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Goose News

Meet Our Volunteer Coordinator

By | Goose News | 4 Comments

Say hello to our new Volunteer Coordinator, Bec Cranford, a self-identified “Bapticostal misfit preacher” from Atlanta, Georgia. Though Bec’s new to this role, she’s a veteran community member and committed to bringing radical welcome and hospitality to our volunteer family and the Goose at large.

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Wild Goose Festival: What do you consider your vision for your role or offering at the Goose?
Bec Cranford: Stirring apocalyptic hopefulness and co-conspiring subversive hospitality.

WGF: Can you say a little more about what that means to you?
BC: Spreading apocalyptic hopefulness manifests itself every time we offer love to others and contribute to the well-being of our community during difficult and uncertain times. It’s an unwavering optimism despite political climates or power hungry structures.

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I hope to inject volunteers at the Goose with this kind of crazy joy in action.

Volunteers will engage in subversive hospitality by making everyone feel like they belong. From making sure we feel safe, and keeping the grounds clean, to stooping down to actively listen to five year olds, we will practice a radical welcome!

WGF: How long have you been involved?
BC: Since the very first Wild Goose festival in 2011, held at Shakori Hills, NC. Anybody else remember those tics?

WGF: What kind of work do you do the rest of the year?
BC: I make my green by engaging community at one of Atlanta’s homeless service agencies (Gateway Center), hosting mission teams for educational and experiential learning, occasional preaching, and teaching a contextual education practicum for Candler School of Theology. The greenness stored up inside comes from painting acrylic and chilling with my dog, Basil.

WGF: What’s your favorite thing about the Goose?
BC: I enjoy the conversations on the trails and watching hurting souls transform into wounded healers and servant leaders of justice.

Ready to join Bec and the rest of our volunteers? Apply now or email Bec here with questions.

The Relentless Affection Of God

By | 2017 Contributor, Goose News | No Comments

Even though William Paul Young’s bestselling novel The Shack was adapted into film and will be released in theaters tomorrow, (Friday, March 3) he took some time out of his schedule to sit down and chat with us. Get out and see The Shack this weekend! And then continue the conversation with Paul this summer at the Goose.

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Wild Goose Festival: What role has creativity had in forming your faith?

William Paul Young: Creativity requires mystery. Much of propositional theology, largely the work in which I grew up, does not. The former was and continues to be essential to my faith, while the latter has been an impediment to overcome. Please don’t misunderstand me, there is a vast creative resource in the works of theologians, but to the degree that they understood that relationship itself is a mystery. The entire cosmos is brimming with creativity, and if faith is not an expression of that, we have accepted something as a temporary covering for our broken hearts.

WGF: How does our image of God impact our relationships with the earth, each other, and ourselves?

Young: I think this works in both directions; we project an image of God that is an expression of our damage and shame. My father was an abusive disciplinarian. And surprise, so was my god for many years. So we can be a source for our image of God or we can allow the creation and revelation and beauty and music and art and children and joy and longing to speak to us rather than our interpretations of our experience.

This is why Jesus, and the Scriptures that speak of him, became central in my understanding of God. This witness is outside of myself and invites me to take the risk of trusting. If the declaration of Scripture and history is true, and we understand that Truth is a Person, then what does it shout to us in our pain, and whisper to us in our longing? We hear that God has a high view of humanity and creation. If that is true then our relationship with the earth, with each other and with ourselves becomes an essential and unavoidable canvas on which we paint our understanding of God.

WGF: Your fiction work, particularly The Shack and Cross Roads, prominently features people of color not only as protagonists, but as the very reflections of God. We’ll be seeing this on the Big Screen soon as God in your fiction is always Triune and always far, far kinder than we’re used to encountering in Divinity, whether in religion or pop culture. What inspires you – as a white man – to see God reflected in the faces and bodies of historically marginalized people?

Young: What a great question, and one that many are not courageous enough to ask. Thank you! Because I have come to believe that God is only Good, and therefore trustworthy, I want to see all of creation, especially the human creation, with the eyes of God. As I have come to understand that God has an inestimably high view of the human creation, I am also learning to see that way. And what I see, despite all of our broken expressions of our own self-loathing, is too beautiful for words. This is only one of the reasons that I love Jesus; he never treats the marginalized people as projects or missions, but as friends and insiders. He draws a circle big enough to even include the religious. In fact, I don’t think Jesus ever draws a circle; we do. And God is One who respects the circles we draw, but loves us too deeply to allow our circles to remain unchallenged.

WGF: You have a nonfiction book coming out soon, Lies We Believe About God. One of the guiding values of the Wild Goose Festival is setting a table wide enough to include everyone God welcomes. What are the lies that keep us from living and loving as we’re created to be?

Young: Wow, where do I begin. When some friends talked about the lies we believe, we easily came up with at least a hundred. To your question, here are a few from the new book:

God is a Christian

God blesses my politics

God doesn’t claim everyone as God’s children

God created my religion

God is more he than she

God is good, I am not

God is disappointed in me

WGF: What’s been your favorite part about having The Shack adapted into film?

Young: It feels similar to when the novel was published; I love being invited onto the holy ground of other people’s stories. I am convinced that I didn’t write the book by myself, but God didn’t write it without my participation. So it is human and flawed and not without error, but I have watched God climb inside the words of this book and now the images and creativity of the film, and find broken hearts over and over again.

God finds us in the places where we get stuck and are wounded and lost and begins singing us into the Relentless Affection that heals. I am grateful that the book and movie are the bones that will continue to help precious people flesh out language in a conversation about God that is not religious but relational. And I hope those conversations bring hope and comfort and sometimes confrontation. We need both, so that we don’t give up, and that the dark places of our hearts can be set free.

www.wmpaulyoung.com

Ready to continue the conversation? Make sure you take advantage of our winter ticket special – $229 includes festival admission + tent camping.

2017 Speakers and Storytellers Annoucement

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We’re thrilled to announce that Diana Butler Bass, Otis Moss III, and William Paul Young will be at the Goose this year, sharing their wisdom, insights, and unique voices with the community. Want to get to know them a little better before the festival? Check out some snippets of their stories and what they’ve been up to lately. (And don’t forget your tickets!)

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Tweet: At #WGF2017: Diana Butler Bass, Otis Moss III, and William Paul Young…because these are voices we need to hear, now more than ever.

Diana Butler Bass

WGF17 Diana Butler Bass

On Co-Creation: “Awe is the gateway to compassion. It is a deep awareness that we are creators, creators who work with the Creator, in an ongoing project of crafting a world. If we do not like the world or are afraid of it, we have had a hand in that. And if we made a mess, we can clean it up and do better. We are what we make.”

Diana Butler Bass keeps busy as an author, speaker, and independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture. The late Phyllis Tickle called Dr. Bass’ most recent book Grounded “…a wise and beautiful book. It is, in fact and in places, almost an anthem to the sacred unity of the physical and the spiritual in the formation of human faith and in the maturation of the human soul.” In this discovery of the sacred unity of the physical and spiritual, Dr. Bass notes:

Much to my surprise, church has become a spiritual, even a theological struggle for me. I have found it increasingly difficult to sing hymns that celebrate a hierarchical heavenly realm, to recite creeds that feel disconnected from life, to pray liturgies that emphasize salvation through blood, to listen to sermons that preach an exclusive way to God, to participate in sacraments that exclude others, and to find myself confined to a hard pew in a building with no windows to the world outside. This has not happened because I am angry at the church or God. Rather, it has happened because I was moving around in the world and began to realize how beautifully God was everywhere: in nature and in my neighborhood, in considering the stars and by seeking my roots. It took me five decades to figure it out, but I finally understood. The church is not the only sacred space; the world is profoundly sacred as well. And thus I fell into a gap – the theological ravine between a church still proclaiming conventional theism with its three-tiered universe and the spiritual revolution of God-with-us (Grounded: Finding God in the World-A Spiritual Revolution).

www.dianabutlerbass.com

 

Otis Moss III

OtisMossIIIRev. Dr. Otis Moss, III has “civil rights advocacy in his DNA” and built his ministry on community advancement and social justice activism. As Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, IL, Dr. Moss spent the last two decades practicing and preaching a Black theology that unapologetically calls attention to the problems of mass incarceration, environmental justice, and economic inequality.

Dr. Moss says that his father’s role as a civil rights activist “had a huge impact on [me.] I grew up believing it was the call of the church to make an impact in the immediate community and in the world. I also grew up thinking most churches were highly into the community and politically active. It wasn’t until I got to college and realized that there were some churches that didn’t engage at all and that was a part of their theology. There were other churches that didn’t have any concept of prophetic ministry—they thought prophetic ministry was telling the future versus speaking truth to power. That was a shocker to me growing up knowing Andrew Young, John Lewis, Coretta Scott King, Daddy King and Wyatt T. Walker. Every person involved in organizing the Civil Rights movement was part of our extended family and they were connected to the church. I thought it was normal…until I went to college. I assumed the only way you could love Jesus was to demonstrate your love instead of speaking your love. Demonstrate it through how you love those who were the most vulnerable in the community.”

www.trinitychicago.org

 

William Paul Young

WmPaulYoungWilliam Paul Young is the New York Times bestselling author of The Shack, which has recently been adapted for film and is set to release March 3rd. Though The Shack was a story originally written for his six children with no intentions for publication, Paul’s creative re-imagining of the Trinity in the midst of tragedy resonated with millions across the world.

Paul calls his own story “both incredible and unbearable, a desperate grasping after grace and wholeness. These few facts also do not speak to the potency of love and forgiveness, the arduous road of reconciliation, the surprises of grace and community, of transformational healing and the unexpected emergence of joy.

I have finally figured out that I have nothing to lose by living a life of faith and trust. I know more joy every minute of every day than seems appropriate, but I love the wastefulness of my Papa’s grace and presence.”

www.wmpaulyoung.com

 

Can’t wait to see them? Our winter ticket sale is happening now: $229 includes festival admission + tent camping. Hurry, sale ends Sunday, March 19th.

BUY TICKETS NOW

Volunteer Spotlight – Jenna Bowman

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 Want to volunteer? You might just meet people that are like family…Check out the application here

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Meet Jenna. We’re pretty thrilled that she’s a part of our community. She brings an endless well of energy, and a deep love for others and for God. Jenna truly helps us create this festival – we couldn’t do it without her, or people like you!

1) Tell us some about how you first heard about the Goose and why you were interested in volunteering.

I heard about Wild Goose from my then youth pastor, now friend and mentor, Papy Fisher when I was in high school. It was first presented as an opportunity to go and practice for a trip to Romania with what my team had been training to do – bless others with free dream and tattoo interpretation. We also offered encouraging words, prayer coloring, destiny prophecy, foot washing, and really anything to bring love and peace to others. Since we were mostly all young (broke) kids, we decided that volunteering would be a great way to get tickets to the festival; and we fundraised before the festival to be able to have a vendor spot. We also saw the opportunity to love, encourage, and bless others by offering our time. I signed up to work as a volunteer with the Set-Up crew so I could have the festival off to work in our team’s tent.

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Jenna Bowman, Site Operations Team

2) What’s your current volunteer position with the festival? 

Currently, I have the pleasure to work with Site Operations for the festival.

3) You’ve lived all over the world and have a variety of interests and skills. Can you tell us about how your travel and past work relates to what you do at the Goose?

Ever since I was 12 years-old, I have had the crazy blessing to travel and share love to people all over the world. I’ve worked with churches, missionary non-profits, festival ministry, and just being Love where, or should I say when I travel, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. To me, it seems to all be a beautiful quilt woven together. I tell most people that the Goose helped raise me. I started going when I was 15 years-old and feel like I had the unique opportunity to “grow up” at the Goose, as a wild gosling.

While I have held other jobs that are similar to my role at the festival, but the heart and love of the Goose and its community has helped build me into who I am today. Being a part of the Goose is this beautiful relationship of giving and receiving. Whether you want it or not, you get family. A dirty, hard, beautiful, and true family. I was taught to love just simply because I was loved by others. I experience community, peace, and fresh air, and ever since I was 15 I have been loved, encouraged, challenged, and supported to doubt, grow, and change. I’ve absolutely loved and cherished the support aI received from the Goose. It helped me discover who I am. When my “work” is to love and you have a group that helps you love, everything seems to work out.

4) Are you in school? What are you studying? Any favorite topics?

I am a part-time college student. I completed my Early Childhood Education credential back when I was 17 before I moved to Kenya and did a few other college classes then as well. Since being back in the States I have continued to take classes for an associates in arts degree with the hope to transfer to get an official interpretation degree for Sign Language.

I hope to not only know American Sign Language, but to continue to expand my love and knowledge of Kenyan Sign – I worked with the deaf in Kenya for 6 months. I also hope to learn some Indian Sign Languages as well, along with Swahili. It’s possible I’ll work toward having a double major in Global Sustainability or work around public policy and international relations.

The other parts of my time go to working 25 hours a week to pay bills and building my relationships and my favorite festival ministry community, Desanka.

5) Who are your favorite artists, musicians, or writers from the Goose community?

My favorite artists? Oh, there are so many. I got introduced to amazing singers, songwriters, poets, and leaders of all sorts at the festival so it’s hard to narrow it down. But a few are David Wimbish and The Collection, Songs of Water, Run River North, Gungor, The Brilliance, for music as well as wonderful friendships. For artists/speakers Emily Wimbish is a close friend and sister to me and extremely talented. While I’m running around the festival, I don’t always catch the deep discussions, but I love the representation of inclusion from all different backgrounds, styles, and beliefs.

6) If you could be an animal, what would it be?

Hmmm, to pick one animal – that is hard! I would have to say…after growing up at the Goose, having a goose tattoo and goose gauges I should say that my favorite animal is a goose, right? And in one way they are (like the symbolic way), but they terrify me in real life when I have to walk past them! While I cherish that geese are solo mate creatures, I would have to go with an elephant. That’s been my favorite since I was young.

Questions? Email our volunteer coordinator. Or, sign up here to join us!

 

 

We Will Stay And Fight

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The Wild Goose Festival is staying in Hot Springs this summer and we hope you’ll stay and stand up with us. As you may know, an attempt to repeal “HB2,” the highly controversial and offensive North Carolina “Bathroom Bill” failed in the days just before Christmas leading to some questions as to whether we should stay or go.

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We’ve examined alternative sites in some other states and we face logistical and financial challenges in making them happen BUT we stay because we ought to – we stay to stand and to fight. We stay because it’s our battle and it’s our cause and it’s our calling and it’s our community – not because we find it inconvenient to go. I can’t find it in my spirit to believe otherwise.

We’re calling on you to walk toward the need, to stake your position, to show your commitment, and to DEVELOP your plan of action. We’re committed to offering practical sessions on how to run for office, how to lobby a legislative body, how to organize opposition, and more. We’ll leave Hot Springs more deeply connected, more highly motivated, and better equipped!

We‘ll stay as a watering hole for the beleaguered fighters and we’ll stay to help provide a safer space for the thousands of people hurt by this hate-filled law and the overall current socio-political climate.

Possible Economic Boycott

Rev. Dr. William Barber, a revered leader of our community, is negotiating a possible economic boycott. I’ve been in extensive conversation with him and he’s specifically given a “thumbs up” to our decision to stay.

He’s reminded me that while he’s asked the national office of the NAACP for an economic boycott, that decision hasn’t yet been made and further emphasizes that the specifics of the boycott have not been worked out. Based on my personal conversation with Rev. Barber, I’m confident that our presence in North Carolina this summer will be an important factor in this vital cause!

Status Report: HB2 Repeal

In 2016 North Carolina elected a new governor who is committed to the repeal of HB2. As I write this, I’m aware of serious on-going efforts to bring the repeal of the bill to a vote. There’s some hope for significant progress before we gather in Hot Springs this July.

When we made the decision to stay in North Carolina last year after the bill first passed, we did so in the hopes that we could move the needle toward justice by our voice, our votes, and our civic engagement and many in our community were deeply involved in doing just that in the recent election cycle. We would’ve liked more progress, more quickly but progress is being made and I think we’re in some small way a part of it.

Audre Lorde put it well, “Without community, there is no liberation.” We will stand strong, and we will do it together, a visible expression of God’s radical love for us all.

We hope you’ll join us this summer.

For Justice,
Jeff Clark
President and Producer, The Wild Goose Festival

Our winter ticket special will end March 20, 2017: $229 festival admission + camping. Grab your tickets now before prices increase.

Would you like to make a donation to help impact the fight? You can do so here – thank you for your support!

 

NC Economic Boycott and Wild Goose 2017

By | Goose News

We are deeply disappointed that North Carolina failed to repeal HB2 in a special legislative session just before Christmas.

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In response to this and other undemocratic actions by the State of North Carolina, Reverend William Barber, a friend and mentor to the WG community, has called for an economic boycott of the state.

We’ve communicated with the management of our festival site, the Hot Springs Spa, letting them know that we are investigating sites outside of North Carolina and asking them to increase their pressure on state government leaders to repeal their offensive legislation. They have been most gracious in their response: they are holding the dates for us as they add their voices to those calling upon the legislature to take positive action.

We’ll keep you posted on the progress of both the legislative battle and the Wild Goose site deliberations.

We ask your patience and your grace as we prayerfully stand against this injustice and continue in our effort to provide safer spaces for everyone – not just a “safer festival site” but a safer life, every single day!

Be assured the Wild Goose will gather this summer!

Jeff Clark, Wild Goose President and Producer

P.S. As you can imagine, this turn of events is adding “above and beyond” expenses to our budget. Please click here if you can help.

Introducing Our New Director of Programming and Communications

By | Goose News

We’re so excited that Jasmin Morrell has recently joined the Wild Goose Festival staff, and she has certainly hit the ground running. But she did manage to slow down one day long enough to answer some questions on who she is and what brings her to us.

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So what made you want to come work for the Goose? Probably not the money…?

Jasmin: Ha. No. But since Wild Goose’s conception, I’ve loved the idea of art, justice, music and spirit intersecting with a community of people hungry to explore those themes together. In 2011, I led a creative writing workshop at the festival around the idea that “your daily life is your temple.” We talked and wrote about where we saw Spirit in otherwise mundane or ordinary found objects. In 2012, I helped curate the festival’s “sacred spaces” and worship services. Now that I’m on staff, I’m enjoying the dynamic, co-creative process of building a movement that welcomes everyone’s scared humanity and unique visions for how to make the world a more just, safe, and beautiful place.

What were you doing before the Goose?

Jasmin: I was serving as the Director of Communications for Love Wins Ministries in Raleigh, NC, a community dedicated to hospitality for people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity. My experience in community there changed me in ways that I’m still processing, but suffice it to say, I was profoundly impacted by my role bearing witness to and amplifying the voices of our friends who live outside. It was my honor and privilege to work and form relationships there, and I’m grateful to play a similar function with the Goose.

What kinds of things do you think have been helpful in preparing you for this job?

Jasmin: I studied English, Journalism, and Creative Writing in college, which, without the EducationView More: http://cynthiaviola.pass.us/lovewins component, pretty much prepared me for slinging mochas at Starbucks after graduation while I found myself. Which is exactly what I did before I got a job with the local school system’s department of Public Relations. I’ve always loved telling stories through the written word, but I learned there that I loved planning events and creating warm and hospitable spaces for conversation and connection to occur. Anybody who knows me knows that I love to host a party, and working for the Goose is like a giant extension of that love. If I could live in Middle-earth, it definitely would be as a celebration-loving hobbit in the Shire.

I’ve also done some ghost-writing and a lot of freelance editing over the years for publishing houses and authors in our community, so I’m fairly familiar with a lot of Goose people, which is helpful when it comes to the programming side of things.   

What do you think makes you and Wild Goose right for each other right now?

Jasmin: I’m personally invested in several central themes of the festival. The meeting of art, creativity, and Spirit has nourished and challenged me throughout my faith journey; I feel closest to God in the creative process, and I relish the incredible power of imagination.

As a person of color, issues of racial justice and equity have always loomed largely for me as I’ve grappled with them in daily life and considered my identity, the identity of my ancestors, and my place in the Church and culture at large.

Once I discovered feminist and womanist theology, it was nothing short of a spiritual awakening. “Smashing the patriarchy” is good for us all, and living a more embodied faith has been life changing.

Lastly, when my daughter was born in 2014 with Down Syndrome, a whole new world opened up to me, and I was suddenly a part of a community I knew very little about. Jean Vanier’s work has been particularly influential around inclusiveness of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Church.

All that said, I suppose I have a pretty diverse lens through which I view the world, which I think is important for someone with my role in the Goose community. I love the metaphor of serving as a midwife, and I hope my versatility can help birth new expressions of the kind of love in action we are known for.           

What aspect of your job are you most excited about?

Jasmin: I’m most excited to help draw more people to the festival. People say that our community is an invigorating and generative experience, and when they leave the festival they are inspired to do good in their own lives and communities back home. It’s like this lovely ripple effect that has the power to touch so many. I see the Goose becoming a tsunami for holy goodness, an unstoppable force across our cultural landscape.

Do you have any sort of  hope or vision for the Goose?

Jasmin: I have the audacious hope that we can change the world!

Open Call for 2017 Contributors

By | Goose News

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

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!

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

By | Goose News

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