Here is a ditty Len Sweet’s Methodist grandfather used to sing:
A Methodist, a Methodist will I be
A Methodist will I die.
I’ve been baptized in the Methodist way
And I’ll live on the Methodist side.
What “genius” of Methodism inspired this kind of love and loyalty in the earlier years of the faith? What did it mean to live in “the Methodist way” and to die on “the Methodist side?” Perhaps it is time to resurrect a neo-Wesleyan identity and to challenge the prevailing “one-calorie Methodism” that characterizes so much of our tribe today.
What makes a Methodist? How can we re-ignite the spark of genius that motivated such commitment in our cloud of witnesses?
The essence of Methodism’s genius resides in two famous Wesleyan mantras: “heart strangely warmed” (inward experiences with a fire in the heart) and “the world is our parish” (outward experiences with waterfalls of cutting-edge intelligence). For Wesley, internal combustion, the former, led to external combustion, the latter.
In the 18th century, Methodists in general (and in their younger years, the Wesley brothers themselves) were accused of being too “sexy.” What else could all those “love feasts” and “strangely warmed hearts” be about? Why else were all those women in positions of leadership? With this book the author hopes to bring back to life some of Methodism’s sexiness so that our current reproduction crisis can be reversed.
Leonard Sweet is the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew Theological School, Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University, and a chief contributor to sermons.com. He is one of the most sought after interpreters of contemporary church life and culture and the author of more than one hundred articles, 600 published sermons, and thirty books—including the Greatest Story Never Told: Revive Us Again and FaithQuakes from Abingdon Press.