I’ll be presenting a session at Wild Goose later this week on meditation for Christians — Saturday morning, 11:30-12:30, in the Chapel. I’ll cover a little background and give basic instructions, then we’ll experience sitting together and, time allowing, there will be a chance for questions and observations at the end. If you’re going to the Goose, I hope you’ll join me. Here’s the description from the Wild Goose schedule:
While any contemplative practice can enrich the spiritual journey, silent meditation offers powerful benefits. Yes, it will reduce anxiety and self-driven suffering, but only as a side effect of the much more significant benefit of developing radical presence and acceptance. Centering Prayer is a form of silent meditation with roots in medieval monasticism. Experience it firsthand with Phil Fox Rose, meditation teacher and long-time practitioner. We’ll start with instruction for those new to meditation and those with a different practice, then we’ll sit together in contemplative silence; we’ll end with discussion — about what people experienced, the fruits of contemplation in the spiritual journey, past struggles with meditation, and maybe how meditation fits in a Christian context (or why we need to even answer that question). This session will be useful whether you’re new to meditation, practice in another tradition, or do centering prayer daily.
Wild Goose is a festival “at the intersection of justice, spirituality, music, and art.” In other words, great music, inspiring presentations and amazing fellowship. It’s in Hot Springs, North Carolina — near Asheville — from Thursday evening through Sunday morning, August 8 – 11. If you’re still making up your mind about whether to go, I encourage you to just do it. The first year, I was on the fence and ended up letting it slip by, and I still regret that. Last year was amazing. The experiences and the connections have enriched my life ever since. I discovered new artists and thinkers that have become favorites and friends. I got to see David Crowder unplugged on the main stage, and a very cool intimate Over The Rhine show.
This year, personally I’m looking forward to seeing for the first time: Christa Wells (I wrote about her song “Held” once a few years back). Other headliners are Speech from Arrested Development (the 90s alt hip hop band, not the TV show) and the Indigo Girls. I’m also looking forward to seeing Aimee Wilson, who I met at last year’s Goose and have since gotten to know — an incredible artist and person. That’s just a few of the musicians. I’m sure I’ll discover a few more that are just as awesome.
Besides my own session (LOL) there’s so much amazing stuff going on in the presentations at the Goose too! My friend Kerlin Richter will be presenting on Parenting as Gospel Witness, and another friend Julie Clawson is talking about how 50 Shades of Gray is actually a hopeful spark for conversation in our puritanical society; both sessions are Saturday evening at 6:30, which sucks for me.
Friend and amazing preacher Nadia Bolz-Weber will talk about dealing with shared trauma, “Screw the Platitudes, Just Say The Truth”; Catholic theologian James Alison is introducing his adult radical small group Christianity course, “Jesus the Forgiving Victim”; Frank Schaeffer will talk about embracing beauty and great art, not irony and cynicism.
Throughout the weekend, Eric Elnes will be hosting Darkwood Brew Unplugged segments and Tripp Fuller will be doing Homebrewed Christianity podcasts. My friends from ikon are holding a “broken liturgy” service at 11pm on Saturday night. And a long-time soul crush, Krista Tippett, host of On Being on NPR, will be talking with people on stages throughout the weekend — collecting audio, some of which I assume will end up in her show.
As a gentle nudge, here’s a 20% discount if you order through my link here. Weekend passes with or without camping and single day tickets are available.