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What is “Living Liberation” mean for me? What does it mean for you?

I’m about to find out.

My hunch is that this year’s Wild Goose Festival is about challenging the status quo of Christianity, religion, spirituality, culture, and politics.

“Living Liberation! simply means “learning to live in beloved community.” However, the particular articulation chosen emphasizes that beloved community is not possible without both a theological and political imperative toward liberation from all oppression as the basis of that community.”  –Board Member and Program Director Melvin Bray

This will be my first year attending what veteran participants lovingly refer to as “The Goose.” I’m going in with open eyes and an open heart, looking forward to the many ways in which I (and many others) will be formed.

What am I in for? Patheos Blogger Brandan Robertson offers his description:

“For four days, hundreds of people converge on a camp site to talk, sing, cry, dance, dream, and create. Everyone is equal at Wild Goose- all of the speakers and performers pay to be at the festival and camp right alongside everyone else. There is no hierarchy. Just a rag-tag family of spiritual misfits, innovators, and dreamers who come together to encourage, exhort, and inspire each other to keep on working for the Kingdom. It’s truly unlike any other event I have ever been a part of.”

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This year’s rag-tag family  includes keynote speakers Rev. William Barber, leader of North Carolina’s Moral Monday movement; Jim Wallis, activist and founder of Sojourners magazine, and Frank Schaefer, the defrocked United Methodist minister whose clergy privileges were reinstated yesterday after having been revoked for officiating his son’s same-sex wedding last December.

I’m not sure what to expect from this year’s Wild Goose Festival, but here are three things I know to be true:

1. Community is important–even if your community is a “rag-tag family” of clergy, laypersons, activists, artists, writers, and musicians from different walks and worldviews.

2. Trying new things = growth. For those of us introverts, or those who teeter on the edge of extroversion/introversion, opening and exposing ourselves to large gatherings can be stressful. But stepping out of our comfort zones means we are one step closer to our best selves. 

3. Faith journeys should be about exposing ourselves to new ideas and new ways of doing things.

Festivals, conferences, and spiritual gatherings immerse us into the practices of experiencing spirituality, art, music, and liturgy from those whose perspectives are different from ours.

I’m bringing these three truths to my Thursday evening Wild Goose talk, “Why Interfaith is Deeper Faith?” (7:00 p.m. at The Grove, the woodshed north of Liberation Stage). I’m looking forward to sharing my own experiences of how the challenges of my Christian-Hindu marriage have helped me realize the value interfaith friendships and relationships bring to our spiritual journeys. This is contrary to what we typically assume–that interfaith conversation will someone confuse or derail us. Instead, these kinds of interactions actually strengthen our faith journeys.

Tomorrow’s conversation is followed by a Saffron Cross book signing at 8:15 p.m.; so please, come by the talk and/or the signing, and say, “Hey!” If I miss you there, stop by the Upper Room Books booth to chat.

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Here goes! Stay tuned. I look forward to sharing more next week, after I’ve immersed myself in “The Goose” and what it means to live a liberated life.