There comes a time to reconsider our heroes. We have the Historical Jesus movement, the need to see if Bonhoeffer was gay, and even the need to insure Santa Claus is white. Therefore, in this time of crisis in the United Methodist Church, when we are called to look again to the founder of the people called Methodist, it is rightly needful we look to Wesley to see if his life can offer us something in our Way Forward. No doubt, we are at a Crossroads and have two ways to go.
Fr. John never once spoke out against gay marriage. Could it be he was in fact gay? I think so. Let me give you a few reasons why:
- Wesley had no interest women. At Oxford, he considered celibacy but was torn by a possibility of marriage. After all, marriage was for that time something needful for people to move up in life. The woman in question married another, however. Later, in the American colonies, Wesley met Sophie Hopkey. This was going to be an arranged marriage, but of course Wesley still had no inclination to actually marry. She soon found another. Wesley was 48 when married a widow. They would finally separate 15 years later. The record of their marriage is disastrous. Wesley was very friendly to the women but never charged with adultery. Indeed, his focus on equality of women to men should be examined as one who perhaps saw himself in their same oppressed situation.
- Wesley had two friends, really. Peter Böhler and George Whitefield. Peter and John spent a lot of time together, with John abandoning all (including Charles) to accompany Peter on various missionary activities (PDF). Peter married later in life, perhaps again a sign of the times. After all, if you did not marry, you could have been suspected of Catholicism. George Whitefield was clearly gay. Wesley and Whitefield were friends, maybe more, and had a falling out in private that erupted in public. We really don’t know the full story about it, do we? I can only imagine Wesley, later in life, looking at Whitefield – both miserable in marriages – and saying, “I can’t quit you.” Later, Wesley appointed Francis Asbury, another celibate and soft man who had a “weakness,” to be Bishop. Bishop Thomas Coke married at 58 to a wealthy woman who paid for his missions.
- Wesley’s family is also another witness. According to science, the more children you have, the larger the chance one will be gay. According to conservatives, if the father is weak and the mother is strong-willed, the higher the chance a child will be gay. This describes perfectly the family of Samuel and Susanna Wesley.
- Wesley’s own demeanor indicates he was struggling to hide something. Wesley understood depression. In fact, if you read his writings and those about him, you get the sense he understood himself not under a “nervous disorder” but because of some sin in his life, under the hand of God. How else do we explain his long conversion?
It is time we the people of the United Methodist Church take charge of our past and understand that Wesley was gay. Further, he ordained two gay men. He ended oppression and so we should too.
THIS post WAS NOT about John Wesley’s sex-life; it is about how brogressive Christians use click-bait to elevate their brand[tm]. In case you don’t know, click bait is what bad bloggers or websites in need of ad revenue use to lure in sheep. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a good, ironic title, but to have it lead to stupidity is something altogether different.
I hate to say it, but usually the click bait is from liberals and progressive bloggers who make it their life’s goal to produce the basest of theological positions in hopes of gaining some notoriety. They care little to nothing about orthodoxy, logic, reason, or tradition, or true justice or liberation for that matter, only themselves. They love to turn a phrase or misuse a word/concept so they can backtrack. In fact, if they can run to the opposite of orthodoxy, tradition, Christianity, they will and they will run fast.
They do nothing except to cause us more harm.
Then, there are those click-bait bloggers who colonize to gain attention. I’m white. I’m straight. I’m male. I’m middle class. I live in Appalachia. I have two college degrees. I am active in my local downtown, mostly white, church in a mainline denomination. I am not queer, a Person of Color, oppressed, or otherwise. I will not try to identify with you to sell books or make a name for myself. I have no need to tell you how to be you in whatever way you chose to identify yourself. I am not going to pretend God talks to me through the TV screen, computer, or some otherwise mystical experience. I simply have no need to pretend to be something I am not to be your leader. The marginalized need not allies, but accomplices who will listen.
Be warned — simply because you agree with someone, do not hang on every word they say. Do not think uncritical about their material. Test them always. We have been lulled into sheer ignorance because as a Church would rather follow the loudest mouths than the whispers of Tradition. There are these so called
profits prophets of the LORD now who anoint themselves as the future leaders of the church without any accountability. They can write posts gossiping about Driscoll and gaining click bait points for their brand while claiming to teach us “how not to speak” of Mark Driscoll. It IS NOT PROPHETIC WHATSOEVER to capitalize off the pain of others.
In meeting with N.T. Wright last year at SBL, someone asked him about online personas. He called it for what it was and I think he is correct. This is modern cybergnosticism. When identities are tossed around like balls, when you can be whatever you want to be online, we are entering into a realm that is harmful to society. I can sit here and pretend to be a progressive white male ally who identifies with the poor but in actuality when I could be the exact opposite. This is harmful both to communities online and offline, particularly the marginated. If I co-opt or colonize who you are, what your hurt is, and the harm done to you to benefit myself I am worse than those attempting to destroy you.
Dear readers, don’t be lulled into stupidity. Don’t follow something because it is outlandish. Pay attention to those behind the screen. If we can focus on reality, on the long tradition of the Church – on logic, reason, and judgment – we may see some of these problems dry up rather quickly. Otherwise, you’ll keep falling for click-bait and believe whatever else pops upon your screen.
TL;DR: Stop believing, sharing, accepting something just because it is super-liberal or super-conservative. Stop accepting colonizers as prophets.
If you need help picking a part all of the logical phallacies* in the top part, let me know. It is based entirely on how I want you to see things with little or no regard for historical fact. I acknowledge the inherent hypocrisy of using click-bait to reach out to you to stop accepting every super-liberal post you read that is little more than self-aggrandizement, but honestly, would you have read it?