One of the things we were curious about as we headed to the PAPA Festival last Thursday was who would show up. While we had joked that this would be a Christian hippie fest, in reality none of us were sure what to expect.
According to my highly unscientific observations, there appeared to be a few broad categories of folks who made their way to Plow Creek Farm for this gathering.
- While I’m not sure I’d call PAPA a hippie festival, there were plenty of folks there who seemed to identify with that subculture. Our friend Weston, who came out from California and camped with us, pointed out that the nature of the event was bound to attract those with a counter-cultural mentality.
- This mentality would also be true of those with anarchists leanings. My friend Bob attended a session called, The Poverty of Civilization and the Apathy of Christian Anarchists. I’ve been to a number of Christian conferences and have never seen a session offered about anarchy.
- There were a number of (relatively) older folks who had lived in intentional community for some time. I found conversations with people like Jeff Brabbam (aka Shlomo) of Rheba Place and Leroy Barber of Mission Year to be very insightful.
- A couple of tents down from ours was a group from a Bruderhof Community in New York. With their conservative dress this group stood out a bit from the rest of the campers. Bob and I had some great conversations with one of the guys from this group and I left interested to learn more about this community. We also have a standing invitation to visit their community.
- Finally, there were people like the Swansons and Davidsons: families and individuals who were interested in exploring the idea of intentional community. In some ways we were the outsiders of the festival. I often felt I had very little to contribute to the conversation about community among those who have been living it out in such radical ways.
As best I could tell, a major commonality among these diverse groups was a desire to pursue Christ in the context of intentional community. I’ll write one more PAPA Festival post about things I observed and learned about community during our 3 days on the farm.