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Wild Goose Festival 2012

2012 May 24
by Julie Clawson

In just a few short weeks my family will be making the journey cross-country to the Wild Goose Festival in Shakori Hills, NC (June 21-24). This festival of spirituality, justice, and art is in its second year and we are excited about returning. My kids especially have been asking since last summer when we would get to return. This year I will be leading a discussion around the themes I explored in The Hunger Games and the Gospel as well as participating on a panel focused on people with disability in the church.

Over the next few days (until midnight May 27th) any of my readers who are interested in attending can get a 15% discount off the ticket price by entering the promotional code CLAWSON at – I can’t wait to get there and I look forward to seeing some of you there.

To help you get glimpse of what the Wild Goose Festival is all about, here’s a bit from my reflections on last year’s gathering –

I love the use of the Celtic “wild goose” as the symbol of this gathering exploring creativity, justice, and spirituality. It evokes that other distinctly Celtic idea of peregrinati – journeys or wanderings of an undefined but spiritual nature. It is the wild goose flying where it will, exploring new territories and discovering new horizons amidst even the everyday and the familiar landscapes of home. The Celtic monks followed that call of the wild bird on their peregrinati, journeying with the spirit on undetermined paths. They served, and worshiped, and reflected along the way but often had no real goal or destination beyond the journey itself. They embodied Tolkien’s famous “not all who wander are lost” phrase, for it was their wanderings – their wild goose chases -that held the meaning in themselves.

If anything, Wild Goose was a gathering of those who dream of a better way. A better way to be human, a better way to be the church. Not in a “we want to be better than you” sort of way, but more of a deep felt recognition that the world is not as it should be. It was that wrestling with trying to live into the lives God created us to live that became the conversation at Wild Goose.

While the church of course has a long way to go in regards to becoming balanced and healthy in such ways, it was encouraging to get a small taste of what that might look like at the Wild Goose Festival. I can’t speak for everyone there, but from the conversations I was a part of it truly did seem to be a gathering of folks who deeply dreamed of a better way. People who desired for our faith to mean something tangible. People, who, as Richard Rohr said there, don’t want to settle for the easy shallow faith of merely worshiping God – putting God on an idealized but distant pedestal to be admired but not known. They want to follow God in ways that transform their lives and therefore the lives of others as well. People who desire to follow God in ways that bring about justice, that seek to restore broken relationships, that always orient around caring about the needs of others. But also people who don’t trust in their own strength to do such things, who know the world and the church are messy, and that we need time for lament and repentance as part of our experience of following Jesus.


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