We’ve Moved!

Our new blog posts, as well as general site information, can be found at our brand-new website at WildGooseFestival.org. See you there!

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Shane Claiborne: Wild Goose Hopes & Dreams

Each week we’ll be hosting a guest post by Wild Goose friends writing about what they’re looking forward to in the first year of the festival. This week we have Shane Claiborne, mendicant wanderer and nu-monastic extraordinaire.

I am proud to have been part of this shin-dig from its inception… and am so excited to see it being born.  Here are a few of my hopes for the ole Wild Goose Festival.   I hope it is…..

A celebration of art, creativity, and prophetic imagination
A showcasing of fantastic Kingdom-minded projects and missional businesses (not just funnel cakes and university tables)
A spectrum of diverse voices harmonizing without homogenizing – old and young, catholic and protestant (and other), all colors of skin, from many walks of life
Courageous and daring
An uncompromising fusion of Jesus and justice without making folks who are new to either of these feeling excluded  — perhaps a few debates or panels inviting critics to share their voices would be nice
An event that is creative enough to make sure money is not an obstacle to folks who want to attend
Good teaching…. And good music
A convergence of movements
A place for families and kids
A public witness where we can do something together to bear witness or stir a little holy mischief (perhaps a vigil outside a weapons contractor or abusive corporation)
A space that feels sacred –  filled with worship, genuine fellowship, and celebration
A gathering where theory and practice meet, where prayer and reflection are married, where there is good thinking but also good living taught and practiced
An embodiment that displays the unity of Christ’s body, and creatively practices Communion/Eucharist together
A few things I would like to make sure Wild Goose is NOT:
Preaching to the choir
Celebrity-driven entertainment
Branded by one organization or movement
Sloppy with theology
Sloppy with practice
Another Christian music festival
Profitable (expensive)
A passive gathering of spectators
Just another event to go to every year
It is a gift and honor to be part of this little adventure with all of you.  –shane claiborne

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Naked Emperors, Undead Christians, & Seedling Signs

What does it take to build an authentic and substantial social and spiritual movement in the 21st century? We love it when friends “get” what we’re about, and want to work with us to accomplish precisely this. Recently the Mennonite Weekly Review published a piece about the Wild Goose Festival and our connection with the Greenbelt Festival in the UK. Here are some highlights from the article, by Vic Thiessen, former Director of the London Mennonite Centre, now re-located to Winnipeg and working with the Mennonite Church in Canada, and, we’re happy to say, deeply involved in the film program for Wild Goose:

The Greenbelt Christian Arts Festival has been a draw for Anabaptists in the U.K. for decades.

Now it’s crossing the ocean.

The festival has been going on in England since 1974, presently drawing more than 20,000 people each year. It is one of the most exciting things happening anywhere in the Christian world. Now, plans are under way for a version of the family-friendly event to come to North America as the Wild Goose Festival.

‘One of the most exciting things happening anywhere in the Christian world.’ To the unacquainted, this might sounds like cheap hyperbole, yet another self-aggrandizing soundbite in an over-hyped world. And yet, for those of us from North America who make regular pilgrimages to Greenbelt – like Vic – it’s simply our experience. Something powerful happens when like-hearted people seeking to embody love and justice while exploring creative spirituality get together to celebrate and display the wisdom path of Jesus in unprecedented ways. We definitely owe Greenbelt for this inspiration, as well as the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition, among others, as Vic continues:

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Wild is the Wind

Each week we’ll be hosting a guest post by Wild Goose friends writing about what they’re looking forward to in the first year of the festival.  First off, Bowie Snodgrass, Executive Director of Faith House Manhattan, who we’re glad to have on board helping to co-ordinate conversations on inter-faith questions at Wild Goose.  The Christian tradition that gives birth to the Wild Goose Festival hasn’t always been strongest at relating peaceably and with respect among people of different faiths; part of our vision for Wild Goose is that we would explore together how conversations among people from different faith backgrounds can help contribute to peace and the common good. Wild Goose exists at the space where justice, spirituality, and art interact: a post about inter-faith dialogue, Celtic pilgrimages, and a David Bowie cover version seems like an ideal place from which to continue the conversation…

Let me fly away with you
For my love is like the wind
And wild is the wind

~ from “Wild is the Wind,” covered by David Bowie on Station to Station

The Holy Spirit led me into ecumenical and later interfaith work through a Wild Goose chase that started in 1997, during a college year at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.  Studying Roman Catholic theology, medieval women, the Russian language, and Orthodox Christianity gave me ecumenical perspective on the roots of my own Episcopal tradition.  Outside the classroom, I witnessed secularization in Dublin and the scars of religious violence in Belfast. My father and I went on a Celtic pilgrimage, visiting Glendalough, Ninian’s Cave, the Isle of Lindisfarne, Bede’s Jarrow, and Durham Cathedral (built with stones from Hadrian’s Wall).  My dad was called by the Goose to start a retreat center where the Spirit could be encountered in nature’s thin places.  Less than a decade later, he and my step-mother moved to Aibonito, Puerto Rico to start Centro Espiritu Santo.

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Do you like us?

The New Oxford American Dictionary listed “unfriend” as their 2009 Word of the Year. Clearly, social networking has left an indelible mark on our shared lexicon. Suddenly, words like “Friend,” “Fan,” “Like” and even “de-friend” have worked their way into our common language and collective understanding of what it means to be relational beings in our technologically interconnected society.

We Wild Goosers appreciate technology, but we believe it should be in the service of enriched tangible community-making, instead of leading to its diminishment. The advent of social networking has reunited old friends, classmates, and coworkers, but it has also fed into the alienation and anxiety of our age – does you “like” what I have to say? Are you my “friend”?

At Wild Goose, we hope to build friendships that last a lifetime. Shared camaraderie and common cause around the luminous values of truth, beauty, courage and meaning – or, if you prefer, faith, hope, and love. This starts as conversation, and it starts online. So please, by all means, “Like” us on Facebook. Our Facebook page is becoming a place where we can see who else in North America and around the world is intrigued by this vision for a shared experience, creative empathy, and meaning-making. You can share photos, anecdotes, playlists and more – the sky’s the limit. But let’s not make this Page – glorious as it is in all its pixilated glory – an end in itself. We want to see neighborhoods, congregations, intentional communities and cohorts take to the streets – on foot, bicycles, biodiesel busses, and yes even minivans – and make your way to Shakori Hills next June 23rd-26th for a truly unique time of in-person (re)connection.

We’ll see you on Facebook – and we look forward to when our gaze can meet yours.

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Oil Spills and Daily Habits

After Day 100 and the long-awaited “capping,” the disastrous Gulf oil spill is already beginning its predictable slide out of the news cycle.

But beyond the headlines, the growing community working toward the Wild Goose Festival recognizes that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to ecological disaster: Beyond BP, beyond failure in technique, is our continued mass consumption of oil. Wild Goose friend Brian McLaren recently completed a multipart examination of what’s gotten us into this mess and how we can give up the oil habit, here.

The Wild Goose Festival is a space to galvanize people with a sense of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts – inspiring a new community taking care of the earth as seriously as other justice issues that require our attention. We feel that God’s Spirit is leading us into concrete actions of kindness on the part of our neighbors, our enemies, ourselves and our shared ecosystem.

And we want to practice what we preach – The Wild Goose Festival will be ethically aware from our planning to the festival itself – watch this space in coming months for tangible help in carpooling and community stops along your festival pilgrimage. Our hosts at Shakori Hills are seasoned in utilizing local vendors and sustainable practices to leave the land in better condition than we found it.

At Wild Goose, we not only want to raise the issues, but embody the solutions. We hope you’ll join the Wild Goose community soon, and that we’ll see you next June.

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The Goose is All A-Twitter

What does a wild goose have in common with an ubiquitous blue bird? The latter is synonymous with the hyper-present micro-blogging phenomenon Twitter – and we hope that the former will be as well.

We’re on Twitter – we have been for months – but we’ll be sharing a lot more content with you via @WildGooseFest in the days to come. Twitter followers will be the first to know about breaking Wild Goose news, additions to our programme, and exclusive contributions from our ever-growing online and soon-to-be-corporeal (just over nine more months!) community.

So: Will you follow us? Again, we’re @WildGooseFest – and, as long as you’re not a “social media expert,” we’ll follow you back. :)

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