Andrew Weaver: A Friend Passes
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 02:09:18 PM EST
Andrew Weaver, a friend of and occasional contributor to Talk to Action has died after a long illness.

Andrew was, very much as I think he would like to be remembered, a man who lived his Methodist faith. And I think that many will come to know him if they have not already, as having lead a heroic life.

He worked tirelessly for peace and social justice and sought to make a difference in the world. I know that he did - from his support for Cindy Sheehan during her vigil in Crawford, Texas where she hoped President Bush would explain her son's death in Iraq; to his efforts to thwart the placement of the Bush Presidential library and the related Bush "think tank" at Southern Methodist University -- and much, much more.

He also was among those who recognized that the neo-conservative Institute on Religion and Democracy was active in promoting discord and division in the church he loved. And I know he would be glad that on this occasion I thought to remind readers of his extraordinary -- and extraordinarily effective efforts to expose the treachery of IRD and it's associated "renewal groups;" and what grievious harm their activities have done to the  social justice witness of the church -- and to the United Methodist Church itself.  His efforts included his contribution to the book Hardball on Holy Ground: The Religious Right vs. The Mainline for the Church's Soul; and several carefully researched and well-documented exposes at Media Transparency, some of which he co-authored with colleagues.  He was also a featured interview in Steve Martin's documentary, Renewal or Ruin: The Institute on Religion and Democracy's Attack on the United Methodist Church.

This work provided Methodists with much of the authoratative information and analysis they needed to repeatedly head off schismatic initiatives by IRD's affiliates in the church.

Less well known to fans of his peace work and his exposes of IRD, is his long career as a clinical psychologist and as the author of books on counseling for clergy.

Beyond all this, he was my friend. It was an honor and a pleasure to know him. I will miss him.  At a moment like this, there are no words adequate to summarize a person's life or the grief we experience at the loss. But the difference between Andrew and the rest of us is that not only would he be able to find the right words, knowing that they are ultimately inadequate, and absolutlely necessary -- but he would write a whole book teaching others how to do it.  

My condolences to his wife and to all who knew and loved him. We are all the lesser without him and the better for having had him in our lives.

I got to know Andrew over the last few years. He was a great help to me in several different ways. He was truly a great man. And for that, I shall miss him dearly.

Godspeed Brother Andrew, Godspeed.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Fri Oct 24, 2008 at 09:14:34 PM EST

I never personally met Andrew, but I talked to him many times on the phone, and worked with him on his stories for He was a gentle man who cared deeply about the world and the injustice that permeates much of it. I know I'll miss him greatly.

by Rob Levine on Sat Oct 25, 2008 at 06:57:48 AM EST

I met Andrew Weaver only once when he was passing through the Bay Area a little over a year ago. We had lunch and went for a walk & sat on a bench in a nearby park. Our conversation meandered about; from the horrors of the Bush Administration to life in New York City. We talked a lot about my daughter; he was very excited to learn that she was getting her Master's Degree in Social Work and would soon be joining the front lines in the struggle for social justice.

Although I met him only once, wec spoke on the telephone fairly often: he would call to thank me for an article I had written, to ask a question about some issue or another and to keep me updated about the campaign to stop the Bush Library at SMU. He was a passionate and superb organizer; he organized me to write about the proposed library on more than one occasion.

Most of all, Andrew Weaver was a rational, empathetic and clear voice in a world that sometimes seems to have gone mad. The social justice movement has lost a strong and able advocate and a very kind man.

by Bill Berkowitz on Sat Oct 25, 2008 at 12:12:47 PM EST

Besides Andrew's mighty contribution to the battle against religious coercion, there was his deep spiritual passion, his huge contagious  humor, and his generosity.  Andrew's was an outsized personality that can't be replaced.  Those who say that we can always be replaced, didn't know Andrew.  He was the proof that each of us is an irreplaceable part in heart and work of the divine; and that whether or not we are replaceable depends on how we fulfill the work for which we are destined.  Bon Voyage and Godspeed, lovely man.

by tikkun on Sat Oct 25, 2008 at 05:05:31 PM EST

When I thought about making a short video exposing the Institute on Religion and Democracy, there was only one natural go-to source for information: Andrew Weaver.  I met him when we taped his interview in August of 2006.  As the project unfolded we spoke many times on the phone.  I always encountered him as a man of passion, warmth, and of an amazing commitment to justice.

We last spoke when the last obstacle to the Bush Library at SMU was removed.  Andrew had just lost a battle that had consumed him, and yet he was philosophical and ready to take on the next great cause.  We talked about how difficult it is to watch the Church we love (in our case, the United Methodist Church) take such disheartening turns.  We agreed that we had a duty to encourage each other in our hope that the best of our religious tradition would prevail.

When I heard that Andrew had passed away, I tried to explain to my fourteen-year-old son why I was so affected.  "Andrew," I said, "was a man who was not afraid to pour his whole self into fighting the good fight."  I told him that I have not met many people who were willing to do that.

My encounter with Andrew was brief, but lasting.  In one of our conversations he exclaimed, "These are Bonhoeffer times, my friend," referring to the hero and martyr of the church during the Third Reich who allowed his Christian faith to inform his understanding of the times in which he lived.  Like Bonhoeffer's, Andrew's faith clarified that these times demand profound insight, courage, strength, and the willingness to persevere even when the "road less traveled" is demanded.  

The Church Universal has lost a great voice.  May we inherit a double share of his spirit.

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