He calls it the Wild Goose Festival, and it will bring together many of the nation’s best-known, faith-based progressives for a long weekend gathering in a North Carolina field, just south of Chapel Hill.Wild Goose, the brainchild of Northern Irish national and peace activist Garreth Higgins, is part music festival, part religious revival and part be-in, to borrow a term from the 1960s. It opens Thursday and runs through Sunday.Higgins, 36, calls Wild Goose a “gathering of music, art and conversation at the intersection of justice and spirituality.”The festival Web site states:”The Wild Goose is a Celtic metaphor for the Holy Spirit. We are followers of Jesus creating a festival of justice, spirituality, music and the arts. The festival is rooted in the Christian tradition and therefore open to all regardless of belief, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, denomination or religious affiliation.
This interfaith festival sounds like a blast! Its not focused on documents and declarations. Its only agenda is to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible. In this day of anger and negativity, it’s hope-filled optimism is refreshing. According to its web-site, Wild Goose has its roots in the U.K.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, Greenbelt is an arts, music, justice and spirituality festival that’s been happening in the UK for nearly 40 years. It was birthed out of a desire to see people of faith embody their faith in more joyful, just, and connective ways throughout Europe. Through years of growth and change, Greenbelt remains a beacon of hope for the right-brained and left-behind in more conventional religion.
The usual format of conventions – including religious ones – is being ignored. More than 150 speakers and performers are attending, many at their own cost. Accommodations will be simple for all, camping is available. The format given to the presenters is to “give a 20-minute presentation about something that they don’t feel that they understand yet. The hope is that the audience will contribute a response to that question, and that really flips the hierarchy that usually happens at events.” This is so different from the usual convention format – find a well-known speaker, pay them handsomely, and sit back in awe while they pour forth their wisdom.
I hope that NCR will be sending reports from the Wild Goose festival. It sounds like a genuine attempt at honest, open, and respectful dialogue among women and men of faith…and all in a fun setting. God bless them!