The Holy Common Ground of Wild Goose

We’re headed home from Wild Goose Festival, a gathering of artists, activists, musicians, and theologians, in Hot Springs, N.C. It was hot, rainy, and messy. My suitcase smells like my fifth grade gym locker.

I can’t wait to go back next year.

The speakers are remarkable; many of them are walking the talk they’re offering, which is an unfortunately rare phenomenon. But the most important part of the whole four-day event lies in the unexpected moments. Sometimes I would walk along the main dirt road in the middle of the grounds, lined with tables, tents, and makeshift gathering spaces, until I saw something interesting going on and just joined in.
In one moment you’re debating the theological implications of the American food-industrial complex. Half an hour later, you’re laughing with new friends in the beer tent. And then, just when the sun sets and you’re sure you lack the fortitude to go one any more, the music on the main stage cranks up and the very earth beneath you vibrates.

Read more about my time at the Wild Goose Festival in my latest Sojourners article. Have you been Goosed? Share your insights about your time at the Wild Goose Festival? What vision does it inspire in you? What Holy common ground do you find?

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  • Pete Haines

    Christian, reading your blog this morning is exactly where I
    needed to be. I can only estimate how many people I have friended on Facebook
    since I returned home to Williamsburg, Virginia; however, my family has grown
    by leaps and bounds in the past week. Being a volunteer in volunteer check-in
    sure helps one get to know people. Age helps one to forget the names that go
    with the faces.

    I was fortunate to attend two of your sessions: The one you
    shared with Mark Van Steenwyck on “Literary Self-Publishing,” and the Sunday
    morning session on your about to be published book, “Post Christian: What’s
    Left? Can We Fix It? Do We Care?” The competition for that last session was
    particularly stiff. Other speakers in that time slot in other areas of the Wild
    Goose included Jim Wallis, Branden Robertson, Red Letter Radio, and Brian
    McLaren and Suzanne Jackson. My choice to join you was to keep the promise I
    made to you a couple of days earlier…still a difficult decision to make.

    Thank you for giving attendees galley
    copies of “Post Modern…” Again, as promised, it has moved to the top of my
    to-be-read stack of books. In fact, it has moved ahead of my to-be-finished
    stack of books, including Kindle books from some of my favorite Progressive
    Christian authors. The reading will begin as soon as I process and post my
    pictures from the Wild Goose Festival.

    This was my third Wild Goose
    Festival and, for me, the best yet. Maybe it was because my personal
    spirituality has developed so much in the ”dash” between 2012-2014. Non-festival-goers
    may not realize that the Wild Goose derives its name from the Celtic metaphor
    for the Holy Spirit. How befitting a name for a gathering of 2,000-plus people
    at the intersection of spirituality, social justice, music, and art. Those
    2,000 people are my best friends and my family. Like you, I can’t wait until
    next year. I have invited my wife to attend, but she says that Wild Goose is my
    thing. In the days since I have returned, she says that she wishes that I could
    go about one week per month because of the vitality with which I have returned.
    I agree wholeheartedly and say…if only!

    Again, for those not familiar with
    the Wild Goose Festival, I invite you to a couple of sites to learn more: The
    official website is at
    The dates have not been set for 2015, but keep checking the site for updates.

    On Facebook, WGF can be found at
    or “Wild Goose Festival.” This is where attendees are known to hang out, post
    about their experiences as well as post pictures taken of those experiences. I
    know for me, that will keep me going until next year.