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Photo Credit: Sojo.net

Wild Goose Festival: Day 1

After getting myself oriented to the locations of various buildings and listening to a few speakers, I was looking forward to hearing Josh Garrels in concert. Unfortunately, the main stage was running about a 1/2 hour behind. “Very well,” I said to myself, “I’ll just wait and catch half the show later.” In the process, I got to hear some delightful Sacred Harp music, one of my favorite forms of American hymnody. Finally, at 9:30, it was time for the one musical performer I hoped to enjoy.

I was foiled in my spectatorial endeavor by an unscheduled presentation by Lisa Sharon Harper and some other Sojourner’s representatives. Harper invited the audience to join with her in a “liturgy” not of evening confession and petition, but rather of role-playing about social justice issues. Tonight featured an exciting pseudo-drama of illegal immigration.

The audience broke out into groups of three. The first person was a high schooler named “Paul” or “Paula,” who had been born and raised in America knowing only English as their primary language. The second person represented their parent, a Honduran refugee who escaped political turmoil during the 1980s and now actively participates in the PTA, church, and their child’s life. Person #3 is where things got interesting. This person represented the nasty, scary DHS immigration enforcement official whose organization’s EVIL agenda tears families apart (some exaggeration here, but that was exactly the kind of pathos elicited).

The official separated parent from child since said parent had overstayed his or her legal time in the U.S., effectively breaking the law for over twenty years or so. The whole scenario was assuredly intended to encourage participants to “cry out for justice” (though the rule of law evidently wasn’t a strong concern for the drama, at least). Later on, the Sojo spokespeople praised the current administration’s executive order to stop deporting illegal immigrants. Various immigration advocates hope that this will lead to liberalized paths to citizenship, especially for the young and law-abiding. Since the president’s unilateral decision remains constitutionally dubious, some American citizens hope that any reforms in this area would be decided in the legislative rather than executive sphere and would be well-enforced by the executive branch. If constitutional restraints give way completely, the future of American government (especially regarding what liberty is left to the country’s citizens, regardless of religious creed) would be rather bleak.

I’m all for immigration reforms, which these days are tied strongly with economic reform. I also resent the cheapening of the term “liturgy.” As theologian Alexander Schmeman observed, “liturgy” that merely addresses a single political issue in protest and falls away once a government policy decision is made hardly qualifies as liturgy at all. More pertinent to the case at hand, Wild Goose boasts a “moderate” image according to its adherents. Nevertheless, their position on immigration issues is decidedly on the liberal side. Granted the position has widespread appeal even with traditional Christians, but the political position itself is spearheaded by progressives of various stripes. I can’t help noticing that most Wild Goosers’ position on immigration along with most policy issues stands as strongly progressive. As such, maybe it’s time to stop sporting the “rejection of political power” image when exhibiting outspoken political bias and pushing for said positions in the public square.

That, and I had to leave at 10, so I missed this guy.