The annual Wild Goose Festival once again is history and, once again I wish I had been there. This yearly ‘pilgrimage’ brings in thousands of those who may not ‘fit’ in the average church to join for several days of community in the North Carolina (USA) hills.
I’ve heard a lot about Wild Goose, from the promotional emails from The Christian Left to blogs such as Brian McLaren ansd Jim Wallis. The lineup of artists, musicians and speakers was impressive (if you run in alternative Christian circles). You only need to go to any of the search engines and search on ‘Wild Goose 2012’ and a plethora of references will load, from YouTube clips to blogs to photo galleries. . . .
My attendance at the festival being out of the question, I have been surfing the Net and enjoying immensely all things Wild Goose.
This is from the Sojourner’s site and gives a taste of one person’s experience:
More than a few times during the festival’s run, I heard a similar sentiment expressed: This is what the Kingdom of God looks like.
We were men and women. Children and adults. Young and old and middle-aged. Black, white, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, and a beauty blend of all of the above.
We were biological family and chosen. Birthed and adopted. Parents and children and grandparents and siblings. Rich and poor and middle class. Gay and straight. Students and professors. Artists and accountants. Musicians and ministers. Activists and actors. Believers, seekers and “none of the above.”
All children of God. All welcome (and what part of “all” might you not understand?) (Read the rest here.)
And then this from Mark Sandlin:
People who have walked away from church, people who go to church religiously (pardon the pun), people who are wandering, people who have been hurt, people who are spiritual-but-not-religious – we all gathered together for a long weekend of music, art and thinking about God. Surprisingly, that is where church broke out. There were no pews, no pipe organ, no liturgy, no polity – none of the trappings of church, but it decided to be church anyway.
For me it happened underneath a large tent. It was the kind of tent I remember seeing in my childhood in the South that would pop up on the lawns of Southern Baptist Churches when a revival was coming to town. Only this one also served beer.
The event was called “Beer & Hymns.” I went to church y’all. (Sorry. Like I said, I’m from the South). It wasn’t the revival of my childhood, but I am here to tell you, it was a revival. If in no other place, it was a revival in my soul. With a beer in one hand and lyrics to old hymns in the other, we let go of all of the trappings of what people think, how they are dressed and a myriad of other completely useless measurements of faith and with our feet planted in the dirt of Shakori Hills, NC we reached into our deepest spaces and wailed out our hymns to the heavens. It was joyous. And we did it with reckless abandon. It was beautiful. It was profoundly spiritual.
In that moment at Wild Goose , I experienced the Spirit in a deep and more profound way than I can ever remember doing inside the walls of any church. I turned to my buddy, Bryan McFarland, and said, “If church was like that every Sunday, we wouldn’t be worrying about people walking away from church; we’d be worrying about how to fit them all in.”
Joy. Pure, unadulterated, reach-to-the-core-of-your-being Joy. In a word: worship. That’s what we experienced.
Now that I have had a taste of it, I thirst for it. I want more. (Read the rest of this post here.)
Click here to view a segment on Brian McLaren’s talk on Occupy Theology.
For a little fun, join the ‘saints parade’ here.
And here’s a clip from the Beer & Hymns session.
It certainly looks like all who attended had a great time and enjoyed being part of that impromptu community, even if only for 4 days.