the musi c as threatening. At social order predicated upon dogmatic systems of belief. Andrew Beaujon (2006) explains that Cornerstone Festival champions the burgeonin g Chr istian r ock scene, noting derstand the role of Christian r ock, we must consider the relatio nships that are created by its performance as a scene. Although rock music enjoys increasing value for those individuals who glean from it important identity markers, their parent culture considers even Christian rock a threatening form of music or pract sound Christian doctrine and attitudes. In other words, to the larger, more traditional evangelical community the modifier (Christian) does not compensate for the object (rock music). However, becaus e Christian youth want their rock music, the parent culture

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129 adapted by co opting the genre into the fold through the evangelical approved CCM industry and established its control over the distributive, performative, and thus participatory practices of its marginal experience, insofar as the festival is not determined by industry standards or the evangelical processes of other Christian festivals. Cornerstone Festival has shifted the culture of CCM b y creating a niche within the evangelical community for alternative forms of Christian membership practices. Transformational CCM, for example, typically a marginalized form of the genre entic ambiguity. mingling of forms by recounting a series of live performances through the lens of what Christopher Ethnographic interviews with The Robbins and with The Memphis Tent stage managers complement these performance criticisms by providing perform perspectives of the scene. Also, I return to The Roundtable where a new member, Jordon, explains the unique relationship between Christian rock artists and their s Place in the generator stages as the foundation for new socialization processes. Jesus People Music During the evenings, I find a reason to stop by the Gallery Stage which serves as

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130 well into the night at generator stages on either side of the gravelly st reet. The back of the venue has a coffee bar, card tables and is lighted well enough for me to write fieldnotes into my dilapidated spiral notebook. Already, the cool breeze blowing through this giant, almost carnival like open air tent is bringing my co re temperature down. While finishing my coffee, I hear a funky jam emanating from next door, at the Grrr Records/Project 12 Stage. I pack up my gear and head for the funky rhythms emanating from the venue. Standing at the entrance of the tent, I feel l ike Zacchaeus 2 attending an old time revival meeting, peering down the center aisle. The singer is prophesying in time to the e and walk to the front, hoping for a seat to present itself; otherwise, this could get awkward, and fast. Three rows from the stage, ask, cupping my hand around the ear of the shorter of the two men, who 2 vited himself over to (KJV Luke 19:1 10).

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131 is incredible; George Clinton could open for this band. Brother Red Squirrel has the audi ence in the palm of his hand when he cranks out a wild guitar jam. I see JPUSA community elder Glenn Kaiser and his Resurrection Band waiting off stage, equally with m cal motions for the band to play more softly: hold you like hens to their chicks. But you would not listen to the prophets that came from old, and you killed them o He bled, for you and me. Crown of thorns; Spear plunged into his side. He was stripped t give you my Spirit. Dead, three days later! [Crowd applauds] Hallelujah! Three days later, he rose again! And he came to us, and he showed us his nail scarred hands. And

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132 out for another five minutes, bringing the house down and raising the cr owd up in celebration of their shared commitment to this faith. Figure 5.1 : Brother Red Squirrel ight years, after which it is delivered makes me miss my Led Zeppelin albums; it also, if just for a moment, makes wish I could still adhere to the faith that fuels th eir passion. 1970s: commercial infrastructure to support their efforts. At the time, most artists felt the production of recorded music albums a secondary concern eclipsed by the primacy of personal intimacy developed with a live audience. [. . .]. Most pioneers speak o f this era as one of spontaneity unclouded by the materialism that

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133 followed as Jesus Music made an awkward transition into a competitive industry. (p. 136) while competin g quite successfully in the CCM industry with its Grrr Records label. Not only is JPUSA a multi generational commune, the group facilitates a multi generational passion and talent for the fusion of faith, evangelism and alternatively styled genres of musi c. Brother Red Squirrel is one example of this multi generational heritage. He and in Christ and becoming turned on to rock music, is located on the JPUSA web site. He with our fa milies and friends in an intentional community of people committed to living out the teachings of Jesus Christ; of loving God with our whole hearts and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves [. .] we want to be transparent we want help to grow into wholesome beings and set free to be examples of holy living in this world where there is so much site, alongside other ministries that include a roofing business, homeless shelter and the

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134 same title). Res urrection Band officially formed in 1972 and has performed at all manner of venues: from schools and prisons, bars and churches, to street corners and nursing homes. s hard rock and heavy metal sound. However, a small label, Star Song Records, released addressed social issues including apartheid in South Africa, materialism, militarism, racism, homelessness, poverty, divorce, urban violence and drug and sex addiction. yed vastly increased exposure for its gospel message, including an MTV appearance; end of shows. REZ was now playing secular venues that disapproved of the practice As artists such as Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Stryper, and Degarmo and Key began to dominate the burgeoning CCM industry, REZ withdrew from popular music markets in order to focus upon the development of Grrr Records and the cultivation of new generat ions of musicians. and community building. The Grrr Records web site lists thirte en current artists Blamed). The music ranges in style from the hard rock and blues of REZ and the

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135 bluegrass styled family folk of Glen Clark and The Family, to the Britis h styled punk simply Goth, of Leper. Fans can review news releases and purchase CDs, MP3s or That JP including worship of God, the exultation of believers, and proselytization. Recalling s web post announcing the band Seeds, performing rock music, communal living and being a person of faith are profoundly interconnected for JPUSA members. My amongst the mo re mainstream industry emulations of Christian rock. The historical heritage, the musicianship, and the sheer passion of the performance add credibility to the professions of faith in Christ that accompany the show. The version of Jesus People Music of which Di Sabatino writes is still very much alive for JPUSA bands. However, in order to maintain their presence in the Christian added an industry grade recording studio an d developed sophisticated distribution processes (including digital distribution). My experiences of performances at Cornerstone are often tainted by an awareness of the business of Christian Music, an invisible but dominating structure. Christian music, holistic or conspicuous, communal or corporate, is after all irrevocably bound to an economic entity that is equally dependent upon an evangelical customer base.

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136 The Roundtable, Part II ering, drinking, swearing, and toking up. I awake groggy and irritated. A thick layering of clouds hovers overhead, draping the cold rain soaked festival grounds. I change clothes in the tent, putting on fresh socks and skivvies. A new shirt and yester the ensemble. Outside the tent I collapse into my camping chair and pillage the cooler for breakfast. The cream cheese is spent and I replace it with crunchy peanut butter spread. The granola bars have been a great idea, whet her providing a temporary energy boost or breaking the waves of tedium that crash my spirit from time to time. I chug the last of this current jug of water, secure the campsite, and pack my gear. Final preparations include slipping into the markers and t ools of my multiple Cornerstone identities: press and volunteer badges, small notepad, and the digital camera slung around my neck. Before I leave I notice one of the neighbors lying outside of a three person tent l he passed out, but now the buzz has worn off and he is visibly shivering under a cheap blanket on top of the damp ground. I snag the sleeping bag from my tent and approach this abandoned soul, offering up my only source When I arrive at the Gallery Stage, Todd and Dan are there to greet me. They wave me over to th eir table and introduce me to Keith, another of their companions. I

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137 pirate wal king down a side path between tents. I do a double take. Yes, he is a pirate. He has all of the gear: pirate hat, pirate boots, pirate styled mustache, everything, even an eye patch. He is moving quickly, though I have no idea where a pirate at a Chris tian festival in Bushnell, Illinois needs to be. He makes eye contact in passing and flashes me a crazed smile. Dumbfounded, I wave. When I return to the table, Christian activism is the topic of conversation. suffering from depression and addiction, began cutting her arms and bleeding herself. nto her wrist and pass ed out in a bathroom. Renee was beca me her hospital and the possibility of healing fills our living room with life. It is unspoken and there are only a few of us, but we will be her church, the body of Christ coming alive to meet her needs, to write love on her arms. was passed around on line and p opularized through social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. she was denied ent ry to treatment, had nowhere to turn for support to help their friend. The movement boasts a membership of millions. Buzz in the form of bracelets, T shirts, by the cr oss pollination of the sort that Dan mentioned yesterday morning. A day or so

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138 before arriving at Cornerstone, Tworkowski was speaking at the Warp Tour in Dallas denominational activism is interconnected by virtue of their shared investment in social issues, such as suicide and cutting, with agnostic and atheist members of his generation. Jordon impresses upon me that this movement was a grass roots phenomenon, started by a small commu nity of believers in Florida, whose cause was marketed through T shirts and tattoos sported by Christian and later general market rock musicians. He emphasizes that it was neither institutionalized American religious groups nor its pastors that made this reconciliation between the diverse members of his generation possible; rather, it was a few marginalized Christian punk rockers and hardcore bands that brought these otherwise radically different rhetorical communities together. This marks a significant d eparture from the traditional evangelical trajectory. The domestication of God by evangelicals, as a fatherly figure who provides everything a believer needs and acquiesces to believers supplications, is complemented by Separational and Integrational CCM forms that feature unthreatening lyrics penned to a range of easy listening genres, including adult contemporary and pop rock. Evangelicals, who view themselves in perpetual conflict with a fallen and unredeemable world, encourage a withdrawal from soci al activist campaigns. However, as evidenced activism for youth such as Jordon, the Transformational movement in CCM is effecting a Indeed, despite critics on the right who disdain what they find to be banality and

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139 co would see m to remain a source of faith, hope, and refuge, and it is the first and best medium for carrying creative and powerful stories about the things that count most in their daily lives. (Howard and Streck, 1999, p. 4) Cornerstone Festival fills the experient ial gap for these Christian youth, for most of whom rock music remains a taboo form of expression and social activism is considered one of the evil tenants of liberalism. The Roundtable members gradually disperse, joining the throngs of other attendees a lready venue hopping from concert to concert. Before he leaves, Todd, who has been relatively quiet this morning, tells me that while he was praying God gave him a the day. I resolve, instead, to investigate more keenly the proliferation of gene rator Generator Stages Last night I was overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of bands performing from stages powered by generators along Buzz Saw Alley. These venues are one of the most fascinating developments since the festival site was relocated to Cornerstone Farm. toward these attendee managed stages, intervening only to maintain festival safety and to enforce the same noise restrict ions to which other festival venues must comply. At the

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140 intersection of Main Street and Midway Road, I settle onto a giant log. From where I sit, I can watch three bands perform simultaneously. sophistication from elaborate stages with P.A. systems that rival an officially sanctioned Cornerstone venue, to a mere amplifier plugged into a small generator. Stage managers furnish their own electricity through generators and either pre book groups ho ping to make a splash at the festival or draw bands to their stage through impromptu, on site marketing. These attendee managed stages have traveled from all over the country to be here. Thus, for a festival that was already eclectic it now boasts an imp ressive milieu of music scenes. well as a shared fan base. Combined with the proliferation of social media sites and digital downloads, this scene within a scene do es not have to compete with the official festival venues to be successful, and is ripe for the emergence of new sounds and forms of expression. Figure 5.2 : Generator Stage with Canopy The generator stage phenomenon at Cornerstone is representative of what sustaining intentional community and Christian rock is marginalized or otherwise not taken seriously by traditional institutions of faith. Subsequently, Cornerstone Festival has

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141 be come a sort of second cooperative approaches to faith and living bring a sense of integrity or pride to the emerge nt cultures that arise from its scene, including these generator stages, which are virtually un censored. They are attendee organized and managed, and sustained by their ability to book cutting edge, if not always talented bands. These stages represent a form of folk art that is independent from the corporate industry. At Cornerstone, they signify a alternative to mainstream CCM. The style of audience participa success depends directly upon passersby taking notice and getting involved in the show. Audience members can look the performers directly in the eye, and likewise. There is a sense of immediacy and despe ration to this format: the performers know they are competing with hundreds of other bands playing at the same time at similar venues for the same people. Also, the cloak of lights and fog machines is stripped away, leaving the d sheer veracity the only means to attract, sustain, and effectively create an audience. Figure 5.3 : Generator Stage with Dancers

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142 Hardcore bands dominate the generator stages at Cornerstone; their style of play sounds like amped buzz saws chopping into the air. I can feel my body vibrate to the music, which elicits pagan styled, free spirited dancing in some instances and, in other cases, violent body slamming and elbow throwing. Indeed, part of the draw to hardcore music is the simulated violence tha t audience members partake in as a complement to the those rare occasions when churches sponsor hardcore and other rock shows, their motivation is to frame the experi ence, both for the performers (as a variation of the traditional evangelist) and for the audience members (who are reminded that their dancing is a celebration of faith in Christ). Although the church building has been removed, I notice that some performe rs still attempt to frame, or justify, the performance acknowledge that they have embraced a non religious form and grafted it to their identification as Christians, but th In the middle of these two hardcore shows is The Robbins, the band I spoke with the next act and packed their gear away into a small U Haul trailer. They look grumpy, but it is not the 90 the rhythm guitarist was a stand The stand in is a friend who comes to their shows back home and knows the songs. The splash they were hoping to make at Cornerstone was thus a challenge from the beginning.

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143 different than every The Robbins derived their own brand of cool from not committing themselves building or exchanging of riffs, it seems, in their experience here. I ask them about their hometown scene, what kinds of surprised that a Christian band enjoys a sustainable presence in a bar scene and I ask him sound plays well in those scenes. They give us talks about how to behave, how not to phic breakdown. scene, respectively:

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144 Well, for us, or for me, it was hard knowing every single person who came up to release party at a bar called The Charlotte Underground, and we told them we Christian), the Robbins place emphasis upon the music as the central, organizing force of their experience that is larger than the sum of its parts: their individual faith, evangelicalism, audiences, and performance spaces. This equation flipping privileges the imaginative and creative possibilities drawn from ambiguity over the more comfortable, if not constrictive and controlled, dogmatism of evangelicalism. I can tell that this [. .] instead of just dreaming about it. Not so much going on tour, because g more out of town shows and getting to know other playing the same five places every weekend.

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145 ect is a desire for a scene that is not so divided. It is possibly the case that the faith aspect is merely a sense of security for them. I ask for their impressions of Cornerstone: know, we have a good musical experience. But I think these kids are missing the point. and have them watch them play their music. It defeats the purpose of going, of traveling. r, enjoy being able to write about it. T spiritual philosophy complements well approach, their story shows that this marginalized form is potentially as alienating as it is liberating.

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146 Cornerstone should be a source of encouragement for The Robbins, validating the r, not only do they have to compete against alternative philosophies of CCM, they must also carve their own musical niche from within this already splintered scene. The Robbins are betwixt and between, struggling with what is for them two competing realit ies: music and faith. They profess to have come to Cornerstone to broaden their musical experiences. However, they are also searching for a community of artists and audiences that are not bound to the rigorously dogmatic convictions which they feel burde ned by back home. For these young Christian rock musicians, the dilemma is a matter of rejection by either their general market audiences in the bars, or by their Christian audiences in the churches in Cornerstone a potential site where they can find or tap into an alternative audience which would allow them to Christian. As such, Cornerstone is constructed by the R obbins as a site for essential credibility of a social order or institution (1966, p. 147). At Cornerstone they are seeking out audiences and fellow musicians (significant others) with whom they can form relationships that will reinforce their identification as marginal Christians. commitment to confirming this type of marginal identification. However, for their part, JPUSA merely provides the site for this type of identity seeking pilgrimage. It is up to the attendees to activate the site, seek out and form the necessary relationships and conversations (or performances) that will quench their desire for alternative community.

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147 Cart Security Duty: Thursday The hours spent investigating the generator stage scene has left me spent. I return to my campsite for an extended rest, crashing in my small tent despite the heat of the day. When I a generator stages primarily host hardcore bands that crank out a constant wall of noise. These venues line the outskirts of gravely paths that host heavy foot traffic. Although no stages are in the eye line of the security office, they are embedded in this immediate area. or many in the evangelical fold a serious threat to the ongoing vitality of Christian faith, a form that corrupts the soul, for Ron is barely notable. Indeed, debates regarding the evangelical efficacy of rock music are really power negotiations. What Co rnerstone accomplishes, in this regard, is the facilitation of a space where Christian musicians and audiences can construct self legitimating frames for their experiences of faith and music. It is possible ather than the festival itself, may yet evolve into a viable, alternative digital market to the current CCM industry frame. There is a proliferation of people riding on the hoods of cars today. I use the quickness and mobility of my cart to pull up be to dismount. I am also on the look out for a yellow motorbike from Macomb, a neighboring city to Bushnell. The rider of this transport skipped past security at the front

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148 gate without paying for admission. He is now shamelessly tearing through the festival, kicking up dust in his wake. Along Main Street, I respond to a generator stage manager stymied by a parking kerfuffle of great p roportion. The scene resembles a bad joke, where a Christian rock band, a giant banana, and a sewage truck are clogging the flow. Playing at being a traffic cop, I move the sewage truck through. Two bands, both of whom are performing at the Memphis Tent room for one trailer. way path that might work, but we have to shuffle some vehicles first. I approach the man driving the trailer, and wait for him to finish his ear traffic at the moment. ement, I tap twice on his cab and help him navigate the turn. As he is driving past, he stops to of the band, again, to pull around. I approach one of the stage managers to thank him for his help. When I do, I catch myself engaging in an interpersonal behavior that I have witnessed the JPUSA security and stage managers perform: I rest my hand on his s houlder. Touch is important

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149 in community, demonstrating solidarity but also vulnerability within the circumference of a shared experience if not a shared purpose. It also has a calming effect, eliciting a collaborative rather than a competitive attitude. managers, JT and Jon, are running what has become one of the Buzz hel p We have a good business and market in Memphis but coming here, for us, was about expanding that market. So we begged, we borrowed, and worked to be able e on I 55, a tire flies off. Luckily the wheel was in tact. And we found the tire! blessed. So it was a risk, some I ask JT to JT says that other Christia n festivals want bands to sign contracts stating they language on stage. The cost of performing at these other festivals is as exorbitant as the application process is t edious. Also, there is no room for spontaneity as everything is tightly controlled. The generator stage phenomenon would never happen at a festival like

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150 transformed their Cornerstone purpose from making a splash as musicians to facilitating iversity at Cornerstone is another draw. They cite the Goth community and the Cornerstone Dance Club as prime examples, but the nature of their interactions with these groups adds another layer to the ir understanding of the concept. Their first night at Cornerstone, they got into a dispute with the Asylum Tent, home to the Goth community at Cornerstone: We w ere setting up. The Asylum is next to our stage. We shot off at 8pm and there was conflict. We worked it out instead of rebelling. T that just seems to happen here. And that made a s pace for a deeper understanding for us for where they are coming from. It opened my eyes. I talk to them about the JPUSA, my observations o f their conflict management style and wonder if the space itself is imbued with their communal vibe? impressed with is the treatment that JPUSA affords us. We are just some guys from M emphis with a van and some gear, but they treat us with respect. We give the respect back. Around here This translates, for me,

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151 Eve ning Shows: Headnoise, Sixpence None the Richer, Aradhna Headnoise, directs his ministry f rom this site in the mornings, teaching about community, trailer that is parked outside, nestled behind this venue and the Skate Board ramp. Robert also manages The Underground Stage, and tonight his band is one of the headlining acts. The music is incredible proficient general market musicians envious Robert, the early morning preacher is now the late even Robert addresses the gauntlet a group of shirtless, sweaty, dirty, and partially bloodied audience members who form a violent circle in front of the stage I have no ide d. H e really did just show up and h e is genuinely concerned that he may not be in tune members of the gauntlet are in their late teens and early twenties, the rest of the crow d consists of both young and old punks, with our cameras, water bottles, and ball caps. Standing next to me is a giant, much older punk, tatted from neck to shin. One arm is bigger than my torso, and wit h each arm he balances a toddler on his massive shoulders. Robert kicks the band off into the next song. The energy is frenetic, and cues the gauntlet into chaotic, violent motion. He seems possessed by the performance. hump th is fast before. It is head heard can match. Some in the audience raise their hands, signifying a worshipful posture,

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152 while others continue to slam dance to the furious rhyt hms; each accomplishes their purpose, whether it is purely for the experience of rock music or some fusion of the genre to their personal identity and sense of faith. Their multipurpose coproduce the scene and engender what feels like genuine community. This is neither cohesion nor contradiction this is the Christian rock aesthetic. I arrive at the Gallery Stage as Sixpence None the Richer concludes its last song Cornersto music is considered either alternative rock or dream pop. The band members neither prea ch from stage nor see it as their responsibility to proselytize. In this sense, Sixpence follows the trajectory of a Transformational CCM artist insofar as their testimony of faith is believed to emanate from a holistic relationship between the music, the performance and what the audience members make of that experience for themselves. While on the Christ is there also. Like Separational and Integrational artists, Transformational artists believe their musical talents are gifts from God (Howard and Streck, 1999). However, Transformational musicians differ in that they believe the m ere performance of those individuals, they may adhere to the tenets of an evangelical doctrine; however, they differ e wasted without a more obvious

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153 declaration of faith in the form of preaching and performing altar calls from stage. Howard and Streck (1999) argue that the Transformational form of CCM supplants a redeemable in that talents, such the past and will rule in the future, also rules in the present. So, while broken, corrupted and fallen, the world is neither wholl y evil nor wholly good and thus should be neither from a Transformational movement within CCM springs forth a re articulation of evangelical Christian faith. The success of Sixpence, not only in the CCM industry as a breakthrough alternative rock and/or dream pop band, but also in the general market and on Steve approach to cultivating Ch ristian musicians. Because Sixpence has demonstrated that a Transformational approach can reap positive rewards and respect, audiences for this form of CC M are also validated Cornerstone, therefore, provides the unique and rare space not only for these musicians who are typically marginalized, but also for their audiences. Furthermore, these rhetorical communities intermingle with other audiences of both varied genres (hardcore rock, Goth) and varied audiences (Separational CCM) forming an alternat ive and viable community wired listener consumer base. After the Sixpence None the Richer set, a band called Aradhna takes the stage. The band is dressed in Indian attire and packs the stage with a choir and a variety of strange and ancient looking in struments. The music is hypnotic, almost trance like. The

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154 performance is atypical to the genre insofar as instrumental songs are included in the set and much of the performance is derived from Eastern rather than Western musical of coming to Christ. Chris Hale was raised in Nepal where his parents were missionaries, and where he was first introduced to the sitar and Indian devotional music. He formed Aradhna in 1999 as a devotional fusion group. Chris is also a speaker at the festival, as thro be equipped to lead bhajans groups, and accompany the songs with guitar, harmonium, or tab Aradhna starts another song, seemingly transporting the venue into another world. It is stunning, meditative, and beautiful. Words become instruments in this music, performed by the choir, and ta ke on the life of a wandering spirit, weaving in and out of notes; at times dominating the foreground, but always retreating to quieter spaces. I am and meditative so und. The act of Christian worship is a communal experience, with resonance in both personal and public senses of identity. Christopher Small (1998) argues that music is a verb, in that to music or musicking, brings into existence for the duration of the performance a set of relationships that is unique to that moment, not just for the purpose These relationships are not merely linked with the sounds the musician s produce nor their

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155 outside the performance space, in a complex spiral of relationships, and it is those relationships, and the relationships between relationships, that are the meaning of the rmance of Christian praise and worship music is not limited to an elicitation of emotional responses as it is typically regarded. T he aesthetic experience spontaneous coproduction, in the moment ideal Christian community Participants are not left unchanged by this experience. Regardless of whether or not their structs a communal, even if ephemeral, identity performance are not so much those that actually exist as they are the relationships that p. 135). For Small, musicking and the experience that it elicits is not bound to any particular genre. Thus, we would expect similar experiences among audiences attending the Headnoise and Sixpence shows. In the context of festival, where many differ ent genres are featured at an equally varied set of venues, audiences do not translate their interconnectedness of that experience to other genres at other venues. Furthermore, be cause the festival includes an impressive variety of genres, attendees may see themselves in relation rather than opposition to other rhetorical communities of CCM listeners. Therefore, something potentially quite radical is achieved: an otherwise divisiv e issue among evangelicals regarding the means for accomplishing Christian faith is diffused, at least for the duration of the week long event.

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156 recognition that those relation ships exist only in the virtual world of the performance and p. 137). The variety of musicking at Cornerstone facilities many different experiences, from the gauntle t at the Underground Stage during a punk show, to the more reserved forms of worship during the Aradhna set; from the officially sponsored venues like the with the se experiences what they will. Their per liminal experience may or may not translate to their everyday lives back home, but it might also ensure a repeat attendance to Cornerstone Festival where they may once again glimpse an ideal, if ephemeral, vision o f the kind of Christian community they would prefer to see in the world. Roundtable, Part III En route to the Gallery Stage for morning coffee, I stop at a gathering of young children in the Grrr Records/Project 12 tent. It is one of several morning d evotional times set aside for the youngest members of the Cornerstone population. They are amidst the throng. He is their teacher this morning, and he was singing right a long with them before taking the small stage. He still looks every bit the punk rocker with spiked hair and tats. The joy he exudes in this small, humbling venue is as genuine as the blistering bass lines he cranked out last night. For JPUSA, there is n

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157 sustaining intentional community, JPUSA can afford this otherwise contradict ory tapestry without fear of rebuke from a dominating parent culture or institution. When I arrive at the Roundtable, I set my backpack down in one of the few open seats next to Jordon. The table is actually no longer round, but rectangular. Our number s have grown such that five additional card tables have been pushed together. I greet Todd with a toast into the air with my coffee mug. Instead of opening up my notebook alongside the program, per my typical routine, I fetch my digital recorder and set it on the conversation, discussing the evolution of Christian rock. Terri, a newcomer to the roundtable, is engrossed in a conversation with Jordon about faith and politics. The 2008 p residential election season is gaining momentum and it is clear, by this point, that Obama and McCain will represent their respective parties in November. I ask Jordon if his faith will pre suppose his vote in this election, which we both know is a loaded he and his friends are increasingly investing themselves in social causes, including poverty in Africa, suicide in America, and sustainable changes to current environmental policy, desiring increased oversight and stricter regulations as well as increased federal investment in the development of alternative sources of fuel. mention that by investing in these social issues and deviating from a shared anti abortion stance, is the evangelical comm

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158 and inviting suspect coalitions with non higher power produces not hubris but humility, especially in regard to those who are different from them, including race, religion, and politics. I ask Terri and Jordon who they intend to vote for, and to what extent the abortion issue plays a role in their decision. Jordon is still undecided, but claims that he and his friends are leaning toward Obama. The abortion issue is important, but he considers it merely one issue among others that sho whether Christians or m embers of another faith, or atheists, also resonates for him on a personal level and finds its expression at moments typically considered ephemeral, such went from crazy moshing to just us on our knees: Praise. People on the appealing for help; in fact there was no verbal communication between him and those others, but there was touch: the laying on of hands and un solicited support and of evangelical C hristians. It is a tolerance movement within an otherwise intolerant

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159 a pilgrimage site, for the working out of an alternative Christian identity that is insepara ble from and indeed animated by rock music. After a long lunch back at the campsite, I re gather my gear and make for the the te nt, I dig into my cargo shorts for my Press Badge. I could just as easily enter the seat three rows back and prepare my spiral notebook for the forthcoming fie ldnotes. The panel consists of a JPUSA moderator and panelists: John Herrin, Doug Van Pelt, John Van Pelt and Thompson represent CCM media outlets that serve as compani ons to published the first Christian heavy metal newsletter in 1985, called ( HM ) The publication was initially a fanzine for the popular Christian band, Stryper. His timing was perfect; as the sole publication covering the genre, Christian music labels advertised their bands in HM In the 1990s, HM s coverage of the Christian hardcore that he was a homosexual, and when Alice Cooper came out as a born again Chri stian, these artists selected HM as the site for their stories. John Thompson is the founder of True Tunes News which started as a Christian record shop in Wheaton, Illinois. The shop exclusively sold Christian rock, hip hop, and other alternative genre s rarely featured

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160 in Christian bookstores. During the mid 1990s, True Tunes hosted a magazine, store, and live venue all at the same locale. At its peak, the magazine had a circulation of nearly fifty thousand. Three themes dominate the panel discussion, of the typical Cornerstone attendee, cultivating cross cultural dialogue, and the generator stages. Stepping back from the dialogue provides a clear picture of these three themes as mutually formative in realizing the goals of each. However, the achievement of either of The generator stages developed spontaneously, outside the circumference of the decades, individual artists and bands have simply showed up at the festival, plugged in and played. You could walk around the festival grounds and stumble upon a folk singer strumming at her campsite, or a group of musicians jamming with the aid of a gene We now have the alternative universe down Cor nerstone main road like buzz s aws Thompson With the aid of computer technology and improvements in generator power sources, would be stage managers show up and Street. They adhere to the general program rules for stages throughout the festival, however they are not part of the official festival; neither does the festival make any money from these stages. Herrin sees a conne ction between facilitating the generator and he has a plan for how to manage this connection: The underground secret is out now: generator s tages. t let them charge, but then I discovered that they were just breaking even. Not all of the

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161 generator stages are the same. The land rush two days before the gates open is mad ness. They organized themselves, roped off sites. For next year, they get to th e site, pull a piece of paper, and then register their site at the festival office. Also, it helps sell tickets. stag e en route to an officially sponsored venue, stopping off here and there for a song, or music, and challenges those bands playing at the official venues. lan for integrating the generator stages into the festival includes maintaining their liminal appeal. However, by grafting these stages, even loosely, into the festival through ticket sales and special treatment, JPUSA will also be exerting control over t heir presence. Through this appropriation, the festival also achieves a broadened, multi demographic of attendees who are also on the cutting edge of new music styles. Herrin envisio ns a virtual, attendee driven marketing campaign: They advertise their stages for Cornerstone in markets like myspace and facebook. They bring in their own fans to the festival and we get free advertising. We treat the stage managers like ticket affiliate s. They get a certain number for free, the rest at a discounted price. They sell tickets cheaper to their bands that will be playing their stages. This also defers responsibility. They get a percentage of the sales. s goal for broadening the cultural exchange dynamic of the festival.

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162 about the role of popular film and personal faith. The professor explains that the changed this f rom being a mere music festival experience with and dialogue about popular culture It was a risk because the featured films are rarely Christian productions One goal of the Imaginarium is to challenge evange Cornerstone provides the opportunity to explore the avenue that appeals to you. For example, a Christian approach to film criticism. attended th e first festival at Cornerstone farm and was inspired not only to return but to came in 1984. A week later I started a band so that I could come back to play the festival. c ross cultural. It is this phenomeno facilitate: a more holistic experience of faith and the arts, including but not limited to music. However, JPUSA also desires re framing the arts from a secular to a Christian seemingly simple injunction, it is difficult, given spontaneous phenomena such as the generator sta ges, to not make changes. However, he follows this up with a more specific Increase the age of the average Cornerstone atte age is twenty five infrastructure citing the sleeping options; constructing youth hostels, for instance, on the grounds so that older attendees and young families are not relegated to sleeping in tents.

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163 Thompson claims that this will increase the diversity. The generator stages and the ir groupies keep the younger demographic attending and bringing their new sounds and artistic forms with them; the older, thirty something attendees have the financial and social means to mentor the standouts of that demographic. tangential at first, but in hindsight the plan that Thompson proposes carries two risks, the first being a pendulum swing in the Cornerstone demographic which might then drain the energy and spontaneity of the generator stages. It also poses a financial c Currently, it costs approximately $300,000 to maintain this land, verses $20,000 for the Chicago fairground. This includes $50,000 on gravel, $60,000 for electrical, and $60,000 for insurance. So, f or example, forty people pay 4,0 00 but it costs 8,000 to put them up. Cornerstone is a 50/3C non profit and all of the mo ney goes back into the festival. If it works, then the festival will enjoy a boon; however, if it does not work then the festival may go bankrupt. Currently, JPUSA controls the sponsorship, enjoying the luxury of selecting sponsors who proffer the highest quality, rather than the highest dollar. In this programs to help the poor and the homeless, and magazines, such as HM that remain true to their commitment to cover marginalized genres of music, bands, or artists within the Christian industry. Any risk, therefore, that fails is compensate for its financial and cul tural investment may force JPUSA to invite more industry friendly sponsors, which Cornerstone is better know n within Christian circles, but increasingly outside of it

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164 only has a decision to make regarding the implications involved with increasing the average age of the attendee, but also the spiritual demographic. Increasingly, agnostics, atheists, and membe rs of alternative spiritualities attend Cornerstone, following their favorite bands from festival to festival, from the Warp Tour to Cornerstone. Increasing He adds provided a common ground for multiple generations of attendees. In this way, he says, a sort of memory, a commemoration. atten dees has no memory of or connection to REZ band. Clearly, the generator stages are the crux of this conversation. JPUSA finds itself at the precipice of a decision which, while it may cultivate an influx of burgeoning music scenes from around the country Cart Security Duty: Friday cart security shift. In the security office, I stuff my backpack under a chair and set my digital camera next to my Cornerstone coffee mug, per my usual routine before grabbing a vest and a walky I make what is now my typical set of rounds, starting with a hard left out of the Cornerstone office complex. Doubling back where Midway Road splits, I veer right, along a side path that leads toward the Front Gate. I drive slow, taking in the scene,

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165 I stop outside of the Underground Stage where Robert is concluding a presentation does the stage enjoy a unique cachet for hosting some of the most talented, punk, metal, and Goth bands, but it also has its own lecture series, featuring discussions of alternative and intentional communities. He lives and breathes this space for nearly three weeks, i ncluding a week before and after the festival for set up and clean up, respectively. I remain seated in the cart during his presentation, leaning forward on the steering wheel to listen. He is talking about s ustainability and simplicity as processes and attitudes; that we need to cultivate a more compassionate rather than a selfish sensibility, where faith is not compassion re frames our co gnitive perceptions. Emotion, he adds, is transient; t o be a person of faith is to be someone who pays atte ntion to the needs of others. In this sense, faith is an interdependent relationship between ourselves and the members of our community, and it thereby attunes us to those in need. This, I think to myself, despite the Crossing Main Street, I circle around the back roads, avo iding the chaotic arrival of thousands of more attendees who opt to arrive for the weekend shows. I remount left turn takes me into So far, my security experience has been void of any substantial observations of JPUSA managing conflict situations. However, toward the end of my shift one of the

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166 JPUSA se curity members asks me to assist him with a situation. He hops in my cart and directs me to the site of the call. I speed through the maze of attendees en route to Main kills. tents set up along a hill that looks down on Main Stage to the left through a crop of trees, and, to the right, Cornerstone Lake. and is yet allowed to drive a cart. He has two companions riding with him, also JPUSA youth. For this interaction aback by the lack of speaking. My companion merely looks at the young delinquent, waiting or maybe daring him to speak. It is a power play, through which he establishes his authority. He compels t he young man to follow through with the bravado that got him in trouble by forcing him to also initiate this interaction. Neither of us leaves the cart. Leaning forward, he listens to the young man start his story, backtrack, and then come een driving recklessly through the campground and has already been what yelling or threats would exacerbate. When this intervention concludes, the JPUSA member and I h ang back. Sure down the path that brought us here and intercept him just before Main Street. This time, the JPUSA member gets out of the cart. to go well for that kid I think to

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167 remains silent. I pull my cart off to the side of the path to direct a traffic jam developing eated from his bravado and cannot maintain eye contact during the confrontation. While directing traffic, I notice the young JPUSA member and his companions walking back toward their campsite. My former companion has commandeered their cart. He drives u p next to me and proffers genuine thanks for my support during the conflict and drives off into the festival milieu. successful community derives not from a common faith but commitme nt to relationships, even amidst conflict. Faith provides values, but, in the long term, people have to be committed to intentional living to make community work. Herrin believes that the festival provides other Christians with a unique opportunity to ex perience communally styled Christian faith, if only for one week out of the year, and that their experiences here resonate in their relationships back home. For JPUSA, and indeed for all Cornerstone attendees, music is the foundation for these relationshi ps. Rock music, which is typically a divisive medium in the general market and is traditionally viewed by the evangelical this may seem like stating the obvious Co rnerstone is, after all, primarily a music Cornerstone. This may be play, but it is not merely play: rock music as an indispensible complement to communal living is the JPUSA reality, and their mission here is to pass that heritage on to future generations.

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168 Thursday evening I choose to attend a performance that stands out in the festival program, not because the band is especially cutting edge, innovative or at all Festival. Degarmo and Ke y (DK) has been a Christian pop rock band since the late nineteen seventies. DK is the CCM exemplar of the evangelical tendency to provide rd and Streck, 1999, p. 130). But this is not to say that DK was ever un popular. On the contrary, the band released seventeen LPs during their nearly twenty year career, won seventeen Dove Awards and achieved seven Grammy nominations. Ironically, DK ha d a video pulled from MTV in the 1980s during the U.S. being set on fire. DK also had run ins with then popular televangelist, Jimmy Swaggart who viewed the embracing of rock music by the Christian music industry as an invitation to temptation and secularization that threatened traditional Christian mores. Swaggart was right, insofar as institutionalized evangelical faith was radical. reference to their well aged audience that has packed out the Gallery Stage, buffering my sensibilities for the forthcoming onslaught of keyboard driven melodies, studio quality bass lines, and text book song structures. DK preach between performances often in

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169 reg musicians performed. However, DK are not lacking for substantial financial comforts, nor living gig to gig on mail order record sales Claiming that peop are their favorite people, DK which is apparently achievable by not committing any carnal sins. This kitsch, rudimentary ngs along to the point of shaking the venue to the rafters. DK cites the nearly two hundred singer says Key, adding that the only two genuine commandments While the lyrics of the bands I was turned onto at The Scroll bespoke the emotional drain that accompanies an ongoing struggle to ameliorate tensions between desire, doubt and faith, both spir dilemma differently, preferring instead to employ contrived theological aphorisms, such Transformational artists, typically, work from the inside out, from personal experience of doubt and failure to the sphere of public dialogue between musician and listener. This form signifies a profound if gradual shift within the evangelical community: Believing God to be an inc omprehensible mystery, transformational artists are nevertheless prepared to find Him in the widows and orphans, the strangers and forgotten. However, transformational artists frequently include themselves among this latter group. [. . .]. And if the exploration of themes of alienation are not limited to Transformational CCM [. .], the emphasis on the nature of that

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170 condition rather than the future reward it entails is. (Howard and Streck, 1999, p. 141). DK represents an Integrational form of CCM th at sought its legitimation by aligning with the general market, sacrificing their evangelical credibility without contributing to the artistic credibility of Christian rock. Conversely, Transformational CCM artists embody an approach to evangelical faith that presupposes ambiguity and demands a more authentic (comparatively less contrived) expression of its artistry. Conclusion For the evangelical community the line between the faithful and the deviant is clearly marked. Either one is of the world, or o ne is of Christ. Drinking, smoking, penchant for encouraging all of these, is a debauched medium. However, when the medium became too popular among young Christians to su ppress, it was appropriated into the church setting as part of a virtual alternative universe to secular popular culture. Bands such as Degarmo and Key were safe to an industry predicated upon its appeal to an evangelical base and, for their part Degarmo and Key and other Christian musicians successfully negotiated the crossover from Separational to Integrational forms of Christian music. However, a new generation of Christian youth has entered into a reciprocal relationship with a burgeoning form (Transf ormational CCM) that sees ambiguity as a complement, rather than a detriment to Christian faith. Included in this emphasis upon social activism (as opposed to proselyt ization) to punk rock.

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171 In this chapter, I observed variations of music forms as discourses at Cornerstone. Festival performances represent the merging of two social realities, evangelical faith and rock music. Through musicking and the doing of acts in c ommon, becoming deviants together while running the gauntlet at a hardcore show, attendees coproduce the festival as a site for the ritualized cultivation of alternative Christian identities. According to Small, It is very important to realize that in t aking part in ritual we do not only see and hear, listen and watch, or even taste, smell, or touch, but we also act, and it is in the bodily experience of performing the actions in company with others that the meaning of taking part lies. The more activel y we participate, the more each one of us is empowered to act, to create, to display, then the more satisfying we shall find the performance of the ritual. This is not surprising, since in acting, creating, and displaying we are bringing into existence fo r the duration of the ritual a society within which we ourselves are empowered to act, to create and to display. (Small, 1998, p. 105) The Roundtable is an extension of the music performance, where participants use their shared experience as a foundation f or community building. This expanded view of the role of musicking applies as well to the festival organizers. JPUSA is predicated upon a sustainable translation of music performance and faith as action, as demonstrated by the juxtaposition of Robert of teacher the next. These are not dissimilar activities for Robert; in point of fact, their reciprocity is a necessary condition.

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172 Attendees recognize Cornerstone as a site for cultivating relations hips that validation. Currently, the two are interdependent as co outsiders within their own faith. The already eclectic experience, where young bands such as The Robbins can engage in self legitimating and maintenance practices.

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173 Chapter Six: Communitas and Structure Figure 6.1 : Memory Blanket In Chapter Five I explored the connection between forms or variations of music experiences and the construction maintenance of Christian identity. Rather than a point of conflict, these varied forms represent a coming together; music serves as an organizing experience around which attendees engage in processes of community building that are ac that we bring into being for the duration of a musical performance an idealized set of relationships. In other words, Small considers the total musical experience the mus icians, the audience, the performance space, the complex of sounds as well as the complex of values and attitudes which resonate with those sounds as an act, a verb rather than a noun. As seen in Chapter Five, one identifiable result of musicking at

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174 Cor nerstone is that otherwise oppositional rhetorical communities find common ground. r ock show (participating in the gauntlet and pogo jumping) clearly translated their experience of faith through very different aesthetic forms. Yet, through musicking, in combination with the processes of play and making camp at Cornerstone, attendees form a bond that transcends style or emulations of faith. In other words, while the form of the music matters to attendees, as persons of faith, the bigger picture here is an act which they share in common. In this chapter, I argue that instances of communit y proceed from communal space. T he kind of community building that happens at Cornerstone is a loose and layered one, yet it is inclusive as a performance of what is poss ible through a shared experience of making camp and the coproduction of an idealized vision of Christian community However, Cornerstone Festival is also on the precipice of a conflicted trajectory. JPUSA desires on the one hand to maintain its hands off approach to managing Cornerstone, yet they also see an opportunity for transforming the festival through changes to the grounds and exerting more control over the generator stages. This and structure. Communitas refers to an intense experience of community wherein participants or members relate to one another sans the purview of a hierarchical structure. In his anthropological work, Victor Turner (1969) finds that communitas is interco nnected to the liminality found in ritual experience, where new members are initiated into the fold or

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175 into a new position within the group. As festival, Cornerstone accomplishes this or some variation of this form of communitas that Turner describes. Ce rtainly there are similarities in that the festival provides a temporary, liminal experience for attendees who, through crews and musicking, engage in processes of community building. However, elationships and explorations of self and other is counterbalanced by an urge to structure the experience to forge commitment, membership, and conformity. last day. One off approach to managing the festival is that Cornersto ne Walkabout with Todd, and in the Cornerstone Public Journal. I also return to The New Crew for a follow up interview and, in the process, I am introduced to The Tea House. The Tea House is similar to the generator stages but unique as an attendee cente red rather than a music or musician centered venue, and it is embedded within On the one hand, these instan ces illustrate how experimentatio n and exploratory play become a source of revitaliza tion and change for Cornerstone; however, other illustrations show how "structure" in the form of normative expectations assert s themselves with surprising efficiency. Cornerstone Walkabout I awake Saturday morning with loosely organized piles of gear and memorabilia sprawled throughout the the rest, but I slept all the way through for the first time since arriving. Today is the last

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176 day of fieldwork, and I celebrate the occasion by donning fresh skivvies, cargo shorts and sock s. Outside the tent, I stretch and warm myself to the bone in the recently risen sun. By tomorrow morning I will have slept in my car or tent for seven nights. Eight days in the belly of this whale is losing its appeal. The bagels are gone, but by now they are not missed. For my final fieldwork breakfast I have saved a virtual feast consisting of an apple, un touched and well preserved asiago cheese bread with a packet of cream cheese, and seedless red grapes. I scheduled an interview for this morning have all pulled up stakes and moved onto the next festival on their summer tour. The Gallery Stage is packed this morning; not surprising considerin g the thousands of new attendees who arrived Friday. What is curious is the absence of The Roundtable, which included more than fifteen members by Friday. Fresh coffee in hand, I peruse the festival program one last time. The set list for the Gallery St age is right up my memory lane tonight, featuring a band called The Lost Dogs whose members are an amalgam of alternative Christian Rock bands that I gravitated to in the early 1990s, including Adam Again, The 77s, Daniel Amos, and The Choir. eviewing the play bills for other venues, a woman stops to inquire about my dilapidated and sun up m here conducting research for my dissertation. Judy is in her late forties, early fifties. She has just come from a seminar on Deconstructive Film Criticism and wants to know what my angle is for the dissertation. She and her companion remain standing, which feels off putting at a festival predicated upon community and embracing

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177 sentence, but aft er seven days of nonstop fieldwork, sans showers and hot meals, and all of the ups and downs that accompany this transient fieldworker lifestyle, her apparent indignation just ide of Judy ping then walks away. This interaction with Judy testifies to my evolving understanding of the festival. Even though Judy is making the scene at Cornerstone, she f eels authorized to police the boundaries by checking out my Christian legitimacy. Like Ricky, she has identified with the festival to the point that wants to protect the integrity of her identification. At a festival that promises to facilitate attende of the type of experience she has had, and thus desires others to have. Processing this collaborative if not a c ohesive event; its members are neither consistent nor unified in their appropriation of this scene as a site for constructing alternative Christian identities.

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178 Ultimately, it is the attendees who take ownership of the festival and either translate this e xperience to their lives back home, or else abandon their Cornerstone the goal is not the cultivation of an ideological consensus of what counts as Christian identity, bu t rather a sensibility or experience of Christian community that is hard won, that attendees must figure out and forge for themselves. As festival director John Herrin said in our conversation, conflict and mediation rather than consensus between persons of faith is the key to successful Christian community. Cornerstone is thus a peculiar cultural production: it is outside of the circumference of both traditional forms and institutional systems of Christian practice and membership, and yet it is coproduce d by attendees, even those who are well practices and roles. This element of coproduction among diverse constituents at Cornerstone is a renewable ritual, with close ties to community buildin g. As discussed in prior chapters, Cornerstone Festival engages attendees in alternative forms of Christian practices by facilitating a space where Christian faith and rock music are mutually validating rather than contradictory experiences. These experi ences are marginal insofar as they are nd Luckmann, Conversely, it is through relationships with others and often in li minal spaces or marginal

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179 moments that are atypical of our daily routines, that we glean alternative insights. As a touristic pilgrimage site, Cornerstone Festival is coproduced as a liminal experience not only in relation to social roles and routines but also regarding the traditionally normalizing role of religious institutions as a container for marginal experience. At 132) arise which create marginal moments outside the dominating institutional realities of based experience of Cornerstone is furthermore t ied to rituals of initiation, where the initiate is removed from the tribal home and its accompanying structure and introduced to new conditions, migrating from one set of relationships to another. Cornerstone crews are legitimated by the collaborative ef fort of navigating to and within the festival. They share a common pre festival history, yet they experience an estrangement of that history through processes of making camp: they are travelers together. Cornerstone, however, is on a conspicuous traject ory. The festival which was once a respite from a dominating evangelical parent culture has become a legitimating site, coproduced or otherwise, for alternative Christian identity. The immediacy of between individuals become converted into norm governed relationships between social relationship between structure and communitas within the Cornerstone scene exemplifies an intersection of cultural production and rhetorical practice.

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180 the wax and wane over t ime of communitas and structure are mutually beneficial rather than necessarily contradictory processes. As structure and communitas become increasingly interdependent, community thrives. The converse perpetuates individualism and stasis. At Cornerstone this process is seen in the generator stages, impromptu stages that are attendee managed and driven yet dependent upon the ongoing vitality of the parent festival for their existence. Even as JPUSA is developing a plan to more directly manage these stage that is bringing not new sounds but new spatial relationships to the festival. Thus, as one spo ntaneous attendee driven venue wanes, another type arises, maintaining that element Cornerst one as cultural experience, but also renew its vitality. Furthermore, these processes are rhetorical insofar as rhetorical theory includes processes of identification and relationship (Cissna and Anderson, 2002, p. 19), and this coproduction accomplishes an alternative form of Christian community. suspicious. I am uncomfortable wit h this invitation, but I acquiesce. Our relationship was the foundation for the formation of the Roundtable. We make a right out of the Gallery Stage, toward the speaker tents and the ing along as a way of

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181 people to talk, but about my trajectory and feels placed in my spiritual path to provide prayerful guidance or mentorship. I purposefully avoid the sort of subject matter that he is pushing for. Instead of personalizing this interaction with confessions of my un faith, I tell stories about my fieldwork experiences tales of security cart duty and Goth bands in fishnet stockings. r maybe the courage to interject. Todd takes back the conversation, confiding in me that he is struggling to ameliorate the conflict he feels between his desires for a job promotion and spending more time with his family. He is here to reconnect with h is daughter, to share an to elicit the same. I hate being proselytized, and situation. We spend more time walking than talking, and my desire to flee disipates. We wind up on a small hill close to the bend at Main Street that leads off in one direction toward Main Stage and in the other toward Cornerstone Lake, where a few attendees who either recommitted their life to Christ or came to Christ for the first time

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182 beginning in the mid 1990s and th that he believes he received on my behalf earlier in the week. He turns to me, smiles and with no other Roundtable members showing up, only Todd, makes me question whether I was being set up all along. I viewed The Roundtable as research subjects, but I treated them as friends; now I suspect I was their conversion project. I thought I was navigating a liminal space between confederate and confidant, experiencing my own version of communi tas at the festival, but maybe that was a mere fancy. What I thought was What hurts the most is that of all the participants, these were the people that made me fe el connected to the festival experience, accepted and validated though clearly an outsider. In part, this interaction is typical of the kinds of relationships that we form in short lived excursions into an alternative scene or landscape. I too am a trav eler, and like a traveler self removed from the familiar, I sought in The Roundtable comfort from the daunting fieldwork process. This type of festival environment, including the exhaustion and the intensity of the experience, creates a sense of urgency t o bring relationships to

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183 greatest compliment that he or she can pay another is to appeal to that person to commit or recommit to Christ as savior; even if the resoci alization does not, in this case, include renewed membership in a traditional church setting. In addition, Todd and I genuinely bonded as friends and saw in each other a reflection of our own spiritual journeys. Yet, while this burden for the salvation o compassion, the offense is taken, and it is impenetrable: it would invalidate my life choices as somehow tragic. Indeed, part of the social role of a true believer is to recognize and seize upon an the fold. swing by the campsite where he, Dan, and Keith are cooking burgers and hot dogs a veritable Cornerst exhibition area. I let Todd pull ahead by maintaining a slower pace, not wanting to overtake him before the bend in the road. Todd keeps going straight and I veer left, across a small footp ath bridge and into the heart of The Ghetto. The Tea House time Cornerstone form they are passed out, shaded in their space next to the tree line. Adjacent to their site is an awkward looking venue. It in the light rather than repel it. I slide the digital camera off my shoulder and sna p a couple of exterior photographs, beginning with the message board.

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184 Figure 6.3 The Tea House Message Board. styled identity in relation to a litigious society, even at Cornerstone: We hate has been brought to our attention that sometimes people like to sue. This tea house is our labor of love and community and we hope that you will find it a totally thrilling experien ce. In the event of a storm that could threaten the structural integrity of our tea house, we ask that you exit safely and orderly, assisting others if need be, without panic. Thanks very much, Chris and Miranda. The tea house is not cited in the Corners tone program. It is an example of an attendee managed and driven venue, similar in spirit to the generator stages. case, planned spontaneity turned communitas. While some of the message board fliers announce upcoming events, it is important to note that one group, the Goths, who rarely Tea House message board. Thus, two small communities wit hin the larger scope of community, though outwardly neither group seems to share a common ground. Chris is

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185 the lead singer and songwriter for the praise and worship band, Aradhna style of music includes Shock Rock, Horror Rock, and Industrial music. These two very differently styled groups, one that developed its aesthetic in India (The Tea House) and the other as a Chicago subculture (the Goths), are thus united in their desire to perform community building processes. integrate their Tea House into the campsites, rather than segregate their venue by situating it amidst the official festi community needs legal pro tection. Figure 6.3 The Tea House Interior. Initially, something about the interior design silences my desire to flash my electronic eye. I set my camera next to me in a booth on the right, toward the far back of the tent. Miranda, in Indian dress, is making free tea. There is a grandfather and grandson sitting on pillows across the tent, a young girl quietly and methodically writing in a notebook, and a pile of shoes left at the entrance way, including mine. While working on a brew, Miranda tells us about the cultural history of tea making. In 1999

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186 Miranda Stone was a popular folk singer, in a sun dress and combat boots, performing as retired from the music scene now, residing in Canada with Chris. They learned how to construct this venue a few days before coming to Cornerstone. Miranda and Chris have replicated a traditional tea house, including the furniture and the non spaces: the geometry of the empty space between its material structures. By the end of this fusion of tea making and storytelling, nearly thirty people have gathered inside. e some photographs of the space, letting me know the tent, and to the space within and without. I identify with the suspended paper cylinders, free floating signs in terconnected to each other not by direct lines but open space. Figure 6.4 The Tea House Ceiling. This venue is similar to generator stages featuring hardcore music, insofar as it is an alternative, non Christian form that these Christians have grafted i nto their identity and cultural integration of form and community.

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187 are determined by the geometry of the s pace including the silence, cooperativeness and humility that it inspires. Conversely, The Roundtable was a linguistically governed experience of community: taking place in a venue that is a hub for rock shows during the day and evening, fuelled by copiou styled venues facilitate very different experiences of community; yet all of them share an element of play or coproduction, or b oth, on the part of attendees who appropriate festival spaces originally structured for one purpose (music or camping) for alternative uses, translating public spaces into personal sites. Thus, socialization occurs insofar as attendees engage in activitie s that more intimately connect them to their sense of faith through the performance of some suppressed or otherwise inaccessible aspect of their identity. But, this socialization is, at best, very loosely connected to JPUSA. After having my tea and watc hing Miranda serve newcomers, I pack away my noon, and I suspect The New Crew is beginning to rouse from their slumber. They were my first point of contact with Corn anticipating this follow up, group interview. The New Crew, Revisited This is our first reunion since the Sunday line up. I help myself to a camping chair and start the consent form process, explaining the study again. I tell them the story of meeting the protestor outside the gate, speaking with John Herrin, and they tell me

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188 groove: catching shows well into the early morn ing hour and sleeping until noon. One of their members is still crashed out in the cab of the pick up truck. The couch has been latter of which is a virtual dumping ground of unused gear, clothes, and fliers. They let by members of their Their memory quilt recovers my sense of the obvious, and I pose my first his first time at Cornerstone: pr you instantly gain a friendship and then I remember it became very intimate, very close, and we started sharing big life plans together, ya know? This serendipitous style of meeti ng is not uncommon. Attendees form small coming to Cornerstone means letting go of personal hang

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189 Cornerstone is a liminal space for travelers who lea ve behind their concerns of navigating day to day life, while also providing a space for spontaneous community to experiencing their faith, sans the pressures of their ho metown church groups. Brian explains how this works for him: those. I went to this school that the church had too. So everything was very strict and there was no danc leopard prints because the leopard print looked like a kiss and Jesus was betrayed by a kiss. For Brian, Cornerstone supplants the rigid control and fear based authority of his home town church. He explains that his home town church considers rock musi c a sinful indulgence: to secular music, how is that different? How can you listen to somet hing that ecause [. .] Jesus was very accepting. Being Christian is not about being straight laced and

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190 Michael is a Cornerstone first timer. He came this year because his lease was up in Indianapolis. He quit his job and Alicia convinced him to attend the festival, which laughter from everyone, explaining that it is one of those small town stores in Michigan where everyone works at some point. I use this round of laughter as an opportunity to re direct the conversation back to an earlier thread about personal identity and Cornerstone as a space for negotiating alternative ways of being Ch ristian. Brian claims that freedom of expression at comfortable to be himself: in a Chris tian circle [. .] from here. I met some people that, if I looked at them I would traditional Baptist thinking. But you get into talking to them and [. .] this is Alic ia explains that the Cornerstone community, though transient, offers something that her hometown lacks:

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191 ny problems looking for back home, which is cool. For Tyler, the sense of community he experiences at Cornerstone is grafted from hardcore bands. Later, he discovered the band, De becoming close with a friend who is not a Christia instruction to refrain from close relationships with non believers for fear of being wooed away from Christ. When the friend commits suicide, the protagonist regrets not forming a closer bond. Tyler identifies with this b ecause he struggles with a similar conflict in his own life: he has an acronym for FAG, you Jesus that keeps you from

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192 Someone makes a joke that what you do get here is a funky smell, citing the lack of bathing. A few minutes into bathroom humor, I turn off the recorder. Later playing back the audio from this interview at a relatively quiet and isolated festival locale, I am struck by the implications of what Cornerstone means for Tyler, for whom this is a visceral life line. He is not here for mere freedom of expression. Th e person of faith, while offering something to fill that void in his life. Coming to r his home church or both. He needs the communitas, annually, that Cornerstone and this crew provide. The festival is his surrogate mentor, and this crew is his spiritual family. Like The Robbins, he is betwixt and between two worlds, one (home) to whic h he cannot belong and the other (Cornerstone) which is ephemeral a temporary resolution to a weighty dilemma. In the interim, the festival and its crew based experience fulfill a maintenance function for Tyler, providing a temporary sense of place that he may yet As such, Cornerstone is a therapeutic site for Tyler where he can seek out new relationships and new relations between self social realities that make h im feel secure in his personal sense of identity. Cornerstone Public Journal When I

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193 high school year book (which many entries certainly do), I am surprised to fin d instances based struggles. worn and there are hundreds of entries. I snap photographs of nearly thirty of these, including the hand decorated cover f eaturing three panels of a tree, cut and pasted from another medium. The gaze is from a tree perch graffiti: a heart with a pyramid extending from its lines, a music n ote, and either a badly the end. I elucidate four categories from the entries, including praise (of the festival), critique (of the festival), confession, and prank. The praise category includes positive reviews of the festival and the coffee shop. One entry equates the festival smell with of this praise entry cites a verse of scripture. In the New International version, Galatians I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave evening, and laments that Saturday (today) is the final day of the festival. This at tendee

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194 The entry is playful. The attendee claims to be from Neptune and views the diary as a st the most unique element of the festival. The Galatians citation finds resonance in a more The bare and dusty emptiness of life w/o God is refreshed by a flood of worship a nd praise of voices and instruments around me. A breath of fresh air it is, seeing This is my third year and each Saturday evening is harder to bear. Hope and love is renewed or discovering a God loving band. This week will go down in my life as one of the brightest, loudest and smelliest! Keep doing what you do, C Stone. What this attendee finds annuall y at Cornerstone has not been replicated for him or her elsewhere. There is, therefore, a sadness embedded in the entry: though meant to praise the love and kindness experienced at Cornerstone, as well as the sense of community, the author laments these b eing absent upon the return journey to his or her home church. gratuitous amounts of screaming One entry by an attendee claiming to be from really think they are going to make 19 th

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195 style of screaming, cl aiming that the genre itself is an improper form of Christian t reveals the ongoing inner work they are navigating at the festival, between traditional faith and the sort of alternative Christian festival is to allow attendees as much freedom as possible. This includes, most notably, not forcing or shaming attende es into a commitment of faith (Though, other attendees may take it upon themselves to engage in this form of proselytizing). In traditional attendees are eithe r appealed to from the pulpit or (at a festival) from a stage, including the exit gate. This phenomenon of arriving at Cornerstone in a liminal or marginalized state is the predominant theme. One entry, in particular, catches my attention and I photograp h the multiple pages that it occupies in the journal: My first Cornerstone was 3 years ago. [ ] It was hot, humid, and { Cristian! } really. I just had a lot I was angry at God for and His people were Rarely very helpful in years past. I crawled into a corner of the Asylum and spoke very little the first day or two. I had only come to Cornerstone because my mentor/youth and that there was a g oth tent along with many other sub cultures. (People are so beautiful.) Long story short, I made some of

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196 now closest friends here and my first Cornerstone ended with a prayer by the lake in the early morning. I stop to notice the emboldened marks, clea rly made after the entry because the ink is in amelioration of a tension between personal identity and Christian faith: ( Jesus were terrible to me and this is not something I wanted to be part of. ) was an answer I was happy with. phenomenon; s/he is genuinely anxious of being transformed from a kind person into an its, or recommits to the faith. Next, the author cites two passages and love other This attendee re interprets maltreatment from other Christians from a perceived personal attack (an identity critique) into a validation of his or her faith in God. The second verse cited supports this resolution. The first par t of the second cited verse is written by the author for the author; however, the latter part of the second verse cited is an appeal to those offending Christians. Of note is that this attendee is sharing these revelations not with another person, but to an anonymous and collective other. In a very real sense, therefore, the author is communing with the scene. Through this communion

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197 the attendee is constructing an alternative identity, and thereby appropriates the scene (Cornerstone) as a medium for iden tity work. Before moving on to another set of entries, I notice that at the bottom of this and the lettering is mostly in all e sound of a at times fulfills a triangulated rhetorical inter feedback from other attendees. One such entry begins with an attendee asking what glue 2 pieces of cardboard together, then try to take them back apart? ve had sex with. Some part of young man whose affections for a member of his traveling companions have not been him, exemplifying the talk back category, t I desired a means for investigating how attendees relate their Cornerstone experience to their faith, including how they make sense of their experiences at Cornerston e in relation their personal relationships. Combined with photos of the physical sites, this public journal provides a glimpse into this process. The journal is a reflective, though public, space between the physical and the spiritual where attendees

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198 com with anonymous others or to the festival itself. This journal is a link, chained to a table r personal sense of faith and their experiences at Cornerstone. It represents a virtual scene within the physical site; a dialogue wherein both genuine confessions and playful pranks interact, the latter generally, and predictably, enjoying the last word. The dialogue in this journal is a form of communication as dogmatism and doubt. Cart Security Duty: Saturday When I clock in for my final cart security shift, the festival is in high gear. Inside t he office the atmosphere is light and buzzing with energy. I snag a walky talky and settle into a chair to hang out. I talk to Ron about my experience with The Neighbors, asking him if that is typical here. He says that you have to take each case on its own much more relaxed than the first time we met. This morning, while scrolling through my digital camera, I found a series of photographs that I did not take whic h were set in the security office. Andy was the only one not in a comically posed picture, which makes ed the photos and I shake my head, smiling. I take my time today, parking outside of venues to watch bands perform. I let out kicking up dust and spinning out tin y rocks. I ease my pace when I re enter the grassy

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199 paths that constitute the Cornerstone back roads, on the edge of the exhibition area and against a thick tree line. A group of four youths are playing Frisbee and they part to let me pass. Without slowi ng down I clap my hands together, signaling for the Frisbee while steering with my left knee. On cue, the attendee to my left delivers a perfect toss. I catch the Frisbee and, switching it to my throwing hand and toss it to the attendee on my right. Rig ht on play is essential as a form of communication that develops and maintains relationships. For me, this playful act with the Frisbee alleviates my anxiety as researcher, b reaks down an arbitrary barrier between myself and the scene, and serves as one avenue for cultivating a more intimate relationship to the festival. I fulfill the usual responsibilities, including car jumps and traffic jams, but I also make time to visit venues that I have thus far overlooked. The Wycliffe Maloca tent features members of cultures who have translated the Bible into their native language. Inside the small venue is a panel consisting of Native Americans. Three of the four panelists are dr essed in traditional clothing. I park along the outskirts. I cannot make out speaks to a prophet through a burning bush, wind, and rocks. He buttresses these examples with a reframing of evangelical interpretations of God granting humanity call to responsible stewardship and a realization of the interconnectedness of earth, animal, and tribe.

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200 As a Bible translation facilitator, Wycliffe believes that translation should be collaborative and grounded in storytelling, music, and metaphor rather than mere verbiage. Its members adhere to the philosophy that understanding language is a holistic process rather than an itemized vocabulary. Wycliffe fieldworkers participate in tribal rituals and daily living, serving as facilitators while a tribe transla tes the Bible utilizing their own metaphors and storytelling structures. There are some translations that exist only in musical arrangements and rhythms. I pull out from my cargo shorts the small, spiral notepad that serves as my backup and jot down some notes: cultural exchange is one way for understanding Cornerstone as a socializing even con version per se. They prefer attendees to translate the gospel in their own cultures whether peculiar or mundane. For the Goth community their all black, studded clothin g is one example of style not as mere projection but playful identity work, of an aesthetic that is inseparable from their personal and cultural identity. The idea, then, is not for members of the Goth community to change out go a transubstantiation of their style, of their identity in relation to the gospel. The symbol is imbued with new meaning, but this is an exchange insofar as the signifier is not left unchanged. The alternative perspective proffered by the Native Americ rocks and wind, that everything and everyone is interconnected to the earth, is

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201 translation. Indeed, personal relationships and socia l environments are paths to an alternatively constructed sense of self (Gergen, 1999, p. 138). A community of otherness rather than sameness, argues Cissna and Anderson ite is not dogmatically determined: it is a rhetorical negotiation. From this standpoint, the festival maintains evangelical doctrine but broadens its ethical sphe re by reversing the operative order of typical evangelism. Members are encouraged to translate the gospel into their sphere of experience rather than negate or redefine their personal biographies. This process, in turn, expands the range of acts, the pos sibilities for variations of community building and maintenance available to attendees by empowering them to take ownership of both their faith and their support structures. Back on Main Street, I respond to a call to locate the parents of a girl who has just been taken to the medical trailer. I spend the last hour of my final shift informing announcement. Between venues I hear another call go out asking us to be on the l ook out Stage. Really I think to myself. Where am I? Andy, as if suddenly seeing the big picture in this case,

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202 Bushnell town square. Inside the office, I hand over my v est and walky talky. I thank Andy profusely for not only letting me volunteer, but also for trusting me to serve solo. They never asked if I was a Christian, something that any other Christian Festival would have made sure of from the start, likely havin g me sign a contract as well. Andy smiles and returns the gratitude, inviting me to volunteer again next year. He fishes around in a desk drawer and hands me an envelope. Enclosed is $60 in cash, a refund toward my cost of attendance for volunteering. pilgrimage with no way home, cover the cost of an emergency tank of gas, or help an attendee pay a tow truck to haul the Altar Call At camp, I swig copious amounts of water from my last gallon jug, clean up the site, and throw my backpack and camera into the tent, which I zip securely and adamantly. This is finished I th ink to myself. I walk the festival with new eyes, feeling grounds, taking in as many shows as possible, not noticing when the sun goes down. At a hardcore show, I ent er my own marginal experience. I feel the music vibrate in my chest. throated, primal screams. I am pushed from behind, sweat on sweat. I let myself be swept into the g auntlet, where I thrust my fists into the air along with those around me, taking an elbow to the cheek. We push and we shove until we all reach a collective

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20 3 exhaustion, shoulder to shoulder. The band slows the pace, and we sway in place. I raise my hand s to catch hold of an ankle, passing the scantily clad body surfer along the throng of audience members. The music kicks back in, hard and fast, and we all pogo jump to the furious rhythm. At the Gallery Stage, I flip on my red headlamp as the house lights turn off. I closing down this venue. I pass the time reading through the festival program, dripping with sweat from the hardcore show. What was once daunting is now so simple: this festival is an extension of the communal processes JPUSA live on a daily basis, including the mundane (washing dishes) and the surreal (Goth glam rock shows). A roar of cheers crashes like a wave, from the front of the stage to th e back of the open air venue as Steve Hindalong (drums, percussion) and Mike Roe 3 (guitars, vocals) 4 (guitars, bass, and vocals) and Terry Scott Taylor 5 (guitar, vocals) join the jam 6 styled songwriting, and catchy musical hooks that carry their harmonizing into the Cornerstone night. After the 3 Mike Roe founded The 77s in the early 1980s and the band enjoyed considerable success, including a positive review in Rolling Stone The Seventy Sevens (1992) which was originally entitled Pray Naked before Christian book stores censored 4 Daugherty and Hindalong are members of The Choir, an alternative Christian rock band that fo rmed in the early 1980s elics 5 Terri Scott Taylor is an origi nal member of Daniel Amos, which experimented with roc k opera and cou ntry rock before settling into alternative rock. featured multimedia video screens synched to the music, mannequins, 3D slide shows, and stage actors. Daniel Amos has performed in every conceivable venue, from arenas, prisons and 6 Missing from this current group is Gene Eugene, an original member of The Lost Dogs and founding member of Adam Again who died of a brain aneurysm.

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204 first song, Roe pulls a giant, inflated cow with bursting udd ers onto stage and tries to auction it off for a mere $10,000. With no takers, the band starts jamming again, this laments the cost of love and social activism. I shed the pretense of being an ethnographer and let myself trip down memory lane, reminiscing the confidence that accompanied a simpler understanding of faith and reveling in the radicalism that listening to the Lost Dogs back then meant for my maturation. Tod The Lost Dogs and I oblige his curiosity. The band has released approximately nine LPs and are currently compiling a new release based upon a three week long travel down what is left of old route 66. Their first release was in a similar vein, called Scenic Routes There is no altar call at The Lost Dogs show. However, their evangelical comm itments ( Little Red Riding Hood The Lost Cabin and t he Mystery Trees 2006). As soon as the band exits the stage and the house lights come back on. JPUSA members and festival volunteers begin tearing down the stage. Todd and I stay at our table and talk, while the venue is dismantled around us. This is it I think to myself, The Roundtable discussions, the relationships that were for med here and the music that was performed. By midnight, all of Cornerstone will have been folded up and packed away. Todd and I speak about The Roundtable sessions, the seeming serendipity of that many strangers developing an ongoing dialogue throughout the festival. But our conversation

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205 remains oddly impersonal, and neither of us breeches the topic of our conversation during the walkabout from this morning. Before we part ways he tells me that he spoke to Dan and Keith about our conversation, and that he would like for me to come by their comfortable pal let of pillow and sleeping bag, enjoying the warmth and silence. I am still amped the drive home by jotting down a few loosely developed ruminations about the meaning an the paper and toss it against the tent wall. I pull on my cargo shorts for last romp through the grounds, though there cannot possibly be any bands still playing. One last time with the routine: I gather my credentials; zip up the tent and stretch. The ground beneath my feet is trembling, and I can hear a muffled, rolling roar emanating from the direction of the Underground Stage. A dull haze of light spills out of th e open air venue; as I approach the rumbling gives way to screaming guitars and ferociously paced drums. My heart feels as though it may explode from the sheer volume of the music. Grave Robber is based out of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Jeff, the volunteer wo rking the north gate, and Tyler of The New Crew, told me about this band. I had no interest, even per their recommendations, of being here. I noticed this afternoon, during my cart security farewell tour, that Jeff had painted his nails black. I did not peg him for this conspicuous scene, but I see him at the front of the

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206 combines elements of performance, spectacle, and theater. I think about the name for a minute befo from the grave and resurrected during the rapture, an eschatological belief that says Christ will return and all of his followers will be reunited with their bodies as well as their savior. is is the nightmare I am having. The band members are draped in brown outfits that are splattered in red paint; I imagine this is meant to replicate blood. They wear skull masks that hang loosely, as if their faces are melting, or molting. The brown gar b could be symbolic of the muck and the mire of a life of sin, and the red paint symbolizing, in turn, the blood of Christ as their are a smorgasbord of classic, evangelical self deprecation: Wretched, Maggot, Nameless, and Dr. Cadaver. Why is there an audience member wielding a shovel? Eerie keyboards, thundering drums, a wall of sound guitar chopping away at certainty, and a lead s inger that might double as a sadomasochist, are playing to an equally strange crowd. The stage is something out of a horror film, complete with what I think is a throne surrounded by drapes, rope, chains, and webbing. I am leaning against a tent pole, m idway back and stage right. Except for the throng of attendees at the front of the stage, the crowd is sparse. I arrive in time for what

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207 ound Stage is breaking the festival wide curfew. I stand out like a chicken at a turkey shoot, sporting a ball cap, backpack, cargo shorts, hiking boots, and a digital camera slung around my neck. I suspect that sucking on sunflower seeds during the band The singer is treating those congregated at the front of the stage as vermin, demanding that they hear him and commanding them, alternately, to search for and purge their hearts and minds of sin. I get it. This is just a re tooled version of the classic trips audience members into seeing themselves as un worthy, and therefore in need of a re commitment; or tormenting their ot herwise secure sense of faith to the point that they doubt their own prior conversions, and thus convert all over again. This is certainly a marginalized form of Christian Rock, but this is not Transformational CCM. It is a version of Separational CCM, w definite conversion mission. I may be skeptical, but for several of the youth up front this is a profound moment, as they are gathered around by their peers and re commit their lives to Christ. e e irming his claim, while I remain with hands in pocket whilst leaning against a tent pole. Looking straight at me, he asks heads in due obedience of that faith, aff irming their commitment. I hold firm in my stare,

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208 my head. Damn it My flinch only fueled his evangelical fire, and I think I may be responsible, given that flinch, for the longest set played past the Cornerstone curfew during the last evening of shows. With my head bowed, even I have now become submissive to Wretched. N ot wanting to flip indecision. When the show finally ends, some of those congregated at the front of the the ir life to Christ, confesses sin, or wants to make a commitment of faith they want to follow up. I employ my Southern Baptist back pew skills and sneak out the back, not a little shaken. This performance points to the multifaceted aspect of the festiva l. Most of those in attendance dressed in accordance to the Glam Goth style of the musicians, including the festival, not including the generator stages, and at no point did I hear a single altar call; yet at the one show that stands out as the most outrageous, most seemingly non Christian I find the most obvious caricature of Christian Rock. Notably, the language of faith in this performance is co constructed: if the attendees did not get something out of this sort of demeaning treatment by Wretched, they certainly would not stick around for it. However strange or contrived, it is nonetheless a form of co mmunity grounded in what is for its Horror Rock, if not this band in particular, maintains the existence of the scene. When

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209 the curtain is pulled and they return to their college, this scene and their experience of it here, even if only ephemerally, ensures its reality and therefore the reality of their perception as members. There is, therefore, a conversion function embedded in this otherwise alternative scene at Cornerstone, but there is no guarantee that one will come face to mask with it during the festival. What the performers choose to do or not to do is their own business, and JPUSA accepts no responsibility for their act ions. Given the crew based dynamic of the festival, it is less likely the case that dialogue is facilitated between individual communities of believers and non believers withi n the festival appropriating its scene for the purpose of ritual and visibility, the accomplishment of objective markers of identity work and community building membership practices. *** Tucked safely away into the warmth of my sleeping bag, my glasses resting atop yet another pile of memorabilia in the corner of the tent, I rest in the liminality between sleeping and waking. I have a decision to make tomorrow morning. Todd wants me to come over to the campsite so that he, Dan, and Keith can pray over e and breathe the sentiment I can no longer feel. I would participate in a right of passage for a Cornerstone pilgrimage: spontaneous community building, translated into friendship, and sealed with a prayer and the laying on of hands. But I would be a he retic to my conscience.

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210 I am serenaded to sleep by the muted sounds of acoustic guitars accompanied by the melodic voices of attendees singing praise and worship songs. These sounds drift up into the Cornerstone night, into oblivion.

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211 Chapter Seven: Cornerstone Festival as Rhetorical Site up to my sleeping bag. The womb is warm and I find peace in its simple, enclosed space. Everything is a blur until I struggling to make sense of the frenetic scratch that was my handwriting. I set the notebook down and search through the stacks of memorabilia, pulling out music CDs that I purchased and flipping through the liner notes. I change clothes in the tent and dangle my feet outside, precariously close to the damp grass, to put on my hiking boots. The sun may have risen, but the sky is still grey. Cornerstone is a virtual ghost town this morning. Mine is among the sole remaining tents in what used to be a vast sea of them. Almost all of the nearly 20,000 attendees left in the night. Still drowsy, I roll up the sleeping bag and clean the camp site. Everything is ready to go. I could tear down this tent and be out the front gate in ten minutes. Unburdened, and leaving everything behind, I walk in the direction of where Todd, Dan, and Keith have been camped for the past few days. The lines anchoring Encore venues 1 and 2 seem longer and more intricate now, and I traverse these thick ropes and their giant pegs with care. I cross over Main Street and past the big log where I first marveled upon Buzz Saw Alley. The Cornerstone store is closed and the volunteer

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212 tent is abandoned No sign of life at the security office. Continuing my trek toward the kicking up gratuitous amounts of dust. I see that the Merchants Tent has been rolled up as I make my last turn off this side path. no time fetching Todd from inside the trailer. Keith rises from his chair, and I see his son ime to step away from it all. Todd, Keith, and Jordon have arrived, quietly. We stand together in a tight circle. One by one, they each lay a hand on my shoulder or back. I close my eyes, but I cation on my behalf that the of fact voice he spoke from during all of our conversations, gives thanks for our meeting and time together at the festival. *** a site for the construction o are oriented around a consp icuous, and sometimes vehemently contested, merger of Christian faith and rock music What I found is that Cornerstone Festival is a co produced

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213 event that mediates an alternative experience of Christian identity a discursive symbol that occupies a limin al space. Attendees appropriate the Cornerstone scene as a vision of Christian community that is outside of the circumference of the everyday reality of institutionalized faith. The festival is therefore an amalgam of ideal Christian community and transi ent touristic experience; surrogate mentor to marginalized Christian youth, genuine weird and Christian kitsch. Par t mythic and gloriously un cool, it is the sacred site for what Powell (2002) calls the ultimate square pegs of rock music The festival en compasses historical, cultural, political, and s piritual social realities, dogmatic ap proaches to Christian faith. JPUSA appropriates the festival format for the purpose of privileging non traditional methods of religious expression, namely rock music and in cluding members of the faith who are otherwise marginalized in traditionally organized Christian groups. Additionally, JPUSA sees Cornerstone as fostering interaction between these less enfranchised members and more t raditionally minded and socialized Christian practitioners. seminars speak from the margins of Christian faith and practice, and although Cornerstone Festival perpetuates and certainly impresses an air of tolerance, its evangelical alignments, marginal or otherwise, include stances opposed to pre marital sex, drug use, and homosexuality. Festival seminars are therefore a conspicuous amalgam of both conservative and progressive approache s to Christian practice. The festival operates at one level to commemorate the existence, survival, and good works of the JPUSA c ommunity, publicizing and perpetuating their role in the to

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214 explore Christian identity through processes of play, making camp, and community building. Cornerstone is thus coproduced insofar as a ttendees confers upon the festival its ongoing credibility as a site for alternat ive experiences of Christian faith navigating to and within the festival; they share a common pre festival history, yet they experience an estrangement of that history as traveler s together. build ing at Cornerstone. I t is the foundational ritual experience that brings into existence, even if only for a moment, relations which theretofore had not existed. I n a very loose sense t his accounts for the co existence of very differently styled forms o f music at Cornerstone, insofar as attendees are encamped in a shared space for the doing of acts in common. The festival experience that JPUSA facilitates not only o ffers a respite from the day to day membership practices of orthodox forms and practices of Christian faith, it also provides a model and an experience of that model for supplanting those practices Having exchanged the church house for the camp ground, Cornerstone attendee s appropriate the festival space as a site for ameliorating these seemingly conflicted ideologies of Christian faith and rock music Additionally, ransforma tional CCM artists combined with a burgeoning digital production an d distribution market contributes to an increasingly potent Christian r ock scene seeded between the margins of institutional fa ith and spontaneous communitas. Rock music is who appropriate the genre as an init iation ritual for community building and visibility. they so desire, yet cannot otherwise achieve, at least not so completely, since even

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215 Christian r ock remains a margi nalized form of Christian practice in the larger evangelical community. Misaligned individuals, or those who see themselves as marginal members of the institutional order, are subject to resocialization activities that seek to stabilize (integrate) their symbolic identity and status. These proces ses are therefore inherently rhetorical and represent an important pretext of public and private discourse. Peter Berger (1967), us the economy but for the ordinary routines o Cornerstone promises a different experience. I of the ev angelical community, appropriate scene as a redemptive space insofar as it is a validating experience. One result of this process is that they exchange an individualized form of Christian faith for a communal one. Just as shared ways of doing and being maintain the social order, attend ees generate new meanings through alternative Cornerstone Festival promises an alternative, faith b ased experience. In one sense the festival is an affirmation of marginalized Christian community an exploration into new frames of Christian experience and a collaborative, self and other validating act, valued as much because it is a shared experience. This kind o f act at Cornerstone brings

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216 ritual through festival into a new role: not merely to learn about faith and community, but to produce a new orientation per liminal participation in this scene re lease s them, if only temporarily, from their signifying institutional roles Howeve r, as a site for the construction or maintenance of alternative Christian identities, Cornerstone Festival engenders a conflicted trajectory. Although JPUSA members and festival attendees have forg ed a sustainable marginal space beyond the parameters of the dominant evangelical parent culture, the festival has necessarily become a legitimating system in its own right, coproduced or otherwis e. When examples of communitas such as the generator stages arise, JPUSA attempts to incorporate these marginal moments into a normative framework for the festival by including th em in the t enuous line it occupies, and indeed decis ions regarding these generator stages may ven as some long standing examples of communitas are being more officially grafted into the festival production, new variations such as The Tea House are arising. These new sit es are embedded within the camp sites, amidst the heart of the festival experience where crews and families camp. JPUSA envisions Cornerstone Festival as a site for the comingling of both marginalized and more tr aditionally minded Christian practitioners and their forms of expression, including variations of music experience s JPUSA wants the festival to foster dialogue between the rhetorical comm unities that identify with these variations; if not for the sake of cohesion, then for cultivating collaboration as the organizing principle of Christian faith and community. Indeed, the very idea of communication comprises

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217 apparent answe r to the painful divisions between self and other, private and public, and inner thought and outer word, the notion illustrates our strange lives at this point in ters, p. 2). Communication develops an intimate relation to social institutions of meaning, bu rgeoning democratic communities and participation in a collaboratively lived ways before we even open our mouths to speak. Communication here does not inv p. 16). The essential meaning of other engagement is the cultivation of respect, if not r our always becoming selves [. . 25). S re than therapy as as sentiments, and intellectual notions 1988, p. 34). For many attendees, Cornerstone is more than a mere vacation expe rience; it is a sacre d pilgrimage site because as they cannot accomplish these forms of in their hometown scenes. Furthermore, crew based process of sharing, rather than an individualized experience. This alternati ve orientation, not only to faith but to daily life, is likely the most significant facet of the festival. H ow we think about (theorize) communication affects how we communicate with each other; how we see ourselves, and how we value our relationships wit h others. Berger

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218 social constructionism is centered in social relationships as the crux for the construction and maintenance of social reality. For JPUSA, an ongoing collaborative commitment to community is the ground from which Christia n faith is constructed and maintained. It is a choice, and while JPUSA contends it is not for everyone certainly the f estival is a celebration of their commitment and an invitation to others to experience, if only fleetingly or superficially, this alterna tive form of Christia n community Ethnographic Approaches to Studying Rhetoric as a rhetorical site. T he festival engenders variations of Christian identity, relations hips, issna & Anderson, 2002, p. 19). In o rder to better understand how Cornerstone functions as a rhetorical site, and the implications of its variations of Christian identity, I embedded mys elf in the festival. Payne (2006) has proposed e to be experienced in the life world and become part of the materials out of which we forge and manage self and relationship to the world, and that experiential data should inform our understanding of the layering of text and context and the ambiguities o f By applying an ethnographic method of studying Cornerstone as a rhetorical site, I experienced first hand the allure of collaborative Christian community fuelled by rock music and formed genuine relationships with others w hich brought to the fore and challenged my ow n spiritual choices N ew approaches to rhetorical theory, writes Frentz

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219 terms than they have done in the past. In this light, c ultural studies multidimensional understandings of how viewer listeners respond to mediated messages could enrich site where very different genres of music and their acc ompanying audiences comingle within and coproduce a scene; that processes of musicking translate into everyday conversations and structure relationships. Through a deep immersion in the Cornerstone scene, I internalized its rhetorical practices and relate d personally to observations and experiences in the field. The method of study furthermore directed me toward my own ambiguity as not quite as former a believer as I thought myself to be. I discovered that is a commitment to faith. Thus, when I look back upon my prior attendances of Cornerstone, I can value the experience of friendship and community building even though I no longer share the same commitment to Christian faith. E thnographic fieldwork is a process of coming to terms with both a culture (Van field alr eady in a double bind. T h is being studied, and on the other hand they must conform to the criteria of the scientific ey are a member (Karp & Kendall, p. 269). Mere reflection in the reporting of data do and Kendall draw knowledge claims not only from the people being studied, but also JPUSA engenders at Corn erstone Festival found its way into this fieldwork experience. I

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220 asked for permission to observe how JPUSA members handle conflict situations during the festival, and I was entrusted as a member of cart security. I wanted to know what sense attendees mad e of their experience of Cornerstone Festival, what the festival means to or accomplishes for them, and often times this inspired their first genuine consideration of the connection between faith music, and Christian identity Festival ethnography is ex hausting, as one might expect, but it is also surprisingly alienating and often lonely. Ethnographic fieldnotes, the other side of the participant hyphen, are an ever present moor ing to a that often obfuscates the relationships forme d in the field. T he more intensely I identified with attendees, the y complicated as festival demands that participants shed their socialized, professional identities and commune with their ves. Throughout the fieldwork process, I progressed from the exhilaration of entering the scene, to th e intimidation of its commanding immensity; from the swagger of accomplishment, to the sheer exhaustion of maintaining multiple identit ies and th eir subsequent responsibilities researcher, participant, volunteer, confidant and confederate. Ultimately, however, these eight days conferred meaning upon my prior iever, the one time seeker, and the contented agnostic. The testimony of my coming into un faith, from committed Southern Baptist to contented agnostic was subject, for years, to sporadic bouts of self hatred and guilt. Choosing Cornerstone as the subject of my doctoral dissertation was in part an attempt to attain a sense of closure for my personal relationship to the larger system of faith that the

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221 remnant of my ide ntity was still moored to this subject; to put this part of my life to rest formed at Cornerstone during this fieldwork experience seeded a later revelation: that t he integrating it into the person I am becoming. It was Janice Rushing who once told me that while our experiences with music or art can indeed be profound and enli ghtening, they are only transformative insofar as we form positive relationships from those experiences. In my first meeting with Todd, he elicited from me a de conversion story, a testimony of my un faith. But it was nearly three years before this mome nt crystallized; before I realized its therapeutic potency. Through my fieldwork at Cornerstone and the process of writing up notes and interviews into a set of findings, a story, I came into a long sought after contentment wherein I am no longer embarras then, now, and for the rest of my life. I no longer hate myself on some insidious level n or do I feel embarrassed because I "used to be an evangelical Christian." I accept that "young ; I'm not beating him up anymore as if he represents something s hame ful For my part, I still listen to at least one Christian musician, a Transformational for r eligious purp oses: its just damn good music Yet, it is also a point of identification, albeit a tenuous one, to Christian rock that transcends my ambivalence to Christian faith. At Cornerstone, and indeed for years following my Cornerstone fieldwork, I felt pulled to re encounter, to reflect and re sort my beliefs. In this sense, then, Cornerstone Festival

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222 accomplished its strategy of drawing marginal Christians into encounters and identifications with their faith or un faith. openness to hosting marginalized styles of Christian rock (alternative rock, Goth, punk rock, hardcore rock, metal, etcetera), invites criticism. Rubin and the conservative form of evangelicalism that he represents are the most visible incarnations of thi s opposition. Rubin was joined by pastors from the neighboring city of Macomb and local pastors from Bushnell. By allowing these protestors to voice their opposition to the festival, including its rock music culture, JPUSA draws out Rubin and these pasto rs as conservative and their brand of conservatism becomes, for passersby, a spectacle of radical evangelical conservatism. En route to the festival, attendees representing new generations of Christian youth must pass through this ring of pastors protesto rs; passing through the front gates is thus akin to announcing their alignment with a more tolerant form of evangelical faith and Christian membership. evangelicalism is the feat uring of Transformational CCM artists. The rhetorical dynamic pical lyrical style of their counterparts in sofar as their lyrics are grafted from ambiguity rather than dogmatism. The impact of this turn, evidenc ed in my conversations with attendees, has even larger implications for American politics (voting for Obama in lieu of the abortion issue) and cultural life ( renewed commitment to social activism). Increasingly th e Transformational turn in CCM is transla ting into virtual communities that represent a new generation of b elievers who are more pragmatic and collaborative than their evangelical predecessors. Instead of

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223 isolation or separation from their non Christian counterparts, they desire a copasetic inte gration, an exc hange of views as well as music. it recalls the formation of their community and reaffirms their experience of faith. Perhaps this is why traditional faith or a mere imitation of the general market music scene. Many of the nostalgic connection to the event, do so bec ause a special relationship has been forged between their personal identity as believers and the festival itself. So long as Cornerstone retains its vitality, as a festival where rock music is not only an acceptable form of Christian practice but a requis ite, it will retain its credibility among those in the margins of Christian faith.

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About the Author Brian J ohnston received his B.A. and M .A. degree s from the University of Arkansas. His academic interests include rhetoric, cultural studies, and qualitative research methods featuring ethnography and rhetorical criticism. His Masters T hesis, entitled "Waking Up Narcissus: U2 Transcend Postmode rnism with Zoo TV," co directed by Thomas S. Frentz and Janice Hocker Rushing, was a rhetorical criticism that sought to demon strate how a rock music concert tour series re articulated the postmodern condition within a spiritual mythic frame. Additional interests include interpersonal communication, film studies public speaking as community activism, rhetoric of social movement s, popular forms of public communication, and documentary production. Brian is a member of the National Communica tion Association and maintains a close relationship with the ann ual Buster Keaton Celebration.


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