Saturday, May 21, 2011

A certain kind of sanity

Just back from a retreat, where the rules of a Wesleyan Band (a small group, not a big collection of musicians) were mentioned. I looked them up and found this posting that describes a really high level of commitment. Here's an excerpt (the poster at says these are in the public domain):
Some of the questions proposed to every one before he is admitted among us may be to this effect: –
  1. Have you the forgiveness of your sins?
  2. Have you peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ?
  3. Have you the witness of God’s Spirit with your spirit, that you are a child of God?
  4. Is the love of God shed abroad in your heart?
  5. Has no sin, inward or outward, dominion over you?
  6. Do you desire to be told of your faults?
  7. Do you desire to be told of all your faults, and that plain and home?
  8. Do you desire that every one of us should tell you, from time to time, whatsoever is in his heart concerning you?
  9. Consider! Do you desire we should tell you whatsoever we think, whatsoever we fear, whatsoever we hear, concerning you?
  10. Do you desire that, in doing this, we should come as close as possible, that we should cut to the quick, and search your heart to the bottom?
  11. Is it your desire and design to be on this, and all other occasions, entirely open, so as to speak everything that is in your heart without exception, without disguise, and without reserve?

Contrast that with a certain kind of madness described in Roxburgh and Boren's Introducing the Missional Church:

... where the focus has been on our rights, our needs, our freedom to choose as we please, our freedom to cut and run whenever we get bored or it gets sticky and tough or things aren't quite working the way we expect. It is assumed that the appropriate means of living in a tolerant and open society is to create an environment that does not step on or over any specific set of personal rights, feelings, or desires. (71)

Ouch! The idea of a high-commitment Wesleyan band is like a polar opposite to the "needs-centered, seeker-driven mentality that has shaped so much of the church in North America" (loc. cit.) and is thus a certain kind of sanity.

Is it a sanity you or I would sign up for? Or are we -- am I -- unwilling to forsake "our freedom to cut and run whenever we get bored or it gets sticky and tough or things aren't quite working the way we expect"?

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