Last year, The Blaze told you about the Wild Goose Festival, a new-found music, arts and celebratory event with a left-of-center focus. The multi-day event, which drew thousands, was a rallying point for America's Christian left. This year, the event commenced once again -- and with some intriguing statements and activities worth noting.
From June 21-24, Pastor Jim Wallis, among other liberal faith leaders, descended upon Shakori Hills, North Carolina, to tout "justice and spirituality," to talk up Occupy and to engage in praise and worship practices that would make some more conservative Christians uncomfortable, to say the least.
Naturally, the annual event continues to embrace the "social justice" mantra, while seeking to market Christianity in a more favorable light. According to the event's "about us" page, "many people perceive and experience Christianity to be divisive, prejudiced, sometimes even violent, and often full of guilt." Instead, those behind the festival want to see the faith be a "life-giving source for the common good."
This all seems very general of course and the speakers and performers attending the event likely have different views on some more contentious issues like gay marriage and abortion. Still, the leftist streak is evident, particularly when it comes to economic issues (but there's plenty of social liberalism embedded there as well).
Here's a video that advertises many of the progressive names who ended up speaking and performing at the event:
Of course, the Occupy movement, which has dominated headlines in both 2011 and 2012, was a focus of conversation at the event. Interestingly, a series of clips featuring Wallis and other leftist leaders has emerged in which each individual offers praise for Occupy's efforts.
"The Occupy movement has, I think, created space...for a new conversation about inequality and that has been its great contribution," Wallis said in a clip captured last week at the event. "While it's not a religious movement, there's a deep openness that I found. Jesus is actually very popular at Occupy."
Watch Wallis discuss the so-called movement of the 99 percent, below:
Then there's Frank Schaeffer, the far-leftist son of theologian Frances Schaefer (he has had plenty of unsavory things to say about the Christian right in the past, as noted previously on The Blaze). In his interview about Occupy, Schaeffer claims that President Barack Obama is sympathetic to the poor, while Republicans are "the party of Wall Street." He also said that it is a Christian's duty to explore Occupy's tenets.
"Occupy Wall Street is a movement that is a duty to participate in, to support, for the reasons that it states of standing up for the 99 percent and asking questions but also to help the Obama administration to do what it what like to do...," Schaeffer proclaims.
Here are his comments, below:
And Lisa Harper, Sojourners' director for mobilizing (who yesterday overtly praised the Supreme Court's health care ruling), also weighed in. Here's her supportive commentary on the Occupy movement:
Oh and be sure not to miss the "beer and hymns" performance, during which Wild Goose Festival participants apparently drank alcohol en masse, while singing praise and worship songs. Sojourners explains the background:
Here's an example: Throughout the weekend, Fullsteam, a craft brewery in nearby Durham owned by an alumnus of Wheaton College (yes, that Wheaton) sold selling beer to quench the thirst of Goosers during late night sessions and performances (a la Homebrewed Christianity, etc.). And on Saturday afternoon — call it an early evening happy hour — a group of rag-tag musicians, armed with a few folk instruments, a trumpet and percussion, led a jolly crowd of more than 100 in Sunday School choruses and old-timey spirituals. They called it, “Beer and Hymns."
There, caught up in a holy wind of hops and hope, we reimagined what church might be during an ad hoc version of “He’s got the Whole World in His Hands.” We the motley worshippers alternated “He’s got the whole world” with “She’s got the whole world,” proudly singing at the top of our lungs, “She’s got the liberals and conservatives / the gays and straights / and a big ole mug of beer/ in her hands.”
Watch it for yourself, below:
In the end, the mission of the Wild Goose Festival seems clear based on those who embrace it. It's a festival for the Christian left and one that possesses sentiments that the majority of evangelicals (who tend to skew conservative) wouldn't embrace.