"To Know Jesus..."
From an attendee of the Network of Spiritual Progressives conference, this is an excellent post on Wesley, Christianity, and Political engagement... Here is a snippet:
"In the final assessment, however, the conference was a reminder to me of the value of my own tradition which was born in the 18th Century teaching of the English theologian, John Wesley. Wesley taught that faithfulness to Jesus Christ requires prayer, study of scripture, emotional commitment and intellectual rigor. This, coupled with an uncompromising commitment to meeting the needs of the poor, visiting the imprisoned, caring for the vulnerable and sharing one's financial resources with the impoverished and neglected. That's a tall order. But this conference crystallized an understanding of this Wesleyan view of faith in a new way for me. In this diverse community I heard the clearest expression of Christian faith that I have heard articulated in a long, long time.
In our self-help culture Wesley's message is counter-cultural if not counter-intuitive. It is a call to individual responsibility in connection with a community of those who are dedicated to study, worship and the discipline of common responsibilit--for each other and for the social order in which they live. I left believing Wesleyan thought is especially well-suited for the times in which we live because it calls us to a task larger than narrow, feel-good, self-help culture that is so pervasive today. It calls us to view the whole world as the place where our faith is expressed. It calls us to express faith through service; to be engaged with those who are left out, poor, on the margins, sick, imprisoned and vulnerable.
I leave the conference enamored with another thought. In this culture that is often so coarse, shallow and utterly material, I believe there are those who deeply want something with greater depth and purpose than popular culture can ever offer. What they want is something worthy enough, and big enough, to believe in. Something large enough to commit one's life to.
Here's the big thought. As a Wesleyan Christian, this means to me making a commitment to heal the earth of our environmental harm, work for peace and end poverty because personal commitment to Jesus Christ, at the level of the heart and the depth of the soul, impels one toward this lifestyle. To know Jesus is to know the face of the poor, the war-ravaged and the forgotten.
This individual commitment further impels us to collective expression of faith; to a community of faith in which we are renewed, refreshed and in which we find hope."