Here in no particular order are ten moments that mattered to me at the Wild Goose Festival.
1. Hearing Paul Knitter talk about “dual belonging” as a way to integrate Christian faith with wisdom from other traditions.
2. Enjoying the “Wild Goose Brew” with Tim and Suzanne.
3. Doug Pagitt‘s talk about Christianity in the “Inventive Age.”
4. Tearing up as I told Gareth Higgins about my daughter’s health issues.
6. Sharing a mango with one of the keynote speakers, as he offered me thoughtful and sensible advice about my career.
7. Telling new friends Lynne and Christine my spiritual journey, with all its twist and turns — and appreciating the freedom to be fully honest with folks I had only met moments before.
9. Riffing on the connection between contemplation and God’s playfulness in the Storytelling tent Saturday after sundown.
10. Reconnecting with all the wonderful people I met in Northern Ireland last year (like Colin from Scotland and Chip Andrus).
What was so delightful about this event was the sheer abundance of creative, visionary people who were present. Not just the musicians and speakers, either: some of my favorite bloggers were in attendance, even though they were not scheduled to give a talk. This was the kind of place where just lingering at a table while you finished a beer could lead to a powerful and meaningful conversation with a stranger (about to become a new friend). As great as the speakers and musicians were, just as much magic took place far away from the stages and the tents as did within them.
Sunday morning, shortly before I left for home, I stood in line to use the porta-potty and struck up a conversation with the woman standing next to me. She was a science teacher from up north; and we talked about how wonderful the event was, because there were real conversations going on about the relationship between faith and science, and faith and social justice, and Christianity and other traditions, and the role of contemplation within all of the above. “To have all four of these conversations going on at the same time, in the same space, is truly extraordinary,” I mused. This, then, is the gift of the Wild Goose Festival: relationships (both old and new) and conversations (even difficult ones about tough topics). I think it is truly in such conversations and relationships that the movement of the Holy Spirit (er, the Wild Goose) can take place.