Recovering the Mainline’s Voice

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Reclaiming our voice

Amen! Methodism came into being with a specific message and method. The UMC long ago drifted from both. If she can not be a unique voice in the Christian landscape, there is absolutely no reason for her existence as an independent denomination, might as well shut everything down.

There are many things about Wesley that are currently misused but I believe an inaccurate and incomplete understanding of his sermon "The Catholic Spirit" is the most detrimental. Obviously the first half of the sermon is alive and well, what has been lost is the second half which describes a true person of a catholic spirit. I was so ingrained with the first half of the sermon, it took two readings for the second half to register: a person of a truly catholic spirit is not one who willy nilly abandons their beliefs and understanding to give someone else room to stand; they are a person who is always willing to be open to the possibility that someone else might have a better insight, but after seriously evaluating what the other has to say, they are free to stand their ground. And Wesley practiced what he preached: he was willing to let other views of Christianity exist, but when it came to early Methodism, he had a tight rein on the societies, requiring preachers to be on board with his understandings as well as taking a hard stand against Calvinism. There were definite boundaries to early Methodism, and if a person was not willing to work within those boundaries, then they were invited to leave.

Wesley's sermon on "The Catholic Spirit" needs to be required reading for the entire UMC! Especially by those who are using it to promote a "big tent" Methodism in which anything goes. The book, "Wesley and a People Called Methodist", is also very enlightening.

Orter T more than 2 years ago

Notable Quotes


Brian McLaren"All of us, especially people of faith, need to proclaim that white supremacy and white privilege and all other forms of racism and injustice must indeed be replaced with something better – the beloved community where all are welcome, all are safe, and all are free. White supremacist and Nazi dreams of apartheid must be replaced with a better dream – people of all tribes, races, creeds, and nations learning to live in peace, mutual respect, and neighborliness. Such a better world is possible, but only if we set our hearts on realizing the possibility."

– Brian McLaren, writing in "What I Saw in Charlottesville" on the Auburn Seminary website.


"The idea of racial (or most any other) supremacy is antithetical to that Gospel. We should remember that Jesus himself grasped for no superiority, no rank, but instead made himself a servant, giving himself in love. What we saw in Charlottesville was therefore a kind of anti-gospel, something that must be resisted, yes–but more, something that must be overcome."

– Dr. Craig Hill, dean of United Methodist-related Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, on Facebook.

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