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Rick Meredith

Photo credit: Sacred Stone Camp Facebook

In Solidarity with Standing Rock

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By Jeff Clark
Water is indisputably a core element of our existence, crucial to every part of our lives on this planet. It ripples throughout our human story, a fundamental relationship that inextricably connects us to the earth and to each other.

Credit: Sacred Stone Camp Facebook

Photo credit: Sacred Stone Camp Facebook

When such an important relationship is threatened, when the racist underpinnings of a situation are thinly (if at all) veiled, when basic human rights are challenged, as people of faith and as members of the human family, we cannot look away. And I personally must stand in solidarity with the protectors of Standing Rock.

As you are probably aware, Sacred Stone Camp in Cannon Ball, North Dakota currently sits at the heart of a protest sparking national attention. In an attempt to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, thousands of people have gathered in land held sacred by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. The pipeline would transfer as much as 570,000 barrels of crude oil daily from North Dakota to Illinois, and is proposed to travel underneath the Missouri River, a primary source of drinking water for millions. Facing a high possibility of water contamination, the desecration of burial grounds, and broken treaties, the protectors of the area include indigenous and non-Native people alike. The pipeline presents a multifaceted dilemma in the arenas of public health, environmental stewardship, and indigenous rights.

There are many ways to stand with our brothers and sisters in this crisis. #NoDAPL lists a number of solidarity actions on their website. The Atlantic magazine also reports that Standing Rock protesters have requested people “contact leaders in the Army Corps of Engineers and the Obama Administration in opposition to the pipeline.”

To these I would add two more: lament and pray. Lament the racism and injustice that indigenous people have suffered and continued to suffer in this country. And pray for change. As Mark Charles, a friend and past contributor of the Goose wrote in a recent blog post, what is happening to the Standing Rock Sioux is part of a broader systemic problem. May we all join in prayer that this broken system is repaired and may we also be a part of working to let “justice roll down like water.”

In Solidarity,

Jeff Clark
President & Producer
The Wild Goose Festival

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Open Call for 2017 Contributors

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Entries are now closed.
You can expect to hear from us in the first week of April. In the meantime, if you have any questions please contact us HERE.

It’s time to let us know what YOU would like to do at Wild Goose!  The contributions of our “self-submits” each year are at the heart of what make the Goose a unique co-creation experience, surprising and unlike other “festivals.” This is a festival where people come together to make things,  wonder and ponder and discuss, cross boundaries, fire up imaginations, undo expectations.

This means that in your submissions, think about how you can design experiences that engage rather than lecture, raise questions rather than shut them down. How could you tailor your work to involve your audience, making space for participation? How can you go outside normal boundaries to increase the level of interactivity? Whatever your role – artist, musician, speaker – push beyond the expected in ways that will actively involve your audience. See yourself as an instigator not a “presenter” and invite others into an experience of co-creation.

Because this festival is about the intersection of Spirit, Art, Music and Justice, we ask all our submitters to consider how they can create integrated experiences – so you might, for example, want to look at justice through the lens of spirit and/or music, or at spirituality through the lens of art and/or justice.  And in whatever you do, keep in mind the power of Story. We introduced the “Story” theme last year. But it’s more than an annual theme – it’s part of the Goose DNA: What are our shared narratives? How have they shaped us?

Stories bring us together, stories can change us – whether we’re telling them or hearing them. We believe stories can change the world. So we hope that you will let the power of story weave its way into any type of experience you bring to the Goose.

We’d like to also suggest that you keep these words in front of you as you craft your contribution: Lament. Welcome. Identity. Evolve. Revolution. Love. What do these concepts say to you and how might you integrate any of them into your performance or presentation?

Worried you won’t have enough time to get your application in to us? The deadline for self-submits has been extended until Monday, February 27th at midnight. There’s a $40 application fee to offset programming costs. Questions? Click HERE to contact us.

Thank you for all your submissions.

APPLICATION FORM
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Four ways we can stand with the movement for Black Lives

By | Goose News | 4 Comments

crutcherThose of us in the Wild Goose community are reeling from the horrifying and tragic events of this week: the police shootings of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa and Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, two more names on a list that seems to grow longer and longer every day.

We abhor the racism and violence that is tearing our country apart and we call for those responsible for these killings to be held accountable. We follow a God of inclusion and love, and we stand in solidarity with all those who work for restorative justice and for building the beloved community.

We know that many of the people of color from the Wild Goose community are in unbearable pain right now, feeling hurt, angry and betrayed, nearly hopeless, and deeply afraid for their very lives.

Many from the Wild Goose community who have been raised white are weeping with their brothers and sisters of color, want to stand in solidarity with them and are sick to death of the systemic anti-Black racism that has authorized and empowered the targeting, assault and killing of black and brown bodies in this country.

And thankfully, many from the Wild Goose community are in Charlotte, deeply engaged in practical, productive, on-ground support.

But many of us are spread out across the country and unsure how we can stand with each other. How we can cry out for justice. How we can say “No more.”

Here are four things we believe the Wild Goose community can do together, wherever we are:

1. Lament
Rev. Jennifer Bailey, minister, community organizer, a Founder of the Faith Matters Network has said, “The type of healing we need can only be borne out of lament — a lament that holds space in the deepest pits of our beings for the piercing sorrow and rage being expressed by black communities, cultivates empathy, and puts restorative justice at the center of our collective action.”

It’s time to weep and mourn and cry out to God in our pain, grief and confusion, and yes, also, confess our complicity in a system of injustice. We invite you to stop and take a few moments for a simple ritual of lament and prayer each week, to light a candle and name the names of people who’ve been killed.

We have created a prayer of lament for you to use if you wish, which you can download here. Or come up with your own words.

You might want to do this with your family or gather with some friends around a table. You might want to kneel. You might want to create your own wailing wall or a jar of tears. However you do this each week, to remember that we are lamenting as a community, please share a photo to our @WildGooseFest Instagram page tagging it #WildGooseLaments.

2. Learn
Jim Wallis, author, preacher, and Sojourners magazine founder and editor, has recently written a book called America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America.  If you haven’t read it already, order a copy here. Then, starting Next Thursday, Sept. 29, at 8 p.m., Jim is inviting us all to join him on Facebook Live for the first in a series of conversations that he’s calling “ Race, Faith and 2016.” These discussions, about how issues of race and faith are playing out in society today and are reflected in this fall’s political campaigns, will continue each Thursday night between now and Election Day.

3. Listen
A survey on values by the Public Religion Research Institute not long ago reported that 75% of white Americans have “entirely white social networks.”

Despite what some of us might want to believe, we live in an incredibly segregated society. To change that, we have to start talking about important things… and listening, truly listening… with people of different colors than our own. Yes, it may be awkward. Let us be brave enough to be awkward. And when you do, let’s share our experiences with each other in the comments section below.

4. Love
Let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love.” That’s the call we hear from our scriptures (1 John 3:18, The Message). And as Dr. Cornell West has said, “Justice is what love looks like in public.” We can practice real love in many different ways. Speaking out against racial injustice on social media, in our schools and offices and churches. We can also participate by getting involved with groups dedicated to ending racial injustice like the #BlackLivesMatter movement…they have many local chapters. As does the group, Showing Up for Racial Justice. There are many other local grassroots efforts going on across the country. Tell us about ones you know about and invite fellow Wild Goose folks to join you through our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis of Middle Collegiate Church in New York has said, “Love looks like this: Prophetic grief. Tears falling heavy. And activism that ends racism.”

Join us in letting the tears fall, in confession, in action, in real love. And please join the conversation in the comments section below.

Plans are already very aggressively under way to make sure racial justice will be front and center at the 2017 Wild Goose Festival. Let’s fight this fight together – in every way possible!

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Brian McLaren talks about his new book, The Great Spiritual Migration

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Brian McLaren talks with us about The Great Spiritual Migration

A conversation with Lenora Rand and Rick Meredith | Wild Goose Creative Team

Already garnering some great press, including this article in The New York Times, Brian McLaren’s new book, The Great Spiritual Migration, just released this week, is one that Rachel Held Evans believes “may be his most important work yet.” Richard Rohr has called it a must read because it will “assure you that you are not crazy…in what you’re seeing and suffering today.” And Dr. Jacqui Lewis, senior minister of Middle Collegiate Church in New York City has said, “This well-conceived, intelligent, warm, truthful book is our guide to a space where a life of faith is defined by love-in-action.”

book-squareWe sat down recently with Brian, a long-time supporter of the Wild Goose Festival, for a conversation about the book.  Ok, to be honest, we sat down with him virtually, through the wonders of the internet. We will also admit that it might have taken us longer to come up with the questions than it did for him to answer them. He’s just that good.

Lenora:  If I had to summarize your book in a sentence or two I’d say it’s all about how the church needs to be less about belief and more about love. We need fewer believers and more people willing to be lovers. Did I get it – is that the gist of The Great Spiritual Migration?

Brian: You nailed the gist of the first third, and that sets the stage for everything else. I might tweak your statement to be “less about beliefs” (plural) – because I think there’s a deep and important difference between belief/faith and beliefs (as I discuss at some length in the book). The middle third of the book deals with the question of God … our understanding or vision of God, and specifically, God’s relation to violence. Then the last section takes all this and asks how we put it into practice in our faith communities and the world.

Lenora: You mentioned the Wild Goose Festival in your dedication. What role do you think Wild Goose has played/is playing in The Great Spiritual Migration?

Brian: In the last third of the book, I talk about movement dynamics, and how movements relate to institutions. One key element of a healthy movement is “movement culture,” and Festivals like Wild Goose play a key part in creating and expressing movement culture. Wild Goose creates a liminal space, a zone of experimentation, what some have called a “temporary autonomous zone” where people can practice a different way of being alive. That’s what so many of us experience at Wild Goose. It’s not the only expression of the spiritual migration we need, of course. We need migration in our academic communities, in our congregations and denominations, in our NGO’s and informal networks … but I think a place like Wild Goose plays a critical role in this. You think of Woodstock in its relation to the counterculture movement, or even Davos in relation to the global economy (for better or worse), or the role that summer camps and youth camps and mission trips played in many of our lives. These intense, extraordinary experiences stretch our imagination and give us a taste of something beautiful and possible and new.

Brian McLaren Photo by Courtney Perry

Photo by Courtney Perry

Rick: In chapter three, “Learning How to Love,” you imagine the church of the future as anything from a weekly meeting in a cathedral to a annual retreat or even a daily online experience – a “studio” where people interactively learn how to live a life of love. This sounds almost like a description of what Wild Goose could be. Could you expand on how Wild Goose might best embody this ethos?

Brian: Great question. In many ways, I think Wild Goose is already doing exactly this. First, it is providing an experience of intensity that complements our usual experiences of regularity. Regularity without intensity becomes a bit boring, and intensity without regularity can become irrelevant. But put the two together – an intense week, once a year – and you can start to feel that your life direction and “vibe” is being shaped by that week. If I could make one suggestion in how to expand that impact, it would be to continue our focus on making kids and high schoolers and college students feel welcome, and more than welcome, central to the whole event over decades to come. That’s not easy. Events tend to start with one age cohort and then stay with that cohort as they age. But if we could always lean young, we could play a major role in the spiritual formation of many for years to come. If that sounds like too much pressure, I don’t want it to. Really, I think it’s inspiring. I know that few if any of us are just interested in a successful business venture for people’s entertainment. (There’s nothing wrong with that … but I think something more than that draws us together.)

That’s especially important because although I’m working hard (and writing hard) to help our faith communities seize the moment, I don’t think enough will do so fast enough. And that means that thousands – actually, millions – of kids will grow up without much in the way of intentional spiritual formation in the way of love. They’ll be formed to be cool, or rich, or to “make America great again” (yikes) or to be faithful American consumers … but until our faith communities in sufficient numbers pick up the call to spiritually form new generations in the way of Christ, which is the way of life, creative ventures like Wild Goose must play a significant role in filling the gap. At least that’s how I see it.

Over time, I hope the intense Wild Goose experience can help a new generation of leaders arise who build new faith communities where the justice and generosity we share for a long weekend in the summer becomes the norm for their daily lives.

Rick:  In chapter eight, “Salvation from the Suicide Machine”, you suggest that perhaps the Spirit of God is calling the church to stop trying to save itself and instead to join God in saving the world. So many churches and organizations seem to make “growing the numbers” a top priority, as a matter of survival. Are you saying we should just take action and forget about the numbers, and if we are in fact doing the right thing, our survival (and growth) will follow?

Brian: I’m not saying forget about the numbers. But I am saying that if we recruit more and more people to do the wrong things and become the wrong kinds of human beings, we’re playing successfully for the wrong team. My complaint with “organized religion” is not that it’s organized enough to count numbers, but that it’s well organized to achieve the wrong purposes, or better said, that it’s shabbily organized to achieve the most urgent purposes. If we were to organize well to achieve the most urgent purposes … developing people as contemplative love activists and lifelong love learners in the way of Christ, loving the planet more than we love money and fossil fuels, challenging privileged people to love poor and marginalized people so that together we can create a better future, and pre-empting war and violence with a profound commitment to peacemaking … if we organized for those purposes and invited people to be part, I think we would find a new vitality and joy. (And hard work and push-back too!) That’s what I think Jesus did, and that’s what I think the Spirit is calling us to do. I think the world will be a better place if 5000 or 50,000 or 5 million people are part of that than if 5 or 50 people are part of that. So for me, it’s about organizing and inspiring and training and supporting growing numbers of people for these urgent, important, and profoundly meaningful purposes.

Rick: You talk about the necessity of multi-faith solutions and dialogue. Do you have a vision for how that might better play out at the Wild Goose Festival?

Brian: As you know, I’m deeply involved in multi-faith collaboration. In my experience, multi-faith collaboration has two possible paths. The first is to downplay individual faith identity and to try to create a kind of neutral zone where people focus on commonalities and minimize their distinctiveness. It’s kind of a least-common denominator approach. The other is to celebrate individual faith identity and come together to share gifts from our different traditions. There’s a place for both approaches, although I’m more interested in the latter.

But here’s the problem. Many of our faith traditions are themselves in deep crisis. Their identities are conflicted, polarized, and paralyzed. If you try to get Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity (Catholics) and a leader in ISIS (a Sunni Muslim) and a leader in the Iranian Revolution (a Shiite Muslim) and Franklin Graham (an Evangelical/Fundamentalist) together, it’s not going to go well at all. But think of how Thomas Merton and the Dalai Lama became friends, or how Desmond Tutu and Pope Francis encounter “the other.” You might say that many faiths have their Desmond Tutu/Pope Francis pole and their Franklin Graham/Bill O’Reilly pole, and until we can get more people to the Desmond Tutu pole, we won’t have many people ready for multi-faith collaboration.

Right now, we need to build a strong movement among Christians at the Desmond Tutu/Pope Francis pole. This is a matter of spiritual formation, and I think Wild Goose invites people to “fly in formation” in that direction. In that way, I see Wild Goose’s primary calling to be a progressive Christian festival … and I mean progressive in the broadest sense … to help more Christians become the kinds of people who know how to relate to people of other faiths in a (think of it!) Christ-like way. But here’s where it gets interesting. If we do that, I think we will always be welcoming people of other faiths to the Festival – to learn from them, to share with them, to enjoy life and celebrate beauty and plot goodness together. So I think of a Muslim friend of mine who came to the Festival a few years ago. She told me that she felt completely at home, that these were “her people.”

Because Christianity is the world’s largest and richest religion, and also the religion with the most conventional and nuclear weapons under its control, it’s especially urgent for Christians to deal with our identity issues. But I also hear from many of my friends of other faiths that they feel Jews and Muslims and Buddhists and others all need their own spaces to grapple with their identity in this crazy new post-al context – postmodern, postcolonial, post-industrial, post-consumerist, post-nationalist, post-patriarchal, and so on.

I love the way the Wild Goose website said it…something like: “Because we are a Christian festival, we welcome people of all faiths and no faiths.” In other words, in our understanding of what it means to be Christian, we are hospitable, welcoming, appreciative, non-colonizing, and non-hostile.

Rick: You’ve laid out a blueprint here for creating a movement. What would you name the movement?

Lenora: We were thinking the Wild Goose Movement might be nice…Ha! Not really…but, maybe?

Brian: The nature of things these days argues against branding the movement we need with a simple label, at least for now. I wish this weren’t true, because it would be so much simpler if we could just line up behind one name or brand. But the spiritual movement we need must be a coalition of many sub-movements, and those sub-movements must, in my opinion, have their own identities even while they in a sense migrate in the same direction with others.

I see many reasons for the resistance toward a single movement label, and I’m sure there are other reasons I don’t fully understand. Maybe this will change over time. But for now, I think we have to be comfortable with the ambiguity, and Wild Goose Festival has to understand itself as a key player in an unfolding process with many other important partners around the nation and the world. At least that’s my dream.We have to become who we are, joyfully, and at the same time understand our affinity with parallel communities coming together. We can’t be everybody to everyone all at the same time, but we can be somebody whose heart is full of love for everyone … Many flocks, if you will, in one migration toward justice, joy, and peace.

Lenora: Since a lot of Wild Goose folks have probably read many of your other books, why should they read this one? Do you feel like in the current political and cultural climate we’re living in now, this book is particularly important?

Brian: I was relieved when one of the first reviewers of the book, Peter Laarman, said, “Every theme that McLaren has been carefully developing for years is present in the new book, only amplified with a new sense of urgency that seems to be informed by the climate change crisis, the new Movement for Black Lives, and the rising Islamophobia that so poisons our politics.”

I’m glad he saw this as a book that consolidates earlier themes and ups the sense of urgency. That’s how I feel. For people who have been following my work for a long time, this book in many ways puts all the pieces together and issues a call to action. For that reason, for people who haven’t read any of my books, this would be the best place so far to get the big picture.

The Great Spiritual Migration is available at:
Barnes and Noble
Amazon
Powell’s
BAM!
Hudson Booksellers
IndieBound

 

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Singing in Discomfort

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Guest post by Bekah Anderson, United Church of Christ
I spent the vast majority of Wild Goose feeling profoundly uncomfortable, and at the same time thrilled, inspired, and energized. I think that’s exactly how I should feel.

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From my post at the United Church of Christ hospitality tent, I was in a great position to meet people, because they’d come over to greet fellow UCC folk, or to ask what Queer Clergy Trading Cards are anyway, or, usually in the case of the children, to pick up free Starbursts. I loved talking to these people. I loved learning about where they were from, and what brought them to the Wild Goose. Most of them lived in places geographically far away from my small-town New England life, but in other ways we were often very much alike. We shared a common language. I could talk about being a beloved child of God without feeling like that person who just “made it weird” by bringing religion into the conversation, and I could talk about my passion for social justice without feeling like an “over-zealous” social justice warrior. Several of the worlds I usually find myself inhabiting separately merged together in those conversations, and in some ways, I was more comfortable and at home than I have been in a long time.

At the same time, I was deeply uncomfortable, because my feet were killing me. I spent much of the weekend on my feet at the entrance of the tent, and by about midday on Friday I knew that my body was not going to forgive me for it any time soon. On Saturday we rearranged the tent so I could sit down instead, but for the most part I opted to stay on my feet. Mostly, this was because I felt that people would be more likely to come talk to me if I was standing, waiting for them, but I also felt somehow that my discomfort was part of the point. Should I really be comfortable in a place where so many hard conversations were happening, so many great ideas were being shared, so much of the future was being dreamed? If I stayed comfortable all weekend, it probably meant I wasn’t learning.

I did leave my tent a few times, the first time to attend Stories and Mental Health workshop. Even giving my feet a rest, I was anything but comfortable. The stories I heard that morning were powerful, inspiring, and heartbreaking. They were stories that brought me into contact with experiences and viewpoints I rarely see, and at the same time they reminded me viscerally of my family’s own experiences with mental illness. Sitting in the back of that tent, I was close to tears, moved by the bravery and pain of those around me, even as I remembered my own pain. And this, I realized, is what the beginning of allyship feels like. When you listen to others, when you realize that their pain and experiences are not separate from yours, when you know that for you to be liberated, we all must be.

And later, I attended Set the Captives Free: A Christian Call to End Mass Incarceration. Again, my body was comfortable but my mind was not. Anyone who can be comfortably listen to a discussion about how our criminal justice system targets, imprisons, and disenfranchises black and brown men and other groups is not truly listening. I found myself perched on the edge of my seat, not sure if I wanted to get up and run away from this truth, or rush towards the presenters and beg them to tell me how to dismantle this terrifying, pervasive system. And much to my surprise, they did tell me. They told us all that we can best fight this system when we combine political advocacy and policy work with real human connections and direct support to those who have been caught up in mass incarceration. Hearing these words, I breathed a sigh of relief, although I was still poised at the edge of my chair. “Okay,” I thought. “There’s something I can do. Now I just have to go and do it.” And this, I realized, is what social justice combined with faith feels like. A call to action, a heavy burden of truth, and a spark of hope in our own abilities.

The last moment I would like to remember here is the end of the closing liturgy, where we all stood in a circle and held hands as we sang, “I am.” This, I know, is what community feels like. The circle, linking us all together, and our voices rising and falling together. Singing has always felt like community to me. When we sing together, we can hear that everyone has their own particular voice, their own place in the song, and we can feel that that is right and good. When I sang in that circle, I could hear some people singing the melody loud and proud, others adding sweet harmony, others just slightly off-key, others singing quietly but steadily, and I would be willing to bet that some people weren’t singing at all, but swaying and listening to the music around them with a smile. All of it—and I mean all of it—was right and good. There is no one right way to sing, just as there is no one right way to be a member of a community.

And yes, I was uncomfortable, even as I sang. My feet still hurt, my face was slowly developing a sunburn, and the song was just a little too low to sing easily. And still I felt this was right.

Sometimes, discomfort is purely negative and must be assuaged. But at other times, discomfort is productive. Sometimes, it pushes us to action. When I was singing in that circle, I didn’t want to leave and put on sunblock; I wanted to stay, singing, and add my own harmony. In the mass incarceration workshop, although part of me wanted to leave, I knew I couldn’t really hide from this; I wanted to do something about it. In the mental health workshop, I didn’t want to push away the presenters and the feelings brought on by their stories; I wanted to pull them closer and learn more. And standing in the UCC tent with my aching feet, I actually didn’t want to sit down; I wanted to run down the street, skipping and dancing, sharing my energy with the world and giving my feet something else to do. My hope for all of us, when we are far away from Wild Goose in this uncomfortable world, is that as often as we can, we choose not just to stand, but to run forward, through the discomfort, into our shared future.

Bekah Anderson is a young writer studying religion and creative writing at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. She is currently interning with the Congregational Assessment, Support, and Advancement department of the national office of the United Church of Christ. She hopes that the new, queerer church will have shorter job titles.

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Wild Goose 2016 Reader from Chalice Press

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Is your spirit still on the Wild Goose mountaintop?
Are you still thinking about the new friends you made, the new ways you think about your faith and your purpose in life?

Are you ready to go back next year?

Freemium-booklet-3D-WildGoose2016ReaderHere’s a way to take some of your Wild Goose experience home … Chalice Press and CBP Books are offering a FREE compilation of chapters (more than 100 pages of great content!) from eight amazing authors who led sessions at Wild Goose Festival 2016:

  • Rachelle Mee-ChapmanRelig-ish: Soulful Living in a Spiritual-But-Not-Religious World
  • Chris CrassTowards the “Other America”: Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter
  • Sarah Griffith Lund Blessed are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness, Family, and Church
  • Nicole Massie MartinMade to Lead: Empowering Women for Ministry
  • Teresa Pasquale MatheusSacred Wounds: A Path to Healing from Spiritual Trauma
  • Julie RichardsonAvailable Hope: Parenting, Faith, and a Terrifying World
  • Joerg Rieger and Rosemarie Henkel-RiegerUnified We are a Force: How Faith and Labor Can Overcome America’s Inequalities

Go to chalicepress.net/WildGooseReader and find out how to receive your FREE copy of the Wild Goose 2016 Reader.

What are people saying about Wild Goose 2016?

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Ever since the closing moments of Wild Goose 2016, we’ve heard from many who had profound experiences at the festival this year. Who found community. And communion. Not to mention, really good coffee.

We wanted to share some of the blog posts and other things we’ve run across in social media about the 2016 festival, with this wider group. So you’ll find links below.

And if you’ve written something, or will be writing something soon, please send us the link so we can pass along your thoughts, too. You can share that in the comments section below.Steve-Podcast

For a great all-round summary of the festival, take a listen to Steve Ray’s podcast from the event. He interviews Science Mike and Michael Gungor and many others who were there, and asks them what the Goose is all about and why it matters.  

Laura Parrott Perry, one of the presenters at the festival, blogs about wandering into OPENINGS, the late night worship event, and finding space to lament all that’s going on in the world, and to find hope again.

Jade T. Perry, another Goose presenter, reflects on her experience, particularly as person of color, about sitting with and holding both peace and grief together there. Read her full post here.

Rev. Susan Rogers, writes about all the stories she heard at Wild Goose, and also of the shared story we created together, and leaving with the sense that we are not alone.

PostGoose2-1675Author, therapist and spiritual director, Marshall Jenkins, tells about his experience of discovering sacred space in the community and communion he found by the French Broad River.

Blogger, Austen Hartke, the creator of the YouTube series “Transgender and Christian,” made a short video blog about the festival, you’ll definitely want to take look at.

Melanie Lynn Griffin, in her blog, Writing With Spirit, shares some images that stayed with her the first day or so after the festival, here.

And here’s a reflection from Drew Downs,  an episcopal priest, blogger and also a dad — who came to the Goose with his 8-year-old daughter, an experience filled with minor miracles and moments he might have missed otherwise.

Amy Rutledge Vaughan wrote the poem, “Re Entry,” about coming home after Wild Goose and wondering: “How do we make this more than simply a wonderful moment in time? How do we make this a movement?” You can read her poem on our Facebook page, here.

PostGoose5-8926Gareth Higgins, who helped birth the Wild Goose Festival in 2011, was back with us this year, and shared a blessing on Sunday from the main stage that was quite powerful. You can find that blessing at this link on Gareth’s site.

And, finally, Gina Marina wrote a wonderful piece on her Facebook page, looking back at all she learned and experienced.  And how she managed not to have any “cotton candy conversations” the whole four days. Read her post in full here.

Another easy way to tell us your stories of Wild Goose this year, is to share them in this space we’ve set up specifically for gathering them. We hope you’ll do so, because telling our stories and hearing each other’s stories matters. As the author Sue Monk Kidd wrote, “Stories have to be told, or they die. And when they die, we can’t remember who we are, or why we’re here.”

What did you take home from Wild Goose 2016? Tell us your story.

By | Featured-1 | 13 Comments

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The theme of the Goose this year has been Story. Because stories are important. Our lives are shaped by them. Our world is shaped by them. And too often the loudest stories we hear around us are ones of exclusion and scarcity, violence, hatred, division.

But we came together for four days in July on the banks of the French Broad River, to tell and share some new stories, to hear stories, heal stories, sing and dance and paint stories, to lament the painful stories we’ve been through, and to receive, reshape and reimagine the stories of our lives and our world. Because we believe it makes a difference.

Did it make a difference? What stories did you hear, what stories did you create and tell and discover this year at Wild Goose? What moments rearranged you?  Changed you? Opened your eyes and heart?

Share your Wild Goose 2016 stories with us. We want to hear them. And share them with our broader community here.

To do that you can simply write your story in the comments section below. If you write a blog about your experience at the festival, share that link with us as well.

Let’s not let the storytelling end just because the festival is over. Because Wild Goose can be so much more than a festival…we hope it will be an ongoing conversation in which we can listen to each other, support each other and inspire each other.

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Top 10 Tips: How to get the most from the Goose

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Can you believe it? Wild Goose 2016 is almost here.  With so much to see and hear and do we thought you might like a few suggestions from experienced Goose-goers on how to enjoy yourself as much as possible.

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Tip #1:  Make a plan. Now, before you arrive. The schedule is online, so you could start this very moment. The good news is there are so many great options, practically every moment of the day. The bad news is many are happening simultaneously, so the first thing you’ll have to deal with is the fact that you can’t do everything. But relax…you can do a lot. And whatever you end up at will be wonderful. And if you’re traveling with others, you can divide and conquer. Workshops end about 10 minutes before the hour so you should have time for a restroom break and to walk to the next venue. By the way, if you are trying to hang with friends or family, you might want to designate meeting places and times. Cell service is spotty, at best.

Tip #2: Toss the plan. Talk to strangers.
Wild Goose veterans tell us the conversations they have are the most significant part of the Goose experience. As cool as having a plan is, and as amazing as all the speakers, storytellers, mystics and musicians are, often the big life-changing moments at Wild Goose are the small ones. Don’t worry too much about the next event you want to get to. Take the time to meet new people, hang out with them, and don’t rush off from that conversation just to get to the next item on your plan. Forget what your mother might have taught you…and definitely DO talk to strangers.   Surprisingly deep encounters with complete strangers, conversations with someone you meet at a workshop, or while picking up some lunch, are a huge part of what makes Wild Goose more than just another summer music festival.  Take it in.

Tip #3: Bring your “festive” to the festival. You and what you bring to the festival are a huge part of what makes it what it is. So bring your wild, including a few things to personalize your campsite – flags, fabric, streamers, lights (battery powered and solar Christmas lights work great) – decorating your little corner of the campground will make you and everyone around you feel like you’re not in Kansas anymore. Wear clothes you’d wear around your non-judgey-ist friends…your fun-nest, silliest, wildest, most creative. Strange hats are always welcome. And feather boas, because, well…feather boas.

Tip #4: Do some exploring.  When you arrive, grab a map and take a tour of the grounds, locating the various tents where all the workshops and music, art, and worship events will happen. Note where the food vendors are and check out all they will be offering. (That way you won’t get to the end of the weekend and be kicking yourself because you didn’t know they had those crazy-delicious burritos.) Also scope out the restrooms and the Porta-potties…there are plenty of them, so lines are rare… and they’re usually more pleasant than you’d imagine.

 Tip #5:. Try something new…or at least not something you do every day. Don’t usually do art? Visit the studio tent and get up to your elbows in a project or two.  Don’t usually talk about yourself? Tell your story to the WGTV camera or participate in any number of other storytelling opportunities. Only sing hymns in church? Sing them like you’re at a rugby game with a beer in hand, at one of our Beer and Hymns gatherings. Have a lot of questions? Stop by the Troubling the Gospel Tent and starting asking them. Always wanted a tattoo but just haven’t quite made the leap yet? Visit our tattoo artist (but if you want something custom, contact her ahead of time with your vision). Never experienced a podcast, live? Now’s your chance – check out GooseCast Live.

Tip #6: Take care of yourself. Bring an umbrella. You’ll need it for sun – especially at the Main Stage – and perhaps for rain. Don’t forget sunscreen and bug spray, flashlights, headlamps (always attractive…), and chairs – most people bring folding camp chairs, which you can use at your campsite and also bring with you to the main stage for a comfy seat while listening to music and speakers. Bring a favorite mug, and a water bottle (free bulk water is provided) and stay hydrated. By the way, some people also suggest that you bring a blanket or tarp to put over your tent to keep it cooler and have a battery-powered fan. Important camper tip: Stock up on firewood before 5 PM Thursday while you are still allowed to have your vehicles on the grounds (versus safely tucked away in the parking lot).


Tip #7:
Live in the moment, embrace the unpredictable, and also, possibly some rain. Wild geese are, by their very nature, wild….unpredictable, untamed, uncontrollable. That’s why the Wild Goose became the Celtic symbol for Holy Spirit. And the symbol we’ve claimed. So try to be flexible, especially when things don’t go exactly as you’d like them to or think they should. Be open to the moment. Open to new ideas, new ways to connect with God’s wild and loving spirit. Open to new music – emerging artists happen to be playing almost all day every day, at the Cafe. And if the moment happens to include a downpour of rain, consider going out and playing in the mud. (Oh, and if you need a refresher on how to live with gratitude for the moment, feel free to drop by the kids’ tent, for a little reminder.) Speaking of gratitude, find a way to say thank you to the volunteers, every single day. They’re the unsung heroes of this event.

Tip #8: See yourself as an actor, not a spectator. You are a significant contributor. Not an insignificant observer. Tell stories, read your poetry, collaborate on some art, do yoga, speak up in the workshops, dance to the music, take communion, join an instant choir, walk the labyrinth, invite people to have dinner with you, bring your drums and get in the circle, jump in the river, let your hair down, let your guard down, be as fully present as you want to be, and possibly as loud as a wild goose (except after midnight, at which point local ordinances require we quiet down a bit. Which is why we have a Silent Disco).

Tip #9: Enjoy being off the grid for a few days. You know how we mentioned cell service/internet is fairly unreliable? This is because of the beautiful Smoky Mountains surrounding us…and the number of people trying to access it all at one time.  So if you can’t check your Facebook, post on Instagram, or Tweet, consider just sitting and taking some deep breaths. Allow yourself to slow down and let feelings happen. You may find yourself having a lot of feelings that don’t fit neatly into a 140 character count.  So you might want to bring a journal and a pen.  You also might want to get your social media fix while on the road to and from the festival. Which would be great. Instagram, Tweet, Facebook your heart out and share with  #WildGoose2016. That way we can all start connecting even before arrival. And stay connected on the way home.

Tip #10: Attend Joy Wallis’s “Get the Most Out of The Goose” session, Thursday, 5PM in the Spirituality Tent. Joy Wallis is our board chair and has been with the festival from the beginning. She knows better than anyone how to do the Goose. So she’ll be sharing her tried and true tips and taking questions. It’s a great chance to meet some new folks right away, too.

Oh, did we mention? The rumors are true. There WILL be ice cream!
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, for the first time ever in the history of the Goose, we will have an ICE CREAM TRUCK. Oh yeah, baby. Look for it near the main stage area.

Have some practical questions we may not have covered here? Check out our FAQ page.

Can’t wait to see you.

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Theology. Ecology. Good food for all.

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Guest post by Methodist Theological School In Ohio

We’re from Ohio.
Thomas Edison was born here before his family moved to Michigan to follow the railroad. The Wright Brothers developed the first airplane in their Dayton bicycle shop before their historic sustained flight, which took place in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. It’s a point of contention between Ohio and North Carolina, even now.

MTSO_900A simple place.
Still, many world-changing events have taken place here. While Edison was moving to Michigan to embrace the future, abolitionists were secretly moving enslaved people across the Ohio River, along the Underground Railroad and toward the hope of freedom. And, 100 years later and 30 miles to the north of the river, 800 volunteers met in Oxford, Ohio, to train for the violence they would face during the Freedom Summer of 1964.

With great significance.
Also in 1964, just north of Columbus, four professors at a brand new seminary, Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO), were packing for a trip. It was Holy Week, but they were leaving for Jackson, Mississippi, to accompany black worshippers into the Easter service of a white Methodist church. On Easter morning, all nine members of the group were arrested during a dramatic encounter in front of Capitol Street Methodist Church on the charge of “disturbing divine worship.” Well, that started it.

A deep tradition of justice.
A few weeks later, the first graduates of MTSO earned their degrees, beginning a tradition of ministry and justice in Ohio and beyond. To this day, deep theological refection and social justice advocacy are at the core of MTSO’s cultural identity and work. As you are reading this, MTSO students and graduates are initiating and leading a network of Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools throughout Ohio, in direct succession of the original Freedom School movement.

And partnership.
In partnership, MTSO and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center are developing and teaching freedom theologies in the areas of race, gender and economics, and engaging churches and the public in conversation and action. MTSO will offer select for-credit courses at the Freedom Center in Cincinnati, develop certificate programs and seminars for theologies of freedom, and host traveling exhibits from the Freedom Center in the Columbus area. 

Ecology. Theology. Good food for all.
The MTSO campus is located on 70 beautiful rolling acres just north of Columbus, and we’re putting those acres to good use in the movement toward ecological, economic and food justice. MTSO’s Seminary Hill Farm is a USDA-certified organic farm, offering a community-supported agriculture program and supplying our dining hall, local restaurants and social service agencies with fresh, local, organic produce. Also, our Community Food and Wellness Initiative supports the development of community gardens, urban farms, and other food projects, which increase food access and environmental resiliency, promote nutrition and active living, and create fair employment and just community.

Welcoming and affirming.
MTSO’s campus is both welcoming and affirming for those who might be excluded elsewhere. And our course content embraces theological reflection beyond the intersections of gender and sexuality. We strive to welcome all perspectives. It’s just who we are.

Come visit us.
We invite you visit with us, either in the Spirituality Tent at the Wild Goose Festival or on our campus in Central Ohio. You can also learn more about us on our websites and through Facebook and Twitter. Here are the links:

Web site:
www.mtso.edu

Facebook:

www.facebook.com/MethodistTheologicalSchoolInOhio/
www.facebook.com/seminaryhillfarm/

Twitter:
@MTSOedu