“I can’t separate religion and spirituality from politics and the everyday issues of people’s lives. Somehow bringing the ‘sacred’ and ‘divine’ into the ‘everydayness’ of people’s experience is critical. Having an understanding of, and naming and exposing, the collective processes that erode people’s wellness or perpetuate hurts and injustices is an important part of this dance. My hunch is that this approach is a strong Methodist trait.”
Director Wesley Community Action
Methodists value any political process which encourages justice and compassion
Methodists value being socially responsible
The term human rights was not invented when John Wesley lived (1703-1791). But he was passionate about the ideas behind the modern phrase.
Liberty of conscience and freedom of speech, the wickedness of slavery, the devastation of poverty and hunger – with a fire in his words he wrote, talked and preached about all of these and more. Wesley was filled with a sense of justice and compassion. It was compelling to listen to him preach it, and he felt compelled to say it.
How did that happen? What was the real motivation? The answer is straightforward. It was because Wesley believed the Biblical affirmation that everyone was born into the love of God (although they might later ignore or reject that love). It followed in the light of that love, therefore, that there could only be radical equality before God irrespective of colour, creed or religion.
The poor, the dispossessed, the lowly were as important in God’s eyes as the rich, the powerful, the important people, the upper-crust. Not only did John Wesley believe this, he knew that to show the least important was valued by God as the most important was to put the power of self-worth into the hands of those who most needed it. As a result, he changed a nation.
Today the Church understands that it can only live out this truth as it seeks to be radically inclusive. This means truly valuing and participating in the political processes which affirm radical equality.
The Methodist way takes it cue from Jesus’ command to “love your neighbour as yourself”. It too has the power to change everything.
“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Jesus.
Methodists value truth and truth seekers
Knowledge is increasing exponentially. Our understanding of the universe is constantly developing. Science and technology have changed the way we think about ourselves and nature.
In his era, John Wesley also was totally immersed in the world of science. He really appreciated it, because it shed more light on something larger. And that was insight into the wisdom of God in creation.
Wesley and the early Methodists were passionate about using our reasoning powers. They were equally as ardent about the valuing the Bible, and using tradition wisely.
Best of all, was the emphasis they put on an individual’s own experience in seeking the truths of God.
Today, we continue to emphasise those four wise insights that Wesley so often talked about: the Bible, tradition, reason and personal experience in the search for God.
The need for this wisdom is urgent. The world may have shrunk in the digital information age, but people still need to be drawn close to one another.
Thus science and faith belong together. It’s not that either are deluded. But both have truths and gifts to offer that are complementary.
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