I am now a gosling. A member of the Wild Goose Festival tribe forever. It doesn’t take long to see why more people flock to this festival every year. You are there and so you are family. The Wild Goose Festival is an art, music, and story-driven transformational experience grounded in faith-inspired social justice that takes place annually in Hot Springs, NC during the hottest month of the year. To really understand all that it encapsulates is to experience it.
Over the course of two and a half days there are over 400 presentations to choose from. From the Main Stage, I heard Barbara Brown Taylor, Jen Hatmaker, Peter Enns, Diana Butler Bass, Otis Moss III and the Trinity Church of Christ in Chicago choir. In the Living Room Tent I learned the history of the Evangelical and Mainline traditions, and where they began to diverge from one another, and how not to repeat the mistakes of our history. And I heard from Lisbeth Melendez-Rivera, the Religion and Faith Program’s Director of Latino and Catholic Initiatives for the Human Rights Campaign, about the history of the church and Puerto Rico, her home. It was like drinking from a fire hose. And those are just a handful of workshops and presentations that I was able to take in. I ran into friends from years ago and made new ones as I camped under the stars by the river.
Wild Goose is a place for all. There is art all over the camp ground to remind you of your worth. There is a spirit of truth and authenticity that, I believe, makes it a thin place. A place where your connection to the divine on earth is so palpable you can simply cannot miss it. At the Main Stage was a large weathered board with Mary Oliver’s poem Wild Geese painted on it. I will leave it here for you.
Director of Communications and Church Life
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clear blue air,
are headed home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
2 Samuel 7:1-14a
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56