Thanks to globalization, and scientific and technological achievements in industrial agriculture, food has never been more abundant and less expensive than it is today. But these changes have come with a cost - obesity, illnesses, environmental degradation, the demise of the family farm and traditional animal husbandry.
When choosing food these days we must navigate the competing claims of the industrial system and the contemporary food movement - organic versus conventional, whole foods versus processed foods, free range animals versus caged animals, locavores versus globalization - the choices are seemingly endless.
Does our faith tradition speak to these issues? Are there moral, spiritual, and religious implications to our food choices? How do we make sense of the frequently contradictory, sometimes overwhelming, and often bewildering, set of messages coming from the food industry and the contemporary food movement?
John Wesley and the early Methodists were no strangers to these very issues. Wesley and his followers recognized the importance of nutritious diets, moderation in consumption, the humane treatment of animals, and the ethics of food choices in ways that may be surprising to Christians today. Organic Wesley: A Christian Perspective on Food, Farming, and Faith examines the intersection of the teachings of John Wesley with the ethics of the contemporary food movement. Wesley's teachings can provide us with guidance as we seek to make food choices that are consistent with our Christian values - the choices that are best for our bodies, our fellow creatures, our communities, the environment, and all of creation.
William “Bill” Guerrant and his wife, Cherie, raise vegetables, chickens, pigs, and goats on White Flint Farm, their chemical-free farm in Keeling, Virginia. A retired attorney, Bill is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary. He and his wife speak frequently on the topic of sustainable living.