Talking with Mona Haydar about God, the Universe, and Everything: The Wild Goose Festival

Most of our Wisdom Camp 2019 teachers + friends.

Whew! I’m just returning from four days of fun in the sun (and rain) at the spirituality, justice, and arts oriented Wild Goose Festival in beautiful (but humid, this year) Hot Springs, North Carolina. This was my tenth time participating in the festival I helped start (nine in North Carolina from 2011–now, plus a one-off Wild Goose West in Corvalis, Oregon in 2012), and my third where I had the privilege of curating Wisdom Camp, a contemplative day retreat for activists, artists, and other tired folx who care. I was able to spend time facilitating with some of my favorite humans, including Lerita Coleman BrownRainier WyldeAline DefigliaDavid BolltCassidy Hall of Encountering Silence, and Bushi Yamato Damashii, and spending time with more dear friends and colleagues than I could possibly name. If you’ve never experienced a Wild Goose Festival, I recommend it – a couple solid new articles were written about it this year, in the National Catholic Reporter and syndicated Religion News Service.

As these reflections indicate, open-hearted, curious, Jesus-loving types set an intentionally big table where everyone from our charismatic Presbyterian, Baptist and Catholic and historic Black church friends to post-evangelical, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, agnostic and shamanic friends come together to pray, sing, create art, do workshops, and think together through what weighs most on our hearts—which this year was the heartbreak and injustice of those being separated and held at our southern border in our ongoing immigration crisis, hands-down.

(I’ll be sharing much more about this in an upcoming post.)

This time together—village life, the sense of with-ness in the various camps, people swimming in the same general direction in days filled with purpose and intention—was deeply nourishing to me.

And I’d like to give you a taste of this experience, right now.

What follows is a conversation I had at the Goose last year, with my friend Mona Haydar. Mona is a Syrian-American rapper, poet, activist, practitioner of Permaculture, meditator, composting devotee, mountain girl, solar power lover, and a tireless God-enthusiast. Her single “Hijabi” was a groundbreaking debut with millions of views. Billboard critics named it one of 2017’s top protest songs and one of the 25 top feminist anthems of all time. She’s cool. And fun. Jasmin and I love hanging out with her and her family. And in this dialogue, filmed in the Goose’s Living Room venue, she and I talk about Islam, Millennials, Permaculture, living in intentional community, hip hop, and Christian ethics!

Give it a view, and in the comments let me know: What did you think about our chat, and where do you find nourishing community?

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