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On April 28, 1999, just eight days after the Columbine shooting, shock rock singer Marilyn Manson was scheduled to perform a concert in Iowa City, Iowa. And since Manson’s music

was prominent in the lives of Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, there was a lot of emotion surrounding his concert. Mark Forstrom, a local Youth Minister in the area wrote about what happened.


He wrote, "The police, the media, and the community began to prepare for angry protests and ugly brawling between Christians and Marilyn Manson supporters."


Suddenly, something totally unexpected happened. Emerging thru the vehicle of e-mail, another local movement suddenly sprang to life— that the only way to truly change our moral climate is to soften hard hearts. (The hearts of Manson fans have been hardened by

their perception that Christians are mean-spirited, hateful, and judgmental.) Thus, the idea was birthed to unravel that stereotype by encouraging Christians to show the pure LOVE of Christ to these fans in tangible ways.


Concert day finally arrived, and tension filled the community. The media geared up for an ugly battle between Manson fans and the Christian opposition.


Instead, what they observed here was an amazing testament to the power of and love of Christ! Scores of Christians from churches all over Linn County and as far away as Des Moines (2 hours away) converged on the sidewalks outside the Five Seasons Center, to do

two POSITIVE things: pray, and to show unmistakable love. It was a sight to behold.

~ Groups conducted "prayer walks" around the arena.

~ People prayed in huddles on the sidewalk.

~ Churches around the city held special prayer eetings.


As for showing LOVE to the fans,


~ One church purchased 100 pizzas, which were freely given away to the fans in line and bystanders.

~ Cookies and over 1,200 cans of soda were purchased or donated and distributed.

~ Someone made turkey & cheese sandwiches and gave them away.

~ One pastor asked Manson fans who passed by how he could pray for them--about 20 shared specific things & were prayed for on the spot.

~ After the concert, about $200 in cash (collected mostly by a local youth group) was given out to pay for parking in the parking ramp.


The Christians involved said, "We’re Christians and we’d like to show you God’s love by paying for your parking tonight." The

immediate results of this love in action were phenomenal:


~ People continually asked, "Why are you doing this?" and then listened to the answer. ~ Two "live" radio reporters (one inside the stadium and one outside) discussed--on the air--how preferable it was to be outside with the generous Christians.

~ At least 3 people gave their lives to Christ through the loving care of the Christians.

~ At least one other fan that we know of chose not to go to the concert, ending up in church the following Sunday.

~ After getting the pizza, one kid commented, "Wow, Marilyn Manson never gave me anything!"

~ A Marilyn Manson web-site, reporting on our Christian response admitted, "so maybe those Christians aren’t half bad!"


As for the concert itself, we saw God work a miracle there as well. After only an hour, Manson abruptly ended the concert early. He suddenly flew into a rage: he threw his microphone to the ground, and stormed off the stage, never to return!


So to summarize the totality of Marilyn Manson’s visit to Cedar Rapids, we might say this: many fans came to the concert convinced that Christians were irritating and that Marilyn Manson was impressive and many left the concert feeling that Marilyn Manson was

irritating and that Christians were impressive! Think of how much closer to the kingdom thousands of kids might be as a result of this unforeseen outreach event.

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