Bringing the Church Together for Justice

By Richard Rohr 07-19-2011

After having spoken at the Greenbelt Festival in England a number of times now, we at the Center for Action and Contemplation always hoped and planned that we create a similar festival for spirituality and the arts in the United States. We had nothing comparable, and it was a niche waiting and needing to be filled. Therefore, we were honored to be a part of the first Wild Goose Festival in North Carolina last June, and hope that we can convene a truly ecumenical, radical, and socially engaged crowd of people living at the intersection of justice, spirituality, and creativity -- and those who want to be!

As we experience globalization at every level, the only Christianity that truly witnesses to the gospel, to Jesus, and to the larger world is that of Christians who are reconciled to one another and thus can live the gospel at the level of an actual lifestyle, instead of dividing over accidentals of history, and mental abstractions. As an "old" friar of the Franciscan style, I am personally thrilled at the movements of "new friars," "new monastics," red letter Christians, and international participants who are concerned with peace, justice, and the integrity of creation. These Christians, young and old, are overcoming centuries of unnecessary divisiveness between the denominations and traditions and with the "world" that Jesus loved so much. After all, there is no Catholic, Pentecostal, Methodist, or Lutheran way of loving the poor, caring for God's creation, or working for the end to war and weapons.

Having just returned from a retreat that I gave at the Iona Community in Scotland, I know we need the Wild Goose here too! This, as you might know, is one of the ancient and enduring Celtic images for God. The goose is one of the few animals that is faithful to its partner for life, just as God is to the human soul. It's "wildness" is the image of the total freedom of God, a freedom that we have neither allowed nor appreciated, as the Cosmic Christ was "told" who, how, when, and where he could love. Perhaps we are finally ready to give the Gospel back to Jesus and back to our suffering world.

Father Richard Rohr is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province. Click here to read more about the spiritual disciplines of social activists. Learn more about the Wild Goose Festival.

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