Friday, May 7, 2010

The Fading Image of John Wesley...Among Wesleyans?

The next time you're at a mall go and check out your local Christian bookstore. Chances are you'll find Christian fiction (about Amish), self-help books from a Christian perspective and a stack of books from either the basic Baptist or charismatic/Pentecostal persuasion. Try to find current Wesleyan works in print.

It's a problem.

Why aren't they being written and sold? I'm sure it's no grand conspiracy to keep Wesleyans out of print. My guess is the Christian publishing houses are looking at it from a simple marketing strategy (read: money). There is little supply being cranked out because there is precious little demand for it.

Some years ago a string of merchandise came out repeating long dead Charles Sheldon's concept behind In His Steps by having us ask ourselves what Jesus would do. How many of us prayed The Prayer of Jabez...well, until we quit doing so? T. D. Jakes sure seemed to be on a tear for a while. Who can forget when the general population learned who California pastor Rick Warren was? Joel Osteen took America by storm a while back as he taught us...well, whatever it is he taught us. That's highly debatable.

Hot trends mean money.

Wesleyan Methodism and the Holiness Movement it spawned isn't cool. It's isn't cutting edge or "extreme" or "relevant." It isn't postmodern or emergent. It's isn't easily commercialized.

The questions I have, however, are more pointed: how many Wesleyans are really Wesleyan? How many Christians worship in churches birthed during the Holiness Movement of the 1800's but would be hard pressed to explain what is so distinct about the aroma of their flavor of evangelical Christianity?

I am a Christian. If someone wants more of a label from me I unashamedly call myself a, "Low Church Wesleyan Methodist." I know what that means.

Do other Wesleyans, so called?