As I take some time for renewal, some engaging comments come across my line of vision. Take this one from Paul Nixon (firstname.lastname@example.org) as he began an address to an Annual Conference meeting.
- “Over the years, conference becomes an acquired taste. Sort of like church. A lot of folks look at our local churches, and at the age of 24, they are just as appalled with our local gatherings as you and I were once concerned about this kind of gathering. To them, church feels boring, pedantic, tedious. And they don't stay around long enough to acquire the taste. The churches that are having fun in the 21st century are learning to excel in another kind of conferencing. They are learning how to conference with their neighbors, with people younger than themselves, with people of diverse culture and who come with varied stories and primary values. They are listening to their neighbors, sharing with them. And rethinking ways to do gospel community so that we can work with many of the tastes our neighbors have already acquired. All of us should be making the effort to learn our neighbors - but new churches have no choice, because unless they connect with community, they will never even make it to the starting line. So our new churches are the research and development division of American Christianity.” (emphasis in the original)
- “Their [the original Oxford Methodists] actions were guided by lists of questions for self-examination that were arranged according to the virtues for each day of the week: love of God, love of neighbor, humility, mortification and self-denial, resignation and meekness, and thanksgiving. The “one thing needful” was a soul renewed in the image of God. The main focus of the Oxford Methodist spirituality, then, was on an inward state of the soul that would be reflected in (and measured by) their Christian lifestyle” (Wesley and the People Called Methodists by Richard P. Heitzenrater, pg. 47).