The Future Of Methodism

Kondoru

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#1
Dads circuit is in despair.

They now have two ministers to twelve chapels.

And a shortage of Lay preachers. (Admit that many for health reasons cant do it but some maybe should)

Dad is one of the youngest there.

He is 82.
 

Frideswide

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#3
@Konduru it's the same for my inlaws - not-extreme-Baptists. My FiL is a Minister and my MiL is a laypreacher, both are now in their 80s.

My Unified Old Catholics is doing OK - we have no issues with female vocations to the priesthood, married priests and so on. The bigger Roman Catholic church is having problems with the number of priests; the average age is over 55 I think.
 

GerdaWordyer

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#5
I do despair also. Mainstream Christians are getting nicer and nicer, yet their congregations shrink. They have beautiful old buildings and moving music programs, and yet their congregations shrink. Maybe if they didn't require people to wake up early of a Sunday, and perhaps served beer. A friend in Arkansas who is a Pastor's wife is on the right track convening worship in a pub on weekends. But it's sad to think of giving up on the infrastructure of beautiful architecture.
On the other hand, the "camping in the church " seems like something even active churches should consider.
https://www.champing.co.uk/
 

Frideswide

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#6
Last time I saw my Monsignora, she blessed various items for me in the Sir John Moore, quietly at a table in the window. After that we conducted business to do with the Preaching Order I would very much like to join, before diving into cocktails (something blue and spiced).

https://www.facebook.com/lst.sherwood
 

skinny

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#7
My Da was trained a Methodist. The sect was subsumed together with Congregationalist and Presbyterian forms to create The Uniting Church of Australia in the mid-70s.

I haven't set foot in a church for many years now but the last time I did it was exactly as described above - a care home. Pentecostalism has sexed up worship so that the customers will never go back once they've been licked by the flames of hype. It's big business now, baby. Go hard or go home.
 

AlchoPwn

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#8
Let's face facts, the problem is that Christianity doesn't meet the community's philosophical needs anymore. The old saying goes: "It take faith to be a Christian, but to become an Atheist one must actually read the Bible". While I think people still enjoy a sense of community meeting, it is hard to get enthused about a religion that teaches so much intolerance, and yet claims to be moral and compassionate. The fact is that Christianity demands a lot of credulity, and is insulted when the community is insufficiently gullible about its claims, saying they have no faith, as if that is somehow a bad thing when there are no miracles to support the claims. In short, the religion is failing because our society is no longer composed of under-educated pastoralists. Indeed, Christianity remains strongest among rural communities, the people of the heath (heathens) and the people of the countryside (pagans, from the French "pays" for country), who are considered a bit backwards. In short, this is the life cycle of a religion being completed. If one looks to antiquity, the same thing happened to the various branches of European pantheism. Do we as a society even need religion anymore?
 

Yithian

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#9
Let's face facts, the problem is that Christianity doesn't meet the community's philosophical needs anymore. The old saying goes: "It take faith to be a Christian, but to become an Atheist one must actually read the Bible".
I might feel vaguely encouraged if 'the West' was becoming a community of atheists, even though I am not an atheist myself, because, as you say, it would indicate that they had engaged in some sense with the subject of religion and reached a personal judgment.

The truth, I am afraid, is not that 'we' are not becoming a community of atheists, but that we're becoming a community of the ignorant. Our institutions do not teach philosophy or theology to the young and most of those born today will live and die without ever having considered their lives as a whole or the possibilities for what a human life can be: they will have simply been born, done some stuff, and died; emotions will have been experienced along the way, but there will have been no teleological drive to their existence, just a wander towards pleasure and safety and away from pain and danger.

I don't see many people throwing off shackles, just a lot of people forgetting.

Edit: I will add that the death of Christianity will be a long, long process that will still be continuing after we here are all dust. There will also likely be a few spasms of unexpected activity before it finally gives up the ghost.
 

Mythopoeika

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#10
Do we as a society even need religion anymore?
I suspect that it has largely fulfilled its purpose (to bring people together and create civilisation) and has now become irrelevant to most people.
Perhaps we shouldn't lose touch with the good things the basic Christian ethos has brought us, but as Yithian says above, many people simply don't believe (i.e. they have made no conscious decision to do so) and are ignorant. Perhaps these are the 'new savages'.
 

escargot

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#11
Our institutions do not teach philosophy or theology to the young
That has always been the case. Children have been indoctrinated. However, keeping people under control through fear of a God who can see them everywhere even on the toilet* only works until they learn to think things through for themselves. These days, at least in most of the developed world, that's not a problem; you're not going to be branded or stoned to death for not believing.

*As a child I heard other kids ask each other and adults about this. Even back then I knew what was going on.
 
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AlchoPwn

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#13
I suspect that it has largely fulfilled its purpose (to bring people together and create civilisation) and has now become irrelevant to most people. Perhaps we shouldn't lose touch with the good things the basic Christian ethos has brought us, but as Yithian says above, many people simply don't believe (i.e. they have made no conscious decision to do so) and are ignorant. Perhaps these are the 'new savages'.
An interesting idea, but I think that one can only be a savage if one is not informed about the choice and the cultural meaning system involved in the choice to belong to religion. Most people I know are quite familiar with various religions on cross-examination, but find them far from relevant to their lives, and thus do not partake. Strangely enough, the world has moved on from the way we lived back in Roman Era Judea. I also debate the value of the Christian Ethos. This is not to say that I am completely against everything it teaches, but on close examination, much of what we take to be the morality of Christianity actually derives from other sources, and a good deal of what is actually Christian moral teaching is actually really morally dubious. In many ways we are better served by the ethics of the Greek Philosophers, or the Buddha, or the great moral philosophers of later eras, than by religious claims. After all, the moral values handed by down by a bearded sky tyrant beg the question of whether they are moral because the sky tyrant himself follows a teaching that is higher than himself, or whether it is merely an expression of his tyranny. Each answer has its own attendant problems.
 

eburacum

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#14
Methodism is, or was, a fascinating denomination; it inspired many of the key figures in UK politics from Harold Wilson and David Frost to Margaret Thatcher. Wesley was a popularist speaker, and spread the word to many people who had been overlooked by the elitist mainstream church of the 18th/19th centuries.
But how much of the success of Methodism was down to its doctrine, and how much was down to the popularism of its founders? Certainly the Arminian free-will element of Methodism was preferable to the appalling predestination creed of Calvinism, but how many Methodists actually knew the difference? And who gave a flying fuck about whether Methodists were episcopalian or not? I know that the old Methodist churches were active in the community, and my kids went to lots of activities at the local Methodist church, but I doubt many of the people involved were aware of the theology or philosophy behind the movement.
 

Yithian

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#16
That has always been the case. Children have been indoctrinated.
Perhaps I have had an irregular experience, but I was born in the 70s and grew up in the 80s and 90s and the whole of my primary, secondary and further education has been at Anglican institutions. This in addition to Scouting and church youth clubs, but I have never felt that there was any compulsion on me to believe or observe regularly, nor have I encountered any condescension towards other faiths or denominations; in fact, there was a great deal of 'this is what the church teaches, now you must decide what you think--it's no use my telling you what to believe'. The whole thing was reinforced through my studies: it's scarcely possible to understand the English canon or British history without picking up swathes of Christian debate and theological/ecclesiastical language along the way, but the last time I checked in with the education world, they weren't even requiring teenagers to read whole novels at school. I fear that much will be lost.

My parents' generation of our family are pretty much irreligious, but my brother and me were sent to these specific institutions as they were the best in terms of educational outcomes. The result--and this is what I had in mind when I wrote that the majority today lack the philosophical and theological framework to make use of faith--is that I understand where it's all coming from, even when I can't credit specific claims; I understand (at a basic level, I'm no theologist) the questions for which they are seeking answers and why they think them worth seeking. If this was indoctrination, I can scarcely think of a milder or more benign form.

As a child I said my prayers at bedtime because my grandfather taught me to; as an adult, I sometimes do the same because I see the value of meditating on the day passed as well as that to come. I can't know whether there is truly any being to note the entreaties of petitionary prayer, but to put one's day on hold, step into silence and hope earnestly for another's suffering to be ameliorated seems to me to nurture empathy and deepen one's moral sensibilities. As an ongoing project, I am a still a pretty shoddy specimen, but I feel as if I have been given the tools to one day produce something tolerable from the materials I have. The way I see it, an increasing number in the west have no conception of what such a project would even consist of, let alone what value could be gleaned from embarking on one.

Apologies if this is a bit of a ramble.
 

Kondoru

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#21
Yes, it does seem a bit unorganised.

I am sad at a good and sedate faith dying out.

But I have no belief in a faith that cant even find preachers. I think if I was a Methodist (at 48 I am at least two decades too young) I would be having doubts.

There has been a bit of contreversy at this idea of gay marriage...some lay preachers have threatened to resign over it.

Last marriage at our village chapel was about 20 years ago...if not longer...I feel there is very little to worry about.
 

Frideswide

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#22
Yesterday I was chatting with a colleague and heard myself say 'My religion says I shouldn't do that!'
Can't remember what we were on about now, probably gambling as I was raised a half-arsed Methodist. No drinking, no gambling, no anything really.
Mr Frideswide describes himself as a Lapsed Baptist - went through all the hoops because he loved his parents who are Minister and Lay Preacher, without ever believing. In daily life comes up against limits, things he consciously now rejects a couple of times a year.

Much more than me!
 

PeteS

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#23
Yesterday I was chatting with a colleague and heard myself say 'My religion says I shouldn't do that!'
Can't remember what we were on about now, probably gambling as I was raised a half-arsed Methodist. No drinking, no gambling, no anything really.
Our RE teacher at school was a Methodist Minister. Totally and utterly barking mad and should not have been allowed within a hundred miles of children.
 

PeteS

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#25
We'll need more details, please.
For example he would literally scream like a teenage girl if anyone coughed or moved their chair in his class. Also maintained that he was "a perfect human being" and expected his pupils to be the same. Those were the least distasteful of his attributes. Very very weirdly there were some amazing tributes to the moron when he finally snuffed it. I'm ashamed to say I laughed when I heard he'd finally spared the world of his obnoxious personality.
 
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