I have read a lot of posts and thoughts about the Wild Goose Festival. (Click back a few posts, you’ll find my four previous blatherings…) As I have been able to, I’ve tried to put the whole experience into a bigger picture frame. Here’s the three main “take-aways” for me.
1. The Body of Christ is bigger than our personal definition!
There is no doubt that we bring our own personal stories into the Church. They are who we’ve been. But through a new life in Christ, I submit that they don’t have to stay there. I heard stories over the weekend which were full of a world of hurt. Real, raw, reactionary pain. I don’t discount that pain, but I want to see the healing work of the Holy Spirit nudge us all one step closer to Christlikeness.
Because of the narrow focus of many of us, there were placed that the conversation got “muted” and not discussed. While people did “vote with their feet” and head to the speakers on sexuality, there are so many areas where I would love to have seen some more content (in the speaker line-up) on issues that I think need serious attention and ownership by the Church. The environment, the economy, the poor — there are serious justice issues and ignorance in these areas too. Let’s do a better job of conversing about them next year.
There’s also no doubt that the Church has sectors which will not accept other parts of the Body of Christ least like themselves. But even The Goose was guilty of this lack of diversity and acceptance. I was disappointed that this gathering, ostensibly of the Emerging Church movement, was not better represented by people of color. Having a speaker here and a musician there who are of a non-white ethnic group doesn’t cut it when you look around the circle of participants, at, say, the geodome, and note that 90% of the folks you’re sitting with are your same skin tone. This shouldn’t be a surprise to the folks at Sojourners since their recent article mused on the same topic.
So an action step for the next Wild Goose Festival would be to make it more intentionally racially mixed, and more topically diverse. However that will happen, let’s make it happen!
2. A festival event is not the place for writing theology or changing policy.
That said, a festival like The Goose does point out those places where things are still very rough, broken and hurting. Raising awareness is important. Sharing stories is important. Being teachable is important. And being accepting that “my” issues are not “your” issues is also important.Would that I could split myself into four or five people and have the conversations that I wish I could have had that weekend. But time, heat tolerance, family and so on limited my ability to go into depth on many of these topics.
I believe the key is to take these issues back to our own zip codes and begin to mine down to a deeper level of seeing how it impacts my neighborhood, my church, my community. But without an intentionality on my part to continue the conversation, it will just be “another” conference or festival, with feel-good moments and mind-opening lectures.
For any of us who connected, however, minimally, at The Goose, I think we need to keep the conversations going via blogs, emails and even tweets. Keep your conversation going. Find someone to keep you accountable. It might hurt a little bit, but at least the dreams and questions we asked will not fade into the massive “do lists” of another summer, another fall, another spring.
3. Make it a festival that is more conducive to re-charging, renewal and spiritual growth.
For starters, create a schedule that doesn’t go into the wee hours every single blessed night. Or start later in the morning. For those of us who like more than 4 hours of sleep, it was rough. I wanted to have the mental energy to engage, to think, to respond. Mostly, I was not able to have the spiritual discussions I wish I could have had. I was too tired. And I’m a fairly high energy, motivated individual.
Bring in more personal spiritual engagement and intentional conversations into the mix. A big shout-out here to my friends in Philadelphia at The Simple Way. I greatly enjoyed the morning I got up and went to pray through the The Ordinary Radicals reading for the day. Thanks for the challenge to join in prayer and in common prayer. It’s something we need more of in our churches today.
In the Emmaus community we ask our participants at the end of the weekend, “what did this weekend mean to you?” and “what are you going to do about it?”
That’s what we could see more of next year — a chance to challenge and encourage one another to move further along in our service to God and our spiritual growth. So ask me in a few months, “how you doin’?” 🙂
Adding a quick P.S. here…
This entry was part of the Synchroblog on the Wild Goose Festival. Check out some of the others!