How Do We Love?


How do we love?

This is a question that kept coming up in my mind over the last weekend as I traipsed around the hills of North Carolina at the Wild Goose Festival. I feel like for much of my life I have been in spaces where people talk a good game about the hospitality and love of Christ but when it comes to practice it often falls on its face. Because, well-loving people and being hospitable is hard and messy work, and very often can uncover or lead to difficult realizations.  So when one enters into a community culture like the Wild Goose Festival that seeks to engage in radical hospitality and love, many diverse feelings and reflections can rise to the surface. Through out the weekend, I felt the tension of conflicting emotions as I listen to people like Nadia Boltz-Weber, Rev. William Barber, and Mickey ScottBey Jones. Desires to engage in the work of changing the world and offering radical hospitality and love, and the anxiety and fear about what that kind of calling and desire actually mean in reality. I think we all in our idealized versions of ourselves want to be the people who work for change, who risk for the sake of the other, who work for reconciliation and redemption of those who are captive to various forms of oppression. But that idealized view doesn’t account for the sticky oppressive heat of a North Carolina afternoon or the pain of biting flies nipping at your exposed skin or the messiness of engaging with unintended harm in relationships. And so the gulf between the idealized and the actual embodied reality is deep and wide and can feel like too much of a risk.  

Yet, the uniqueness of Wild Goose, and what I hope we can bring back to Mission Hills, is the opening of "brave space." Space to risk and try in spite of the discomfort. In essence, the opportunity to engage in the messiness of the life and Gospel of Christ--- to take the risk and bumble through the hard conversations like sexism, homophobia, racism, and prejudice. May we remind each other that God's table always has an open invitation and continually moves toward the margins.  There is space enough for all, even for those who don’t want to come to the table, the space is always open, you are always invited back to the table to try again.

-Jessi Knippel