tag : bright yellow-green apples: why still a Methodist?

"I see little point in persisting in a discussion with one so obstinate as you" Martin White

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

why still a Methodist?

figure 42.1. that's a nice religion dear, where did you get it?

There's a really fascinating discussion going on here, covering a whole load of issues around identiy and living a faith. While joining in a particular aspect, a few thoughts came to mind that I thought I'd expand and share here. Why do I stick with the Church of my childhood, when a lot of people change at some point?

A number of people go through a change in their religion - either by sect (e.g. denominationally) or group (e.g. becoming Buddhist). This can be seen as part of a faith journey, and many people find it a very positive shift. But if it’s conceived in terms of choosing to change, then maybe I'd think twice. Not just because of any possible whiff of consumerism, I'm fairly ambivalent about notions of our actually having total choice in general - to some extent it might be a bit of a construct.

Of course my path of religion has become increasingly erratic with time, with many adaptations, changes, and incorporations. But essentially I have not left my Methodism since my earliest years in Sunday School. I've toyed with joining the Roman Catholic denomination, and it's been suggested by a few that I join the Unitarian Universalists. I've also considered the option of becoming a singular nomad, as some have done - very tempting. But no, I think I shall be sticking with my Church - and probably will do for the foreseeable future, maybe for as long as my life. Despite the rubs, I sense this is likely.

I think the whole faith thing is a lot more than a series of identity choices, as indicated way back here. There's something deeper, relationally, about who we are and where we are. It goes right underneath the piecing together that we do, with a foundational sense of who we are. So I'll seek to carve out the best I can in my faith, as I have found it to be with time.

"...that journey is not so simple as just making a decision one way or the other."

Which is not to say I don't welcome the many visions of other religions and faiths. As I indicated, I've assimilated a heck of a lot from all over the place - Sufi Islam, Buddhism, modern Paganism, etc. It's just that my Church is flexible and alive enough to incorporate it all. It's there in my genes, the Church that deals most of all in expression and searching for God's love and light in the real world. Why do I stick around? I don't really know, it's about more than articulation can give. Baring any massive cataclysmic event, they will probably continue to be made sense of within the framework of Methodism - with all the imagination I have to muster.


Blogger Andy said...

John Wesley is still gonna be having words with you in the afterlife...

2:00 PM  
Blogger postliberal said...

And there was me thinking I'd done a good job of setting myself in the middle ground, ah well better look next time, hehe. But I look forward to that correction, it'll be an honour to have him meet me at all! Heavenly reputation is the way to go... ;)

12:33 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I'm glad you've found a happy place to explore other philosophies within a church. ish.

anyway, wesley will have to treat you with brotherly love, surely! I assume there will be no rebuking in the afterlife.. if it exists..

10:17 AM  
Blogger Rach said...

I like the photo's caption.


12:16 PM  
Blogger postliberal said...

Sarah -

The afterlife's up for debate, as a story and vision, but if we do gather round a table in the great garden I'd like to think me and he could share a nice quorn sausage together in har-mon-y.

Rachie -

I'm quite pleased with the caption, even if I do say so myself, it came just before I posted the entry...

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Donna said...

The conversation you pointed to is one that I think is fairly common right now, especially in the good ol' USA. It's very difficult for low-key Christians to put up with the crazed Religious Right. Fundamentalist fanatics of any faith, put a bad taste in one's mouth. Moderation is the answer - I think that's what that groovy beatnik, Jesus, would say too.

4:03 AM  
Blogger postliberal said...

Moderation sounds a little dull and staid, but I appreciate what you're saying. Unfortuantely there are lots of us in religion who're becomming increasingly burndened by the pressures of our extremist co-religionists, defined and pressured by them...

...I suppose as much as anything, what I'd wish to advicate is that people needn't shun the very centre of religious life for the sake of avoiding extremism or affirming life. It's possible to sit in a Church building and sit in a front room with equal measure.

12:21 AM  

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