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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

 

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

By | Goose News

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.

Theology. Ecology. Good food for all.

By | Goose News

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

Worship at the Goose – diverse, imaginative, radical acts of defiance and hope

By | Goose News

49 dead in a LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando. Black lives that don’t seem to matter nearly enough.  60 million refugees without a welcome. Transgendered rights under attack in North Carolina. Given all that’s happening in our world, we need opportunities to lament, reorient ourselves to God’s story, reconnect with hope and joy and remember that steaming piles of crap don’t get the last word.

Worship_900That’s why we’re grateful for all the different kinds of opportunities to gather together with song and story, prayer, liturgy and communion at the Goose this year. From early mornings to midday to late night. All of them opening up space and time to see, hear, sing, move, and reach for the God whose other name is Love. And perhaps, even, re-vision how to follow the way of Jesus, and be love in our world again.

We’ll start the weekend on Thursday night with Stories & Blessings, led by Ana Hernandez, with Paula Williams, J.Kwest,  and Rebecca Anderson. Beginning at 6:30 on our main stage, think of this as the opening invocation for the festival, but, of course, Wild Goose style…with music and story and sound and an open-heartedness that will open us all up, sort of like a deep breath after being underwater for too long.

Then Ken Medema and Jacqui Lewis will keep that spirit going, and kick it up a notch… or ten.  Ken, a musician and storyteller who’s been performing worldwide for over 40 years, is incredible at improvisation, playing off what is being said and done in the moment. It promises to be a powerful experience as he works with Dr. Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister at Middle Collegiate Church, a 900-member multiracial, multicultural, inclusive congregation in the East Village of Manhattan, who will deliver our opening sermon. Together they will help us imagine being a church that is truly multiethnic, multicultural, filled with the wild flurry of Spirit.

Before it gets too late on Thursday night, be sure to find the Episcopal Tent, because they will host Compline at 9 pm, Thursday (as well as on Friday and Saturday) and a number of worship gatherings throughout the weekend.

Set your alarm for Friday morning – and get back to the main stage by 8:30 am.  Melissa Greene, associate pastor, and Josh Hailey, creative director, both from GRACEPOINTE, an interdenominational, progressive Christian community in Nashville, will lead music and liturgy before Stan Mitchell, GRACEPOINTE’s senior pastor, speaks. GracePointe became one of the first evangelical megachurches in the country to openly stand for full equality and inclusion of the LGBTQ community, after Mitchell found himself asking “Could you be a church in Selma and not march?” He, along with his congregation, decided they couldn’t. This hour promises to be a welcome taste of what happens every week at GRACEPOINTE, and their  “widened approach to the Gospel.”

IMG_1398You will definitely want to head to the Episcopal Tent at noon on Friday for Eucharist with spiritual theologian Matthew Fox. Co-founder of The (r)evolutionary Creation Spirituality movement, and author of a number of books, Fox was a Dominican for 40 years, and he’s especially known for bringing Christian mystics like Meister Eckhart and Hildegard of Bingen into the consciousness of contemporary Christians. A voice for social, environmental, and gender justice, it has been said that Fox  “…may be the most creative, the most comprehensive, surely the most challenging theologian in America.”

At 5:30 on Friday and Saturday, stop by the The Practice Space for a Taize Vespers Service, led by Leslie Withers and Mark Reeve. Taize is a kind of contemplative worship that includes periods of silence, punctuated by meditative singing. The songs come out of the Taize community in France, an ecumenical monastic order dedicated to kindness, simplicity and reconciliation. You could also head to The Episcopal Tent on Saturday at 6 for a Potluck Dinner Eucharist with Healing Prayer.

Another don’t-miss event — Friday at 11 pm,  join us at the Cafe for OPENINGS: Lament, Celebration, and Holy Communion with The Many. Born out of the collaboration of a diverse group of artists, writers, social justice activists, and pastors, with music by the emerging indie music collective, The Many, OPENINGS promises to be just what we need right now – time to lament, pray and sing, share bread and wine, and open a way to hope again. You’ll even have a chance to be in an Instant Choir for this event. Instant Choir Rehearsal is at 1 pm on Friday at the Circle Tent (listed as Openings, the Backstory, on the schedule).  It’s your chance to learn the new music that will be sung on Friday night so you can join in. The original music, much of it written for worship at the Jesus-and-justice-loving, multiracial, inclusive LaSalle Street Church in Chicago, has been described as “indie folk meets gospel choir meets social justice worship band.”

lightthruopeningWake up on Saturday morning and make a bee-line for the main stage again by 8:30 for Morning Liturgy: Praying with the Music of the World. Featuring music from Taize and Iona as well as from faith communities of Africa and South America. Led by Gary Rand, worship/arts pastor at LaSalle Street Church and McCormick Seminary in Chicago, he’s known for weaving together music, prayer, and liturgy from different traditions to open space for God to work and people to respond in the rich diversity of creation, experience and culture. He’ll be joined at 9 AM by Emilie Townes, who
will be reflecting on Psalm 124: The Theology of Somehow.  Emilie is the Dean and Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University Divinity School with a perspective that we need to hear right now.  As she believes,  
“God speaks in a variety of ways, and when we try to confine God to speaking only one way to only a certain group of people, then we’re really creating God in ourselves.”

On Saturday at 4:00 pm, Matthew Fox and Howard Hanger will be leading “Earth Liturgy: The Blessed Mess”  in The Practice Space.

Then find your way to The Labyrinth Tent at 4:30 on Saturday to join Galileo Church and evangelist Katie Hays in an interactive liturgy crafted around the original music of singer-songwriter Paul Demer’s album Maybe All Is Not Lost. Layers of song, scripture, body prayer, query, and the sharing of bread and cup will invite us to discover how to stand for hope during a hard season, without retreating to the clenched fist of certainty.

On Sunday morning, you’ll want to head to the main stage again at 8:30 am, for Morning Liturgy: Prayer, Songs and Strong Coffee. It’s BYO Coffee by the way. And you can take part in a Catholic Mass at 9 am on Sunday in the Labyrinth.

For the closing liturgy of the weekend, which begins at 11 am on the main stage, we will celebrate God’s stories in our stories and our stories in God’s stories, led by two engaging liturgist/artist/activists, Matthew David Morris and Cláudio Carvalhaes. Matt has led liturgy at Wild Goose before, with words and music that take us into greater truth and a stronger sense of connection with ourselves, our world and our Creator. This will be Claudio’s’ first time with us, but he is known around the world as someone on the cutting edge of cross-cultural worship, a voice of liberation among communities of color, and a prophetic presence among those who are pushing the church into the 21st century. We can’t imagine a more fitting ending to the weekend, one of both challenge and hope, culminating in the celebration of the Eucharist together.

handsThere are so many reasons to come to Wild Goose.  So many things to hear and see and do –  music, speakers, opportunities to hang out and have amazing conversations. But we believe participating in liturgies, experiencing Eucharist, and singing out our fear and faith and sorrows and joy in communal rituals, may be some of the most significant times you will have here. In the mess and mudhole that is too often the reality of our world today, worship at the Goose can be, as writer Lenora Rand said recently in a piece in Red Letter Christian’s blog, “…an act of defiance in the face of the prevailing powers of the gods of scarcity, injustice, hate and violence.”

We hope you’ll join us for as many of these wild and holy, celebratory acts of defiance as you can.

Executing Grace: A Call to Action from Shane Claiborne

By | Goose News

Shane Claiborne is back with us as a 2016 contributor at the festival where he will do several sessions empowering Christians to work to end the death penalty. We are inspired by Shane’s commitment to ending the death penalty and fueling his activism with his faith. Check out the below letter from Shane and maybe you can join him on the steps of the Supreme Court in holding vigil to abolish the death penalty June 29th to July 2nd.

Executing Grace Grab

A Letter From Shane Claiborne

To all my grace-filled revolutionary friends,

Here’s what I realized as I finished writing my new book Executing Grace. This isn’t just about a book. It is about a movement that has the potential to make history – to make the death penalty history.

This isn’t an ad (I’ve never been much of a self-promoter), it’s about uniting our voices and movements to stand on the side of grace, redemption, and life… and to put an end to the death penalty once and for all. I am hearing conservatives, liberals, and political misfits (I think that’s what I am) who are all convinced that if we work together we can create better forms of justice than killing those who kill to show that it is wrong to kill.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the death penalty – we Christians have been the champions of death. 85% of executions happen in the Bible belt. Where Christians are most concentrated is where the death penalty continues to flourish. It’s time to change that – as we declare the truth that no one is beyond redemption.  And for those of you who are not Christians, we need your voice and your courageous witness too. We Christians don’t own exclusive rights to grace and mercy. We need your voice.

So here are a few really practical ways we can collectively disrupt the machinery of death in America:

Order Executing Grace now, as it releases this week, so that it can hit some bestseller lists and get as much buzz as possible. If you like it, throw a review up on Amazon. If you don’t like it, keep that to yourself (just kidding). We have also created a very helpful “Influencer Kit” which is sort of a tool box with everything you need to spread the word, and keep amplifying the message of grace.

Go to our website and check out the materials there. We’ve worked hard to create practical resources, links, facts, and photos there… useful info for organizing and creating conversations. There’s also a press kit for media on the site.

If you’re feeling a little more on the wild side, join me and some of my heroes on the steps of the Supreme Court as we hold vigil to abolish the death penalty on June 29-July 2. Every year, groups working for the abolition of the death penalty converge during this specific week, which marks both the date executions were halted in 1972 and when they resumed 4 years later. Murder victims’ family members against execution, exonerees (folks wrongfully convicted), and families of the executed – all join together. It’s a powerful event, and I hope you’ll join, even for a day. Register for the vigil here.

I want you to know that I feel so honored to have such incredible friends with whom I get to conspire and plot goodness, and create holy mischief. We really do have a movement on our hands. So much is at stake. Many lives are at stake. The message of God’s grace is at stake. So let’s do this thing… and make the death penalty history.

I love you each and all. Thanks for being such powerful voices for grace. Thanks for doing what you can to amplify the message of Executing Grace and bring about an end to execution.

– Shane Claiborne
Author / Speaker / Activist
ExecutingGrace.com