Bill Wagner | Indy Week

Bill Wagner 
Member since Aug 28, 2008


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Re: “Economically speaking

Now that I've read Lisa Bellamy's essay for the 4th time I thought it only prudent to make my voice heard. In our current age of grandiose entitlement, greed, toxic consumerism and never-enoughness your words came over me like a wave of sanity. I'm not from the rural south and was not raised in poverty (actually I was reared in an environment that could be fairly defined by most as abundant) but that doesn't mean I don't know what it is like to "go without"; which is the main point of my praise to your writing. In my opinion one the greatest casualties of our youth today is that they seem to literally have no realistic reference point of lack or serious struggle, the kind that would bring any human to their knees and provide an opportunity for a crisis of faith or the modern equivalent. Contentment seems to be the most underrated quality in our current culture. If we raise one another in a way where there is a constant state of need-for-more then we all lose out in the most basic and simplest states of existing that we can experience. And contentment will always seem to be elusive to us if we never got a chance to experience survival with few or scant possessions. I don't live in poverty now and never hope to, but the times in my life when I have felt most stripped down and vulnerable are now my greatest weapons of resource. If we deny one another some sense of true struggle then we rob each other of that chance to feel peaceful and even happy with little or nothing materialistic to show.

Posted by Bill Wagner on 05/09/2009 at 10:49 AM

Re: “The two faces of Bo Lozoff

This is not an allegation nor anecdotal, it is fact. I was a tremendous admirer of Bo Lozoff, the Prison Ashram Project and Kindness House. I met him and the staff in 1996 and began volunteering regularly as I revered their simple lifestyle, devotion to service and spiritual practices very deeply. Shortly after I began volunteering Bo created a Spiritual Order that I became a novice and then member of. I did not take the precepts, requirements or vows lightly and was delighted to have found a structured, accountable mechanism to give my spiritual life a greater emphasis. The years passed and my involvement with Kindness House, the Project and Bo increased. They were my spiritual family, my dear friends, and the few people I knew who were really walking the talk. Bo became my friend and spiritual advisor; I had many private meetings with him and was comforted by his wisdom and easy accessibility. In fall of 2002 I began dating a woman who I had met while volunteering at Kindness House. Within a very short period of time I discovered that she had been involved with Bo sexually and romantically. I couldnt believe this, I was crushed, outraged, in a state of utter disbelief. I had known him and his wife Sita for many years now and was in complete shock. Then I began to see the madness begin to unravel.

In the weeks following there was a major damage control effort prompted by Bo and endorsed by the board. How this was all sacred, spiritual and mysterious. Classic story-spinning that I didnt see then but am hip to now. I discovered that Sita was aware of this and that there had been other women whom he had been with, secretly. I went on to marry this woman in haste despite a resounding amount of information that suggested I might want to wait. I look back now and see that I was in a haze of naivety and spiritual hypnosis. I take full responsibility for this. I was an adult and no one had a gun to my head. I relinquished a tremendous amount of my power to that man and I own up to every cell I gave away.

My now new wife continued to desire to volunteer at Kindness House weekly despite my strong feelings against it. Many months later I discovered that Bo had been making romantic advances towards her and on at least one occasion it was sexual in nature. This was my friend, the director of the Spiritual Order of which I was deeply involved with, he knew me very well, we had known each other for years.

I never heard a word. Not a peep. From him or any member of The Board. No oops-a-daisy or sorry, buddy, no hard feelings. Nothing. These acts are not, in and of themselves, inexcusable or irreparable. But what is excruciatingly violating and traumatizing is the silence that follows. Bo had no accountability for his actions to me whatsoever. And, perhaps even more frightening, no accountability to the board either. I mean, cmon, whos runnin this show?!

Its now nearly 6 years later and my marriage has all but dissolved. I dont want to imply that Bo is the sole reason but I have never been able to put that incident behind me. My wife was then, and is now, an adult, and no one was forcing her to do anything either; but our choices were clouded to say the least. Im trying to trust my life and God as best I can. I hope someone or something can help Bo. I hope I can open my heart and trust again.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Bill Wagner on 08/28/2008 at 9:32 PM

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