Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Have we lost the values of Methodism?

Maybe I'll just ramble my thoughts here instead of thinking I have to write about the humdrum of my daily life. And I keep track of all the wonderful blogs I like to read.

Last night as I was trying to sleep this is what I was thinking about.

Have we lost the values of the Methodist church?
Further conversation with my husband revealed that the original idea of the Methodist church was for God to be reachable by everyone. The poorer people couldnt read the bible readings, couldnt read to find out about God and so couldnt really connect with Him on the same level as those who could read. So the Methodist church tried to teach them to read and starting singing hymns so that they could learn the theology without needing to read as they could remember the hymns. It was about EVERYONE being able to understand and communicate with God.

Yet now we are in the same situation but with generation problems instead. The (mainly) older church members find they can learn about and communicate with God in their traditions of sermons, prayer and hymns in a structured format. The (mainly) younger members find that they do not understand the language of the hymns and prefer to discuss rather than to just listen to long sermons. The traditional format isnt a good platform for them to learn about and comunicate with God from. And so we have kept the traditions but lost the values!

I know this is generalising a lot, and I dont mean to say I see no value in the current traditions because thats not true but I can't work out what the future for the church is going to be. What are our options - to carry on as we are and not entirely satisfy either group as we try and find a middle ground? Or to split into an old church which will gradually get smaller and a younger church that will get larger? But then we will lose the guidance and wisdom and knowledge of the older members.

I dont want to lose that, but I dont want the compromise to be that I am made to try and relate to, learn about and worship God in a way which is difficult for me and which limits and restricts my worship. I think a lot of people think youth just want loud music but its not for loud musics sake, its the need for a style which we are comfortable in, which allows us to worship without having to translate ourselves into something we are not. Imagine having to speak to God in the Spanish you did at school?!!!

So is there a way to combine the wisdom and knowledge of the older members with the frustrated hunger and thirsting of the younger members? To have a church where peoples praise is not limited by the format they are forced to worship in? But where there is a community of everyone and an understanding that there are things in other peoples styles which CAN be beneficial for us to learn?