If you think organized religion has lost its appeal (25% of Americans do; most of them under 40), then it might be time to look again. Look at the Wild Goose Festival in Hot Springs, NC, July 13-16, 2017. Rooted in the Christian tradition, Wild Goose is an amalgamation of spirit, justice, music and arts.
Remember how Jesus combined a radical interpretation of justice with a reverence for tradition? He said things like, “I have come not to abolish [the law] but to fulfill.” Then he showed us what fulfillment looks like. His teaching riled up the authorities and fired up the crowds, but those occasions were always complimented by time for prayer and renewal. Jesus did a very new thing, but he did it by mining the ancient tradition. The Spirit is again doing a new thing without leaving behind what’s best about God’s truth.
At Wild Goose, you will meet people who put faith into action. They are welcoming refugees, supporting the cry for worker’s rights, protecting children, advocating for access to health care, caring for creation; in short, they are doing many of the things Jesus highlighted when he talked about fulfilling God’s law. They are also dancing and drawing, singing and signing, worshiping and witnessing in ways that demonstrate new and creative interpretations of “The old, old story.”
Much of what I hear from people who have “left the church” centers on religion being irrelevant, inauthentic, and uninteresting. They go do relevant, authentic, interesting things outside the church while lamenting the loss of ritual and community. But we can have it all; we can embrace the mysterious Other while forming a sense of community that will empower us to do the work of justice.
Wild Goose is a place where we can start to learn how to do this again. Group rates for ten or more (click here to receive a discount code) make it possible for you to equip enough people from your faith community to continue the movement when you get home. The North Carolina Council of Churches will be there equipping people with relevant, authentic, and interesting ways to put your faith into action. We hope to help equip you as well.