On the sixth and seventh days, let there be joy and sadness and general acting out…and there was.
A stand-up comedian would find every gender joke in the Amazing Freedom conference, ending up its three-day stand at what we still call the Boston Garden. The stereotype would be to ask what would make men more nervous than over 10,000 women in one room simultaneously weeping, laughing or both?
That’s what organizers Women of Faith, Inc. promised and the Boston Globe reports they delivered down on Causeway Street. This is the first go in Boston, but these emo fests have been happening in the U.S. and Canada for 12 years. The next version, entitled Infinite Grace, will be in the same place about the same weekend, here.
If you take the spokeswoman, Nichole Masker, at her word, these stops fill big arenas because, “The women who come here all say they are overworked and overextended and they need a break. These weekends give them time to be with their girlfriends, and laugh and cry and focus on their faith.”
Fashion note: The clichés keep coming. For a minimum order of 10 at $10 apiece, you can
advertise the tour take the worry out of dressing. As WOF puts it, “Save your group members from staring into the closets wondering ‘What should I wear to the conference?’ Outfit your group in our all-new Amazing Freedom Group T-Shirts! It features the phrase “Let Your Spirit Soar” on the front, and the entire Amazing Freedom Conference Schedule on the back – a great reminder of the event you shared together.”
There’s no child care. You’ll need to get your lumpish hubby to take care of your kids for just one weekend, for Pete’s sake!
When you arrive, expect:
- Inspirational speaker upon inspirational speaker, humorous, heart-rending or both.
- Lots of Christian music.
- Prayers and preaching.
- Box lunches both days.
All this is only from a range of $25 (early registration, group, conference only) to $129 (group premium seating with the pre-conference day).
Whom might you ask would WOF attract in such numbers? Well, that would be fundamental Christian ladies. The statement of faith is fairly winnowing. For example, you are supposed to believe in the Bible as “the inspired, the only infallible, inerrant Word of God.” Then there’s the trinity, and Jesus’ virgin birth, sinless life, bodily resurrection, and salvation only through his grace (no UUs need apply).
The flotilla of speakers are women who’ve been around the block, both in age and experience. Each claims authority of hard times and coming out the other side through Jesus.
One, Patsy Clairmont, says she was a severe agoraphobic and is proof of heavenly transformation. Another, Marilyn Meberg, uses a disturbing juxtaposition in her description — “And did we mention the stories? Whether it’s a hilarious tale of mint tea gone wrong or the heartrending loss of her baby daughter, Marilyn weaves God’s Word together with real life experience to provide hope and encouragement to all who listen.” That a mixture hard for parents to read or hear. Surely she must go from yucks to wailing more gently than it appears.
The conference folk promise metaphorical refreshment. As they put it, “Imagine getting together with your closest girlfriends for a weekend. Think of the laughter you’d share, the tears you’d shed, the FUN you’d have. Now multiply that by 10,000 or so. You’re starting to get the idea.”
There’s also a teen version of this, The Revolve Tour. It’s cheaper ($49 to $69, buy your own blessed lunch [$8]). The closest will be in Hartford at the end of September. It’s heavier on music and teeny thingies. Consider:
God or Glam
My life might be revolving around my appearance if I . . .
- Don’t leave home unless I look perfect
- Can’t imagine life without lip gloss or hair spray
- Consider models the most accurate standard of beauty and compare myself to them
- Bond with every mirror and reflective device I can find
- Depend on my high maintenance image to win friends and boyfriends
- Feel jealous when I see beautiful girls
- Tend to hide out on days I feel ugly
- Throw a fit over a new zit on my forehead
- Determine the kind of day I’m going to have by how I look that morning
THOUGHT: People who like me for my looks will be gone as soon as someone more beautiful comes along.
Real beauty comes from becoming like Jesus.
VERSE: It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. No, your beauty should come from within you―the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that will never be destroyed and is very precious to God. 1 Peter 3:3 – 4)
As an aid to teens who live in the tainted world, there’s a tour bus that travels a circuit of Christian youth rock-music festivals (yes, just that). Honk. Honk. It promotes the WOF conferences.
Even though this is the first WOF conference in our fair burg, this subculture clearly has a bunch of women and supporters behind it. Even if I had gotten one of those light blue T-shirt (they come up to XXL, by the bye), I don’t know that I would have been able to get into the Garden for this. It may have been an education, although were I not crying and laughing appropriately, I may have been uncomfortably distinct.
The image of over 10,000 fundamental Christian women emoting in concert in one place at one time will have to suffice.