The Intersection of Story and Spirit ​

Several years ago my wife Jenny and I took a road trip to North Carolina to take part in the first-ever Wild Goose Festival. We didn’t really know what to expect. We had attended “Christian” conferences and festivals before, but nothing quite like this. Wild Goose was an eclectic gathering of artists, storytellers, musicians, activists, organizers, poets, prophets, and everything in between. It was a joyous celebration of art, music, justice, and spirituality. We found it to be the most open, inclusive, loving community we had ever experienced.

After four days at the festival we left Wild Goose, but the spirit of Wild Goose has never left us. More than ever, we long to create spaces that are open, inclusive, and loving. We’re passionate about celebrating art, music, and beauty as good gifts of a good God. We strive to seek justice, resist injustice, dismantle oppression, and join the Spirit’s work of healing and restoring all creation. And we lead a diverse, eclectic, beautiful community called StoryHouse.

StoryHouse is a church for the rest of us. An open, inclusive, loving church. A church that tries to look and live and love like Jesus. Jesus always invited and welcomed everybody. He included everybody. He loved everybody. And it got him into all kinds of trouble. The only people who were ever excluded were those who excluded themselves by excluding others. So we work hard to welcome, include, and love everyone, especially people from vulnerable and marginalized communities. After all, if our gospel is not good news to the poor, people of color, women, LGBTQ people, immigrants, refugees, and everybody else, then it’s not the gospel.

At StoryHouse, we try to be inclusive not just of who people are, but also of where they are on their spiritual journeys. A church should be a community in which you can be open and honest about your questions, doubts, struggles, and brokenness. Questions are good and healthy. Questions are a sign that you’re alive and engaged. And doubts aren’t evil or sinful. Faith is not the absence of doubt. It’s the presence of trust. We all have beliefs and ideas that animate us, inspire us, and sustain us, but we don’t have to believe all the same things before we can belong to a community together. So as a church, we create space for all kinds of people with all kinds of perspectives. We don’t claim to have all the answers. But we hope to ask the right questions.

If StoryHouse is a church for the rest of us, then Intersections promises to be an event / experience / movement for the rest of us. A festival that brings the spirit of Wild Goose to the urban core of Jacksonville. A celebration of beauty, diversity, creativity, and community. A chance to engage with art, music, justice, and spirit. A place to tell stories, ask questions, and enjoy conversations with friends old and new. And a space in which everyone is welcomed, included, and loved.

If you’re wondering if Intersections is for you, it is. If you’re wondering if you’ll be welcomed, you will. StoryHouse will be there. Jenny and I will be there. We hope you’ll be there too.

– Nathan Hamm

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