What Do We Want This To Be? How Are We Going To Get There?

Is it really only 70 days ’till the Wild Goose Festival? In the midst of all our planning, it’s been challenging to find the time to blog about it!  We’ve been making good progress, though, and we’re committed to posting frequently, beginning this week. And we’re happy to announce Patheos as our new blogging home!

We’ve asked a few friends of Wild Goose to write short posts responding to two simple questions; please feel free to comment below with your own responses.  Thanks!

What do you want the Wild Goose Festival to be?
And – how will you help make that happen?

Gareth Higgins, Wild Goose Executive Director: As a recent immigrant to the US, but someone who has a long history of admiration in US progressive Christianity, I believe the country is at a critical juncture.  The culture wars have clearly not ended with the election of President Obama, but rather have intensified.  The progressive Christian movement is assailed by both its right wing denouncers, and secular progressives who don’t want to have anything to do with religion.  The tragic but perhaps reasonable fact is, to outsiders, Christians still look boring as a library of algebra textbooks (apologies to any mathematicians reading).  We’re also sometimes guilty of scaring people, and not in a good way.  If we’re honest, it’s not only outsiders who think that way.  And so, it must be possible to do something different.  It must be possible to create space for creative space.  It must be possible to throw a wild party that reminds us just how wild – in the sense of untamed spirits, alive to the purposes of God, yearning for our full humanness, and binding the wounds of the suffering – we can be.

So, What is Wild Goose?

A justice festival that feels more like a long weekend party than a conference, rooted in the progressive Christian tradition, using the lenses and gifts of art, music, and conversation to nurture a radical community of people connected to each other, to the suffering people of the world, and to the earth itself.  A festival that starts new conversations, and continues old ones in a new way.  A festival at which everyone can feel welcome, from any faith background or none.  A festival at which everyone can participate, because the traditional hierarchies between ‘teachers’ and ‘learners’ have been collapsed. A festival that provides a platform for things to be said and heard that may not be said or heard anywhere else in the US.  A festival whose economic and structural values parallel those being promoted by the people who speak, perform and attend.  A festival where once a year conversations take place that change our lives forever.  A festival that becomes both an axis point for and an access point to helping shape the future of Christian practice in America.  A festival that helps people live better.

To answer the question, then:

I want Wild Goose to be an event that will help people live better – both while they’re attending it, and for the year afterward.  I’ll help this happen by trying to offer some leadership to the overall vision, to bring people to the table to create the Wild Goose community, and to try to hear to what the Spirit is saying to us.  And we need your help to do this…

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