Monday, March 10, 2008

Goatwalker's 16th

Goatwalker's 16th
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
The Urban Goatwalker - our church coffee house - celebrated its 16th anniversary in February. In honor of that, I thought I'd post Rick Axtell's explanation of where the name came from...
The Urban Goatwalker?

The name comes from a book by the late Jim Corbett, an anti-war activist and environmentalist. He led the movement that provided sanctuary to refugees fleeing the wars of Central America in the 1980s.

The book, Goatwalking, builds on Corbett’s experience learning to survive in the desert with the help of a couple of milk goats. As he (illegally) helped refugees make their way to safety, Corbett found that the nourishment provided by a goat or two can provide sustenance in even the harshest environments.
Desert lands. Wilderness.

Corbett explains: “Goatwalking is a way to be at home in wildlands, living on milk and wild foods. It is a means of subsistence. It is also a form of errantry.”

In other words, Goatwalking represents the desire to live freely and simply; to be at home in the desert, in tune with the earth, and out of tune with the false values of a materialistic society. It is a symbol of stepping out “beyond society’s established ways, to live according to one’s inner feelings.”

The desert has always had spiritual and political dimensions. Like Hebrew prophets and desert mystics, Goatwalkers are in touch with the spirits that inhabit profound silence and solitude. They know how to live on what their surroundings offer them and they experience such offerings as a gift. And they demonstrate the type of “livelihood that permits subjugated communities to walk away from the state.”

As Goatwalkers in the desert, Corbett and his friends from Latin America lived beyond the influence of the powers that compel us to conform, and that threaten us when we don’t. Goatwalking develops the clear vision that enables determined resistance to false social expectations and powerful challenges to an illegitimate order.

Perhaps Goatwalking can occur even in urban settings.

Walk away with us. Find nourishment. Listen to some new voices.


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