Not that there weren’t multiple aspects of The Wild Goose Festival that made this a timely breath of fresh air. On the contrary, there was so much of that compressed into the 3 days (Thursday night through Sunday morning) that I have found myself “detoxing” (in a wonderfully good sense) over the past week since it ended 8 days ago. And I have had trouble finding the words when I have tried on a couple of occasions to sit down and write a post. The words just didn’t come in a manner and quality which I expected from such a heavy dose of community, reflection, “input”, conversation, and , in the midst of it all , some heavy concentrations of 90-degree bright sun. But even the bright , hot sun was “balanced out” by the soothing breezes that seemed to wash over us who gathered in the various “Talk Tents”, and the clear, comfortable evenings in which we could “cool down".
I made it a little harder on myself in terms of fatigue by lugging around a bag and video camera, seeking moments and conversations to capture. I got several, which I have only just begun to upload. I have been re-watching and piecing together a “summary/documentary” as well as et more some good content from some of the presenters which I hope can be a springboard for yet more interaction as we carry all this experience forth from those days. This is precisely where I place such hope in the future of our community’s use of technology to enable yet more conversation. To extend some of the “opportune times” that we experienced face to face, and carry it with us into online conversations. Phyllis Tickle, Brian McLaren, Jim Wallis, Shane Claiborne, Peter Rollins, Frank Shaeffer, Richard Rohr, and others all gave us plenty of meat.
I loved the setting and the “up closeness” of the videos from a conversation at a campsite with Brian McLaren and David Wilcox done by Travis of “Work of the People” for Alter Video. I actually got the opportunity to have Travis tell me about his work, and will upload that in the next few hours (and update this reference when I do). I also stumbled upon a good conversation between Aiden Enns , editor of Geez magazine, and a friend of mine, Larry Burgeois. I have foraged around online on Geez’s site and found some of Aiden’s writing, and found a couple he wrote on Computers and cybercommunity, and hope to connect with Aiden again with some questions and observations of my own.
I also got some time with Anthony Smith, which was the first time I had “face to face” met Anthony after years of “meeting” in blog comment conversations. I also have a dark recording (not “dark” in terms of content but in terms of quantity of physical light (took place after dark in the “Geogisic Dome”, so the video is almost non-existent but the audio is good. That , too, is coming up soon.
Back to some thoughts about the Festival. It was a time where there was this almost palpable feeling that we had come together with a lot of focus on common resonance for a sense of “Biblical” that recognizes the theology of the communal and justice and global that is so often obscured by what passes for “religious”. I’m not saying that such obscurity renders one “non-religious”, but that it cheapens and stunts it. The sense of exploration, challenge, and dialogue that permeated the air of Wild Goose was sometimes tense in some conversations, but I was proud to be someplace and amongst such folks where these conversations were not considered dangerous or heretical. It makes me sad that there are still those who look with disdain and outright smug superiority on the ideas and people that were represented at Wild Goose. They will remain unnamed, and they came to my attention only because they felt it necessary to inject themselves into the Twitter stream by using the hashtags like #WildGooseFest and #wgf11. Such “theological policing” has always puzzled me, since it seems to represent almost all of their expended energies . And their judgmental stances on the acceptance of doubt, uncertainty, and nuance amongst us “Progressive/Emergent/Liberal/Revolutionary/Monastics” really offends my sense of how we relate to God as perpetually incomplete; always “working out our salvation with fear and trembling”. I was deeply appreciative and resonant with Peter Rollins for his talks with us along these lines. It reminded me of the sense of exuberance I felt about the “Lay Renewal” movement (“Relational theology”) led by the likes of Keith Miller, Bruce Larson, Robert Raines, and the like in the mid to late 70’s and into the 80’s.
For me, my use of online tools and technology affords me the opportunity to keep priming the pump of our conversations, which we all can agree need to keep happening. We need to keep unpacking it in the places to where we have since dispersed from this grand time with the Wild Goose amongst us.