Three Reasons Why I am going to the Wildgoose Festival this Summer
In 2005, my first year of bible college and theological education, I found myself reading thoughts I had never heard in my years as a fundamentalist. By 2011, I had developed a paranoia that I was one of the apostates, often times praying for hours each day that God would correct my theology and save me from any evil world views that my flesh must have desired.
But, slowly, I was falling in love with the God who was bigger than biblical literalism, American politics, militarism, consumerism, and the production culture of the protestant work ethic. I had decided after exhausting nights in research and biblical exegesis:
That A) loving someone of the same gender would not keep a person from experiencing the shalom Now presence of the beloved community, or kingdom of God,
- B) Hell referred mostly to a place outside the city, a trash dump, and not a place of everlasting torture,
- C) God indeed called me to speak out for the marginalized and work towards injustice.
But the community of my faith as a Pentecostal, moved away from her roots of being affirming of Women, People of Color, and Pacifistic towards a more “Murica”-centric ideology. It was never hard to maintain my identity as a progressive Pentecostal in the academy, even in Springfield, Missouri, but when I moved home to West Georgia and attempted to start a dialogue-style gathering “Church of The Misfits” I encountered a lot of misunderstanding. Plus I was hurt and angry, and one of the only people in West Georgia that had more than a master’s commission (practical ministry school) educational level of the Bible.
In 2011, When I set up my tent at Shakori Hills, I found a people who got it. I found folks who understood my hurt, and my passion. I felt embraced by elders of the emerging community, and I was able to “sit at their feet” around campfires.
Here are the 3 reasons why I am returning to Wildgoose Festival this summer,
- It’s not chills and feels, but encouragement for doing good.
It’s not just hype during a three day conference, where folks feel the holy ghost, and then their lives lack transformation towards action. I have been to many revivals, where we all cried, and committed our lives to God, but when we got back to the Homefront, we missed the mountain top experience and weren’t able to continue doing the good work. This community actively seeks to build connections between doers of justice, teachers, advocates, and activists. When I feel burnt out and get down on myself, or need to vent, I have made connections through this sacred festival that allow me safe space, and encourage me to keep working for the good here in Atlanta.
- There’s not a green room.
At other conferences, many of us never have access to authors, teachers, and those who have made an impact on our life. At the Wildgoose Festival in years past, I had the opportunity to sit down with Phyllis Tickle. I was able to sit at the feet of Richard Twiss, and Vincent Hardin. I had William Barber lay hands on me, and I shared some whiskey with many authors who have drastically challenged my life. I love that the space feels flat. There’s just Us.
- The Wildgoose, herself.
I am a Progressive Pentecostal floating in the mainline. Maybe a mystic. But I know the Spirit of God, when she is near. I have had moments of healing, blessing, and revelation at the Wildgoose. I see my friends from social media, and they share with me what the Untamed Spirit of God is doing in their lives. I bump into civil right’s activists on trails, and charismatic progressives while eating some vegan nom-noms. I have even felt healing hands, prophetic messages to burn away the dross and build up Justice, Humility, and Mercy, and although some of you may cringe, I have heard tongues of fire in the woods, and down by the river as impromptu baptisms, and ceremonies of empowerment ignited practitioners of sustainability and redemption to work. And Mostly, I have seen a community grow, that cares radically, with FIRE, about the justice of the Lord being done in all the earth.
So, I hope you will consider joining me this summer. If not for the community, or the teaching, maybe you’ll come to experience a Wildgoose Pentecost- the kind that burns in our hearts towards action. See you around the Fire!
Get your ticket today! http://www.eventbrite.com/e/wild-goose-festival-2016-tickets-17817166625