Friday, August 24, 2007

Our Wesleyan Tradition

Returning from the Oxford Institute for Methodist Theological Studies, I am ever more appreciative of our Wesleyan heritage that takes seriously the inextricable link between personal and social holiness.

During the ten day Institute, Methodist pastors, laity and scholars from around the globe gathered for a time of academic "holy conferencing." Tackling the issues of globalization, poverty, cultural diversity and economic justice, the Institute grappled with the Church's mission for this present age. While the group gathered was diverse representing a wide range of language, culture, politics and theology, there was a shared commitment to be engaged in a ministry that at its core is deeply interested in justice for those at the margins.

It was interesting to note, that as I described my work in the United States advocating for full inclusion for LGBT persons, others from around the globe found it difficult to fathom our country's seeming obsession with sexuality. While the issue is far from settled in other places, the nature of the dialogue is less polemical, less acrid, less consuming.

A British Methodist pastor remarked that while her churches were "content to be quiet on the issue of sexuality, a brawl was sure to break out if non fair-trade coffee were found in the church cupboard!"

The Institute was a wonderful snap shot of our diverse Wesleyan community, united not by doctrine or creed, but by a heart committed to a life of personal and social holiness.

1 comment:

Jules said...

Thanks for the link. It sounds fascinating - the list of attendees is great. And access to the papers is a wonderful thing. I'm envious...