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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Can’t wait to see you.

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Theology. Ecology. Good food for all.

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Guest post by Methodist Theological School In Ohio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Web site:
www.mtso.edu

Facebook:

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

Twitter:
@MTSOedu

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

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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.

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Executing Grace: A Call to Action from Shane Claiborne

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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.

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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

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Can’t come all weekend? Get a Day Pass.

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There’s no better way to experience The Goose than by spending Thursday through Sunday immersed in this transformational, experiential, sing and dance and play and dream and eat and camp and meditate and talk and listen and twirl-you-around-and-shake-you-up gathering like no other. Seriously, have you seen the video?

WebsiteHeader_1600x300However, if you can’t spend the weekend, the next best thing is to get a taste of it, by just coming for a day. That’s where Day Passes come in…a day pass is kind of like the Big Gulp of Wild Goose.

We’ve made a limited number of individual Day Passes available for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And they’re now on sale. Check out the day by day highlights and get your day pass tickets soon.

TICKETS

HIGHLIGHTS
Please check the detailed schedule (available next week) for full details.

THURSDAY
Rev Jacqui Lewis
Matt Maher
Ken Medema

FRIDAY
Jim Wallis
Stan Mitchell
Frank Schaeffer
Soong-Chan Rah
Doug Pagitt
Michael Gungor
Emilie Townes
Joerg Rieger
Look Homeward
Emmanuel Jal
Pato Banton
Home-brewed Christianity Live
The Liturgists Podcast

SATURDAY
Lisa Sharon Harper
Chris Crass
Charles Eisenstein
Shane Claiborne
Matthew Fox
Joe Davis and the Poetic Diaspora
Phil Madeira
Dar Williams
Indigo Girls

SUNDAY
Ask Science Mike

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A conversation with the leaders of Racial Justice Institute

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How to turn tenderness into fearlessness. A conversation with the leaders of Racial Justice Institute.

Are you tired of conversations about race that quickly turn into shouting matches? Do you feel uncomfortable, as a white person, bringing up race, or feel your “help” is not wanted in movements like Black Lives Matter? Do you feel frustrated, as a person of color, being asked to explain things to white folks? Is it possible to confront white privilege, promote racial justice, and still have friends?

The Racial Justice Institute is a day-long pre-festival event put together to tackle these questions and more. And though it’s called an “institute,” which may make you think of a stuffy classroom with long, boring lectures, it’s designed to be anything but.  Instead think “interactive workshop” — a day to talk deeply and honestly, sometimes awkwardly, about race, in a place where you will be respected and listened to. A time to feel, reflect, sing, pray, possibly even laugh, and most importantly, figure out how we can individually – and collectively – do something about racial injustice.

This personal and communal journey will be facilitated by a group of gifted and wise, multiracial and interdisciplinary facilitators including Micky ScottBey Jones, Kenji Kuramitsu, Rev. Jennifer Bailey, AnaYelsi and many more.

We caught up with some of these folks recently and tossed them a few questions about what to expect from the day and why it’s so important to be there.

Why do a whole extra day about Racial Justice? Won’t that be a big part of the festival?

Sure it will. There will be conversations and talks and storytelling and music around this subject throughout the festival. And on lots of other subjects.

This is a time to drill down, to participate in a facilitated conversation where you can engage honestly and openly, be comfortable asking uncomfortable questions, and spend more focused time with other people coming up with ideas for transformative action.

As you leave this event, we think your head will be spinning with new ideas, new understandings, and an increased depth of awareness, so as you go into the festival you’ll very likely enter into it more deeply than you would have before. Our facilitators will also be leading workshops throughout the festival, so participating in RJI will prepare you to get even more from those sessions. Not to mention you may also make some friends you can hang out with throughout the festival.  

Who is this for?

Everyone who wants to have a deep, open, challenging, thoughtful conversation about race and oppression. It is for people of color and for white people. It’s for people just beginning to engage issues of race, and those who have been engaged for years and need fresh perspectives.

What will I take home from it?

More awareness and wisdom. You might even leave with a commitment to change your life and the systems around you.

Why should I attend?

Because although ignorance can be bliss, one person’s bliss can create another’s hell.  Attending this will create knowledgeable bliss and less hell.  It’s backwards that way.

What will I learn?

How we’ve gotten to this place where certain people have privilege and others have been “disprivileged,” how it hurts, and what we can do about it. How you fit into the story of race, inequality and justice and what that means for you. How race has shaped American culture and systems like education, prison, economics and civil rights, where we are today and where we might be going. How none of us are free until we are all free, and the beauty of getting there together.

What will we do all day?  

Open our raw hearts so that the tenderness becomes fearlessness.

Yeah, but are we going to sit and listen to people talk all day?

Only if you want to. You can also speak if you’d like to share. And participate in all kinds of other ways. Which is why we call it an interactive workshop.

How will it be “interactive”?

Through contemplative exercises and small group conversations (including those we have at meal times) occasional singing, journaling, even, yes, possibly dancing. (For those who see themselves as “dancing challenged,” don’t worry, we aren’t talking “Dancing with the Stars” dancing.)

Is this going to involve a lot of debate?

Only if you can find someone to debate with. We’re planning opportunities for one-on-one conversations with each other and with the leaders…no game playing, just sharing our best truths.  Clear-eyed, vulnerable, compassionate truths.

Why are there so many people leading?

We want everyone to feel welcome, and we don’t want anyone to feel alone. Also, race isn’t just about black and white. So we’ve included facilitators with many different stories, many different perspectives and experiences —  black, white, Asian, Latinx, straight, queer, gay, 40s to 20s, Anglican to evangelical, black-churched to Pentecostal.

We heard there might be a campfire…will this be just another feel good campfire conversation about race?

It will be more like being the marshmallow in the campfire. We’ll let the flames burn away our sugary falseness.

If I attend am I going to get yelled at? Am I going to leave feeling more frustrated and/or guilt-ridden?

We recognize it can be scary to talk about race. We have created RJI to provide a place to experiment with being brave, to ask questions that bring up big feelings, risk vulnerability and to crack open complex ideas. In the process, perhaps we will find personal and cultural healing. Even transformation. It’s designed to be a day that leaves you not with more guilt but with deeper knowledge, inspiration, different questions and new relationships as well as resources and ideas for action. We hope that you’ll be changed and leave ready to help create change in the world.

Sign up to join us for the event here.

Check out the full schedule for the day here.

Have more questions? Contact Micky ScottBey Jones

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Hear and tell stories at Wild Goose 2016

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This year, all over the Wild Goose Festival, and especially in the Wild Goose Studio Tent and Video Tent, you will have opportunity to hear stories, tell your own story, and be a part of workshops designed to help your story sing (y’know…metaphorically).

As people of faith, we’ve always believed stories have power. Stories matter. The stories we read in the scriptures and our own personal stories bear witness to what we’ve experienced of God in our lives and in the world. They tell of our small joys and huge moments of grace. And yes, also of all the ways we’ve failed ourselves and each other.

Get ready for some amazing storytelling opportunities throughout the weekend.  We’ll announce specific times soon – check the website for updates as we get closer. Here’s what’s happening:

1. Storytelling Workshop (two hours): Rebecca Anderson, co-host of Wild Goose Story SlamRebecca
You know a great story when you hear it – but what makes it work? In these two hours, come get an intro to the craft of storytelling, strengthen your style, and use structure intentionally and creatively for maximum impact. Offer and receive the kind of feedback that makes everyone’s stories better.

2. Tenx9 – with art!
Tenx9
(“ten by nine”) is a Belfast-originated monthly community storytelling night where 9 people have up ten minutes each to tell a real story from their lives. It’s about real people and real stories. It’s not about professional storytelling; it’s about strange people telling their strange stories to strangers, a placetenx9Graphic for the nervous and the unsure to get up and give it a go. We make space for the ordinary, because we believe everybody has a story. Tenx9 is thrilled to be hosting a night of storytelling at Wild Goose for the first time ever, and we’ve decided our theme will be “Courage: Stories of Resistance.” We welcome your submissions! If you have a story of courageous resistance, regardless the scale or context, let us know. Propose your story by filling out this form. We will get back in touch to confirm spots by June 17. To learn more about Tenx9 and our approach to storytelling nights, meander around our website at tenx9nashville.com. Tenx9 is a place where stories may very well break your heart and put it back together again. If you want to be moved, to feel deeply, join  us for Tenx9 at Wild Goose. Got a story? We’d love to hear from you. SUBMIT YOUR STORY HERE

3. Storytelling workshop: Michael McRay, host of Tenx9 StorytellingMichaelMcRay
In this two-hour workshop, writers will reflect on the overarching narrative of your life, brainstorm some of your greatest stories (interpret that as you will) through various themes, compare and contrast compelling and mediocre sample stories, and if time permits, peer-review each other’s narratives to provide constructive feedback for story development. Please bring a true personal story of no more than 750 words. These plans are subject to change.

4. Finishing touches
Been working on a story at a workshop or on your own?  Come get some feedback and tweaking designed to boost your confidence and get you ready to put your name in the hat at the evening story slam.

5. Wild Goose StorySLAM with Music! Hosted by Mark Longhurst and Rebecca Anderson. With live music
StorySlamImageA fan of The Moth?  This is gonna be your jam.  Come and put your name in the hat to be one of 10 storytellers – or just come and listen to true stories, crafted for impact, humor, and connection. Our theme for the night is From Shit to Shine: Stories of Redemption.

Storytellers: Prepare a 5-minute true, first-person story about a transformation.

Think: a divorce that became a blessing, a fight that ended in friendship, an addiction that helped access vulnerability, a lie that stumbled into trust, a wound that became a scar, a death more crushing than you could endure…until you did. You lived to tell the tale, now’s your chance to tell it!

Additional Stories -- in worship, on the mainstage...

We’ve also got a need for stories to integrate on other stages. We need stories ranging from shorties (3 – 4 minutes) to mid-length (5 – 7 minutes) to slot between other events and as part of worship, too.  Sure, we’ll pull from the overflow of Courage: Stories of Resistance and StorySLAM tellers, but if you have a story on any theme that you’re aching to tell, SUBMIT IT HERE!  We need all kinds of voices, and all kinds of tales.

Tell Your Story on Video

WhatsYourStoryWe want to make sure your story is captured on video and archived for viewing on the Goose website after the festival.
Storytellers: We may not have video coverage at all storytelling events, so please make arrangements to tell your story to our cameras either before or after your scheduled storytelling time. We want to make sure your story is heard! When you arrive at the festival, please stop by to schedule a time to tell your story to our camera.
If you’re not a scheduled storyteller but would like to share your story – whatever your story may be – we want to capture your story too! All are welcome! In the past, we’ve grabbed people walking by and asked them to spontaneously “Tell us your story.” This year, we’d like you to think about what you’d like to say in advance, then stop by and talk to us.

Our video studio, “What’s Your Story,” will be located next to the Art Studio tent.

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Why I’m Participating in the Wild Goose Racial Justice Institute

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Why I’m Participating in the Wild Goose Racial Justice Institute
by Sarah Withrow King (Re-posted from Evangelicals For Action)
Sara Withrow King is a contributor this year and a leader in our Racial Justice Institute, a pre-festival event sponsored by Evangelicals for Social Action.

On July 7, 2016, on the eve of 2016’s Wild Goose Festival, I’ll be participating in a Racial Justice Institute sponsored by ESA.racial-diversity-frimages.iStock
My primary vocation is animal protection. I’m an indoor kitty, and this is an outdoor festival. I grew up in Oregon and get hot and cranky when exposed to temperatures above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. But I’m really excited, and I want to tell you why so that you’ll consider joining Micky, AnaYelsi, Darren, Kenji, Paul, Jen, Kristyn, and me for this one-day interactive workshop engaging issues of race and justice through practical, spiritual, emotional, historical, and social streams of knowledge.

And so, a list. I’m thrilled to participate in the Racial Justice Institute….

  1. Because we’ll look at race through a whole bunch of lenses, making for a deeper, richer experience.
  2. Because liberal progressives need to be redeemed, right alongside the right-wingers and independents and everyone between and beyond.
  3. Because I’ve hung out with these folks before, and it’s a guaranteed good time.
  4. Because in 1995, I told the only African American kid in my class that “racism doesn’t exist anymore” and didn’t realize how wrong I was until Trayvon Martin was shot walking home from the store.
  5. Because injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
  6. Because my fight for animals, your fight for gender equality, his fight for the unborn, her fight for safe schools, our fight for one another won’t mean a thing as long as skin color is used to measure the worth of a person.
  7. Because it’s possible to acknowledge past and current injustice, to accept that light skin is privileged skin and that people who looked like me perpetuated and continue to perpetuate horrific crimes against people who do not look like me…and not get bogged down in white guilt.
  8. Because white fragility is as damaging as white supremacy.
  9. Because I want my young son to grow up watching me tackle white privilege head on so that he becomes an anti-racist man.

Sign up, would you? I need people like you to walk this road with me.

Sarah Withrow King is the Deputy Director of the Sider Center, the co-director of CreatureKind, and the author of two books, Animals Are Not Ours (No Really, They’re Not): An Evangelical Animal Liberation Theology. (Wipf & Stock) and Vegangelical: How Caring for Animals Can Shape Your Faith (Zondervan).

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All Are Welcome.

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“All are welcome.” We’ve been saying that since the very first Wild Goose and we’ve always meant it. And by welcome we don’t mean “tolerated,” or “accepted.” We mean embraced, as in long-lost-friend-embraced, you’re-finally-home-embraced. This “welcome to all” has been so much a part of the Wild Goose DNA that we’ve almost come to take it for granted.

But we realized, especially in light of the passage of North Carolina’s HB2, that we needed to be more explicit about our welcome. So we’ve adopted and put in writing an anti-harassment policy. You can read it here.  http://wildgoosefestival.org/anti-harassment_policy/

We’re committed to helping make our world safer for everyone. We hope this policy makes that clear, and if you have any questions about it, please ask.

When North Carolina passed this legislation, we thought long and hard about whether to cancel the festival or move it in protest. But ultimately we’ve decided it’s important to be here, to be visible, and to be a voice for God’s radical love (check out Kimberly Knight’s passionate blog post on Patheos). We hope you’ll join us!

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It’s all about saying “Yes.” An interview with Phil Madeira.

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Phil Madeira is a Nashville-based musician, songwriter and producer who’s worked with names like Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Alison Krauss, Mat Kearney, Garth Brooks, Toby Keith, Amy Grant and The Civil Wars…just to name a few. He’s also an author, painter, artist and long time friend of The Wild Goose Festival. And this year he’s helping curate the first ever Wild Goose Songwriting Contest.

Lenora Rand, author of the blog Spiritual Suckitude, who will be leading a workshop about finding the holy in our stories at Wild Goose this year, caught up with him this week to ask a few questions.


Lenora: In your 2012 album, Mercyland, Hymns for the Rest of Us, Paste magazine said, you coaxed “the divine from plain dirt.” Christianity Today said you captured “…the vulnerable exchange between hurting humans and a holy God.” And Evangelicals for Social Action, said, your music called us “…to live today in a way that brings heaven a little closer.” Wow. Is that what you set out to do?

Phil: Mercyland Volumes 1 & 2 were created as a response to the hysteria that continues to be stirred up by American fundamentalism, all in the name of Jesus.  Look at the so-called “religious freedom” laws being passed in the South in 2016.  I started the first Mercyland in 2009, writing with and recording the then-unknown Civil Wars.  “From This Valley” is all about  the outcast, the orphan, the invisible community that Christ spoke of often.  Emmylou Harris’ willingness to participate in both records gave credence to what I was doing, both musically and philosophically.  My intention was not to make a Christian music record, but to just make the statement that God loves everyone.  To that end, I succeeded.

Lenora: A lot of people might call Wild Goose a festival “for the rest of us.” Do you think of it that way? What drew you to Wild Goose in the first place? What keeps you coming back?

Phil: I was invited to play songs from Mercyland, as well as my own brand of roots music in 2012, I think, the second year.  What drew me was the opportunity to share my music.  What I found there was an interesting mix of folks trying to rescue a faith that has been politicized, nationalized, and de-sanitized by the status quo.  While there, I made vital relationships, including the woman who signed me to a book deal.  You never know what saying “yes” to the unknown will yield in your life, but in my case, I’ve been back every year for more of the same kind of community building.

PhilM-CULenora: The theme this year at Wild Goose, “Story,” is all about bringing our stories together and seeing what happens when they rub up against each other. As someone who’s co-written with lots of musicians in your career, what’s the value of coming together and co-creating?

Phil: Co-creating is important to my very survival.  In the endeavor to get songs to the masses, I’ve found that writing a song with another person will always make the meaning more universal.  The co-written song becomes less about me and more about us, and usually that makes it much more resonant with a larger audience.

Lenora: Why did you agree to help curate the Wild Goose Festival’s Songwriting Contest? Why is this a good thing for the Goose to do?

Phil: The invitation benefits the Goose as well as the songwriter.  Who knows what bright light will shine from some unknown corner of our world?  Who knows what wonderful message or melody might emerge when we invite the unknown into our midst? 

 At our Mercyland Songwriter Workshops (this year in Hot Springs NC July 17-21 by the way), we’ve continually discovered those kinds of voices and hearts.  Because I’m often in the thick of unknown writers, I see it all the time, and I know that the Goose is in store for some wonderful new music.

Lenora: It’s pretty scary to put yourself out there as an artist and share your work with others, especially when they’re not your family and friends who are mostly fairly nice to you. Why do you think it could be a good thing for aspiring songwriters to submit a song to this contest? Besides the fact that they could win a lovely Republic 317 mahogany Parlor Resonator guitar, of course.

Phil: Allow me to answer with a story:
A few years after Emmylou invited me to be in her band, I found an album cover I had designed for a graphics class I’d taken in college.  At the time, I had no record to put in the sleeve, so I filled the credits with the great session players of the day- Lee Sklar, Russ Kunkel, Al Perkins, and others.  Thirty years after making this cover, I looked at those credits and realized I had played with every single person I’d written down in that waking dream.  What really blew my mind was reading Emmylou’s name among them!  At 21, I had dreamed big and then forgotten all about it. 

 I often share this story with people who are afraid to dream the kind of dream I was dreaming as a young man.  Wild Goose is offering the opportunity to share a dream, that impossible story that is waiting to be lived out.  If someone’s dream is to be a songwriter, here’s an opportunity to make it come true.  Again, it’s only a matter of saying “yes.”

 There’s still time to enter the Wild Goose Songwriters Contest. Submissions accepted until April 30, 2016.

Phil Madeira music, art, and books available at www.philmadeira.net

For info on Mercyland Songwriter Workshops, go to
http://www.writingcircle.org/mercylandsongwriterworkshop/