Tuesday, 8 December 2009

5 things I love about Methodism

'The Road to 'Elder' ado' has a blog about 5 things he loves about Methodism and he isn't even a Methodist! Sometimes it is good to be reminded of our value and the gift we are to God's whole Church by someone who looks in from another place.

So I'm going to suggest 5 things I love about Methodism - what's on your list?

1. The people. Okay there are a few that drive me demented but I daresay that is more about my lack of grace than it is about them. But my experience of Methodist people is that they are loving, hospitable, gracious and tolerant. It was just such people that accepted me unconditionally as a struggling young person and helped transform my life.

2. Social Holiness. If we forget this we will have lost our identity. Engaging with the world in all it's messiness is truly incarnational. So we march for climate change, hold hands to end poverty, run soup kitchens and neighbourhood care schemes, engage with the principalities and powers and buy fair trade produce. This is the out-working of the personal holiness, which we also forget at our peril.

3. Attention to detail. I know, I know we all groan about the amount of pages in CPD - but it does represent more than institutional anxiety. The way we do our work is part of who we are and is the distilled wisdom of many people over many years.

4. Connexionalism. Who would want to be part of a Church which is all about 'me in my small corner'? Not me - I want to live on a large map, be part of an expression of the body of Christ that helps expand my horizons, shares oversight and mission and helps me understand the world of which I am part.

5. Wide doors - metaphorically! Being part of a church which is not defined along narrow lines of theological difference is important to me. I learn by being part of a church where not everybody thinks the same, views the Bible in the same way, sings from the same hymn sheet.

So - go on then, why do you love Methodism?

1 comment:

  1. Naturally, Micky,you've already nabbed all the best ones, though I couldn't really sign up to number 3 - at a push I could say that I'm glad that someone else is looking after the detail for me! But I'll throw a few more in the pot - some more serious than others.

    Our lack of hierarchy: The other Sunday I attended evening worship with the Chair of District. As someone attending evening worship said - "he's just an ordinary Methodist minister really isn't he?" Long may it continue. And I'm glad I've no payscale to climb!

    Our local preachers and worship leaders: Perhaps because ministers rarely hear them we can overlook the sense of rootedness and participation they bring to our denomination. And I'm so grateful to those who supported me when I set out at the tender age of 20, preaching to people some of whom had four times the life experience I had.

    The flexibility of our worship patterns: Sometimes I think it makes worship preparation hard work to start with a clean sheet of paper each week, but then I think of the creativity it inspires in me and the rich diversity of resource I can bring into worship and I'm thankful (I speak as one who leads worship far more often than I participate in worship prepared by others, but hope this works the other way round too).

    Our flexibility in litugical dress: Less seriously perhaps - but in what other denomination could I choose to wear anything from the alb and seasonal stole to the plain clothes minus clerical collar?

    But perhaps the answer which lies closest to my heart is that I love Methodism because it's where I feel a sense of belonging. I've been in it a long time, and I love it in a way I don't think would be possible of any other church. It means I can forgive it a great deal more too - which is part of what makes life possible!!