Interpretations of John Wesley abound. Two recent monographs from Oxford University Press show how different dimensions of Wesley’s early ministry can yield vital clues to understanding the heart of Wesley’s life and ministry—and how his example may shape Methodist commitments today. Continue reading
William Blake’s religious thought is notoriously challenging. Several recent studies, however, shed light on this area through particular attention to the theological and historical impact of British Methodism on his achievement. Two recent monographs deserve mention.
Jennifer Jesse, in William Blake’s Religious Vision: There’s a Methodism in His Madness (Lanham: Lexington, 2013), maintains that Blake works “against the backdrop” of Wesleyan theology. She argues that Blake critics have relied excessively on contemporary caricatures of the Wesleys, Whitefield, and Methodism generally rather than historically accurate portrayals of the movement. Continue reading
Yesterday was the first anniversary of my youngest son’s baptism. Infant baptism is the norm among United Methodists today. But many of my non-Methodist friends practice “infant dedication.” In fact, while the two practices are different, they function (in many respects) similarly in Christian faith communities: each marks a moment when family and congregations commit to raising a child to grow into a relationship with Christ. Continue reading
Parents worry about their children. I was reminded of this simple fact while reading John Tyson’s thoughtful biography: Assist Me to Proclaim: The Life and Hymns of Charles Wesley (2007). Despite his status as one of the most notable ministers and lyricists in eighteenth-century England, Charles Wesley cared no less about the formation and development of his children than any other parent in his age (or our own, for that matter, I suppose). Continue reading