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November 28, 2011


Wild Goose:  The Chase is on

Wild Goose: The Chase Is On

On June 23, 2011, a four day event called The Wild Goose Festival got underway at Shakori Hills, North Carolina, sponsored by key figures in the Emergent Church movement.  The month before it was held, Executive Director Gareth Higgins announced the upcoming festival as a “gathering at the intersection of justice, spirituality and art with the firm intention of becoming a unique and significant space promoting social change in the US and elsewhere,” patterned after the Greenbelt Festival held annually in the United Kingdom since 1974, which Mr. Higgins described as “a UK center for spiritual activism on climate change, poverty, social inclusion, and prejudice.” He added, “We want Wild Goose to do the same in North America.”

The organizers identify themselves as “followers of Jesus creating a festival of justice, spirituality, music and the arts. The festival is rooted in the Christian tradition and therefore open to all regardless of belief, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, denomination or religious affiliation.”  The Festival website makes reference to the wild goose as “a Celtic metaphor for the Holy Spirit” in an apparent contrast to the more pacific image of the dove found in the New Testament.  Although it is by no means certain that Celtic Christians did in fact adopt the wild goose as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, it could prove to be an appropriate mascot for the Emergent Church since its wild and noisy behavior holds an appeal for some contemporary professing Christians who seem eager to be taken in unpredictable directions.  This would certainly account for the line-up of featured speakers at the Wild Goose Festival which included prominent progressives like Brain McLaren, Tony Campolo, Jim Wallis, and Richard Rohr.

“Voices of the Emerging Church: The Wild Goose Festival 2011” is a brief video presentation that sets forth the views and issues addressed by some of its more well known participants, including Pastor Doug Pagitt‘s frank admission that “critics are right about this emerging movement in the sense that it‘s not treating Scripture the way Scripture has been treated.”  A major exercise in understatement, to be sure. 

A reporter for The Economist who attended the event, along with approximately 1500 other people, has provided this account of what went on there:

Instead of Bible studies, there were labyrinth walks. Instead of praise-and-worship music, there was hymn-singing in a beer garden and a bluegrass liturgy presided over by a tattooed female Lutheran minister. Visitors were greeted with buckets of water in which to baptise themselves, and tubs of mud to remind them that “dust thou art”. (In Britain, the mud is usually underfoot.) Lecture topics ranged from sex trafficking and social justice to authority in the church and interfaith relations. Visitors could learn from Tom Prasada-Rao, a singer, how to chant “Om” and “Hallelujah Hare Krishna”, or hear Paul Fromberg, a pastor from San Francisco, talking about his 2005 wedding to another man. “God is changing the church through the bodies of gay men,” Mr Fromberg told a packed session on human sexuality. Also under discussion was “religious multiple belonging”—in other words, belonging to a clutch of different faiths at once.

Several disillusioned evangelical leaders attended. One was Jay Bakker, son of Jim and Tammy Bakker of the defunct-Praise-the-Lord-TV-network fame, who gave meandering talks on growing up fundamentalist. Frank Schaeffer, who has made a career out of criticising his evangelical parents Francis and Edith Schaeffer, called the Bible “Bronze-Age mythology” and confessed he had a “conflicted ambivalence” about abortion. 

We’re a laboratory for justice, spirituality and art in the way of Jesus,” explained Gareth Higgins, the festival director and a peace activist from Belfast who has worked with Greenbelt and now lives in North Carolina. He and other organisers managed, miraculously, to recruit 150 musicians and speakers, none of whom charged for their services. They hope that the emergent cohort will rise from the ashes of an evangelicalism ruined by right-wing politics. As 78-year-old Phyllis Tickle, author of several books on emergent Christianity, put it, “We’re at the start of a 500-year upheaval in culture and the church.

Even those who are not overly familiar with the Emergent Church movement may recognize the name Jay Bakker.  Following in the footsteps of his famous parents, although he clearly does not share all of their beliefs, Bakker is now the pastor of his own “Revolution” Church in Brooklyn, New York, and he has achieved additional notoriety in recent years through his open endorsement of gay marriage.  This has caused the measure of support he once enjoyed in some Christian circles to taper off and he is now fond of quoting Martin Luther King: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”  Mr. Bakker can be seen here stating his position on gay marriage to the congregation of Grace Church, an announcement which appears to have had a somewhat disconcerting effect on many of his listeners.

In 2008, Bakker served as part of Soulforce’s “Operation Family Outing” campaign and went along to help with their efforts “to create meaningful conversations about faith, family, and LGBT people” at Evangelical mega-churches around the country.  Soulforce is a gay rights organization “committed to freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people from religious and political oppression through relentless nonviolent resistance.”  The primary aim of “Operation Family Outing” was an attempt to influence the targeted churches in a more “gay friendly” direction.

On Mother’s Day, Bakker and his band of activists visited Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, pastored by Joel Osteen.  Although they were given a polite reception and allowed to attend a worship service as a group, Bakker later expressed his disappointment over the fact that Pastor Osteen and his staff were apparently unwilling to engage in the kind of meeting and dialogue they had in mind.  This was in marked contrast to the much more open response Soulforce met with when some of its representatives appeared at Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, Illinois for the same purpose.  In a statement released after their trip to Lakewood, Bakker said:

Joel Osteen and his family were very kind and courteous. They reserved special seats for our group of families, and they spoke compassionately to me on the first Mother’s Day since my mom’s death. But our conversation indicated that they do not share our convictions and that Lakewood Church is not yet ready for an open dialogue with LGBT families. 

I believe it’s important for the church to have these conversations, because we are all one body. Open dialogue can dispel the fearful misperceptions that keep us apart. In the end, it’s about communion and loving one another in spite of our differences.

“I have hope for the future that LGBT families will be able to meet with Lakewood Church eventually.”

  Mr. Bakker’s own efforts to make the Church more “gay friendly” have continued and he appears in this video, “Speaking Out: Faith and Sexuality - The Wild Goose Festival 2011.”

Another person of interest who was actively involved in the Wild Goose Festival is Lynne Hybels, wife of Bill Hybels, founder and pastor of Willow Creek Community Church.  After it was announced that she would be a speaker at the event, on May 13, 2011, Mrs. Hybels posted an entry on her blog entitled, “I’m So Excited About Wild Goose!” in which she stated: “Even if I weren’t speaking at Wild Goose, I’d be attending anyway. I can’t wait!”  Mrs. Hybels was there to participate in a panel discussion following a showing of the film, “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” along with Brian McLaren, a leader of the Emergent Church movement, and Ian Cron, a liberal Episcopal priest.

The film is a controversial documentary about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict produced by Sami Awad of the Holy Land Trust.  It is currently being promoted by Mrs. Hybels and other Evangelical Christians with a “progressive” outlook, but has received conservative criticism for “comparing the Palestinian Intifada with the Civil Rights Movement in America and ignoring Islamic Palestinian terrorism aimed at Israel.”

Mrs. Hybels did express what might be considered a slight concern about the challenges presented to an Evangelical Christian at such a gathering, but nevertheless remained confident that attending it would be a worthwhile thing to do:

I suspect I’ll be one of the older attendees at the Wild Goose Festival, and it’s possible I will not resonate completely with every perspective and opinion presented—but that’s why I’m so excited to go. I want to be challenged to learn and stretch and grow. After three years of traveling extensively in troubled regions of the world, I am fiercely gripped by the importance of personal relationships and friendship, I am increasingly committed to peace-building, and I am more impressed than ever with the way of Jesus. Wild Goose seems like the next right step on my journey of learning and of loving God’s beautiful but broken world.

  Her blog does not contain a follow-up posting which discloses to what extent, and in what sense, she was able to “learn, stretch, and grow” by participating in the event, nor has she shared with us what parts, if any, failed to “resonate” with her.  Since she would have been “attending anyway” apart from her role as a prominent speaker, presumably she took at least some notice of what was going on both before and after the screening of “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”  It would certainly be interesting to hear any observations she might wish to make about the rest of it. 

In his own appraisal of how things went, Garreth Higgins had this to say:

Whether it’s the Arab Spring, the #Occupy movement, or any one of a thousand local grass roots endeavors, people are rising up to give voice to their desire to see wrongs righted, and a society transformed. Everyone wants change. Everyone wants things to be better.
. . .

Some of us got together this past summer in North Carolina, to collectively give birth to the Wild Goose Festival, a four day gathering at the intersection of justice, spirituality and art. We found ourselves doing something like a Woodstock or Burning Man for Christians (and people who are spiritual but not religious). We took further inspiration from the Greenbelt festival in the UK – from where the One campaign, the Jubilee 2000 movement to end Third World debt, and the Fair Trade movement all became mainstreamed within UK religious culture. Wild Goose seeks to be a significant, culture-shaping national annual gathering that will work to educate and inspire a generation of Christians alienated by the Religious Right, engaged in social justice and peacemaking, recipients of and participants in creative arts, committed to dialogue across faith and political boundaries, ethnically diverse, and both aware of the shadow side of religion and committed to embodying its best visions.

The “Wild Goose” is scheduled to fly again at the next festival set for June 21-24, 2012, during a crucial election year in which these emerging architects of “social justice and peacemaking” will no doubt have a great deal more to share with the rest of us while thinking and acting under its influence.  That should be fascinating.


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37 comments

The self-regard is hard to believe -even comic.

My favorite comment - “I am more than ever impressed with the way of Jesus….”

[1] Posted by ct layperson on 11-28-2011 at 08:31 AM · [top]

So who, exactly, is the spiritual head of the Hybels household?  Seems like more disconcerting news from the Willow Creek direction.

[2] Posted by Daniel on 11-28-2011 at 08:46 AM · [top]

“Instead of Bible studies, there were labyrinth walks. Instead of praise-and-worship music, there was hymn-singing in a beer garden and a bluegrass liturgy presided over by a tattooed female Lutheran minister. Visitors were greeted with buckets of water in which to baptise themselves, and tubs of mud to remind them that “dust thou art”. (In Britain, the mud is usually underfoot.) Lecture topics ranged from sex trafficking and social justice to authority in the church and interfaith relations. Visitors could learn from Tom Prasada-Rao, a singer, how to chant “Om” and “Hallelujah Hare Krishna”, or hear Paul Fromberg, a pastor from San Francisco, talking about his 2005 wedding to another man. “God is changing the church through the bodies of gay men,” Mr Fromberg told a packed session on human sexuality. Also under discussion was “religious multiple belonging”—in other words, belonging to a clutch of different faiths at once.”

Wow—it’s like a Free Church version of an Episcopal General Convention!

My favorite line was this one: “The festival is rooted in the Christian tradition and therefore open to all regardless of belief . . . “

On a related note, it seems clear that Episcopalienated was accurate and right in wishing to explore the themes related to Willow Creek, Exodus, SoulForce . . . and now Lynne Hybels.  There’s obvious theological reasons why they caved to SoulForce and deleted Exodus and those actions were but a natural progression.  Huge thanks to Episcopalienated for all of his determined research and writing—there’s no way that a bunch of TEC members/bloggers like me, Greg, or Jackie would have pursued this line of exploration with another large Christian entity like Willow Creek and its leaders.

[3] Posted by Sarah on 11-28-2011 at 09:02 AM · [top]

Visitors could learn from Tom Prasada-Rao, a singer, how to chant “Om” and “Hallelujah Hare Krishna”,

“Om” is the opening word of a Buddhist mantra invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.  Krishna is a name of Lord Vishnu - one of the mythological gods in the trinity of Hindu gods Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.

[4] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 11-28-2011 at 09:06 AM · [top]

It’s hard to know how and where to begin. The mental image produced by “...a bluegrass liturgy presided over by a tattooed female Lutheran minister” is hard to deal with on a Monday morning. But, it gets so much worse. And worse.

“God is changing the church through the bodies of gay men.” I should think that homosexual activist feminists should have something to say about that.

Never underestimate the power of the devil to deceive.

[5] Posted by Ralph on 11-28-2011 at 09:21 AM · [top]

Instead of praise-and-worship music . . .

There was praise and worship music, only of Hindu and Buddhist deities rather than Jesus Christ.  Because our culture is saturated in media, we all underestimate the power of words, for good or for ill. Pagan deities were invoked, invited in.  It doesn’t matter if the persons sang these chants in ignorance or as a lark. Satan does not play fair.  The words give him access to the spirit of the person chanting them, until there has been confession, renunciation, and repentance.

[6] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 11-28-2011 at 09:48 AM · [top]

Sarah:

You know, this Anglo-Catholic did not sit down one fine day and decide to do a great deal of research on Willow Creek or Protestant mega-churches in general, and I certainly haven’t kept up very well with whatever’s going on in the “Emergent Church” movement.  My attention is usually focused on the faux A-Cs and what they’re up to with the “Affirming Catholicism” heresy and I came across the rest of all this almost by accident.

I was, of course, aware of the rupture between Willow Creek and Exodus and considered that to be a very curious thing.  Discussing that matter with friends and fellow parishioners piqued my interest and I took time out from our troubles in the Episcopal Church to look into it a bit further.  The results have been both fascinating and very disturbing.

The first real “smoking gun” I uncovered was Julie Nemecek’s account of what happened at the meeting between Willow Creek and Soulforce, a meeting that I don’t think should ever have been held.  Her version of events remains unchallenged so far by those who would be in a position to correct it if, in fact, it stands in need of correction.  But I now strongly suspect that it does not.

As for Lynne Hybels’ involvement with the Wild Goose Festival . . . that is simply astounding.  If she had done so much as pay a visit to the Wild Goose website, which was put up well before the festival itself, she could not have been entirely unaware of what to expect.  Mrs. Hybels is not simply “the pastor’s wife.”  She is clearly something of a leader and a major figure at Willow Creek and elsewhere in her own right and, at the very least, I think she has set a very poor example for any member of her Church to follow by taking up with some of the rankest heretics in all of Christendom.

It is my sincere hope that conservative Evangelicals who now make up an important part of the Anglican diaspora will do a “heads up” on this one and resolve to be very careful about who they rub elbows with themselves.

Wow—it’s like a Free Church version of an Episcopal General Convention!

Thanks for a hearty laugh on a Monday morning in Advent, followed by a sad shaking of the head.  May heaven help us all.

[7] Posted by episcopalienated on 11-28-2011 at 10:29 AM · [top]

You sure these guys didn’t get lost on their way to Woodstock?  Geeeeez….

[8] Posted by B. Hunter on 11-28-2011 at 10:45 AM · [top]

Sounds more like a divergent church movement to me.

[9] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 11-28-2011 at 11:00 AM · [top]

Sounds like the Occupy Church Movement has begun. Can the end be far away?

[10] Posted by Festivus on 11-28-2011 at 11:26 AM · [top]

Since TEC began its gay lesbian activism, we have witnessed a plethora of heresies and paganism.  It is a completely legitimate question whether the two can be separated.  Now we are witnessing the same thing in the much-touted emerging church.  If the two (full homosexual inclusion and heresies/paganism) can be separated, I have yet to see it.

[11] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 11-28-2011 at 11:50 AM · [top]

“and I am more impressed than ever with the way of Jesus.”
Statements such as the above lead to have more respect for the heretics of old.  Wrong as they were they never were so intellectually lazy to let such a half wit, jaw dropping, pablum laced expression ever cross their writings.

I am done to death with these gad about twittering nimrods who don’t have the sense God gave a goose to grasp the utter twaddle they are braying about.  “The way” of Jesus, indeed!  Such stupid statements ought to be met with a large nerf water gun and a whiffle bat.

[12] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 11-28-2011 at 12:00 PM · [top]

The congregation of the tattooed Lutheran minister meets in an Episcopal church.

[13] Posted by paradoxymoron on 11-28-2011 at 12:17 PM · [top]

I’d much rather go to Burning Man.

[14] Posted by A Senior Priest on 11-28-2011 at 12:27 PM · [top]

Jill #11 - the splintering of righteousness is a forte of today’s churches.  Social justice without personal virtue (and vice versa).  Good works set against right worship (and vice versa).  This morning’s lesson from Amos 2 struck me:

6 Thus says the Lord:
For three transgressions of Israel,
  and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they sell the righteous for silver,
  and the needy for a pair of sandals—
7 they who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth,
  and push the afflicted out of the way;
father and son go in to the same girl,
  so that my holy name is profaned;
8 they lay themselves down beside every altar
  on garments taken in pledge;
and in the house of their God they drink
  wine bought with fines they imposed.

Economic injustice, political corruption, sexual libertinism, and hypocrisy within the church (v. 8) all “profane the holy name” of God. Keeping at one expression of righteousness does not legitimate what is unrighteous.

The most common expression of this splintering I hear is the “Matthew 25 church” slogan.  It takes the last of three powerful parables of the kingdom and drops the first two; the list of “good deeds” is taken as the whole without regard to the Lord’s preceding teaching about spiritual readiness and the use of our talents to bring treasure to our master (people interperet this in a variety of ways but it certainly includes evangelism).

Bringing a pared-down offering while representing it as complete is the sin of Ananias and Saphira in Acts 5, and that seems to be what our cafeteria Gospel movements seem to do.

[15] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 11-28-2011 at 12:44 PM · [top]

I second the thanks for the earlier Willow Creek articles. Willow Creek remains influential through its allied churches, and what we are seeing may be very significant.

[16] Posted by Going Home on 11-28-2011 at 12:55 PM · [top]

This Celtic Christian is very interested to know where this “The Celts used the wild goose as a symbol of the Holy Spirit” stuff came from, because she never heard such a thing in Ireland.

Granted, the Scots and the Welsh may have been doing their own thing, and Iona could have used such, but in an Irish context, at least, the Wild Goose or Wild Geese are more of a political symbol:
“The Flight of the Wild Geese refers to the departure of an Irish Jacobite army under the command of Patrick Sarsfield from Ireland to France, as agreed in the Treaty of Limerick on October 3, 1691, following the end of the Williamite War in Ireland. More broadly, the term “Wild Geese” is used in Irish history to refer to Irish soldiers who left to serve in continental European armies in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.”

Or as Yeats put it in his poem “September 1913”:

“Was it for this the wild geese spread
The grey wing upon every tide;
For this that all that blood was shed,
For this Edward Fitzgerald died,
And Robert Emmet and Wolfe Tone,
All that delirium of the brave?
Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.”

Contrariwise, there are several Irish (and other Celtic) saints with the element “colm” (dove) in their names: Colmcille, also known as Columba; Columbanus; a female St. Columb of Cornwall; all the Colmáns (too many to list).

[17] Posted by Martha on 11-28-2011 at 01:37 PM · [top]

[18] Posted by Jackie on 11-28-2011 at 01:47 PM · [top]

Martha:

This Celtic Christian is very interested to know where this “The Celts used the wild goose as a symbol of the Holy Spirit” stuff came from, because she never heard such a thing in Ireland.

That’s why I was careful to point out that “it is by no means certain that Celtic Christians did in fact adopt the wild goose as a symbol of the Holy Spirit.”

I have come across evidence both pro and con and have a few doubts of my own.

[19] Posted by episcopalienated on 11-28-2011 at 02:29 PM · [top]

#13, thanks for the link - not for the faint of heart. The congregation’s home page speaks loudly. As does their t-shirt.

[20] Posted by Ralph on 11-28-2011 at 03:29 PM · [top]

The Iona Community seems to be both the originator and popularizer of the wild goose imagery. It goes back, according to “Chasing the wild goose: the story of the Iona Community”, to George MacLeod who founded the Iona Community in the late 1930s.

Of course, geese are significant in the mythologies of many cultures.

[21] Posted by driver8 on 11-28-2011 at 03:30 PM · [top]

Here’s a nice little anecdote - from “Gather into One: Praying and Singing Globally” - confirming that the term originated with George MacLeod:

On August 13,2001,1 heard Brian Woodcock, warden of the Iona Community through August 2001, relate a story about the origins of the wild goose as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Ron Ferguson, leader of the community, was asked by George MacLeod about the Celtic origins of the wild goose symbolism. Ferguson told MacLeod that he had borrowed the idea from MacLeod some years earlier. Ferguson then asked MacLeod if the wild goose was indeed a symbol of the Holy Spirit. MacLeod responded. “It is now.”

MacLeod’s father was a Unionist politician serving Glasgow, so I wonder if he knew the term “wild geese” from its usage with reference to Irish history (see #17).

[22] Posted by driver8 on 11-28-2011 at 03:53 PM · [top]

#18, thank you for those sources, Jackie.  Though it appears that either Bill is cogging from the Aisling community, or vice versa, as both sites have word-for-word identical passages.

Please do not think me ungrateful for your efforts when I say that when I read sentences such as “The Celtic Christians, led by St. Patrick, stood in stark contrast to their Roman Catholic counterparts”, I want to slap Bill Tenny-Brittian around the head with a copy of “The Confession of St. Patrick” and the “Letter to Coroticus”, which are generally accepted to have been written by Patrick, and the “Life of Patrick” written in the 7th century.

These do not depict fuzzy-bunny Celtic nature-lovers wandering around being all smiles and inclusiveness, but rather (in his own words)speaking of his labours amongst the Irish “So it is that even if I should wish to separate from them in order to go to Britain, and most willingly was I prepared to go to my homeland and kinsfolk—and not only there, but as far as Gaul to visit the brethren there, so that I might see the faces of the holy ones of my Lord, God knows how strongly I desired this—I am bound by the Spirit, who witnessed to me that if I did so he would mark me out as guilty, and I fear to waste the labour that I began, and not I, but Christ the Lord, who commanded me to come to be with them for the rest of my life, if the Lord shall will it and shield me from every evil, so that I may not sin before him” and in a “Life” of Patrick, that he was reputed to follow austerities as follows:

“Now, this was the rule of his piety, to wit, he used to sing all the psalms with their hymms and canticles and apocalypse, and other prayers every day. He used to baptize, to preach, and to celebrate the hours according to their due order: he used to offer Christ’s Body and his Blood. He used to make the sign of the cross over his face a hundred times from one (canonical) hour to another. In the first watch of the night he used to sing a hundred psalms and make two hundred genuflexions. In the second watch (he used to be) in bare water: the third watch in contemplation: the fourth watch on the cold clay, with a stone under his head and a wet quilt about him. He used to ordain, anoint, and consecrate. He used to bless and cure lepers, the blind, the lame, the deaf, the dumb, and folk of every disease besides. He used to cast out devils; he used to raise the dead to life.”

Even if you think of this as typical hagiographical exaggeration, still it shows that the ‘Celtic Church’ admired ascesis and mortifications and disciplining of the body for the sake of the soul, not the Aisling Community’s idealisation of treating the natural world as though they were proto-environmentalists: “Because Celtic Christians hadn’t been infected with a dualistic outlook on creation, they didn’t see matter as being evil, nor the spiritual world as divorced from the material.”
 
Somehow I do not think this is the kind of thing Bill was speaking of when he burbles “One of the most delightful things I experienced at the National House Church Conference in Denver was a taste of Celtic Christianity.”

More fervent unceasing prayer and evangelisation, Bill, and less “wild goose” chasing, and I’ll be more inclined to listen to you.

[23] Posted by Martha on 11-28-2011 at 05:34 PM · [top]

#22, thank you for that.  So we see that a community from the 1930s is the originator of the phrase, not some notional Celtic Church of the 5th-8th centuries, and yet in the usual way - one person makes a reference this image, another uses that reference, a third party passes it on, and voila!  We get “ancient Celtic wild goose Holy Spirit” in contradistinction to feeble old orthodox Christian iconography.

This is why checking sources is absolutely indispensable.  Given, as I said, that actual Celtic saints were all named “Colm” (dove) and not “Gé” (goose), it’s a bit much to say “Celts referred to the Holy Ghost as the wild goose”.

[24] Posted by Martha on 11-28-2011 at 05:39 PM · [top]

I know it’s vindictive of me, but I would very nearly hand over my firstborn (had I any) to someone who would run a retreat for the likes of Bill to give those seekers a genuine taste of Celtic Christianity, along the lines of, say, the traditional Lough Derg three-day pilgrimage:

“Welcome!  Now that you’re all checked in, please remember that the 72-hour fast starts now!  You may have hot water if you prefer that to cold, but remember: we don’t get to eat the dry toast until the next day!  But don’t worry: we allow soup.  Soup, that is, made by adding pepper and salt to your hot water.

Now that you’ve removed all footwear, you may proceed to walk barefoot over the rocks.  Don’t worry about muddy feet, the constant rain will wash them clean for you!  And of course, the first night prayer vigil where you remain awake 24 hours, with 12 hours spent praying in the chapel, commences right now! Remember: no cheating and sitting down in the pews tonight!  You have to stay on your feet at all times!

Once again, welcome to a taste of authentic Celtic spirituality and I hope you all enjoy this unique opportunity to pray with our forerunners from St. Patrick on down!”

:-D

[25] Posted by Martha on 11-28-2011 at 05:50 PM · [top]

If folks are interested in the history of modern “celtic christianity”, one could read:

Ian Bradley, “Celtic Christianity: Making Myths and Chasing Dreams”
Donald Meek, “The Quest for Celtic Christianity”

[26] Posted by driver8 on 11-28-2011 at 05:54 PM · [top]

I want to slap Bill Tenny-Brittian around the head with a copy of “The Confession of St. Patrick” and the “Letter to Coroticus”

  T’would be a wasted effort, lassie, as the weight is not sufficient to leave a bruise.  Now, should you really want his attention, the Matthew Henry commentary in large print would do just fine.  wink

[27] Posted by Jackie on 11-28-2011 at 07:13 PM · [top]

Alas, the boxed asterik above is SUPPOSED to be a winky smiley.  But evidently Greg is busy counting his IRD loot deep in the underground lair again.

[28] Posted by Jackie on 11-28-2011 at 07:15 PM · [top]

More on the female Lutheran pastor:
She shamelessly cribs from the Episcopalian liturgy.
Here’s the new Episcopalian transgender affirmation rite, courtesy of this Episcopalian partnered lesbian priestess.

[29] Posted by paradoxymoron on 11-28-2011 at 07:29 PM · [top]

The question remains - is Willow Creek giving lip service to their membership?  Are they now setting course to follow the same path ECUSA took oh so many years ago?  These are important questions that need to be answered.

[30] Posted by Jackie on 11-29-2011 at 12:10 AM · [top]

Clicked on “the Episcopal Church” link in Paradoxymoron commet to find the House Church of the Sinners and Saints.  In the FAQ they describe their membership as:

...Maybe a quarter of us identify as Lutherans; the rest are post-Evangelicals, Methodists, agnostics, Reformed, Episcopalian, and the ever popular “nothing”.

  WOW need I say more than Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life.

[31] Posted by Carpe DCN on 11-29-2011 at 08:45 AM · [top]

Here is audio recording of some of the athletic activities that took place at the festival:

http://www.extremetheology.com/2009/09/emergence-sports-network.html

[32] Posted by SpongJohn SquarePantheist on 11-29-2011 at 06:49 PM · [top]

Shakori Hills is the name of a gathering place southwest of Chapel Hill, NC about halfway between Pittsboro and Siler City, NC.  There are a number of such places in the area. Some really strange events are held at some of them.

[33] Posted by TomRightmyer on 12-2-2011 at 01:21 AM · [top]

5.  What an INSULT to bluegrass music….a great American tradition!

[34] Posted by cennydd13 on 12-3-2011 at 12:25 PM · [top]

I live about two miles from Shakori Hills and had decided, by reason of reading the information on their website some months before, not to attend.

My thanks to episcopalienated for the review.

[35] Posted by Todd Granger on 12-18-2011 at 06:20 PM · [top]

And thanks also to Martha for reminding us of the historical revisionism (and hucksterism) behind the latter-day “Celtic Christianity” movements.

I don’t think any of those historical/theological revisionists will take her up on the invitation to the Lough Derg pilgrimage (but what a fantastic idea to offer it to them!).

[36] Posted by Todd Granger on 12-18-2011 at 06:23 PM · [top]

cennydd13 (#34), there actually are some good musical events held at Shakori Hills, including bluegrass events (the real thing, not some faux-liturgical hybrid) with a lot of out of town and local musicians.

[37] Posted by Todd Granger on 12-18-2011 at 06:25 PM · [top]

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