Choosing the Only Option: A Radical Inclusiveness

Reading Farris Blount’s essay was a sobering and soul-stirring experience. I am especially grateful to Farris for sharing his heart, in describing the inherent pain and frustration associated too often with being a black Christian. I was born and raised in the southern states and consequently encountered racism and bigotry very early on in my […]

What Would it Take for Lutherans to Become Better Partners with the Black Church?

     Serving the Black church for three decades in its largest accredited seminary in the States, I’ve been asking this question of friends, colleagues, and students quite frequently.  And so on the basis of his thoughtful presentation, I now turn to Farris Blount to get his read on what the Lutheran tradition needs to do […]

Black Christianity Has Saved the Credibility of the US Church

As I ponder Farris Blount’s thoughtful, fair-minded reflections, I respond as a repentant white Baptist of the South. I recall that when I wandered into that Southern Baptist congregation in summer 1978, and that William & Mary Baptist Student Union in 1980, and into Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1984 and again as a professor […]

Methodism and the Liberative Heart of a God Who is Love

If Pietists and Pentecostals are like cousins, then certainly Pentecostals and Methodists are even closer in family formation. After all, it was the revivalist Wesleyan movement, blended with a dose of Moravian Pietism, that gave birth to Methodist, Holiness, and Pentecostal forms of Christian faith and practice.  In the United States by the early 20th […]

Christ, Community, & Challenging Injustice

In Dr. Lancaster’s reflection about the Wesleyan tradition of following Jesus, I was most intrigued by what I consider to also be a fundamental aspect of following Jesus in the Black Church tradition – a commitment to an understanding of justification and sanctification as a communal process in which disciples of Jesus hold one another […]

Celebrating Wesleyan Treasures and Rooting for United Methodists to Continue Offering Them

Reading Sarah Lancaster’s insightful overview of Wesleyanism and keeping in mind its United Methodist denominational expressions took me back to when it was my responsibility to articulate overlaps between Mennonite and United Methodist teachings and values. The United Methodist University Senate oversees UM higher education, including in non-UM institutions it approves to teach UM students. […]

“Oh, now I understand…”

If Lutheranism is the parent of Pietism, then surely the Wesleyan Tradition is the closest cousin to my own. The most distinctive catalyst for the Methodist wing of the First Great Awakening was the encounter of John and Charles Wesley with Pietism, both the Moravian strain that famously led to their conversion experiences and the […]

John Wesley and Eastern Orthodoxy

Dear Sarah, Thank you for your informative contribution to our ongoing conversation. You are probably aware of the fascinating ways John Wesley is linked with Eastern Orthodoxy, but some of our conversation partners may not be aware of these connections. First of all, while John Wesley loved all the Church Fathers of the first four […]

How Do You Best Love Those Who Don’t Fulfill Expectations? Can Methodists Endorse the Lutheran Answer as Appropriate?

     I was tempted to sing the Paul Simon hit again about the mother and child reunion in response to this fine piece of Methodist theologizing.  After all it is well known that John Wesley had his famed Aldersgate Experience while reading the work of Martin Luther on justification by grace through faith (Journals, May […]

The Quest for Holiness

 It seems that I have been fascinated with the concept of holiness for as long as I can remember. As a young person growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I discovered that one of my cousins and his family were active participants in what they referred to as a “Pentecostal Holiness” movement. Many years later […]

The Allure of Wesleyanism

For this Baptist, John Wesley is one of the most interesting and significant Protestant leaders in history. I have always found his project alluring: within decadent, aristocratic-heavy 18th century Anglicanism arose a leader, and a movement, calling for a renewal of heartfelt, wholly committed, holistic, holiness. (Perhaps only Baptists alliterate quite like that. Sorry.) The […]

Hearts Strangely Warmed

I deeply appreciate Sarah Lancaster’s summary of the Wesleyan tradition and its emphasis on holiness and piety within the context of community. True, as Ms. Lancaster notes, that emphasis has flagged somewhat at various times within the Wesleyan tradition—a consequence of routinization, no doubt—but the ideal remains, and it is important. When I think of […]

Holiness of Heart and Life

Other participants in this project have told their stories about how they came to participate in the tradition they represent in these conversations. My own story is quite straightforward. My father was a Methodist preacher, and my mother had been a Methodist missionary in India before she married my father. I was baptized as an […]

Is Pietism Really a Tradition? Is It Evangelicalism? And What of Justice?

Above all else, count me relieved that my unusual approach to the lead essay format seems to have connected with so many of my conversation partners. Knowing that the typical response to the word “Pietism” in the 21st century is either non-recognition (“What’s that?”) or mis-recognition (“Oh, you mean legalism” — or “anti-intellectualism” or “quietism”), […]

The Heart of the Matter

Hello, cousin! That’s the first thing that came to mind when I read this month’s “A Week in the Life of a Pietist,” by Christopher Gehrz.  Too few scholars have drawn attention to the deep affinities between Pietism and Pentecostalism, and to Pietism’s influence on Pentecostal faith and practice.  Pentecostalism has a complex root system […]