Matt Morris invites us to start “troubling the Gospel.”

By June 23, 2016 Guest Post

Not having all the answers but being willing to ask the hard questions – this has been an abiding principle of Wild Goose from its earliest days. And providing the time and space to ask those questions through art, music, words, silence and movement – we believe that’s some of the most important work we do at this festival.

Troub-Gospel_900This year, we’re taking that belief even further with the addition of a new tent called Troubling the Gospel, dedicated to questioning our assumptions, interrogating easy answers, freeing the good news from the boxes it’s been put in, and striving to uncover new meaning in our sacred stories, in light of our own personal stories.

Co-curated by Sean Michael Morris, a critical pedagogue, teacher, and contemplative, and Matthew Morris, musician, blogger, and spiritual explorer, Sean and Matt will also be the primary facilitators for the tent. We asked Matt to tell us more of what we can expect from Troubling the Gospel.

Let’s start with the tent’s name. Why “Troubling the Gospel”? What’s that about?

The Gospel is an orientation, a lens through which things are seen, through which the world is turned upside down.The idea of the Troubling the Gospel tent is not as much to change the way we read the Gospel as it is to recognize the deep ways that the Gospel troubles us. When we do troubling the Gospel work, part of what we’re asking is “how is that connected to the kingdom of God”? What words do we use to describe that kingdom (or kin-dom), what images, what sounds, what memories, what hopes? What do we want the Gospel to say to us, and what is it saying to us? How do we hear the Gospel through others’ words, through our relationships and interactions and collaborations in community? Is the Gospel a work of social justice, and if it is, how do we work to translate that into our work, our social lives, our sense of justice?


So what we will actually find when we walk in the door?

A place of dialogue, art, and collaboration. With a multitude of art supplies to use— crayons, paper, finger paint, Play-doh — musical instruments, writing tools, and more.

Will there be workshops going on in the tent?

This will be both a space of individual reflection, and also of guided participation — with active workshops led by community teachers and artists. Each day, the tent will host  focused sessions working with a specific aspect or idea from the Gospel through one or another artistic medium, such as:

  • Troubling the Gospel with song
  • Troubling the Gospel through art
  • Troubling the Gospel with reflective writing
  • Troubling the Gospel through movement
  • Troubling the Gospel with story
  • Troubling the Gospel through confession
  • Troubling the Gospel through collaboration
  • Troubling the Gospel through dialogue
  • Troubling the Gospel through community building

There won’t be a podium, stage, or presentation space.  We want the participants to be the center of the discussion and work.

Each day will also include hours when visitors to the tent will be

encouraged to engage with a more personal, individual experience of

troubling the Gospel.

So what about the individual work? Will someone be directing that?

Facilitation will always be available during the tent’s open hours, but these individual reflection times will be primarily self-guided. Art, writing, and musical supplies will be on the tables. Each table, too, will include a prompt — a line from the Gospel, a thought or question for reflection, etc. — for visitors to engage with, if they’d like.

So if you had to sum it up in a sentence: Why visit the Troubling the Gospel tent?

So you can engage in and discover deeply personal relationships with the Gospel, its messages, its contexts, the text itself, its resonance, and all its repercussions.