To the Heart of the Matter: Roots of Renewal
Copyright Protected: Wayne Mayfield
As is my custom, and contrary to popular consensus and "protocol," Iím going to shoot straight to the heart of the issue. You see, I have this feeling our beating dead cows (issues) just anesthetizes the object of our cowing bellow. What appears to be most effective is less rhetoric and more emphatic action. This was definitely John Wesleyís approach as he went into the hillsides and the early suburbs speaking to the people, not to the aristocracy of the church present in his time. If any one be Wesleyan, that would be the most effective approach for any message of truth and faith.
What is the point of "Iím right, you are wrong" accusations if all they do is hang out in the darkened den of religion instead outside the doors of our religious confines. In this respect some of the more active conservatives such as John Warrener (UCMpage.org) have really brought into the light the travesty of what is behind closed doors of the Methodist constituency of power. This is just a scratch, though, of the needed actions for the problem.
Let me note I really think the hope of renewal based on the original Wesley foundations of faith is of great priority. Anyone who has read any of my articles will know there is no liberal, compromising, sound good for political correctness and social acceptance in my faith. But, when and where does renewal begin, really? Or is renewal really what we are after?
It appears that the sinking ship of the current Methodist Church and the weakness of itís judiciary to quickly eliminate anti-Christian ideals, as a whole, [*1] has need of rescue, but, the life boats are just as in need of repair thereby making the appearance there no hope really in sight.
What we need to hear from the conservative constituency is not a plan, but an urgency to get beyond the flip-flap in the factions of battle and get to the grass roots of "get it moving, already." [*2] This raises some very significant questions. Are there more than words the congregation hears? Are pastors really shaking life into the community, their congregations? What would John Wesley do?
How many Methodist in the congregational membership of the conservative church base are touching people? Are there really numbers to match the early Wesleyan movement from your congregation ? This empowered a man like William Booth who believed as long as one child is hungry, one mother imprisoned for debt (or burdened in debt), or one soul was without means to fend for themselves - this should dictate a relentless pursuit of Godís hope for "all" people. Is this the same action of your church, really?
Of course, this risk lessening the coffers of opportunity to bulging for monies that go down the drain of debate to only produce solutions that are going nowhere fast. We must be very careful of this, you know. After all, donít encourage too much outreach, they might give some of it where it might do good. Canít have the people of the church be that heavenly correct! As I look at the whole of the church, this is what seems to be the REAL state of affairs.
If all the money used for debate had been applied to just one social issue, like abortion, and effective community outreach (one on one) coupled with continued good parenting, maybe we wouldnít be here reading this article. Maybe ÖÖ being secure enough to go where social Christians dare not go ÖÖ.
Am I saying that the church is not doing this? No.
Am I saying a thief is stealing from the real importance of impact? Yes.
Time and energy is being greatly drained thereby robbing our best opportunities and awareness to our true cause - Christian action to those in need. Somewhere we need to say, "Enough is enough." That is really the root of renewal; stopping the bleeding once for all instead of trying to apply Band-Aidís to a major jugular that is spilling our life force on the floor of mediocrity and obscurity from debating no brainer issues. The house is falling faster and faster every day.
Do we still our voice? NEVER!
Do we stop and start over? Imposable!
Do we surrender and pray for better times in the faith? Failure!
We need to stiffen our resolve, set our sights to the real issues of action, quit swatting at pesky gnats, do more than holler, and set our sights to the real priorities with real answers that feeds the hungry hearts in this world of dismal confusion. Maybe those mythical miracles so many of the Methodist Church have reasoned away might return as facts, not myth. Like the miracle of Salvation in massive numbers, for one.
So, what are you doing for the world around you today besides more lip service? Answer this and you may find ...
....this could be the beginning of true renewal.
[*1] Gerald Ford, our former president, made a very unpopular choice in pardoning Nixon. By doing so he established Nixonís guilt and ended the Watergate Scandal that had the power to long term undermine our presidential authority and sovereignty.
Note that as the history of that event has undergone the measure of time, this emotionally charged issue became one of the wisest choices a president has made.
Popularity can not be the issue now for the Methodist. Generational preservation from our generation to the next must be a high priority, at the least.
[*2] Oswald Chambers told his students at Liberty College, "And when you have prayed for the [millionth time], asked your friends till they are tired of hearing it, and you have reached the place where you canít help but know - just do the thing."
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