Last year I had the opportunity to produce a collaborative book project – Taking Flight. Contributors include Jimmy Carter, Frank Viola, Vaun Swanson, Linda Mader, and many other wise and thoughtful voices. When German artist, Stephanie Eatherly, submitted stunning cover art with two wild geese, it was completely unexpected. A Google search revealed that wild geese are the ancient Celtic symbol of the Holy Spirit, and that wild geese are just that – wild; and their song – noisy and annoying. Months later, when I caught wind of the “Wild Goose Festival,” I knew something was up.
The wild goose reminds us that the Spirit of God cannot be tamed. Perhaps the Celts understood that when we attempt to control the Spirit, the Spirit breaks free and finds a home in groups and individuals – the same individuals who have launched historic movements, ultimately transforming the face of history and Christianity.
David Clark of New Zealand’s Community of St. Luke says,
Those upon whom the Spirit rests are forced by that Spirit to become like wild geese – noisy, passionate and courageous advocates of the gospel’s radical demands for reformation while warning against the dangers of believing that it can be captured or directed. Wayside preachers, radical reformers, visionary women, risk-taking adventurers, scholars exploring beyond the boundaries of orthodoxy, and caring people going beyond the boundaries of the safe and appropriate, have changed the face of the church over the centuries, empowered by the Spirit more appropriately depicted as a wild goose than cooing dove.
During research for Taking Flight, one portion in particular inspired and captured my imagination – the profound legacy of the Quakers. Though harshly persecuted, these radical reformers were responsible for initiating a breadth of social change – the abolitionist and women’s rights movements, among others – all birthed from a heart of faith and passion for human equality. Many of the values in today’s mission-oriented markets and socially responsible movements can be traced back to early Quaker practice. The Quaker approach shows not only how one’s faith can be lived out in a wounded world, but how socially conscious movements can become embedded into future belief systems through culture, business and politics. Quaker theologian, William Penn, for example, created the Pennsylvania Frame of Government which served as a foundational democratic principle in the US Constitution and which ensures the rights of the individual – the most important principle of modern political history. (More interesting early Quaker tidbits here.)
Please join me at Wild Goose for the session entitled Flourishing on the Fringes where we will be charting interior dimensions, embarking on the transformational adventure of world change, traversing the intersections of social innovation, arts and compassion, and reclaiming the Christian narrative to reflect integrity, compassion, and reconciliation. If you haven’t already, you can still get you tickets here.
Cynthia is a cross disciplinary creative professional exploring the intersection of the arts, purposeful media, and compassion. Her most recent projects include Compathos.tv (Founder / catalyst ), Drawn from Water the Movie (Executive Producer), Bay Area – Compathos Film with Social Impact Director Series (Producer, Curator),Taking Flight (Creator , author, lead editor), and Compathos Productions (Founder). She believes narrative that inspires innovation, responsible action, enthusiasm and hope are essential for the epic adventure of positive world change and resilient transition.