Saturday, February 9, 2013

William Wright

Hello and Happy Saturday!

First up I wish to thank Serenity Raven for her wonderful interview. I very much enjoyed reading your answers and thank you for sharing with us Serenity!

Today we have a new interview so please welcome William Wright. William is a Christian and I know you'll enjoy his interview as well!

Here Is William Wright's Introduction:

I was born in Iowa and raised on a farm. My father worked in a factory in Des Moines, so we didn't do very much actual farming. Still, all our neighbors were farmers and we helped many of our friends with their farm chores, so I relate to the "farm kid" label like anyone who grew up on a working farm. I was raised Methodist, following long traditions on both sides of the family. More specifically, both Mom's and Dad's families were full of German and English pietists who fled religious persecution in Europe, mingled together in the Blue Ridge Mountain areas of western Virginia and eastern Tennessee, and eventually ripened in Iowa as very congregational-oriented Methodist. Today, I consider myself a "radical methodist", small-case "m" intentional, as I tend to take many of the values I was taught to logical points that even the rest of my family aren't comfortable with. For example, we were raised with the old-time Methodist belief that a person should avoid alcohol (which I've done my whole life), but I'm the only one in my family who has extended that idea to avoiding unhealthy foods. I studied sociology at the University of Iowa and consider myself a sociologist even though I only ever achieved a bachelor's degree. Presently I'm a freelance writer, having self-published several articles and essays and three novels. I also write songs.
I'm currently updating my website/blog presence, but will be up for a little while longer, if folks are interested in looking at it. Oh... and this facebook page reflects better where my web presence is going. 

1) What religion do you practice?
 I don't think you could say I'm practicing any religion at the moment. I'm a spiritual person and my beliefs could broadly be called "Christian". I was a Seventh-day Adventist for a while and I still hold to many of those beliefs. I still keep the seventh-day Sabbath, for example. But I'm not a member of any church, nor do I attend services, and I don't practice any particular ritual or study any particular text. I sometimes call myself an "optimistic" gnostic, a radical methodist (small "m"), and a trinitarian universalist.

2) Are you a convert/revert or were you raised within this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?

 I was raised with the fundamentals of my present faith. If I do anything different now compared to how I was raised, it's only because I apply those fundamentals more broadly than my parents did. But in my thinking, it's the same faith.

3)Within your religion are there degrees of observance (ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal)? What are the defining differences between the degrees of observance?
 Well, I guess you could say there are degrees, since many would say (including my family) that I take the pietist beliefs I was raised with to a whole other degree compared to the rest of my family. I'm not sure what labels apply --"orthodox" and "liberal" and "conservative" -- none of those seem to fit. But what defines the difference is lifestyle. I think it's safe to say that I'm much more strict about what I put into my body, for example. However, I'm much less strict in my approach to other issues, like the question of whether or not Jesus was married.

4)Within your religion what degree of observance are you ((ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal) ? Why did you choose this degree of observance?
 Again, I'm not sure what kind of label would work here, except that I do think I'm just taking the beliefs of my family and pushing them to a logical conclusion (they'd perhaps say a logical extreme). So I often think the word "radical" fits. I choose to be radical because... well, why not? If your body is a temple of God and so you shouldn't pour a poison like liquor into it, then shouldn't you also avoid eating foods that will give you heart disease and diabetes? So I guess I accept the radical label, but the ideas actually don't seem that radical to me. They just make logical sense.

5)What is the Afterlife within your religion? For example: what happens when a person dies? Are there places for reward/punishment? (such as a Heaven/Hell concept)
 When you die, you die. That's all. The only way you'll experience anything after is if a divine being "re-makes" you. My belief is that God will, in fact, do this, but not until the end of all things. And however God does it, it won't involve anyone suffering for eternity in some kind of hell. It'll just be Paradise for anyone who wants it. Perhaps even for everyone. But until that distant end, everyone who has died has simply ceased to exist.


6) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?

 I don't know if everyone will, but I think everyone who wants to will. It might be that some people just won't want to be there, and that choice will be honored. However, it also makes sense to me that God would be able to find all the paths that would help everyone to get there eventually. It just makes sense to me that this is what God would want, for everyone to be there, and God would be able to figure out a way to make it happen.


7) What makes your religion a good fit for you?

 It makes logical sense to me. Which isn't to say it's scientific or based on proof. It's neither of those things. But given certain basic assumptions, it follows a logic that seems very elegant to me.


8) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?

 Just the seventh-day Sabbath. I first celebrated it because it seemed to me that if it was in the Ten Commandments, it must be important. And then, of course, once I'd celebrated it for a while, I understood why it's important. To have one day, set aside not by me, but by God, where I don't have to think about work or money -- it's like a once-a-week miracle. I might give money to a charity or do work helping a friend who needs it, but that kind of thinking about work and money is different. And it is important that it's a day God picked and not one I picked. I've tried to just make it "one day in seven", but when I pick the day, it doesn't have the kind of weight that inspires commitment. When I tell people about how I observe the Sabbath, they often respond by saying it sounds like a hassle. But let me tell you, out of all the Ten Commandments, it's the easiest one to keep.
All of that said, I do enjoy holidays and I celebrate as many of them as I can... Halloween, Christmas, etc. But I don't really regard them as "holy" days.

9) Do you consider
people of other faiths to be your friends?


10) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
 Sure, if it was OK with them, and if they were OK with me not drinking alcohol or eating meat. If either of those activities are a necessary part of the ritual, then I'll have to pass. (For health reasons, not moral ones.)


11) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?

 Such questions are far too complicated to answer in a format such as this.

12) Are women allowed to hold religious office (priest, minister, rabbi, iman etc) in your religion and how do you feel about it?

 Well, if there was a church that believed precisely as I do, yes, women would be able to hold religious office and I'd feel just fine with that.

13) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?

 If it existed, no it wouldn't.

14) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?

 My faith impacts every aspect of my daily life and it informs all of my decisions. It does affect how I approach those issues, because every consideration in my life comes down to just one rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". So far in my life, this rule has aptly applied to every situation.

15) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?

 OK. It would pretty-much be a non-issue.

16) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?

 Hell, Michigan, maybe. Which is a fun place to visit. They have mini-golf there now. I'll have to go back and try that.

17) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?

If my beliefs comprised a religion, there'd be no lines drawn between who practices it and who doesn't. Nor would anyone speak for the religion, and if someone tried, it wouldn't matter if I agreed or not. If the religion can't speak for itself, it isn't much of a religion.

18) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.


19) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?


20) Does your religion give you peace of mind?

 Again, not sure if it could be called a religion, but yes.
21) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?

No. It's just not an idea that makes sense to me. The idea that we have one shot at this life... that makes sense to me. I realize many people would argue that one life can't possibly be enough to get it right. I doubt that's true, but either way it misses the point. I can't think of any reason to care if I've lived before or if I'll live after. My life is right here and right now. Plus... I tend to think the physical realm is important. It's not an illusion or a lie or some evil that holds us back spiritually. It's beautiful and edifying and if we allow ourselves to see it as it really is, we won't fell tortured or constrained by it. We'll glory in it. And as we savor every moment of it, life won't seem so brief, and our opportunities for growth won't seem so fleeting and inadequate. At least, that's how life has seemed to me so far.

No comments:

Post a Comment