My name is Steve Wiegner. After living in Chicago, IL for several years, I currently live in Vermont. (Both are in the United States.) This blog’s name comes from the first chapter (“Economy”) in Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. The barely legible quote underneath the title reads “. . . they honestly think there is no choice left. But alert and healthy natures remember that the sun rose clear.”
Although I’m using WordPress.com as the platform, currently (end of 2012) this isn’t a blog so much as a collection of essays. They’re all relevant to politics within The United Methodist Church.
The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.
Why do I express them? A few points:
- As a general rule I do not discuss religion and/or politics offline. It’s tough to discuss these issues, and I totally understand anyone else finding them tough as well. I’m still struggling with these issues. Anyone who does not struggle with these issues and is eager to discuss them with me will probably find that I have no desire to discuss these issues with them.
- It’s trivial to quote me out of context and attribute all sorts of beliefs to me that I do not hold. I realize that, out of context, I could be read as saying things that irritate a variety of political activists. (At the same time, as a writer one of my goals has to be to express myself clearly. Blaming others for misunderstanding my point doesn’t cast me in flattering light.) I believe that using my musings here as the sole means of defining me would constitute unfair treatment.
- I ask uncomfortable questions and deliberately aim them at the Religious Right. I don’t see how a United Methodist could claim to be a “traditionalist,” complain about “multiculturalism” (for example) and then claim to have no opinion concerning the Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church’s criticism of “Romish doctrine.”
- I am also exasperated by how many Christians gloss over what is meant by the phrase “primacy of Scripture.” However these three words might have sounded in different languages, they have meant different things across nearly 2000 years, across different cultures, within cultures, and between each of us. I believe that starting from this reality is more honest instead of pretending that my camp has the direct hotline to God. If pretending is instead the name of the game, the best organized group will have a real advantage in setting the denomination’s political agenda. (See point #3 above.)
- There’s plenty of life to live, plenty of work to be done. I don’t wish to be measured merely by how I do or do not spend a couple hours on a weekend. I don’t think I’m alone in wishing this.
I suppose I could just “avoid controversy” altogether and stay quiet. Well, silence can create its own misunderstanding. To echo Hillel the Elder:
If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?