Posted December 30, 2013 by Marg Herder
Early in August I’ll be attending and reporting on the Wild Goose Festival, representing EEWC-Christian Feminism Today. The Wild Goose Festival is only about three years old, so you might not be familiar with it. I’ve never been there before but am looking forward to the experience.
Here is what the organizers say on their website about the festival:
“Ultimately, Wild Goose provides space for courageous, imaginative, and participative social justice work, creative expression, spiritual practice, and astonishing music.”
“What the Wild Goose community believes is best discovered through shared experience. There is no litmus test beyond an open heart. There is no creed required beyond a willingness to meet respectfully across lines of difference, to share wisdom and listen to each other’s stories, and become more than the sum of our parts. We’re just getting started. The best way to discover what we’re about is to come to the festival.”
You’ll be able to read about and see what I experience here on Where She Is (and on the Christian Feminism Today social media outlets) as I’ll be posting frequent updates leading up to, during, and directly after the conclusion of the festival (August 8-11, 2013).
Those of you familiar with my reporting from The Justice Conference know how rich an experience that was for me. Finding myself smack dab in the middle of several thousand Christian evangelicals who were unwilling to even speak the word “gay” allowed me to confront my own fear of evangelical Christians, and take an important step toward overcoming the spiritual wounding that has owned me for 30 years.
Wild Goose will be entirely different. This festival apparently draws a group of people unafraid to embrace diversity, and discuss issues of gender and LGBT justice. I expect to feel welcome. Here’s a quote from a recent Wild Goose festival blog post about last week’s DOMA decision, “We believe that any step that paves the way for legal protection to historically marginalized groups is reflective of how we are learning to consider tradition, experience, scripture, and reason in the light of faith, and are seeking to embody love of God, neighbor, and ourselves.”
I am also looking forward to interesting and expansive conversations, presentations, and musical performances. I hope to encounter other people interested in loving, thoughtful, and creative spiritual expression.
The festival is in Hot Springs, NC. Outside. In the middle of summer. Some of you may know that there are roughly three temperate stages to a woman’s life. I am currently in the middle stage, also known as the “Is anyone else here burning up?” stage. I’ll probably need to wrap my electronic devices in plastic so I don’t short them out with my own sweat.
Finally, I’ve been in touch with some of the Wild Goose presenters, not the “big names” but the people doing good work whose names you may not know. I’ve been preemptively pestering them with questions so I can let you know how cool they are without the time pressures of trying to write about them at the festival. They have been patient and kind, so now it’s all on me to introduce you to them over the next few weeks. You can look forward to hearing from:
• Jared Byas, former mega-church pastor, professor of Philosophy, Ethics, and Old Testament at Grand Canyon University, and the author of Genesis for Normal People. Jared and I were in touch for a while before I found out he was going to be presenting at Wild Goose. He simply rocks my mind, both with his questions and his answers. I know he’ll give you a lot to think about!
• The Troubadours of Divine Bliss are a musical duo who grew up in the Pentecostal church and now tour the world as evangelists of Love, with a capital L. I’m delighted to know that Wild Goose apparently had no problem booking these women, who are out lesbians (partners for 16 years). It should be noted that the Indigo Girls, also out lesbians, are headlining the musical entertainment this year. I found the Troubadours to be completely delightful, and I think you’ll get a kick out of them too.
• Teresa B. Pasquale is a trauma therapist, yoga teacher, “crooked mystic,” and spirituality program leader within the Episcopal tradition. Teresa’s book, mending broken: a personal journey through the stages of trauma + recovery is not only stunning in it’s honesty but a life-changing read for those in recovery from any type of trauma.
• Beth Whitney is a young singer-songwriter and new mom, whose selection captured my attention on the Wild Goose Music Sampler. There’s something about the clear beauty of her voice and the feeling of authenticity I get from her work. She uses Christian spiritual terms in her lyrics, but doesn’t beat you over the head with them. She seems understated and confident about her spirituality, unusual for a young person.
So stay tuned for the next installment of my Wild Goose Festival reporting. In the meantime here are some Wild Goose links you might enjoy exploring. Take a look at the speaker line-up. Incredible! I know many of you have had the chance to hear some of the scheduled speakers before. Don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments which presenters you consider “not to be missed” and I’ll try to include those in my coverage.