Monday, June 27, 2011

Chasing the Wild Goose

     The bulk of the past week was spent preparing for, travelling to, and attending the Wild Goose Festival in North Carolina. It was a long trip but I'm glad we did it. This event was definitely different from any other festival I've attended over the years. At the same time I'm not sure I'll rush back to the next one.
     It's difficult to write about all of my reactions to the Wild Goose - it was definitely a challenging, faith-stretching and thought-provoking time. I appreciated the emphasis on peace and justice issues, but I for sure disagreed with the theology of some of the presenters, even while trying to be open to different ideas. Bart Campolo's sharing was surprisingly (and somewhat disturbingly) way outside of orthodox beliefs. Beth and I had some good discussions around the things we heard and experienced. It was really neat (and kind of shocking) to run into someone who was in the youth group we led about 10 years ago (she now lives in Toronto).
     One speaker I really enjoyed was Doug Pagitt and his talk about church through the last several hundred years - he spoke of how religious structures have changed during a) the Agrarian age [local parish churches with a pastor/shepherd of the people], b) the Industrial age [denominations, competition for adherents], c) the Information age [educational model, quest for knowledge/teaching], and d) how things need to adapt to the Inventive age that he says we are now entering.
     Another highlight was Ian Cron's sharing about his latest book, "Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me" which I read (and loved!) recently. He brought 1200 copies of the book and they were offering them for free - we ended up with 5 I think, to give away (at Ian's insistence!). And it's an excellent book - the reviewer at Hearts and Minds calls it one of the most moving book he's encountered in ages. Let me know if you'd like a copy.
     We camped for one night and it was only 10 bucks but I didn't really like having to walk all of our stuff in. We ended up leaving some things back at the car (water, table). Our mattress is comfy but man it was hot down there. The morning shower was sure nice (and needed - I stunk!). We probably pitched our tent too close to the main stage, and the sound was (too) loud, so it was hard to enjoy any quiet, peaceful times.
     Musically I only ended up seeing 4 full acts but they were all excellent: Tom Prasada-Rao, who I've been wanting to see for a long time; Andy Gullahorn, who I've more recently become a fan of - love his intricate guitar work and intelligent, creative writing (his new song about Lines in the Sand was very appropriate for this event); David Wilcox, who I continue to tout as the best singer/songwriter/performer on the planet (and he didn't disappoint, though I thought it was pretty gutsy to be so reflective and thoughtful on an outdoor stage - he also shared a fantastic new song about The River); and David Lamotte, who I'm only slightly familiar with - he totally impressed me with his set, especially as he didn't miss a beat when a parade of children marched through the field (in fact, he got them to sing along with him and used their presence to remind us of how much the young have to teach us [he also included the tidbit that many scholars feel that Jesus' disciples were teenagers - that can really change the way you think about the Bible!]). Also David's duet with his young son Mason, on "S.S. Bathtub" was pretty precious.
     As we were packing to leave for the Festival I was surprised to receive a phone call from musician/film producer Steve Taylor. I've long been a fan of his music but he's currently working on a film adaptation of Don Miller's "Blue Like Jazz" (see trailer on the right) and during their fundraising campaign they promised to contact each supporter. So it was pretty cool to chat with him for a few minutes (and thank him for all the great music over the years).
     26+ hours in the car led to more music listening than I've done in one week for a long time. I track this stuff for my own purposes so don't expect readers to bother with this list: Denison Witmer - The Ones Who Wait, Caedmon's Call - Raising Up the Dead, Paul McCartney & Wings - Venus and Mars, Michael Omartian - White Horse, Andy Gullahorn - The Law of Gravity, David Wilcox - Live at Eddie's Attic, Sara Groves - Fireflies & Songs, Tell Me What You Know, Add to the Beauty; Steve Bell - Kindness, Bob Bennett & Billy Batstone - Jesus Music Again demos, Phil Keaggy & Jeff Johnson - Frio Suite, Andrew Peterson - Counting Stars, Keith Green - The Live Experience, Chuck Girard - Written on the Wind, Tom Prasada-Rao - Goodbye Regret

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