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the main stage

     The Place

 

Wild Goose is hard to describe. It’s something like a Christian music and arts festival. But the music doesn’t suck, and the adults are generally excited to be there. Plus hipster food stalls and craft beer.

 

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dusk during a thunderstorm

 

The crowd was inclusive, interdenominational, interreligious, with an abundance of inked bodies, rainbow haircuts, and creative piercings. It kind of felt like all of downtown Berkeley showed up for a weekend of camping and music in North Carolina: an exodus gathering of my lost tribe.

 

The days were filled with workshops and lectures. The nights were packed with events like Silent Disco, Beer and Hymns, even prayer groups (for Christians still into that).

 

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a packed house for beer & hymns

 

It was a place where I could fit without feelings of pretention or hypocrisy.

 

I shook hands with Michael Gungor of Liturgist fame, high-fived Tripp Fuller from Homebrewed Christianity, and even squeezed in a question during a live recording of Ask Science Mike.

 

Science Mike is on the right

me and science mike (don’t look at me I look terrible)

     The Reason

It wasn’t all fun and games, though. When I wasn’t rubbing elbows with the stars, I was working the Apocryphile Press booth with John Mabry and Steve Case.

 

I’m not a natural salesperson, so hawking goods was not my favorite part of the weekend. Sales were slow at first, but they picked up on Saturday—the busiest day of the festival, and the only day without torrential rain and thunderstorms.

 

A multitude of John’s books on Christian mysticism and world religions sold very well. My book on Revelation hardly sold at all—but it did sell.

 

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the apocryphile press booth

 

Steve’s books fared much better. One customer perusing our wares stopped suddenly and exclaimed, “Oh, you sell Steve Case! I’ve been using his Caffeine series and my kids love it—he’s one of my favorites!” She talked for about two more minutes before she figured out she was actually talking to Steve—then she lost her mind.

 

Like most hobbits I don’t travel well, and I’m not outdoorsy, but a few times I slipped away to the river and stuck my feet in the water, to escape the heat and the people, to close my eyes and think about things. Things like the old fashioned camp meetings I went to as a kid; who I’ve become since then; where I’m headed. Once I drifted off to sleep beside the riverbed like an awkward, sweaty Tom Sawyer, and left Steve and John to fend for themselves.

 

There were too many bands and artists to keep track of. I caught Matt Maher on Thursday night, the Pinkerton Raid on day two (three? It’s all a blur), and the Indigo Girls on Saturday.

 

On Sunday morning we were up and out of there. We hit the airport early, where we found blessed, blessed WiFi.

 

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the river


 

Bonus Pics: My Favorite T-Shirts

 

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Written by Justin Staller

Justin studies Christian Spirituality at the GTU, where he received his M.A. in Biblical Languages after earning his B.A. in Religious Studies at Cal. Justin is also member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Catholic Biblical Association, and the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality.

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