The Wild Goose Festival: Erasing the Sacred/Secular Divide to Reveal a World that is Wholly Holy

The Wild Goose Festival trailer debuts today!

I think my friend Travis Reed (founder and visionary behind Alter Video Magazine and The Work of the People) did an amazing job capturing the essence of our heart, drive, & passion to create a ‘temporary autonomous zone‘ for freedom, exploration, and action at the intersection of vibrant faith, restorative justice, and generative arts. For the past two years, I’ve been privileged to work with the Wild Goose Festival to help set our tone, create our culture, and expand our space in the marketplace of ideas. I’ll be saying more about my particular passions around the Goose in an upcoming Wild Goose blog entry, but for now let me direct you to our trailer, because a picture truly is worth a thousand words:


If you were at the Wild Goose Festival last year, I already trust you’ll be back. You know as well as I do that there’s simply no other space like it in North America. And if you haven’t been yet, I hope you join us in 2012. I see our little grassroots festival as erasing the sacred/secular divide that so plagues our culture, revealing instead a world that is wholly holy, infused with God’s gracious, transformative presence. These aren’t just words; you feel this as you’re on the 70 acres that is Shakori Hills, taking in music, making art, smiling at a child, hearing a world-class speaker, sharing food with new friends, camping under the stars. By the very way we’re set up to encourage conversation and mutuality, we’re erasing violence in all forms to re-connect with God, ourselves, others and our environment through the way of Jesus. It’s an altered state of consciousness that lasts for four days, and reverberates long after.

Maybe you’ve been reading my blog for a few days now, or maybe you’ve been a reader for years. Either way, I’d like to meet you at the Goose this June 21st-24th! If you enjoy (or are infuriated by) what I post here, I’d like you to take advantage of a special ticket offer that my friends at the Goose have granted me permission to extend: Purchase your festival passes by next Thursday, February 16th, and receive 15% off your total purchase (not including camping) by entering “FriendOfMike” at the checkout!  Purchase your passes here, enter “FriendOfMike” where prompted, and save. For one week only. And then we can camp together. :) 

I’m going to close with these easy ways to share the Goose with friends & family from our amazing new marketing maven, Sarah Cunningham:

Are You A Wild Goose Alumnus or Supporter?

If you’ve been to Wild Goose or are a friend of the festival, we’re asking you to invite your friends to check out this video by posting it on your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr or Blog.

1. You can click here to share an easy, pre-written tweet inviting people to check out the video.

2. You can click here to share a pre-set video link on your Facebook page.

3. You can email a friend or email list using this pre-written subject line.

4.  You can embed the video on your blog or other pages by pasting the following code into your HTML:

<iframe src=”;byline=0&amp;portrait=0″ width=”650″ height=”366″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe>

To which I’ll add a fifth:

5.) If you are part of an organization, ministry, nonprofit, business, or philanthropic foundation that would like to partner with the festival to help make us happen, would you be in touch? You may leave a comment here, or email me at mike [at] wildgoosefestival [dot] org. I’d be happy to discuss opportunities to feature your organization with our growing community.

Thanks for tuning in, dear readers. I love our online interactions, and I’m grateful for the physical space the Wild Goose Festival affords for similar conversations, as well as opportunities for spiritual formation and action. This movement is happening. Our moment is now. Let’s flock together and be the change we wish to see!

Let’s Stop the Genocide in Northern Sudan

Have you ever wondered what you would have done had you been alive in 1940 and was one of those who knew about the Holocaust?

Would you have been a person of action or a person of silence?

It is perhaps one of the most important issues to wrestle with. More than once in our lifetime we will find ourselves at a crossroad, one where the decision we make will reveal as much about our character as our convictions.

There is a genocide happening right now in Northern Sudan. The government is eradicating their own people. If we don’t speak up and help, no one else will. Each time North Sudan launches an attack to kill their own people, and we in the Western world remain silent, we give our permission to continue.

It is easier to overlook what is happening to our brothers and sisters in Sudan because the task feels overwhelming and thinking about it can make us feel helpless.

The truth of the matter is that one person alone cannot save the Nuba People. But a community of people acting in unison can.

One of the most extraordinary acts found in mankind is when a member of the human race deliberately goes out of his way to help another. It is love in action. It is loving your neighbor. It is doing unto others, as you would have them do unto you.

This month, The Persecution Project Foundation has launched a campaign called Save the Nuba. In order to prevent another genocide, they need the help that only a community can offer.

For those who can afford it, the need for food and medicine is desperate.

For those who have little to give, they’re asking for petitions signed, for awareness to

be spread through social media (Facebook, Twitter and blogs.)

For those who are passionate about this cause, they need your help raising awareness.

Will you join us in speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves?

Please visit to learn ways you can help.

Note: This post was vetted to me by representatives of the Save the Nuba initiative. This doesn’t make it any less true.

Housing Faith: The Priesthood of All..?

From 1998 to 2008, I was heavily involved in intentional house church communities, even moving from Georgia to North Carolina to help ‘seed’ a church plant consisting primarily of a dozen collaborators from my undergrad alma mater, Berry College. (We even had a launch conference at Duke, and everything) Long story short, somewhere around 2008 our church began to disintegrate, and we’ve all moved on. Even so, much of the core DNA of ‘house church’ (also known as ‘organic church’ and ‘simple church’) remain with me. This week, I want to revisit some of this still-central resonance, which I think can be a gift to the larger community of faith as we’re navigating 21st-century changes.

The mysterious PostScript (who on earth are ye??), asked something insightful in relation to yesterday’s post:

Random question…If the church is a community of priests, for whom is it interceding?

My first response is “the world!”

Of course, I’m not a Hebrew or Greek scholar (unlike my interlocutor, whose identity is actually not mysterious to me), nor am I versed enough in a religious-socio-historical account of the development of ‘priesthood’ concepts globally. But my gut instinct is that when people say ‘priest’ they mean ‘ministering,’ in a deep, true sense of the word. And this could be directed in, oh, any and all of four ways–ministering unto God, Godself; ministering unto one another, ministering on behalf of humanity, and indeed, creation and the cosmos.

The question takes on even more compelling twists in a “Jesusian” context as the author of Hebrews seems to invert certain commonly-held priesthood concepts. I’m not sure if the other New Testament authors follow suit in a similar way, but for all there seems to be an emphasis on Jesus as the High Priest (fulfilling and completing a certain epoch of God’s dealing with the cosmos and humanity), and us as a ‘kingdom of priests’…or are we?

Some, such as my friend Kevin, add another tantalizing idea into the mix: What if the priesthood, the ecclesia, as “called out” ones, were called out for an important but limited season in the first century: As a first-fruits signifying the whole harvest, or as some fore-running yeast giving rise to an entire loaf of Reality? In other words, what if now in the 21st century, the need for any priesthood has ceased as those in century one “made up for what was lacking” in Christ’s priestly sacrifice?

It is a strong possibility, methinks, though I’m well aware that there are many involved in the front lines of justice work who would beg to differ, saying that we still need a cadre of wounded healers–mediators, reconcilers, indeed, priests–today. And if this is the case, I hope we’re part of the healing balm rather than part of the problem.

I’d love for people representing different perspectives on this potentially-urgent matter of the nature and duration of priesthood to feel free and jump in. Share your wisdom!

Note: Andrew Tatum has written a reprise clarifying some of this thoughts re: clergy.

Recommended House Church Reading:
(Even for those in more bricks-and-mortar and institutional settings, there are spiritual, relational/organizational, and theological treasures to be mined from a house church critique of organized religion and its proposed alternative. One need not be a fundamentalist or a primitivist to appreciate these insights. Here are some of the best works available.)

This was originally posted on October 17, 2007. Except the recommended reading list, which is brand-new.

Sunday Devotional: Dorothy Day

After Howard Zinn passed away a few days ago*, I began thinking about those who have come before, in our recent past, who have told a different story of a better way. Dorothy Day came immediately to mind. Nicely enough, the Open Door Community in Atlanta was sharing these videos on their Facebook page. Herein lies rare television footage of the holistic peace activist and Catholic Worker co-founder. Enjoy!

*This post originally posted January 31, 2010.

I Confess

Christine Sine from Mustard Seed Associates has tagged me for a confessional meme related to Christians Confess. Accordingly, I have three confessions, some “collective” and some personal, addressed to the planet-at-large from those of us who profess to be friends of Jesus.

“Repentence” by Yolanda Parsons

Here they are:

1.) I’m sorry that we in the Christian family have done such a poor job marrying soul to body. So often different streams of the Church pit one against the other, giving you either metaphysical abstraction or weak social proclamation; we draw and quarter Jesus into either “Teacher” or “Savior,” and therefore all give you a weak parody of “life to the full.” I confess that most of our actions as “the Church” have been utterly self-referential for our own perceived survival, taking little risk in truly getting to know/explore/wonder at either God or you. By being neither heavenly-minded nor of any earthly good, we have failed to provide you a true, creative, challenging alternative to life-as-usual.

2.) I’m sorry that I seem so cardboard when I share my faith with you. While I live most of my life being authentically me for better or worse, when it comes to the hope I find through God in Christ I suddenly begin speaking in a cadence that I don’t recognize, like I’m transformed into some kind of used-car salesman trying to get you to buy a Pinto or something. I think this points to my need to be more natural with God and seek out forms of Christian community that foster this honesty before I attempt to foist my idiosyncrasies on you.

3.) This is related to both above–I’m sorry that we as Christians have found it necessary to make you feel bad about yourself in order to share our “antidote,” which by implication is supposed to make you feel about the “symptoms” that we likely induced! Even though we profess that cleansing from wrong-doing and dis-integration with God and neighbor in an atmosphere of ‘no condemnation’ is the entry point to a sacred kind of living, we often resort to shaming and finding fault in order to gain the rhetorical upper-hand with you in our speech about God and Christ.

As it does little good to confess and apologize without metanoia–repentance, changing of the mind and heart–I have some things I’m saying “yes” to publicly here. I resolve to be a more integrated human being, loving and pursuing God with abandon, and having a heart that breaks with the things that break God’s. I will open my mind, will, and emotions to catch up to my human spirit in caring about life in the here-and-now, living fully in the present moment and exercising proper foresight into future opportunities and challenges. I will care more deeply about spirit and my inner development to become a more integrated, authentic person in the way of Jesus; I will pattern my outward actions accordingly, giving myself to you and our shared ecology more fully. And no matter where you are on your spiritual journey, I will honor you as someone in whom God is already at work. Perhaps if we become friends we can share perspectives with one another; I know I can learn alot from you, and I really do have a Hope within me that I’d like to open up about if you’ll give me the chance.

Tag! Absolutely anyone reading this is welcome to confess, but I specifically tag the following five ten folks (the official guidelines call for five, but I simply must ask these ten friends, as I’ll be fascinated by their replies):

Kevin Beck
Jo Guldi
Johnny Thomas
Brittian Bullock
Carl McColman
Jasmin Morrell
Bill Colburn
Gareth Higgins

There are so many others I am thinking of, but I have no idea if you’d be up for such a thing. Feel free to prove me wrong. : )

Here are the guidelines, from Christine’s blog:

“1. Apologize for three things that Christians have often got wrong. Your apologies should be directed towards those who don’t view themselves as part of the Christian community. Alternatively, apologize for things you personally have done wrong towards those outside of the church.
2. Post a comment at the originating post so others can keep track of the apologies.
3. Tag five people to participate in the meme.
4. If desired, send an email with the link to your blog post at the Christians Confess site, giving permission for your apologies to be added to the website.”

Oh…and one last one: I’m sorry for all those who have tagged me in memes previously without my participation! I’m not in this instance obligating myself to every such future invitation, but I probably really meant to act on yours. It’s just that I’m finally blogging now!

–Confessional Mike

This post was originally posted on August 7, 2007. Since that time, I think I have gotten better at #2. 

You Are the Dance

Dancing With GodSome days, I want to be a poet or songwriter, or at least good storyteller – because I know that if I’m going to influence our culture’s core sense of who we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going, then nonfiction, essay-style is about the worst way to seep deeply into the bones of people! But mostly, I want to be able to give voice to the stirrings in my own heart.

Sometimes, I take some faltering steps in a verse-writing direction. This is one of those times. I imagine the song below sounding something like Kevin Prosch‘s song ‘The Wheel of God‘ (sorry, I couldn’t find any audio online). The lyrics are inspired by some delving I’ve been doing into what Phyllis Tickle calls one of the deepest mysteries the Christian faith has been called to steward – the revelation of God-as-community, the perfect Relationship: the Trinity. My own sense of the fellowship of Godhead was nurtured in my ‘church life‘ (aka house/organic/simple church) days by voices like Frank Viola in From Eternity to Here or Milt Rodriguez in The Community Life of God. This haunting sense of the significance of Trinity as the prime metaphor for God was deepened in my emerging church engagement via Ian Mobsby‘s The Becoming of G-D, among other sources. And of course, there’s that little book that I endorsed, Paul Young’s The Shack, with its marvelous and subversive portrait of a God who defers in love to each portion of Godself, and wishes to make their “especially fond” fellowship planetary in scope.

Most recently, I’ve been experiencing a veritable Trinitarian renaissance while doing the dishes, which is happening a bit more frequently these days as my wife recovers from some minor surgery. This is thanks to both Baxter Kruger‘s amazing teaching – in book form in The Great Dance, & in MP3 form via Grace Communion International‘s free series Dancing with the Trinity – and two awesome teaching series from Richard Rohr (on the latter joined by Cynthia Bourgeault): The Divine Dance and The Shape of God. I’ve begun to see both Trinity-as-Relationship and Trinity-as-Process as holding both the promise and the delivery of transformative change of most significant spiritual, political, and ecological crises of our time. We get to enter into the shared life of God and creation, and from this three-fold perspective break out of our dead-end, binary thinking into true metanoia, a renewed frame of mind and living.

Enough prose already! Let’s get into the poetry.

Yours is the flow

That created kindness

You are the Dance

That ignites all Light

You are the Three

Who contain all Oneness

In You we gaze

With Single sight



You ground all things eternal

And kiss the earth with glad embrace

Christ the Son

In a world of sorrows

Transfigures pain with healing grace

Spirit of Love

Sows new creation

In every soil weak or strong

Your beloved

Mirrors every gesture

In this our wild,

Reconciling song!


God alone

There is no other

Apart from You what can take form?

You are the play in every atom


In You we’re born


This hour brings sorrow and challenge

Never before have we faced so much;

Upon Your goodness we’ll incarnate

Release our hands for Your healing touch


Bound to You

We’re Your wounded healers

Binding earth

With heaven’s balm

Boundless here in realms unscripted

Tree of Life

Is your free-verse psalm


And so today we dance Your circle

Rhythm of life Your cadence grows;

Let the circle be unbroken

Drawing all in

To Your radiant flow.

It’s a work in progress. It reminds me of Jesus & Paul’s own probable spiritual practice of meditation on Ezekiel’s Chariot…eh?

Feel free recommend revisions and additional stanzas (not to mention maybe a chorus) in the comments below. If it gets polished, I’d like to introduce it to my home church – (appropriately enough) Trinity’s Place.

Further recommended reading:

Big Agriculture Declares War on Food Safety, Small Farmers

This just crossed my desk from Food Democracy Now, a grassroots advocacy group promoting slow, local, regional, and sustainable food for everyone. Please read and take action.

Urgent: Big Ag is trying to kill food safety reform in the Senate today – Give farmers and our children a fighting chance.

Click here to call your Senators Now!

So far you’ve made over 7,000 calls to your Senators – Can they Hear US Now?

Are you committed to change?  Call your Senator to pass food safety legislation now.

This past week the action in the U.S. Senate has been fast and furious. In the past 48 hours more than 7,000 Food Democracy Now! members have made phone calls to their Senators asking them to include provisions in the Food Safety Modernization Act that protected family-scale farm operations from excessive regulations. You’re incredible.

Remarkably, as a result of your phone calls the Senate reached a deal on the Tester-Hagan Amendment yesterday morning. Now Big Ag has decided to throw a tantrum. Late yesterday afternoon a coalition of 20 produce groups sent a “letter” to Senate leadership urging the defeat of the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Big Ag is claiming that these important farmer protection provisions are part of an “ideological war” and are doing everything they can behind the scenes to kill this important legislation.

But we can’t let them. There’s too much at stake. Every year more than 5,000 people die as a result of foodborne diseases and more than 76 million fall ill according to the Centers for Disease Control.

If you care about food safety and family farmers we’re asking you to make one more call to your Senators to make sure they understand how important passing this bill is to their constituents. We can’t let Big Ag lobbyists put petty politics over lives or farmer’s livelihoods.

Click below to tell your Senator to pass the Food Safety bill, tell them consumers and family farmer’s deserve to be protected, not Big Ag lobbyists!

Late Thursday evening the Senate voted 57 to 27 to move forward on the food safety bill, incredibly, some 16 Senators skipped this important vote. No wonder they call it a lame duck session! As you well know, to get this bill to pass a full vote, we’ll need 60 votes, so every vote counts. Make sure these Senator are there for the next important vote!

Democratic Senators that missed the vote included:

Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Arlen Specter (D-PA)  – both lame ducks.

John Kerry (D-MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Jim Webb (D-VA) — no excuses.

Since the bill is being supported down fiercely partisan lines, we wanted to make sure that Food Democracy Now! members knew which Democratic Senators did not make this vote. If they had showed up, the vote would have been 63 to 27 — enough to get it to a full floor vote and passed into law.

If you live in their state make sure you call them again and tell them how important this bill is to protect children and family farmers.

Call All Republicans!  They are Scheming with Big to kill food safety reform.

On the Republican side of the aisle, support for the bill is weak, with only 4 Republican Senators voting for to proceed. As with everything in DC in these past few years, partisans would rather throw up roadblocks than do the people’s business.

It’s time to remind them who they work for. If you have a Republican Senator in your state, call them now.

In an odd show of weakness, 4 of the Republican sponsors of the bill either voted against cloture last night or skipped the vote.

Republican S.510 Sponsor who went AWOL on Food Safety Cloture Vote:

Judd Gregg (R-NH) lame duck Senator retiring – if you live in NH make sure that you call him and tell him to VOTE FOR the food safety bill and support consumer safety and family farmers.

Republican S.510 Sponsors who voted NO on Cloture Vote:

Richard Burr (R-NC) , Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA)

Remember, these are Senators who actually sponsored the bill, i.e. supported it until now, when the Tester amendment was added, the amendment that you called for, and then they started caving to industry pressure.

If you live in their state let them know you care about food safety, local foos and family farmers! Click below.

Special Treat Performance on Food Safety

And last, but not least, Food Democracy Now! wanted to let you know about Senator Tom Coburn M.D. (R-OK), the single biggest obstacle preventing the food safety bill from passing.

Yesterday on the Senate floor, Senator Coburn gave an unbelievable performance, rambling and misstating basic facts about foodborne illnesses in the U.S.

Not only is Coburn ignorant about food safety, but in his fierce partisan desire to kill this important bill — which will protect us from serious food safety outbreaks — he proves he doesn’t care about America’s 300 million citizens who urgently need this bill.

Instead, Coburn would rather stall progress for family farmers by demanding that the U.S. ban all earmark spending through 2013. As a result of Coburn’s unreasonable demands, what food experts Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser have called “the most important food safety bill in a generation”, it languishes on a pyre of self-righteous political grandstanding.

If you live in Oklahoma, please tell Senator Coburn to stop playing chicken with your children’s food.

Let Senator Coburn know that AMERICA needs food safety reform now. America’s citizens and our farmers deserve protection.

Word on the street in DC is that Senator Coburn tried to broker a deal with Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) on the food safety bill and take away important provisions like “mandatory reporting”.

Tell Senator Harkin to steal Coburn’s cookies and stand strong! Pass the food safety bill as is. No more compromise, no more wasted time.

Don’t let Big Ag and one angry man’s crusade stand in the way of this important legislation — Act Today — this could be our last best chance to achieve important food safety reforms.

Make a call today — don’t let America’s children wait to grow up before this opportunity comes up again.

As always, thanks for participating in food democracy,

– Dave, Lisa and The Food Democracy Now! Team

Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate

Matt Soerens, co-author of Welcoming the Stranger, sounds off on the slow death of civility in our culture and how Jesus-followers can recover transforming dialogue that leads to new alternatives in law and compassion in the immigration debate. Discussion questions are here.