A few years back, I attended the first gathering of the Wild Goose Festival in North Carolina. The Wild Goose festival is an American planting of a Christian arts and justice festival from England called the Greenbelt Festival. The American version - the Wild Goose - takes its name from a Celtic metaphor for the Holy Spirit.

At the festival, I had the opportunity to hear Phyllis Tickle speak about the Great Emergence in Christianity. Her premise is interesting: every 500 years Christianity reinvents itself through a great seismic shift - and that we are in the midst of one today. I had heard this theory before, since her work is popular amongst the Christian writers and speakers that I follow. But she went on to say something I had not heard: that she believes we are entering into the "age of the Holy Spirit." While apostolic Christianity focused on God the Father, and Protestant Christianity focused on Christ the Son, she believes that our future in emergence Christianity is now with a renewed focus on the Holy Spirit.

Looking at global trends you can see that she may be right - Pentecostalism is on the rise as a global phenomenon. In less charismatic circles, many Americans who find themselves pulling away from doctrinal faith and searching under the banner of "spiritual but not religious" may in fact be - in some way - chasing the Wild Goose. As religious leaders, we would be wise to at least listen for it in those settings.