How to explain the Wild Goose? Well, to quote my theme for my blog, I am going to attempt to document that which resists documentation. Today’s story starts with an image that I swear I would never put on this blog, for what I hope is obvious reasons. I’ve been overshadowed all my life by my doppelganger (in name only), and now his memoir ends up at the Wild Goose. Why? I can’t explain it but now allow me to show you the whole picture.
What you see is a strange juxtaposition of books that somehow starts to explain my spiritual journey. The Defrocked book deals with a Methodist minister who presided over his own son’s marriage to his male partner. I won’t go into details other than to say that it represents my upbringing in the Methodist church and my subsequent wandering away from the community of believers that struggles with a doctrinal identity, trying to keep together a body that is fracturing.
On the left you can see two books by my spiritual mentor in San Francisco, Mark Scandrette. His second book, Practicing the Way of Jesus, and his third book, Free, Spending your Time and Money on What Matters Most, are both there.
If you allow me a bit of creative license, I find it striking that the faith of my youth is still seemingly stuck on doctrine and discipline of the church, where my faith now is grounded on making decisions everyday that reflect my desire to live a life that reflects Jesus, not the human institution of church or religion.
This is what Wild Goose nurtures. The name Wild Goose is taken from a Celtic symbol of the Holy Spirit, the wild goose. Notice that it is not the Tame Goose or the Domesticated Goose. Throughout history, the Spirit, Jesus, and even Yaweh have been domesticated by humanity due to our desire to control our world. It is inherent in our nature to want to be like god, reduce the unknown, and organize things that are known into our human structures of hierarchy.
But I’m getting off topic. And that is what happens often here. The people who are here are hungry for answers to questions that aren’t often asked in churches. So they come here to ask, to discuss, to sing, to read, to pray and to find other souls who are loving, patient, and trying to figure out where to step next in their faith walk.
I grew up thinking that walking in faith was a straight line. Sort of like this.
But now I know it is nothing like that. There are only a few people in my life that know most of my journey. My friend Ron is one of them. The others are my friends Andy and Edie who I know from my Georgia Tech days, both who were part of my fraternity. They were the odd ones from my early days, going to an Episcopal Church when all my other friends (and me) were at fairly conservative evangelical churches. We’ve stayed in touch through all the years and journeys, and I was glad to find out they were coming to the Goose this year.
We fixed them dinner tonight and ate it overlooking a beautiful creek, enjoying some early evening rain to dampen the afternoon heat. They’ve gone through a similar faith journey as mine, and so far they have enjoyed the Wild Goose. It’s nice to know that in the infinite variability of humankind, you can find friends that resonate throughout life. We have many similarities, including the habit of not conforming during group pictures.
I end this post with the thought that faith is built from stories. Stories of Yaweh calling his people and guiding them to the promised land. Stories of Jesus turning the established order of faith on its head. Stories of people like Paul Stanley. The Wild Goose brings these stories together to make an incredible rich and varied tapestry of love, faith and truth.
It also brings together people who like to drink beer and sing hymns. I only have a photo tonight, but promise a video once I get back to faster internet connections.