Paradiso is a rave festival where people go to do drugs, drink at 8am and dress like it’s 1972. But, the amazing vibes and hippy-esque culture really opened my eyes.
No one is afraid to say hi to you, and do the fun handshake that every raver should know. Which is PLUR or Peace, Love, Unity, Respect; It’s the WWJD of rave culture and I was blown away by how much love everyone had for each other.
The music also, on the other hand was something to be amazed about, I didn’t partake in any of the drugs because well, I’m just not into drugs haha, but I did enjoy the music and I can say I’d do it again solely to dance and sweat in a mosh pit for 12 hours all over again (I can’t feel my feet and my hips, quads, and calves are sore beyond belief).
But the interesting thing was, it felt VERY similar to a church retreat, just without the Jesus. While I was in the mosh pit I looked around at everyone and just thought, “Jesus loves each and everyone of you so much, he cares about what happened with your parents divorce, He wants to hold you during all the pain of losing someone, and He doesn’t care that you look the other way and ignore Him”. I could feel the love, but most of these people, unfortunately, have an empty void in their life. They have nothing but each other and they hold onto that feeling, the “good” vibes, the friendships, the unity they feel during the moment. It’s all good, but they are missing an essential component, and He is Jesus.
Church retreats always ended with a strong bond, but it never lasts a long time. In a months time the feeling of a long lasting friendship, only lasts about a few weeks and everyone slowly goes back to their regular schedules. Paradiso on the other hand is exactly the same but even more artificial. You make friends there but you’re either too inebriated or on drugs to care to get their facebook information and make it a lasting relationship and even then it’s just facebook. Side note: I think it’s sad that facebook is what determines if you’ve becomes “friends” or not or even just acquaintances. But the feels were all there and I just thought it was interesting. Especially the post retreat feeling of, “oooh look at all the cool pictures we took of the new friends we made!” etc.
These were just some similarities I noticed from a culture that doesn’t know Jesus from a culture that strives for Jesus. The main difference is that church retreats give hope. There is so much more hope and more love that you can experience at a church retreat because Jesus fills the void that is hungering for something more. He quenches a thirst that we seek through these sorts of events where we think this fills us, and for a time it will, but eventually you come down. I understand why people take drugs because they feel euphoric and connected with the music, the people as well as the environment like they are a part of something bigger. I just wished they knew that Jesus could do that for them and more. I haven’t been the best messenger of the cross, but hopefully people I’ve talked to or met maybe felt a light of sorts, because in the end it’s not about me it’s about Him.
The contrast is really silly though, I’ll get to experience Paradiso one weekend and our UL 2014 summer retreat this coming week, back to back. It’ll be interesting to actually live out the differences between the two. Heh.