Thoughts upon GC2019 via Methodist History

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John Wesley's starting point

John Wesley's starting point with the poor was never a social justice initiative it was a specific message about who God is and who we are. It was a message centered on God's grace and our desperate need for redemption. It was a specific gospel message that he kept reinforcing his whole life. Right now the American United Methodist Church does not possess any specific understanding about who God is and who we are because it has become a theological free for all. I am no longer surprised that, in America, people are not choosing to become United Methodists. The only reason I am still one is because the Methodist/United Methodist Church was never a choice for me, it was a given. And even though my experience with the Methodist/United Methodist Church can be best summed up as an extremely mixed blessing/burden, and my loyalty to it is currently strained and open ended, I am committed to waiting to see how things turn out. As a pew person, I have developed an affinity for and with John Wesley. I would love to see the UMC start the arduous and long task of reclaiming a better and cohesive understanding of who John Wesley was and what he really did that led him to launch Methodism by creating a space that anybody could live a life centered in God regardless of their circumstances they lived in. I also love how his theology is based on what he saw as the best of multiple faith traditions from across the span of time. In his later years, Wesley was afraid that Methodism would become the form of religion without the power of personal, inward holiness. I think it is safe to say that the American United Methodist Church has exceeded his worst fears. We have degenerated into different theological factions jockeying for position and control and believe there is some sort of unity to be found in that. Well, there is not. And Wesley says so in his sermon on the "Catholic Spirit".

betsy 154 days ago

What you leave out

That no matter what else John Wesley did, he never ever lost sight of Priority #1: the individual and their daily lives with God. Wesley was all about a "practical religion for a plain people"--something that the UMC is incapable of considering because it is drowning in theological plurality that leaves it incapable of saying anything in particular to anybody about anything.

betsy 154 days ago