Chapter One

I’m very pleased that the publisher is making Chapter One of my book and the introductory video to the video series available for free. Here is the video. Please let me know what you think!

And HERE is the link to the Organic Wesley website, where you will find instructions for how to download Chapter One.

I was also pleased to get two more endorsements yesterday, from people I admire.

“Every person eats every day. Rarely do we spend time considering our food choices in the light of the gospel. But John Wesley did, and we can too. Organic Wesley sheds new light on the historic connections between the Christian faith and ethical eating. It turns out that we in the Christian food movement are not pioneers – we are heirs of Wesley’s practical wisdom and everyday ethics. This inspiring and informative book is an invaluable addition to the contemporary conversation on food and faith.”

–The Rev. Nurya Love Parish, editor Guide to the Christian Food Movement and co-founder of Plainsong Farm

“In an age in which flesh is separated from spirit and bodies from the earth we are in need of a practical theology that will bring us toward wholeness.  In Organic Wesley Bill Guerrant shows us that John Wesley provides just the sort of guidance we now need to find our flourishing.  Articulate, profound, and deeply accessible, this is a book that offers important insights for all of us who struggle to live rightly in a complex world. “

—Ragan Sutterfield, author of This is My Body and Cultivating Reality

This project has consumed a lot of my time and energy over the last two years, but I have rarely blogged about it. So I hope y’all will indulge me if it seems I’m blogging too much about it now.

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34 comments on “Chapter One

  1. Victo Dolore says:

    I am not able to get the video to play in my reader…

    Like

  2. BeeHappee says:

    Great recording, Bill. There is really nothing green about the Green Revolution.
    I am really looking forward to hearing about John Wesley, since I knew nothing of him, looked him up on Wikipedia, and he looks like an interesting individual. Thank you very much for putting together all this information!

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Thanks Bee. Wesley was an interesting character for sure. I admire him and find a lot of value in his theology and worldview, but he wouldn’t have been any fun at parties. 🙂

      I was surprised to discover how closely his views on nutritious food, moderation in consumption and the humane treatment of animals, match the ethic motivating people, like me, who are part of the food movement. I argue that his teaching also support the preference for natural/organic over synthetic, and local over globalized. I expecting pushback (assuming anyone reads it) but I’m confident in my conclusions.

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  3. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, I watched your chapter one video yesterday and I have to say that it’s really good. The description of the term “Food Movement” was very clear and covered all the aspects of the term. It also addressed all the confusion and miss use of some of the terms within the “Food Movement” term. I do find it interesting that you write about Wesley when your faith is Quaker. I had to do some research to find out that Wesleyan Methodists and Quakers are close cousins. Wesley was a man of testing the spirit of revelation to see if it matched up with the scripture.

    Is access to the videos going to be part of the book purchase or will they be extra? It’s a great way to use print and media together. Brilliant strategy my friend. Many blessings on the release of your book and videos.

    Have a great “Organic Wesley” food movement day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Well, if it’s a strategy I can’t take any credit for it. I set out with the hope (realizing it was a long shot) that a publisher might be interested in my thesis as an academic resource in Wesleyan studies. I was fortunate to have some interest among academic publishers, but Seedbed offered to publish the book on the condition that I rewrite it to make it something a lay/popular audience would read. The videos were their idea, and they’re hoping (as I am) that congregations/small groups will use the videos as a resource to guide a group through a study of the book. I admit I had my doubts, but I think they’ve done a great job. Whether anyone will find the subject interesting enough remains to be seen.

      I grew up Methodist and consider myself Wesleyan. Cherie is a Quaker but I don’t self-identify that way, although I have no serious objections to any Quaker beliefs.

      It’s true that there were many similarities between the Quakers and the early Methodists, especially I think on the virtue of simplicity. In fact, Wesley once said that his followers would probably become Quakers after he died.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Laurie Graves says:

    My sentiments match BeHappee’s. Also, when it comes to a book—and other creative projects as well—you are allowed to toot your own horn. This would fall into the same category as being proud of children and grandchildren 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ain't for city gals says:

    I think by talking about the book you encourage other people to expand their dreams and that with hard work anything can be done if you want it bad enough. I for one enjoy reading about it….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Thanks. It’s kind of a big deal for me, of course. I believe passionately in the food ethic that I advocate in the book. I’m an unabashed idealist, and I wouldn’t want not to be. 🙂

      Like

  6. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    If no one speaks,
    How does anyone hear?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Thanks Deb. To be perfectly honest, I just don’t want people to think I’m using the blog to try to sell them something. I’ve never done that and I’ve seen it happen on blogs and been turned off by it. On the other hand, I really do hope people will read the book and watch the videos, because I’m a passionate believer in what I advocate–nutritious diets, moderate consumption, humane treatment of farm animals, organic/natural foods, localized economies. The book and videos help unpack why I’m a passionate believer in those things.

      Like

  7. avwalters says:

    Ironic that the abundance of calorie rich/poor nutrition foods have given us obesity mixed with malnutrition.
    One thing that Wesley didn’t have to contend with in his analysis was the kind of broad scale environmental degradation we face from modern agriculture. In this, the challenges of the food movement reach beyond Wesley’s spiritual tenets, to ethical issues that put the stakes beyond one’s personal salvation.

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    • Bill says:

      One of the cool things about a Wesleyan vision/worldview is that it never stops at “personal salvation.” In fact Wesley would probably deny that there is any such thing. And when he addressed salvation, he did so holistically. It is not a mere matter of going to heaven when you die (a “vulgar notion” in his words) but rather a “present thing.” Wesley taught that humanity should strive for the perfection (both spiritual and physical) that God intends. He taught that God is in the process of redeeming and restoring creation to its intended perfection and that we should live into that now, to the fullest extent possible. Thus, we should strive to keep our bodies healthy and fit, we should show compassion and respect to animals, and (as I argue in the book) we should be good stewards of the environment (while acknowledging that environmentalism per se was not on the radar in Wesley’s time). But clearly we are facing environmental challenges unknown in Wesley’s day. Still, I think his teachings on stewardship leave little doubt where he would stand on those issues.

      By the way, you’ve touched on one significant goof in the first video. At the end I only talk about the health crisis, but in my script I also mentioned environmental degradation and animal abuse. I just forgot to mention them in the wrap up at the end. But those are addressed at length in subsequent videos.

      Liked by 4 people

  8. shoreacres says:

    I think the video’s really well done. I must admit that, apart from the content, it was fun to see your place come alive, with all that tail twitching and such. I’m looking forward to reading the first chapter, too. It’s good that you’re being allowed to share it. It seems that’s happening more and more, and it’s smart marketing.

    Is the book going to be available as a download? Or just hard copy? I haven’t seen anything about an ebook here, but I could have missed it.

    And of course you ought to blog about it. You need to blog about it, as a matter of fact. Think of it as sowing some good seed. I suspect you’ll have a pretty good harvest, too — I can’t think of a single way for deer to cause you trouble with this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Many thanks Linda. I’m pleased with the video production and with the enthusiasm Seedbed has shown and is showing for this project.

      When they told me they were offering the first chapter as a free download I was a little concerned. Chapter 1 is unlike any other chapter in the book. It has no Wesley and no theology/ethics. It’s my attempt to describe the industrial food system and the countervailing food movement. So I asked them to include the Introduction as well. Together the introduction/Chapter 1 match the video better and are a more fair representation of what is to follow. I haven’t downloaded it myself, but I think that’s what you’ll get.

      Interestingly, today I was listening to a podcast on which an author was being interviewed. At one point he said, “I’m a little uncomfortable talking about my book so much,” and the interviewer (himself an author) responded, “Trust me. If you don’t do it, no one will.”

      That’s just the reality these days, but still I’m not entirely comfortable with it. Not because of any discomfort with the subject matter of course–I love to blog about that.

      Like

  9. ain't for city gals says:

    After reading the comments and your replies I appreciate the fact that you are not trying to sell something….I have never gotten that impression so put your mind at ease. It is something you are proud of and you should be. You have presented the facts as interesting and definitely makes me more inclined to investigate further….I have very little knowledge of Wesleyan views and sometimes am skeptical of putting religion with anything so looking forward to reading.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Thanks. My hope is that connecting the motivating principles of the food movement to long-established (but now largely forgotten) Christian ethics will be profitable both to the movement and to believers who are looking for an entry point into it that is grounded in the history and tradition of the faith. I think there are plenty of “religious” people who need to hear this message and for those in the movement already, religious or not, I doubt there is anything in the book with which they would disagree.

      Like

  10. EllaDee says:

    Congratulations. I’m keen to read and watch and will make some time on the weekend. It thrills me that you have written such a book and made the videos. Speak up, I say 🙂

    Like

  11. It’s out! That’s so exciting. I’ve watched both videos now…and I have to tell you that the first thing that struck me was your accent…I don’t know what else I thought you’d sound like, given where you come from :). Anyway, it was a delight to see and hear you “in person” so to speak.

    I know only a tiny amount about Wesley (the fact that he was Anglican, as I am, and that he founded the Methodist movement), and look forward to learning a lot more about him through you.

    There are so many examples in Christianity of people who have not lived out Christian values in their eating – Henry VIII who founded the Church of England was surely one of the most gluttonous, unhealthy monarchs ever to rule in Europe, and the medieval abbotts who wined and dined excessively at the expense of the brethren in their monastic houses, and the communities that provided for them were likewise infamous. So I’m very keen to learn about a Christian leader whose walk matched his talk. Thanks for sharing the videos!

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Your comment about my accent makes me smile. I don’t think I have much of an accent. I erased it as best I could when I went to college and from there into the business world. You should hear my neighbors. Our accent here is very distinctive and I regret that I’ve largely lost it. But it does come out at times. And of course I know that even if it’s not as pronounced as it once was, I do still have one.

      Wesley denounced overconsumption at a time when it was almost entirely something done by the rich at the expense of the poor. We now live in a time when even poor people overconsume.

      I’ve now seen the final edits to 9 of the 10 videos. Some are smoother than others, but all in all I’m pleased with how they’ve come out. Definitely a new experience for me!

      Like

      • That’s funny about your accent – I was surprised it wasn’t more pronounced!

        Like

      • Bill says:

        It was funny to me when I saw the intro with me scratching the pigs’ heads and saying “Good morning.” That must have been because I knew someone was watching. As Jimmy Buffet puts it, we don’t say our r’s and g’s when we’re speaking Southernese. So that should have been “Good mornin” (pronounced “good mawnin”).

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Bill, I’ve watched the introductory video and it’s well done! I am looking forward to exploring the rest.

    Like

  13. Sorry I’m late to the congratulatory party – long week… but hey – CONGRATULATIONS!
    I know I’ve said it before but I’m so excited for you. The video is very engaging – I think they will definitely help your book reach a broader audience. I fall into that broader audience – I don’t really think of myself as a religious person and had no idea who John Wesley was before following your blog – but here I am looking forward to getting my copy in the mail! Having the suggested book group discussion topics is also great and an excellent marketing tool.
    I also agree that you have nothing to worry about in the “toot your own horn” department. I can’t imagine that any of your blog followers would feel anything but great admiration and support for you.
    Well done -and Yay for you!

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Thanks. 🙂 I’m anxious to know what you think of it. The final product assumes that most readers/viewers will be Wesleyans (I resisted that at first, but I’m sure the publisher was correct to refocus me on that), but I’ve tried to make it interesting to a broader audience. I’m confident you’ll agree with the ethic I advocate.

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  14. I think ethics are at the heart of all facets of the food movement regardless of ones religious views – treating our bodies well, treating animals humanely, treating the earth with respect, even just enjoying good food that is prepared thoughtfully. Its all about respect for ourselves, our fellow man\creatures, the earth – that is why I am involved in the movement and also why I enjoy following your blog.
    BTW – permaculture ethics are care of the earth, care of people, and share the surplus. 😊

    Like

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