Barton Gingerich, writing for the Institute on Religion & Democracy’s blog, reported on this year’s Wild Goose Festival held in Hot Springs, North Carolina. The story, Ex-Evangelicals & Chili Cornbread Eucharist, is a fascinating but disturbing look at the outer rings of the emergent theological spectrum.
The invitation page on their website offers the following:
“We dream of a movement where everyone is welcome to participate. We are intentionally building a space in which we invite everyone to value, respect, and fully affirm people of any ethnicity, age, gender, gender expression, sexual identity, education, bodily condition, religious affiliation, or economic background, particularly the marginalized. We are committed to fair trade, gift exchange, ecological sanity, and economic inclusion. We strive for high standards of mutual respect, non-hierarchical leadership, and participative planning.”
Doesn’t that feel good? All aboard! Love wins.
Some of my favorite quotes from Barton’s story:
Perhaps the perfect encapsulation of Wild Goose was its chili cornbread Eucharist. Touted as an example of “bioregional discipleship,” the service featured a “good old fashioned altar call tonight at communion,” where supplicants would repent of their “consumer lifestyle” and “petroleum-based investments.”
Apparently, the most important questions surrounding the sacrament aren’t about Christ’s presence and substance, but instead whether or not the ingredients are certified fair trade organic.
Wild Goose “elder” Vincent Harding addressed the opening invocation to “Mother-Father God, Benevolent Being,” “the spirits of those who came before,” and “the spirit of the earth.” Observers might not know where this flock is headed, but it’s definitely not north.
I was surprised to see IVP Press as one of the sponsors and Phillip Yancy as a speaker. Then again not much surprises me these days. I would like to think that those who are somewhat at the center of the Emergent Movement, Doug Pagitt, Tony Jones, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Rob Bell would be reluctant to stand that far out on the edge but I’m being steadily liberated from that expectation . I know there’s a lot of talk about mutual respect and being a part of the “conversation” but this conversation is sadly leading many astray.