Post-Goose

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We’re back.  Inspired.  Recharged.  Encouraged.

Just as it has the last two years, this year’s Wild Goose has given me a healthy shot of hope and optimism.

The natural setting was wonderful.

Our home for the weekend.

Our home for the weekend.

The Chapel.

The Chapel.

The campground was right on the French Broad River.

The campground was right on the French Broad River.

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

Our presentation on sustainable alternatives to industrial agriculture went well and was well-received.  That was a relief.  And it felt really great to be able to give back to the community that has meant so much to us over the last three years.

There were lots of highlights.  Meeting Tripp Fuller of the Homebrewed Christianity podcast was cool.  He even ordained me (the bar for ordination as a Homebrewed deacon is set pretty low). We sat in on the recording of an upcoming episode, and received some of Tripp’s own brew (as a sacrament, of course).

Fred Bahnson, who formerly led the Anathoth Community Garden farm and is now on the faculty of the Wake Forest Divinity School, led sessions on sustainability and food and faith every morning, while launching his new book.

Sustainability/food justice was one of three major themes at this year’s event (along with racial reconciliation and nonviolence).  I get excited thinking about all the great potential for meaningful changes to our food system that could result from folks coming to appreciate the profound spiritual and religious significance of it.  Meeting pastors and others who are starting community gardens in the green space at their churches just fills me with hope and energy.  Under the radar, people of faith are doing amazing things to bring good food to their communities and to make good food available to the poor.  We were able to make some connections this year that I hope and expect will bear abundant fruit.

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SAMSUNG

We were very pleased that John Dear returned to Wild Goose again this year.  His activism in opposition to war and violence, and the example of his life, are very inspirational.  He gave a great talk on lessons from the life of Gandhi.  It was largely because of what John Dear said at the first Wild Goose that I mustered the courage to quit my lawyer job and dive into farming full-time.

Fr. John Dear

Fr. John Dear

Brian McLaren is another one of our theological heroes and it was awesome to see him again.  His books rocked my world.  If you haven’t already read “A New Kind of Christian,” do yourself a favor and put it on your “must read” list.

Brian McClaren

Brian McLaren

Krista Tippet of the radio show On Being was there and we sat in on her interviews of Phyllis Tickle, Vincent Harding, Brian McLaren and Nadia Bolz-Weber.  I love listening to her show on podcast (and highly recommend it).  I’m looking forward to hearing the produced versions of the interviews.

Krista Tippett interviewing Vincent Harding and Phyllis Tickle

Krista Tippett interviewing civil rights legend Vincent Harding and theologian/religious historian/generally-all-around-amazing and brilliant person Phyllis Tickle

Krista Tippett interviewing Brian McClaren

Krista Tippett interviewing Brian McClaren

Krista Tippett interviewing Nadia Bolz-Webber

Krista Tippett interviewing Nadia Bolz-Webber

There were lots of musical highlights too.

FolkPsalm

FolkPsalm

River Run North

River Run North

Ears to the Ground Family and Money Cannot Be Eaten are a collection of creative musicians and singers from Harrisonburg, Virginia who are on what they call the “Petrol-Free Jubilee Tour”, traveling to their shows, and transporting their instruments and children, by bicycle.  Their performances, under a tent during a driving rainstorm, were great.

Ear to the Ground Family (and members of Money Cannot Be Eaten)

Ears to the Ground Family (and members of Money Cannot Be Eaten)

The Collection, a crazy ensemble of musicians from Greensboro, opened the event and were a lot of fun.

The Collection got folks dancing

The Collection got folks dancing

The Indigo Girls were the mainstage act on Saturday night.  We staked out a good spot early in the day.  They were great, of course.  I was surprised to see John Dear right up against the stage, rocking out and singing along with every song.  He’s obviously a great fan.  I reckon that during all the times he’s been in prison for protesting war, not only was he reading Gandhi and the Sermon on the Mount every day, but evidently he was listening to the Indigo Girls as well.

The Indigo Girls

The Indigo Girls

Look closely and you'll see John Dear, rocking out.

Look closely and you’ll see John Dear, rocking out.

These highlights are just the tip of the iceberg.  I came home with an armful of new books and a lot of stuff to process.  Fred Bahnson pointed out that in nature it is the edges that are the most productive places.  I think that’s going to be true of the counter-cultural edge of Christianity as well.

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We had quality time with old friends, and we made new friends.  It felt particularly satisfying to lend sympathetic ears to refugees from fundamentalism, and to let them know they’re not alone.

We have heroes in our hometown too, and these are two of them:  Mike and Matt of Grace and Main Fellowship.

We have heroes in our hometown too, and these are two of them: Mike and Matt of Grace and Main Fellowship.

There’s a whole lot I could say about that, but if I decide to do that, I’ll just have to do it another day.  For now, it’s back to the routine, but with my batteries fully charged and with the confidence that what we’re doing matters in very profound ways.

Long live the Goose.

12 comments on “Post-Goose

  1. Sophie says:

    Mind if I ask you a question with no judgement attached, just a sense of curiosity? Do you believe in hell?

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    • Bill says:

      No worries Sophie. I’m a theology nerd. 🙂

      This particular question is often posed by someone with a doctrinal ax to grind (or someone looking for an argument). When that’s the case I would first ask some questions to make sure we have our definitions straight. But since I know that’s not the case here, I’m comfortable answering with a simple “No.” If you want more details/explanation I’m happy to provide it.

      But I’m curious–what was it about this post that prompted that question?? Does it appear that my soul is in some danger? 🙂

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      • sophie says:

        Haha, no, your eternal soul is fine by me! I don’t know what prompted the question. I think because you mentioned Brian Maclaren and I could be mistaken but from what I remember he’s one of those pastors who has been causing some controversy with supposedly liberal bible interpretations. I don’t believe in hell either. I can’t believe in eternal punishment for temporal sins or the concept of a god who loves people abandoning them for eternity. And I have major problems with the calvinist idea that God would do that ‘for his glory’. Maybe I’m just not educated enough to understand it but I certainly hope I’m right.

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      • Bill says:

        Well yeah Brian McClaren’s writings have been controversial. Some have gone so far so to call him the Emergent’s Pope. To some he is greatly inspiring and a beacon for navigating into postmodernity. For others he is a dangerous heretic. I’m pretty sure what history’s verdict will be. And he’s a very nice and humble man to boot.

        I’m with you on the traditional understanding of hell. It really makes God seem like a monster. And I find the idea that he would create people predestined to an eternity of suffering and torment “for his glory” to be revolting.

        Whether there is a hell or not, it seems to me that any decent person would have to hope there isn’t.

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  2. shoreacres says:

    The phrase that intrigued me was “refugees from fundamentalism”. On the other hand, I was equally intrigued by the Mary Oliver poem – I just happened to have included one of her best (IMO) in my current post.

    Now, thanks to Sophie, I’m thinking about hell. Do I “believe in it”, as a doctrine? Nope. Do I believe it exists, as human experience? Sure do. Been there, done that, as the saying goes. I’m glad to be looking back at it. 😉

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    • Bill says:

      There were plenty of refugees there, but the one I had most in mind was a woman who, along with her daughter, camped right next to us. Her story was both heartbreaking and infuriating. She felt safe at the Goose.

      Your post is beautiful, as always. My Grandpa drank his coffee that way. I smiled remembering it.

      And I totally agree with you about hell. I was going to reply with something like that but didn’t want to seem evasive or to overly complicate Sophie’s question. But yes I agree that there is hell all around us. Maybe my camping neighbor has seen a little bit of it in her life recently.

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  3. 10minutesaday says:

    Wonderful WG summary! I wish our paths had crossed during the event, as food justice/green churches are among my passions and topics I’ve started writing about. I’m hoping that I’ll be presenting a worship on these topics at an upcoming national conference for church educators, so I’d love to stay in touch and pick your brain sometime about the work you’re doing and the connections you’ve made with other food-related ministries.

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  4. […] Post-Goose. My reflections on this year’s Wild Goose Festival, from August, […]

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  5. […] I highly recommend this event.  Here’s my reflection on last year’s gathering:  Post-Goose. […]

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  6. associatedluke says:

    Would love to make it to the goose! I listened to McLaren and Nadia’s talk on NPR and LOVED THEM! Thanks for this post, it furthers my longing to get there.

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    • Bill says:

      You should come. It’s a great event. We’ve been the first three and all were awesome experiences.
      If you haven’t heard them you should listen to the interviews with the Indigo Girls and with Phyllis Tickle/Vincent Harding too. Great stuff.

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