Emergent Confab

USA Today has a note about a conference/music festival for emergent-types, and it is set to take place next week in North Carolina. It’s called “The Wild Goose Festival,” and conference organizers are expecting about 3,000 to attend. According to the website, here’s what “The Wild Goose Festival” is all about.

“The Wild Goose is a Celtic metaphor for the Holy Spirit. We are 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 speaker line-up is a virtual pantheon of liberal and progressive [ex]evangelical celebrities: Brian McLaren, Jim Wallis, Tony Jones, Tony Campolo, Phyllis Tickle, Shane Claiborne, Frank Schaeffer, Lynn Hybels, and many more.

I recognize some of the musicians, but I have no idea who a good many of them are. Here are some you may recognize: Derek Webb, Andy Gullahorn, David Wilcox, Ashley Cleveland, and Sarah Masen.

There are two reasons that I wish I could make it to this festival. One, I’m a big fan of David Wilcox and would drive a long way to see him play live. Two, since this is “open to all regardless of belief,” I’d like to see what kind of diversity is actually present at this event. My hunch is that the “diversity” that is advertised won’t stray very far from the left side of the theological spectrum. If any of you readers plan to attend, it would be great to see someone blog about this one.


  • yankeegospelgirl

    Also, could somebody explain to me how B follows from A in this sentence?

    “The festival is rooted in the Christian tradition and therefore open to all regardless of belief, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, denomination or religious affiliation.”

  • Matt Powell

    This is fascinating… I too am a big fan of David Wilcox. I would love to see him live. I have never seen/heard his name come up in these circles. very interesting.

  • don sands

    I went to see Shane when he did his Jesus for President tour.
    It’s Christianity-lite. At least he was. But, that’s his heart. He believes in Christ’s death and resurrection for our sins. But he seems to put that second to helping people in this world. I am just the opposite. I have to have Christ crucified first and foremost in my heart and mind, and then I want to love my neighbor as myself.
    Brian Mclaren was there also playing music at half-time, and so I took a stroll about Washington DC. Brian gets under my fingernails a bit.

    have a terrific Lord’s day. I wish I could attend, but they wouldn’t exactly like me too much, sad to say.

  • Jim W

    don sands-I would very much question whether Shane Claiborne really believes what you said. Everything I have ever heard him say or read in his writings, he at best, believes in a universal atonement ala Bell. I have heard him asked directly that very question and he did not answer it. So, if he does believe that, it’s way down his list of ways to get eternal life, with doing good for others at the top of the list. The trouble with his doing good for others, it is the current liberal, modeled-by-Democrats approach with some being more deserving than others. He firmly believes in taking away from those that have (by force, if necessary) and giving that to all who don’t have-whether they actually need it, or are just too lazy to work.
    And, I know, I just veered off into a political rant, but you have to understand Claiborne’s point of view before you can understand what harm he is doing to the Church of Christ.

  • Andy


    I think what they’re saying is that the Christian faith seeks to minister to all and so the function is open to all people to attend – you don’t have to be of one stripe or another to be welcome at, or find value in, the conference.

    That’s my interpretation anyway.

  • yankeegospelgirl

    Well, the true gospel is a scandal and an offense to those who are not in the faith. So I would be surprised if there were any “ministering” going on of the sort that “people of other stripes” really need to hear.

  • donsands

    “..I just veered off into a political rant, but you have to understand Claiborne’s point of view”-Jim

    Well, that’s quite apropriate with Shane. He is quite the political guy. I agree. You may well have him down concerning his theology, I’m not that sure really. I did write him a letter, and he wrote back. I mainly talked with him about Brian McLaren. Funny thing is is that he wrote back with a pen on the back of some kind of paper that had typed written messages from someone else on the back.
    I think he is brother in Christ, but I could be wrong.
    Thanks for sharing.
    have a great week in our Savior’s grace and love.

  • Jim W

    Sorry, donsands, wish I could agree, but I can’t (that he is a brother in Christ). Or to put it another way; he is if Rob Bell, Brian McClaren, etc are. And if they are, then Ghandi was, Hitler will be, and so on. So I seriously doubt it.
    So while I’ve never talked (written letters) with him, I have heard him speak at a local church and while he didn’t deny anything, he also wouldn’t make a stand for anything. Like I said earlier, he was asked directly about certain core beliefs (death and resurrection-what was the point, etc) and he wouldn’t answer. The old adage about enough evidence to convict you as a Christian holds with him. There isn’t.
    Yankeeetc…I agree with you that there won’t be much if any ministering going on. Look up “emergent pillage” and see his comments about trying to minister just on their blog; not even in person. They deleted everything he tried to say.

  • donsands

    “And if they are, then Ghandi was, Hitler will be, and so on. So I seriously doubt it.”

    I don’t get this statement my friend.

    Shane says he is a believer. Ghandi rejected Christ outright. Hitler was Hitler.
    Shane may not be my brother, as you are certain of, but why compare him with these?
    Lot, Jonah, Samson, and so many other Christians in the Bible don’t seem to be, but they are. Grace is the bottom line. God saves 100%. We may not looked saved, but Gos may well save us just the same.
    Eph. 2:8-9

  • Jim W

    donsands-hasn’t Bell been teaching that ultimately everyone goes to heaven? Providing they suffer long enough to realize their error and finally repent? So then, couldn’t Ghandi, Hitler, etc be in Heaven now? That is the path Claiborne takes. No comparison, just putting apples with apples.
    Certainly God’s grace saves us, but does it save us when we don’t believe? No, it makes us believe and then saves us. Claiborne doesn’t believe basic salvation-he believes in works-righteousness. He believes that if he does enough good, he’ll be saved. Does that sound like a brother to you?

  • Paul


    What’s with deleting my comment earlier? I’ll do my best to repost my original thoughts…

    1) You need to know T-Bone Burnett. Outspoken Christian, fantastic producer and a great musician too.

    2) Why are people ex evangelicals if you don’t agree with them? I’m sorry Denny, but if they’re proclaiming Christ crucified and Christ risen for our sins, then they’re Christian, end of story. And if they’re spreading the gospel, then they’re evangelizing. Therefore, they’re evangelicals. Sorry.

    3) there will only be a lack of diversity in the right/left divide if the right refuses to go. You’re promoting it on your site, I am sure that others on the right are talking about it as well. If the right wing refuses to be part of the conversation, then they can’t really complain about the outcomes, can they?

    YGG –

    Why does all ministering need to be fire and brimstone? Sometimes, the best way to lead people to Christ is to lead by example and not merely by lip service.

  • Paul

    YGG –

    Sure. You’re right. No argument there. But I also like the idea of the Christians in Antioch who didn’t call themselves Christians, but, rather, were called Christians by outsiders seeing how they conducted themselves. Or, to actually quote Gandhi instead of disparaging him (as others have done)…

    “If Christians lived the sermon on the mount, the entire world would turn to Christianity.”

    By no means am I a shining example of that. But I think that providing a model for what Christianity is supposed to look like is probably a way better long term plan than what we see all too often: a quick pre-planned speech, a Chick Tract and a smile. And then a post on Facebook about how many souls you won for Christ before you go to bed.

  • yankeegospelgirl

    That quote is completely shallow. Christians are persecuted for living out their faith in other countries. And Jesus expressly said that there were people who would not believe even though one were to rise from the dead.

  • Paul

    That quote is only shallow because you don’t want to be on record as agreeing with Gandhi. Fair enough. The truth of the matter is that unfortunately, the church, throughout the world, has often times said one thing and done another, and Gandhi makes that point quite efficiently in that quote.

    As for persecution, are we not supposed to be living out our faith, and if slapped on one cheek, offer the other, when it comes to religious persecution? And certainly in India, the Christian minority (especially during the time that Gandhi made the remark) had it better than it probably had it anywhere else in the world where Christians are in the minority.

  • yankeegospelgirl

    My point is that all through history, there have been examples of Christians literally willing to die as they live out their faith, and their persecutors aren’t exactly experiencing a great awakening.

  • Darius

    Paul, the reason they are “ex-evangelicals” is that they disagree with basic Evangelical doctrine. It’s pretty simple. And they don’t preach THE Gospel, so they aren’t evangelizing (at least not in the Christian sense). They are trying to draw people into their cult and away from God, so if you want to call that evangelizing, so be it.

  • Paul

    YGG –

    SOME of their persecutors don’t come around. Others do. If even one person comes around as a result of seeing the proper example, then it’s all good in the hood.

    Darius –

    Anyone that doesn’t read The Bible EXACTLY the way you read it is now in a cult? Ridiculous, my friend.

  • Paul

    YGG –

    You obviously misread the quote, then. If Christians lived according to the sermon on the mount, the whole world would turn to Christianity. How many Christians actually do? Most don’t. Myself included.

    Darius —

    Your statement makes no sense.

  • yankeegospelgirl

    No, I didn’t misread the quote.

    More Christians have been persecuted than you realize, and whole countries devote themselves to persecuting Christians. If they aren’t living out the sermon on the mount, I don’t know who are. There’s your chance to test Ghandi’s hypothesis. What’s the result?

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