Cornerstone ended its 29 year run this past week. I had never been to Cornerstone, though I did want to go at least once. My wife and my sister in law were regular attendees of the event.
For those of you who don’t know, Cornerstone is a Christian musical festival that was held every summer in Bushnell, Illinois. It is a musical festival unlike any other though. Bands from the well known to indie are able to book time, and it has historically attracted large names such as P.O.D. amongst others. Because of the fact that it attracts bands that are not Chris Tomlin clones, but rather those closer to Bryan “Head” Welch, it also attracts believers that look like they would listen to Flatfoot 56 rather than Robbie Seay.
When thinking about the last year of Cornerstone, my first thought is that I was sad for my wife and my sister-in-law. For them, this is the end of an era. The last three years they have spent quality sister time driving to Illinois, spending the week together and being with people who share their same musical style and desire to see them live. For them, this is the people that they feel most comfortable with. My sister-in-law has even said that it is the only place that she feels normal. They have befriended so many people there because they set up a “Free Ramen tent” which lets them become a level of Cornerstone royalty. My prayer for them, and especially my sister-in-law, that she finds a similar opportunity either in one event or in aggregate through a number of events that she is able to replace the hole that Cornerstone’s departure left. Overall though, my prayer is that she finds a church where she feel comfortable and call home.
What I also think about when I think about Cornerstone is that those who are counted as followers of Christ are not uniform in their appearance. Those who go to Cornerstone have tattoos (more than I do), piercings, dreadlocks, and do not necessarily have the all-American look that has seemed to been accepted as the standard for the prototypical Christian. Their appearance does not make them either less or more of a follower of Christ than I am. Those who claim Jesus as their Lord do not have a typical physical appearance. Thankfully the view the stereotype of the prototypical Christian is evolving to a stance that is more concerned about the heart and less concerned about clothing style. It is my prayer that those who are more comfortable with a peer group that is closer to that found at Cornerstone find a place where they find comfort and peace, and not necessarily feel uncomfortable because of their outward appearance. My prayer is that people who look more like me also let go of some of the preconceived notions of these individuals and realize that God is bigger than our biases.
I think about lost opportunities as well. Cornerstone is something that I did want to try at least once. I have known about Cornerstone since high school. Even then I found it intriguing, but never went because of numerous conflicts or lack of cash flow. There is no doubt that I would have been the person that stuck out because of my own personal appearance. There is also no doubt that I am a guy who appreciates a good concierge rather than a well made tent. Regardless, it is something that I have always found beneficial and intriguing. I find this is a good object lesson. Because the greater truth is that Cornerstone was not promised another year, just as we are not promised another day. I think this is an important to seize the moments that God has gives us and make sure that it is done so for Kingdom work. Kingdom work not only accounts for spiritual disciplines such as prayer, worship, fasting, evangelism, disciple making, etc…but also fellowship and enjoying the blessings that God has given us as well.
The take away is this. Our God is bigger than our biases and works through people because of their diversity, not despite of it. God also expects us to faithfully and diligently steward the resources that He gives us, time of which is one of the most precious.