“Being a Methodist is Easy, you don’t have to be all Perfect”
The title kind of tells the story. I was recently at a sporting event, and happened to be within earshot of one of those people that have a “whispering volume” louder than most people have a alking volume, and they were have a conversation with someone they knew.
The person who was talking lets call her “Jennifer” (good 80s Name), and her freind whe was talking to “Amy” (another good 80’s name).
During the course of like 3 lines of dialog I know, Amy, is a mother and a widow, who used to be married to a non-methodist pastor of some sort. Actually I guess Dialog is not the right word, since I dont think I heard Amy say anything.
I dont want to go into too many details, because quite a few people I know might be able to figure out who said what if I did. (And what was said is the important bit, and who said it is not really the point here.)
So Jennifer continues.
“Hey our pastor here is single”
Jennifer: “He’s cute, I should introduce you”
Jennifer: “You’ve already done the pastors wife thing”
Jennifer: “Besides, He is a methodist, Methodist is easy, you dont have to be all perfect”
And this continues on.But I kind of stopped at the Idea that being a methodist is easy. I have heard all sorts of variations of this living in the south in heavily SBC and other evangelical fundamental demononations territory: Texas. But it has often been second hand. “my friend at work said”, “The kids in the seekers club at school said” etc.
What makes religion hard vs easy?
There are all sorts of questions and observations that this leads to. Why doesn’t Amy say anything? What do you mean you dont have to be perfect? etc. but the one I though about most was, What is the other denomination that they are comapring to, and what makes it “Hard”? What makes a religion hard?
It seems to me that the underlying assumption, is that it has more rules. You have more stuff to keep track of and things you “don’t do”. And that if you dont have a list of “dont do’s” then you are not making people “be perfect” and that is easy. That is what I am thinking is the unspoken message. To be a real serious religion, and be a serious follower of Christ, you need to have a long list of dos and don’ts.
Is that bibical?
So I have read the Bible, and I do recall a lot of lists of things to do and dont do. But I recall them mostly from the old testament.
However from what I recall, most of the red letters talking about rules are explaining why Jesus and his followers are not following a particular rule or tradition, and explaining to those who are questioning him (and the crowd) about why the questioners are foolish and don’t have a heart for God and are simply performin empty guestures.
So I cannot help but think as a follower of Christ, the goal should not be to build up a long list of things to do or not, but rather to get your heart and relationship right.
And if the implication is that the UMC as a whole is not doing a good job of creating a long list of dos and don’ts. I think I am ok with that.