Cahoots! a Festival on Faith, Justice and DIY
I recently returned from an incredible time at Cahoots! a wonderful inter-generational ecumenical event hosted by the Student Christian Movement and The Beans Sprout Collective. The four-day event was filled with music, discussion, incredible vegan food, and 155 enthusiastic participants.
Hosted at Silver Lake Mennonite Camp near Sauble Beach, the atmosphere was refreshing despite the exhausting jam-packed schedule.
As church or faith related conferences/events go I was pleasantly surprised by the spirit of conversation and exploration. This atmosphere made workshops such as “Radical Theology ” with Ken Dryfhout, “Jesus vs. The Establishment” with Torkil Hvidsten, and “ Where Do We Go From Here? Dialoguing Across Difference” with Brad Culver, all incredible opportunities for connection. I found myself intrigued by the ideas presented, the experiences shared and the wide variety of Christian, and other faith, traditions present.
As well, I was encouraged by the immense support participants expressed for one another as ideas, struggles, frustrations and passions were shared. As I shared in our closing debrief, I appreciated the opportunity to find other co-conspirators in Holy mischief–to be inspired by the stories of their work and invited into new opportunities to pursue the Kingdom of God on earth. It was wonderful to see the daily and larger scale work that was witnessed to, in so many diverse areas of social justice.
Another thing that struck me was how participants interacted with one another; there was a kindness and consideration I don’t usual experience. Not to say that I am not surrounded by a community of loving and caring individuals, but that we do live in a culture that is anti-consent and anti-vulnerability. It seemed so easy to feel comfortable in an environment that was careful, as we navigated sensitive topics and experiences, to be sensitive to those around. Validating experiences, expressing support during times of sharing, asking for consent before touching, and respecting emotional and physical boundaries. These are simple things we have been socialized to ignore, but they can do much to create a safe space for its participants.
All in all, it was an incredible experience. I, admittedly, can barely wait for next year’s festival. A chance, perhaps, to share what I’ve done with the tools and inspiration I’ve walked away with this year.
(Photo credit to the Cahoots! media team.)