When I would tell folks that EIRO was going to present at Wild Goose, they would often ask me to describe the festival. The best I could come up with is a cross between a Christian Conference and Woodstock. Even after visiting, speaking and giving myself some time to process it, it’s a difficult experience to put into words.
The feelings are easier to describe. Wild Goose makes you feel accepted. There is a powerful hospitality at work with this bunch of folks from all over the country. Wild Goose makes you feel like you are a part of something bigger. It’s a place where people are talking with a fierce hope about the future of Christianity. Wild Goose also challenges you. It is a place where hard conversations are had and space is made for confession.
I went to a presentation by Micky ScottBey Jones which exemplified this wonderful mixture of acceptance, hope, and challenge. Part of Jones’ ministry is the creation and facilitation of what she calls Brave Spaces. Rather than explain what this is, I want to share with you the poem that begins these Brave Space events. As people gather to share a meal and conversation, they collectively read this poem to each other:
Together we will create brave space
Because there is no such thing as a “safe space”
We exist in the real world
We all carry scars and we have all caused wounds.
In this space
We seek to turn down the volume of the outside world,
We amplify voices that fight to be heard elsewhere,
We call each other to more truth and love
We have the right to start somewhere and continue to grow.
We have the responsibility to examine what we think we know.
We will not be perfect.
This space will not be perfect.
It will not always be what we wish it to be
It will be our brave space together,
We will work on it side by side.
I would invite you to read those words again, slowly. Do you feel comforted, welcomed, accepted where you are at? Do you feel challenged; pushed to grow? This is how Wild Goose felt. It felt like love.