We finally made it to Wild Goose. After the last four years saying “I really wish we could go,” which became “let’s give it a try,” which became “we’ll go next year.” It finally became “we’re going!”
We just got back from the Wild Goose Festival in Hot Springs, North Carolina this weekend. Rose and I are still processing everything, but I wanted to share a few of the things I loved about this first experience with “The Goose.”
1) I like this kind of camping
Lots of people to talk with, food trucks for when we ran out of food, sessions to keep us busy, music everywhere. Nothing like my previous experiences with camping.
2) I love feeling “normal”
There are a lot of freaks and church geeks at Wild Goose. Lots of outcasts and lots of church mice. Young, old, and in between. The Goose is diverse and diversity is on constant display. A friend used to tell me how he often felt like the conservative in a room full of liberals and a liberal in a room full of conservatives. I liked for once, feeling like the script was flipped on me.
3) It was responsive
This year’s theme was Blessed are the Peacemakers, which was also the theme of many of the talks and homilies. When we gathered to celebrate on Thursday, Rev. William Barber preached about “necessary interruptions;” and when it was suggested that we might want to hear from the necessary interrupter, Bree Newsome, the gathered community went wild. They got her to drive up and speak to us on Saturday night. That was responsive and demonstrates a fidelity to the people’s needs and wishes we could all prioritize in our communities.
4) Everyone gets the gospel
There was no need to explain to the people that greed, ignoring the plight of the needy, and killing people is truly incompatible with the gospel. The people know it, deeply. What we do need, however, is the thing Brian McLaren reminded us on Saturday: that we need to spend less time worrying about what we believe and more time embodying love, and raising up our children to understand and demonstrate a character of love.
5) It is more church in 4 days then many of us get all year
Everything was so full of church, so full of the Spirit, that even when we went to bed, we could hear it and feel it all around us. Mostly it was the drum circle.
But mostly it was spending four days dreaming and living and praying and singing and being the blessed community with one another. There was little talk of budgets and councils. We did talk about the kingdom and building the kingdom. And that seems so much more useful, more potent, more godly than anything else.
That feels like disciples in the kingdom to me.