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Wild Goose

Open Call for 2016 Contributors

By Goose News

It’s time to let us know what YOU would like to do at Wild Goose!

The 2016 Wild Goose continues to create space for courageous, imaginative, and participative social justice work, creative expression, spiritual practice, and astonishing music and art.

We’ll be exploring all this in the context of STORY: What are our shared narratives? How have they shaped us – in our joy and in our suffering? How do we challenge the destructive narratives in the presence of a growing wave of fear, violence, and control?   Can one person’s story of success be another’s story of oppression? How do we see the truth in the mash-up?

We encourage you to go “all out” to increase the level of participation and interactivity – a lot! Whatever your role – artist, musician, speaker, or… when crafting your presentation, think without boundary or expectation in ways that will actively involve your audience.

The deadline for applying is midnight on February 29th. Our programming team will consider all submissions and we will notify applicants of the status of their submission no later than April 1st. In rare instances, a submission may be waitlisted and notified no later than May 1st.

There’s a $40 application fee to offset programming costs. If you have any questions contact

Thank you for all your submissions.

And the 2016 theme is…

By Goose News


Receive | Respond | Reshape

Stories shape our world. Are you listening?

The 2016 Wild Goose continues to create space for courageous, imaginative, and participative social justice work, creative expression, spiritual practice, and astonishing music and art.

We’ll be exploring all this in the context of STORY: What are our shared narratives? How have they shaped us – in our joy and in our suffering? How do we challenge the destructive narratives in the presence of a growing wave of fear, violence, and control?   Can one person’s story of success be another’s story of oppression? How do we see the truth in the mash-up?

As the festival begins to take shape, we already have firm commitments from several great speakers, musicians, and artists. And self-submissions will open in just a few days (January 4)!

We encourage you to go “all out” to increase the level of participation and interactivity – a lot! Whatever your role – artist, musician, speaker, or… when crafting your presentation, think without boundary or expectation in ways that will actively involve your audience.

“Each of us is a story.  We were created by God as a story waiting to be told, and each of us has to find a way to tell our story. In the telling of it we come to recognize and own ourselves… 

When you step into a story, you find it is without limits and you can walk around with it and inside it.  It is natural to sing, dance, and reenact a story. It is too big and too deep to be merely ‘understood’ or taught.”

Richard Rohr

The Wild Goose Planning Team

Buy your tickets  at Wild Goose Festival and mark your calendar for July 7 through 10 in Hot Springs, NC.

Self submissions open January 4th!!  Details will be posted on our website Wild Goose Festival and our facebook page facebook/WGF

An Important Message from Your Wild Goose Leadership

By Goose News

I hope you’re as excited as we are about where Wild Goose Festival has been and where it’s going. We’re honored to walk this continuing journey beside you as President, Board Chair and Vice Chair. 2015 was our best year yet, and we’re already working hard to make 2016 even better.

One of the words that is often associated with the Wild Goose Festival is wonder, wonderful setting, wonderful people, wonderful music and art, wonderful worship and prayer, wonderful poetry and preaching, wonder abounding.  When a few thousand people come together to share a vision of the wonder of God, amazing things happen. It’s one of those things about wonder. You can’t capture it in a word or a formula. When you get to that place where the wonder of God has overwhelmed you, it changes everything. You can say the same creed that you said before, but now it’s not a creed that grasps God in the fist of the words, but it’s a creed that points up to a wonder that’s beyond anybody’s grasp.

In looking back over 2015, did you experience a breath of this wonder at the festival? Was it a word, thought, or touch, an encounter, a song, or a dance, a tree, a breeze, or maybe just a smile?

We think wonder is so important that we’re all deeply investing in it through the Wild Goose Festival. One of our top goals for 2016 is to help the Goose become more financially sustainable, and that’s why we’re asking you as 2015 comes to an end to consider becoming a financial supporter of the festival. We’d like to ask you to join us in making a gift to Wild Goose a part of your holiday season.

Here’s what we’d like to ask:

1. Please go to (If you prefer to mail a check, the address is P.O. Box 24324, Overland Park, KS 66283.)

2. Choose an amount  … preferably a monthly amount to help us with sustainability, but a one-time gift is great too (or you can do both)! It should be an amount that you feel really good about. (Someone once said, “Raise the number until it hurts, and then go a little bit farther until it feels good.”)

3. And be sure to register for next year’s Wild Goose Festival too – and invite a bunch of friends to come along!

In the coming weeks, you’ll be hearing more about the beautiful, wonderful time that’s being planned for July 7-10, 2016!

Thanks for your involvement. This is just the beginning!

Jeff Clark, President/Producer

Joy Carroll Wallis, Chair of the Board

Brian McLaren, Vice Chair of the Board

The Wild Goose Flock Reflects: The Second Blog Roundup of WGFEST15

By 2015 Festival, Goose News

The mornings are growing cooler as summer winds to a close, but your thoughts and experiences at #WGFest15 continue to burn and blaze. As the flock ruminates, here is a second installment of everything that is on your mind.
Read, think, share and repeat.
(You can find the first blog roundup here.)


Happy Wild Goose Kids

Everything Old is New Again

“…liturgies abound. Some of them were rather traditional. The Episcopal tent, for example, held Compline services every night. They also broke out of the mold and hosted a songwriter circle and an agape feast. The Goose is like that.”

— Tripp Hudgins

Slippery Fish

“In many ways, faith for me is a slippery fish. Whenever I seem to get a firm grip on belief, something happens in my life that makes truth squirt out of my hands. Because of this history, I enjoy talking with people about controversial topics, especially people I don’t agree with. However, with all the news about confederate flags, marriage equality, and Obamacare, I find it hard to have safe conversations with almost anyone of faith. That is what The Goose is becoming for me. A safe place to explore, be vulnerable, and pursue truth, that slippery fish that fights my desire to keep God in my grasp and finite, not the multi-faceted, infinite being that powers my world.”

— Slippery Fish, Paul Stanley

Buddha Inside/Jesus Outside

“I lie in the French Broad River of North Carolina in early July and expose my palms announcing, pleading really, ‘Open my wounds to grace and reveal God’s glory!’. I really need a God with open wounds like mine.”

— Emerging Voices, Anita Brown

Re-Wilding The Goose

I couldn’t believe it, I had become the fidgety kid kicking the pew and I had successfully upset the status quo. The status quo at the WILD Goose?!?!?! Anger kept me from an appropriate engagement so I packed my things and left to ruminate.

Ian Lynch

Voices of the Wild Goose Festival

“The Holy Spirit, the Wild Goose, the Wind that formed all things out of chaos and called them good, leads this celebration. The Wind blows where it will with power like the twister with tongues of fire at Pentecost. No walls can trap this Wind. No laws can cage this Bird. No bigotry can quiet this crowd singing love.”

J. Marshall Jenkins


Wild Goose Eucharist in the woods

Scaring the Hell Out of Christians

“For me, this is what the Christian faith is all about: restoration. Restoring our souls, restoring our connection with creation and with our Creator, restoring our relationships with other humans — even restoring a healthy relationship with death. All reasons for hope.

Sadly, modern Christianity often leads people away from a sense of loving restoration and into a land of judgement, contempt, and fear — fear of God, fear of hell, and fear of people who think or believe differently — which tragically results in many professed Christians working against justice because they fear empowering “the other” and must defend “their” faith from attack, as if God needs to be protected from dangerous outsiders.”

— Melanie

God is Wild

“The Wild Goose Festival is home to a lot of people who are wondering where God will live next. Some of us have big plans for building houses for God, and moving the divine presence right in so that we can have ready access. But the very metaphor of the wild goose evokes the myriad ways in which God cannot be domesticated.”


New Revised Goose Version

“Underneath the fuchsia, violet, green and blue French braids, the spiky mohawks, the luxurious beards, the shaved heads and the dreadlocks…there’s something stirring within and among the gathered ones at the Wild Goose Festival. It’s not the Spiritual But Not Religious crowd. And it’s not the Nones, the Unaffilated or the Dones.

It’s something different. It’s what I’m calling the “New Revised Wild Goose Version” (NRWGV) of Christianity… I did the math and I’ve preached at least 400 sermons. I know some things about the Bible. But the way that Mark Charles,  a Navajo activist and educator, talked about how white settlers in the Americas lacked a “land covenant” with God to guide our relationship, or the way Bree Newsome talked about how Jesus worked for peace, not order, or how Tony Campolo talked about the love of Jesus moved in his heart to advocate for GLBT persons in the evangelical movement—literally, OMG.”

Sarah Griffith Lund

Christo Shamanic Ritual

Call of the Wild Goose

“After being in ministry for so many decades; fulfilling almost every role a local church could offer (from youth leader, young adult leader, worship leader, choir director, crisis counseling, curriculum and Bible study author, senior pastor and church planter) and in most every form of church expression (community churches, house churches, alternative churches) – I found myself so hurt and damaged by shrapnel of this implosion that I put myself in exile. Self-imposed exile.

Little did I know that THE Wild Goose, Herself, was orchestrating something that was crucial to my healing … and little did I know what excruciating pain I was about to endure.”

Sacred Touch, Pastor Nar

Lithium and a Prayer: A Few Thoughts on Mental Illness, Medication, and Spirituality

“Ultimately, we’ll need to do the work of going into our darkness, of poking around in it. Whether that’s a matter of spiritual direction or some other practice of faith, it’s only by going in and through that we can discover our true selves and begin to work out what it is that we are called to be.”

Emerging Voices



Live shows are always a blast, but the LIVE CultureCast at Wild Goose festival was a new kinda awesome. Hear from Lisa and Michael Gungor, Romal TuneTony KrizLeroy BarberChristian Piatt, Josh Linton and Micky Scottbey Jones, among others!

Homebrewed Christianity

A Reading List

Here are twelve essential recent / forthcoming books by authors speaking at Wild Goose… From Forward Together to Redeeming Sex.

The Englewood Review of Books

Link To Ticket Page

Read At Wild Goose 2015

The Wild Goose Flock Reflects: A Blog Roundup of WGFEST15

By Goose News

It’s been nearly a month but the Wild Goose Festival is anything but over. Our flock is no longer gathered on the banks of the French Broad River. But, we’re still thinking, learning, enacting our faith and connecting across the country.

Which songs are still stuck in your head?
What art has poured from your fingers?
Are there any new ideas that just won’t dislodge itself from your mind?
The Wild Goose is more than a festival. It’s a movement.
So, let’s start sharing what we’ve learned.

Below are links to blog posts by fellow goosers. Check them out. Share them with your friends. Comment. Let’s keep the community growing.

In the mean time, we plan to create a second round-up in two weeks, so be sure to send your blog posts, art, and reflections inspired by Wild Goose to or comment with a link below.

Wild Goose Community

Brave Goose

“He sat in the front seat of the rickety golf cart. “This your first time to the Goose?”
I swear, his white beard was past the nipple line.
“Yes,” we tittered. My knuckles were tensing around the seat.
“Well spread your wings and let the Holy Spirit make you fly!” He lifted an arm out of the cart for emphasis. I worried the cart would tip, that we’d splatter on the trodden dirt of the campground.”

lizzie, Wandering Writes

Duck, Duck, Wild Goose!

“Whether it was the sounds of impromptu jam sessions singing praise for the day’s blessings, the sights of young people freely expressing their joy with dance, the pop of the embers exploding into the night air as we journeyed into a Celtic ancestor meditation, or inhaling the sweet exuberance of a burgeoning relationship of a dear friend, each moment was manna for the soul.”

—Religious Refuse

Hopeful dreamers, dirt covered hippies, and radical Jesus followers

“On Friday afternoon, just as the sun was really starting to heat things up I found myself sitting on a large rock in the middle of the French Broad river surrounded by cairns erected by other festival goers as a form of centering meditation.”

Cody, overchurchedblog

The Hard Work of Hope

Despair has become too automatic a reaction lately, facing environmental apathy and the egregious civil rights attacks that won’t stop coming. But standing side by side with hundreds of kind, intelligent justice-seekers has renewed my faith in humanity.

Jenn, The Dew Abides

the gift of light

“And so, last week, as I stood in front of the main stage at the Wild Goose Festival listening toGungor – a group whose music has been impacting me for years – I was struck dumb when I heard them explain their new song, Light.”

Michelle McConnell, Clearing Webs From The Hovel

Homosexual relationships are not about sex…cue eyeroll.

“But, when Betsy and I walked hand-in-hand through the Wild Goose campground, all I felt was radiating, unqualified, unapologetic joy. In the spirit-filled bubble that is The Goose, we felt loved, safe and free to live into our burgeoning love. When we ventured beyond the delicate membrane of The Goose, wandering through the little town of Hot Springs, we became acutely aware of how others might regard our hand-holding.”

Kimberly Knight

bree newsome at wild goose 2015
(Before you do anything else, be sure to watch her panel discussion here.)

No One’s Going To Stop Until We’re All Free

“Another Wild Goose speaker of note was the Rev. Traci Blackmon, pastor of Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant, MO. Blackmon, a prominent activist and organizer, was appointed to the Ferguson Commission after her early response to the racial tensions that followed the killing of Michael Brown Jr. She was at the festival to preach at Sunday’s closing ceremony and participate in a panel called “Revolutionary Love & Militant Nonviolence.”

After Newsome’s speech, reporters, performers and activists gathered under a small tent behind the stage for a brief press conference and photo op. All fell silent as Blackmon stepped up and embraced Newsome—the two activists meeting for the first time. Blackmon began to cry as she held onto Newsome. “Thank you,” she whispered.“Thank you for snatching down that flag. Thank you.”

Newsome replied, “Y’all lit my fire in Ferguson, and no one’s going to stop until we’re all free.”

Jordan Foltz, Mountain Xpress

“I was a security threat to Bree Newsome at the Wild Goose Festival.”

Maybe I’m an anti-activist. (My book is subtitled, “Some Thoughts on NOT Changing the World.”) We journalists are trained to stand above the fray, to provide some sort of God’s-eye view. But something Newsome’s human step-stool said is sticking in my craw. “As a white Southerner I’m taught to be silent in the face of racism,” said Tyson, who grew up as a Presbyterian.

What is respectable and what is right are two very different things. Your silence is doing violence. As white people, we’re the ones who perpetuate white supremacy. … Even if you lose friends from telling the truth, you’re being held and cherished by God all the time.

Tyson pointed out that the proper, Southern gentleman was also the slaveowner. I wonder if there’s an analogy with us journalist types: What a privilege, what a luxury, to not have to get involved, to not have to feel, if we don’t choose to.

Jesse James DeConto, Christian Century

The Most Important Thing We Can Learn From Bree Newsome

This begs the question: how do entire situations get made right? How do we pursue wholeness of individuals or communities? Well, I’ll tell you how we don’t get there: we don’t get there by refusing to confront injustice and oppression, or by telling the oppressed to stay calm (the later being something I’ve been guilty of previously, and hereby most contritely repent). However shalom is achieved, the first step is ending oppression, and that means we must name it and confront it– aka, we “agitate, agitate, agitate” as the abolitionists used to say.

Ben Corey, Formerly Fundie

Wild Goose Festival

Until You Bless Me

“Do y’all do blessings and shit?”
I asked it shyly, unsure of the proper etiquette (even though the sign in front of the white tent advertised all manner of blessings available). I hoped the casual and shit would mask how badly I wanted to be blessed, how I’d felt my heart pull me toward this corner of the campground over and over all weekend.
I said it with a smile, but what my heart whispered fiercely was “I won’t let you go until you bless me.”

Micah J Murray

Working for the Economic Flourishing of our Places

One comment that was driven home by this panel was that churches should be involved in the work of economic development in their particular places. Economic development, for those who might not be familiar with the term, is “the sustained, concerted actions of policy makers and communities that promote the standard of living and economic health of a specific area.” (Wikipedia) This idea that churches should be doing this kind of work resonated with me, as Englewood Christian Church, my church on the urban Near Eastside of Indianapolis, has been engaged in economic development for over a decade. We didn’t set out to do economic development, but stumbled into it as a result of seeking to be faithful in our neighborhood and to bear witness to the healing and flourishing that God intends for all places.

C. Christopher Smith, Sojourners

5 Things I love about wild goose

We finally made it to Wild Goose. After the last four years saying “I really wish we could go,” which became “let’s give it a try,” which became “we’ll go next year.” It finally became “we’re going!”

Drew Downs

Why I will not pray for unity.

Peacekeeping is a job for the loud.
For those who can command a room.
For those who can confidently stride
to the front of a room and declare
“Can’t we all just get along?”

Power prays loudly for unity.
But some are peacemakers.
Makers. Creators.
Who call forth from the deep something that had not been before.
Peacemakers are bold. They are confident. But not always loud.
Because even strong voices can sound small from the back of the room.
From the margins.

— Jacqui Buschor

There Is A Ferguson Near You

By Guest Post
Author Leah Gunning Francis

Leah Gunning Francis

Leah Gunning Francis (who spoke at Wild Goose Festival 2015) is more than the author of Ferguson and Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community, she is also an activist and a passionate champion for changing the public narrative about young black men.

When the tragic death of Michael Brown occurred in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014, St. Louis-based Chalice Press needed to be part of a positive and justice-seeking response. In partnership with the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE), we were honored to work with Dr. Gunning Francis, who went out and interviewed more than two dozen faith leaders and young activists to tell the behind-the-scenes story of what happened in the days and months following the event that propelled the #BlackLivesMatter movement on the national stage.

As Shane Claiborne has called it, Ferguson and Faith is “an important book … a theological memoir of a movement.”

In his foreword to the book, Jim Wallis, founder and president of Sojourners, writes,

I believe that if the young Ferguson leaders hadn’t gotten up day after day and gone to the streets night after night, and some courageous clergy hadn’t joined them there and spoken out in their community, there might never have been a historic national commission on policing or a damning Department of Justice report on the Ferguson Police Department — and we would not be at the beginning of a new national conversation on reforming the criminal justice system. But it is only the beginning …

With new reports of police shootings in the news nearly every day, we know Wallis is right, and it is our hope that this book will be part of sparking the national conversation among people and communities of faith as to how to faithfully respond. Because, as Dr. Gunning Francis writes in the book, “There is a Ferguson near you.”

Order Ferguson and Faith online now!

Watch and share this video message from Ferguson and Faith author Leah Gunning Francis!

Other Wild Goose 2015 speakers whose books are available from Chalice Press:
Forward Together by Rev. William Barber II
Pre-Post-Racial America by Sandhya Rani Jha
Blessed Are The Crazy by Sarah Griffith Lund
Coming Home by Zachary Moon
PregMANcy by Christian Piatt
Sacred Wounds by Teresa B Pasquale

The Beauty of Peace: Art At Wild Goose 2015

By 2015 Contributor, 2015 Festival, Goose News

troy bThere are more ways to explore peacemaking than just through music and speaking. This year, our theme will permeate through every segment of the festival, including the visual arts. In fact, there are some ways that peace can only be explored through art.

“In curating the theme Blessed are the Peacemakers, we noticed that peacemaking included everything from making peace, to reconciling worlds to being prophetic in the world about what is at peace or at war,” explains Troy Bronsink. Troy is this year’s art content leader for the festival.

So, what will you see at Wild Goose this year? Here’s a small sampler.

1. Stations of the Cross: Mental Illness

Mary Button Stations of the CrossAs you walk around the the festival you’ll notice Mary Button’s installation, Stations of the Cross: Mental Illness. Take some time so see how her artwork both tells a story and creates space for new encounters with what it means to be at peace, long for peace, and make peace.

2. Live Art!

You’ll also see the work of Dan Nelson who will be painting the festival at the Live Art Tent. Take time to talk with him about your experience of peacemaking as he listens for the voice of the Goose and depicts this powerful weekend and burgeoning community through his art.

3. The Art Tent Gallery & Beyond

dewayne barton and artThere will be work from at least five artists in the Art Tent Gallery with very different perspectives and approaches as well as hosts who can walk you through an experience of that work. Stefan Gustafsson and Fred Wise are two of the artists that will be featured there. Stefan is from Sweden and his works involve lengthy processes of mingling minerals and pigments to explore reconciliation and differentiation. Contrast that with the work of Fred whose watercolor and oil paintings depict stories of struggle and mystery. Art will appear around the festival as well. For example, DeWayne Barton, pictured above, will have a sculpture on display somewhere on the grounds.

4. Maker’s Space

DSC_0338We’ll have a maker’s space for you to participate in making materials for the Art Liturgy on Saturday at 2 pm, which will include a large acoustic stringed instrument orchestra. So bring your guitar or banjo if you have it!

5. Thoughtful Discussions

menewhorizonsThis year, author and long time friend of the Goose, Frank Schaeffer, will be showing some of his recent paintings. Also on Saturday, he’ll be in conversation with A’Driane Nieves (pictured above) about the role of our own stories and family’s stories in making and reading art. Nieves’ work is a reflection on her experiences as a mother, a woman of color, someone who has battled with mental illness, and as a minority in the growing liberal city of Austin, Texas, all lived through the perspective of faith. Her work has been featured in regional and national #blacklivesmatter forums and she’ll be including a recent book of works and excerpts from her blog.

6. Art as Spiritual Practice

Patrick MahonThere are other artists showing this year who identify their work as direct spiritual practice. Cassandra Lawrence develops art with worshippers and within worship to enable participants to corporately participate beyond words. Patrick Mahon is a contemplative and student of Merton. (One of his photographs is pictured above.) His photography is intended to cultivate peace within the viewer, calling you not to simply “see” but to be present in the seeing.

Faithmarks Gallery At Wild Goose

Faithmarks: Yes, You Can Get A Tattoo At Wild Goose This Year

By 2015 Festival, Goose News

Faithmarks Gallery At Wild GooseLast year was Faithmarks’s first time at Wild Goose. They are coming back and they are bringing a little something special for the Wild Goose flock: tattoos, both permanent and temporary.

FaithMarks is a photographic gallery show exploring the intersection of spirituality and the art of tattoos. Initially conceptualized by St. Marks Church, this inter-denominational, interfaith ministry used models from all over the country. It is an experience meant to take each person on their own spiritual journey. The show provides a non-threatening experience for those who visit, evoking the opportunity for spiritual conversation to flow naturally.

Faithmark Tattoos At Wild GooseAlthough founders Carl Greene and Anna Golladay heard the whispers (or far-off honking) of the Goose in the past, last year they finally decided to take the
leap and attend.

“We have been really warmly accepted everywhere we have taken the show,” says Anna. “But, Wild Goose? It is absolutely, hands down, the coolest and most exciting place the show has ever traveled. The warmth and true excitement from folks was palpable.”

The show includes professional photography of tattoos along with the model’s story, explaining why they received it. The blend of the visual and written really sparks spiritual conversations. “The Wild Goose Festival provides a forum for open and honest dialogue,” says Anna, “Something that is encouraged when the Faithmarks show travels other places.”

FaithmrksThis year, seven team members will make the trek from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Hot Springs, North Carolina. They will be bringing a set on new images this year. Last year, Faithmarks consisted of 22 canvases and stories. Anna is excited: “We’ve doubled the number of images and stories! Just because you spent some time with the show last year doesn’t mean that it won’t still be new and fresh in 2015.”

The word seems to be spreading about the tattoos as well. They will have both permanent and temporary tattoo artists with them this year at the Goose.

“I’m not sure I could be any more giddy about this if I tried,” says Anna.

“We’ll soon launch a sign-up for those folks wanting to get a real tattoo during the festival, so keep an eye out! What better way to commemorate your experience than to head home with a Faithmark of your very own?”




Disabling Guns And Forging Peace At Wild Goose

By 2015 Festival, Goose News

RAWtools Disabled HandgunThis year’s festival will feature an exciting opportunity to “forge peace” in a very literal way highlighting our theme—Blessed are the Peacemakers.

RAWtools, with the help of Tim Coons and Justin Bullis, will be leading two peacemaking liturgies at the Wild Goose Festival next month. The liturgy includes the usual singing, scripture readings and testimonies, but with an added dimension. Together we will also create a physical representation of God’s prophecy in Micah and Isaiah of “beating your swords into plowshares”.

The gun will be disassembled and, using a small furnace, the metal components melted down to create a tool of creation. Romal Tune will be speaking at the PeaceMaker on Gun Violence Liturgy and John Dear at our PeaceMaker on War Liturgy.

RAWtools Wild Goose FestivalFounder Mike Martin had considered the concept for RAWtools for many years. His anabaptist faith background coupled with experience in the family landscaping business combined to birth the concept. But, it was the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in 2012 that propelled him into action.

In 2013, Mike launched the RAWtools at the Justice Conference, held in Philadelphia that year.

“Our goal is to create new narratives of nonviolence and peacemaking, instead of narratives of violence,” says Mike.

Guns used during the liturgy are donated by individuals who no longer want a weapon in their home and sometimes by  police officers. Mike hopes to formally partner with police departments, offering a constructive way to dispose of confiscated weapons. “We want to let them know that we’re an option as far as what what we can do with weapons, that we’re an option for police departments or even just for people who are uncomfortable having a gun in their home,” he explains. At the end of the liturgy, the newly made tool is given to someone involved in the service or sold to help fund the work of RAWtools.

RAWtools peacemaker-shirtMike can’t wait to get to Wild Goose this year. The two liturgies being held at the festival are part of the PeaceMaker Tour which was launched this January.

He knows that, in some ways, he’ll be preaching to the choir.

But for Mike, peacemaking is about more than the occasional liturgy; it’s a daily practice.

“It’s living out the witness of Christ, being a listener, loving alongside people,” explains Mike.

“Being a peacemaker is about a lot of little stuff—being in relationship—and not necessarily big, grand, Nobel-Peace-Prize stuff,” he says. The hardest part is having patience and practicing peace toward those with whom we strongly disagree or even dislike. Not that Nobel Peace Prize scale is bad (Nobel Peace Prize nominee John Dear is speaking at our Friday Liturgy.).

In fact, he has a practical suggestion for how to ‘forge peace’ this week.

Have lunch with someone you don’t like to be around, suggests Mike, “an enemy, someone that hits all your pet peeves.”

“To sit down and listen and have lunch with somebody,” says Mike. “That is an act of peacemaking.”

RAWtools logo

Andrew Lewis

To Be a Peacemaker is to Be Evangelical

By Goose News

Andrew LewisBy Andrew Lewis

“What’s the ELCA?”

It’s a question every Lutheran will be asked at some point, at least outside of Minnesota. The Lutheran tradition is, after all, best analogized with a spilled can of alphabet soup. And for those of us who grew up in different traditions, we all sort of wince when we say, “The EVANGELICAL Lutheran Church in America.”

Evangelical: it’s a weighted term and yet it hangs in the air. It carries with it four decades of right-wing politics and quasi-religious rhetoric which taught the US that God is a Republican who uses hurricanes to punish cities and tells presidential candidates to run for office. It conjures pictures of street preachers confidently assuring angry crowds that…well, almost everyone is going to hell. In the popular imagination, evangelicals are door-to-door Jesus salesmen.

But I’m not selling a brand-name faith with an eternal warranty. So when I explain what the ELCA is, I hesitate. Why oh why couldn’t we have picked a less loaded name?

I could give some long explanation about Lutheran history and denominational mergers or a passionate defense of Luther’s original use of the term, both of which explain why we ended up as the ELCA, but there is more to the story. It’s about our identity as Christians. We are, after all, an apostolic Church, sent out to proclaim the euangelium, or Gospel (and the root word for evangelism).

We tend to think of evangelism as spreading the right knowledge of how a person gets to Heaven, as though we are teaching a secret password to an exclusive club. Knock on a door, share the Good News, and leave knowing that you’ve won another soul for Jesus. One more person out of Hell.

But what if we thought of evangelism as inviting people into right relationship with God and, through God, with our sisters and brothers, our neighbors and our enemies? What if evangelism took longer than the few seconds required to hand out a tract? What if we viewed evangelism as accompanying people on their pilgrimage towards God? And what if the Gospel we  proclaimed had implications on Earth as well as in Heaven?

The early Church understood evangelism as accompaniment. New Christians were sponsored through a long initiation process which led to the Font and to the Table. They were accompanied through poverty. They were accompanied through prison and martyrdom. This tradition survives, in text if not in practice, through the baptismal liturgies which ask for the entire assembled Body at worship to affirm, on behalf of the entire Church catholic, that they will “support [the newly baptized] and pray for them in their new life in Christ” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship liturgy for Holy Baptism).

It’s not a simple promise. It requires that we give of ourselves, to offer love unconditionally and forgiveness abundantly. It requires that we feed the hungry, visit the sick and the imprisoned, clothe the naked, and much, much more. It requires that we weep with those who weep and laugh with those who laugh. That we sow peace where there is anger and violence.

It’s a way of understanding evangelism which builds peace by proclaiming the Gospel of Christ’s Resurrection and acting out of God’s abundant love.

To be evangelical is to be a peacemaker. The one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church is sent out to proclaim the peace of God’s Kingdom. May we be blessed in doing so.

Andrew Lewis is a candidate for ordained ministry in the ELCA. Originally from Georgia, Drew has lived in the Midwest and Germany following his father’s career as a military chaplain. He holds theological degrees from Emory and Lutheran Southern, and is an avid hiker. He and his wife will soon move to Minnesota.