Elie Wiesel, Peacemaking and The United Methodist Church

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Wesley's "Do no Harm"

From your context, "Do no harm" is probably not what you think it is. Here is exactly what Wesley said in the General Rules about doing no harm; it comes from the belief section of umc.org:

"First: By doing no harm, by avoiding evil of every kind, especially that which is most generally practiced, such as:
•The taking of the name of God in vain.
•The profaning the day of the Lord, either by doing ordinary work therein or by buying or selling.
•Drunkenness: buying or selling spirituous liquors, or drinking them, unless in cases of extreme necessity.
•Slaveholding; buying or selling slaves.
•Fighting, quarreling, brawling, brother going to law with brother; returning evil for evil, or railing for railing; the using many words in buying or selling.
•The buying or selling goods that have not paid the duty.
•The giving or taking things on usury—i.e., unlawful interest.
•Uncharitable or unprofitable conversation; particularly speaking evil of magistrates or of ministers.
•Doing to others as we would not they should do unto us.
•Doing what we know is not for the glory of God, as:
•The putting on of gold and costly apparel.
•The taking such diversions as cannot be used in the name of the Lord Jesus.
•The singing those songs, or reading those books, which do not tend to the knowledge or love of God.
•Softness and needless self-indulgence.
•Laying up treasure upon earth.
•Borrowing without a probability of paying; or taking up goods without a probability of paying for them.

As a life-long Methodist/United Methodist of 64 years, I was delighted to see the shift at General Conference. The Africans currently have a better grasp of what it means to be a Christian of the Methodist persuasion than we do. Here in America, we have exceeded Wesley's prediction that Methodism would become "the form of religion without the power" because we have lost the Priority #1 of what brought Methodism into existence: connecting individuals to God with a specific message of God's love and grace and then connecting those individuals together in a specific method/set of practices that enabled them to live transformed lives centered in God 24/7 regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances. That is the Priority #1 Wesley never ever waivered from. Currently the American United Methodist Church is nothing more than a Big Tent morass of competing theologies. The be all to end all has shifted from individuals in relationship to each other/watching over each other in love to trying to fix the ills of society by tackling social justice issues. At its best, Methodism is most successful in transforming the world when it reclaims its original purpose that brought it into existence: to create a space where individuals can be transformed into the truly human persons God intended them to be. The United Methodist Church is failing because it is trying to be something it was never intended to be. The world needs true Methodism, not this wanna be.

Betsy more than 5 years ago