The Wesley Challenge

October 15, 2017

At some point in my teens, it became painfully obvious that the Methodists had more fun than the Baptists. The Methodists could dance and play both cards and pool, while all we had was a lousy ping pong table. They could go to movies and play yard football on Sunday and some drank more than Dr. Pepper, scandalous activities at our house. As I fully intend to have more fun when I leave Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, maybe I should become a Methodist. My favorite line from the movie A River Runs Through It is "A Methodist is just a Baptist who can read and write." I know, if that's a requirement, it could be problematic. However, it may be merely an aspirational tenet. I guess I could always pray for some sort of Methodist affirmative action program for convicts who want to learn to write but also want to party, legally of course.

 

The Methodists trace their beginnings to a second floor room in Lincoln College at Oxford University. There John Wesley met with a group of students, including his brother Charles, to pray, ask questions, and encourage each other in the pursuit of the Christian life. 

A friend recently sent me a book written by Chris Folmsbee entitled The Wesley Challenge. It's a 21 day devotional based on this early Methodist practical "method" (thus the name Methodists) of asking one another a series of questions. I believe that asking questions is essential to spiritual growth. I certainly hope so because I seem to have more and more questions and fewer answers.

 

I highly recommend this book for a small group trying to see themselves and the world through the eyes and mind of Christ, and who then attempt to live that out in a community of faith. Questions work well in that environment because we are our most human, and most like Christ, when we are vulnerable and trusting of others who can help, encourage, and support us. If you don't have any friends, read it alone, like I'm doing.

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© 2016 by Charles D. Jones