Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fun and games: highlights from the first season

Watching grandchildren do whatever it is they choose to do is one of the great, amazing blessings of being a grandparent.  If one of my four grandchildren is anywhere, doing anything and I can get there--or, am allowed to be present!--I am there!

What follows in the video is a highlight reel from Wyatt's first season to play tackle football.  You'll see him as #20 for the purple and gold Vikings.  He's a great blocker, really steady on defense in the secondary or sometimes at linebacker, a hard driving runner at fullback (at times you'll note a pile of boys moving down the field at about 5 yards at a whack--usually Wyatt is under that file with the ball!), and, on several occasions this year, he breaks with the ball for long runs to the end zone.

I'll admit it is hard to determine who is doing what on parts of the video.  Maybe it takes a granddad's eyes to catch it all.  Watching helps me remember the fun of this season.  At the same time, it causes me to remember and anticipate basketball (Wyatt and Owen), volleyball (Gracie), dance (Gracie), soccer (Wyatt, Owen and soon Henry), grandparent days and lots of other school related events! 

Nothing better!


Friday, November 29, 2013

Coming in 2014!

2014 Urban Engagement Book Club (Hosted by CitySquare)

Every FIRST Thursday at Noon
Highland Park United Methodist Church (at SMU), Room 120
3300 Mockingbird Lane Dallas, Texas 75205          
January 9
Outliers: The Story of Success , Malcolm Gladwell

February 6
Black Like Me (50th Anniversary Edition), John Howard Griffin

March 6
The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros Are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy ,Bruce Katz & Jennifer Bradley

April 3
The Other America: Poverty in the United States ,Michael Harrington

May 1
The Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools,
Christopher A. Lubienski & Sarah Theule Lubienski

June 5
Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much, Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir

July 3
No Book Club: Summer Break

August 7
The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives, Sasha Abramsky

September 4
Why Walls Won't Work: Repairing the US-Mexico Divide, Michael Dear

October 2
Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools, Diane Ravitch

November 6
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
Malcolm Gladwell

December 4
Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women,  Susan Faludi

Every THIRD Thursday at Noon
First United Methodist Church, Crossroads Room
1928 Ross Ave Dallas, Texas 75201

January 23
Outliers: The Story of Success,Malcolm Gladwell

February 20
American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass,
Douglas Massey & Nancy Denton

March 20
The Other America: Poverty in the United States,Michael Harrington

April 16
The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care, T. R. Reid

May 15
The Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools,
Christopher A. Lubienski & Sarah Theule Lubienski

June 19
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
Malcolm Gladwell

July 10
The Latino Threat: Constructing Immigrants, Citizens, and the Nation, Second Edition, Leo Chavez

August 21
NAFTA and the Politics of Labor Transnationalism , Tamara Kay

September 18
The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way, Amanda Ripley

October 17
The DREAMers: How the Undocumented Youth Movement Transformed the Immigrant Rights Debate
Walter Nicholls

November 21
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,Sheryl Sandberg

December 18
Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much, Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

As you count your blessings, I trust that great joy will follow, as well as reflection.

Today I will be with our family.

All four of my grandchildren will be with me.

It will be wonderful.

And, it will be better today for my little buddy, Chris or Christian, than it was just a couple of years ago.

Chris and his mom live in our building downtown.  Chris' mom is a devoted provider.  She keeps Chris on the right path.

Last week he showed me his report card--all As with one B.  He had circled the B.

"See that circle?" he asked me.

"Yes, I do. What does it mean?" I replied.

"It means next time I'll have a 100 there!" he exclaimed.

I expect he will.

He told me that  he wants to go to Oklahoma University and play football.  I told him that both were great dreams, but in any case he could go to OU if he worked hard, football or no football.  He smiled.

Chris is my buddy and I am his.

As I thank God for my family today, I'll find some time to thank God for Chris and his family as well.

I'm grateful he is doing well.

He'll have his chance, and that is everything.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Amazing, interactive map

If you are interested in analyzing the poverty/income data for any zip code in the Untied States, look here.

What you'll find is an amazing, interactive map with the data buried just beneath your cursor!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Faith, alive and well on inner city streets

Consistently over the years, well-meaning people have asked again and again what we do at CitySquare to "share our faith" with the people we serve.  Again and again, I've tried to explain that the matter and the issues of faith come up again and again in our various workplaces.  The interesting twist, however, is the fact that our neighbors, those who come seeking our assistance in various ways, initiate conversations about spiritual things.

I've learned over the years that "faith" keeps poor folks going.  Most would tell you that faith is about all they have upon which to depend.

One of the latest examples of this reality--it happens numerous times every day--can be viewed in the video below.  I caught this "testimony" out at "the Corner" where I hang out on Thursdays.  What this friend said just erupted from his heart after I asked him how he was doing.

And, I'll say again, it happens all the time in my world.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Images from memory

The following images were captured in the lobby of the Bank of America Oak Cliff Tower yesterday.  Walking through the display moved me deeply.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bright future. . .bright students

This video conveys the beginning, hard work being engaged by the second class of JUST team members from Abilene Christian University working here at CitySquare.  

I found it moving.  

I hope you'll find encouragement as well.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wesley, poverty and democracy

Poverty, Sanctification and the Progress of English Democracy
Larry James
United Methodist History  HX 7365, Fall 2013
Professor Tamara E. Lewis
From the earliest days religious societies in one expression or another provided the backbone for the Wesleyan movement to reform the Church of England and to renew the entire nation.  Regular, weekly attention to religious devotion, personal discipleship and meaningful engagement with the poor and downcast, both in and outside society membership, provided stability and purpose to these groups, as well as growth for individual members and to the expanding movement. 

                For all the argument over issues related to assurance, predestination, perseverance of the saints and other matters emerging from John Wesley’s ongoing dialogue and struggle with Calvinism and Quietism, it is my contention that service to and concern for the poor became increasingly important to  Wesley and to his understanding of the meaning and purpose of his work.  So important was this aspect of his understanding that the notion of “works of mercy” became as important a “means of grace” as were “works of piety.” It appears that as Wesley’s lifelong struggle with issues related to the assurance of salvation matured, so did his commitment to the poor deepen.  By the end of his life, Wesley had developed a profound understanding of the poor, their struggles and the forces that continued to oppress them.  While his life ended in expressed disappointment regarding the overall Methodist response to the problems associated with poverty and an adequate Christian reaction,[1] it is my contention that his work set the stage for dramatic advancements in democracy, social concern and organized labor.    

                As M. Douglas Meeks notes, it is

Wesley’s unequivocal insistence that the poor are at the heart of the evangel and that life with the poor is constitutive of Christian discipleship.  There is widespread agreement that, according to the practice of Wesley, ‘the poor in Jesus Christ’ has to do with the nature of the church and with salvation.  Wesley’s ministry with the poor included feeding, clothing, housing the poor; preparing the unemployed for work and finding them employment; visiting the poor, sick and prisoners; devising new forms of health care education and delivery for the indigent; distributing books to the needy; and raising structural questions about an economy that produced poverty.[2]

Wesley considered concern for the poor by Christian disciples as a determinative factor in the process of salvation.[3]

                Clearly, the outdoor or field-preaching that ushered in and/or accompanied revival among the people of the nation brought with it an egalitarian dimension that some found offensive.  Rev. Dr. Edmond Gibson, Bishop of London, wrote a pamphlet against both the Methodists and their “boldness to preach in the fields and other open space and inviting the rabble to be their hearers.”[4]  Wesley responded by reminding the Bishop that the reason these people stand in need of salvation is that they never came to the churches, the implication being that they were not invited or welcomed there.[5]  The Duchess of Buckingham expresses an even stronger reaction in her letter to the countess of Huntingdon, referring to the doctrines of the Methodist preachers as “most repulsive, and strongly tinctured with impertinence and disrespect towards their superiors, in perpetually endeavoring to level all ranks, and do away with all distinctions. . .. and I cannot but wonder that your ladyship should relish any sentiment so much at variance with high rank and good breeding.”[6]

                The egalitarian nature of the methods (even if unknowing) of Wesley and others who reached out so effectively to the common people of the nation would result in many unintended consequences vital to the emergence of a thoroughly democratic society.  Wesley’s account of his experience preaching on the streets and later from a hilltop at Newcastle is moving and indicative of the hunger of listeners for hope and for inclusion in the social/religious life of the community and nation.[7]

                In my view, the fact that Wesley places increasing emphasis on ministry among the poor grows out of his economic vision for the followers of Christ.  His well-known dictum—“Earn all you can.”  “Save all you can.”  “Give all you can.”--became more and more important to him as he and his movement aged.  Wesley considered a person claiming to follow Christ and, at the same time, choosing to hold onto wealth while others suffered in need, antithetical to the call of Christian self-denial and was in fact a “mortal sin.”[8]

                Wesley’s well-known claim that there is “no holiness but social holiness” indicates the importance of works of compassion and justice to the essential process of sanctification.  In “The Scripture Way of Salvation” (1765), Wesley declares, “Why that both repentance, rightly understood, and the practice of all good works, works of piety, as well as works of mercy (now properly so called, since they spring from faith) are in some sense necessary to sanctification.”[9]  He goes on,

"But what good works are those, the practice of which you affirm to be necessary to sanctification?" First, all works of piety; such as public prayer, family prayer, and praying in our closet; receiving the supper of the Lord; searching the Scriptures, by hearing, reading, meditating; and using such a measure of fasting or abstinence as our bodily health allows.

Secondly, all works of mercy; whether they relate to the bodies or souls of men; such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, entertaining the stranger, visiting those that are in prison, or sick, or variously afflicted; such as the endeavouring to instruct the ignorant, to awaken the stupid sinner, to quicken the lukewarm, to confirm the wavering, to comfort the feeble-minded, to succour the tempted, or contribute in any manner to the saving of souls from death. This is the repentance, and these the "fruits meet for repentance," which are necessary to full sanctification. This is the way wherein God hath appointed His children to wait for complete salvation.[10]

From the beginning of his work in and with religious societies, and building on the history of the varieties of such organizations, Wesley included work among the poor as a vital part of his response to his experience of justification.  How seriously he took these concerns can be seen in how hard he and his followers worked to build institutional or organizational “structures”(to borrow a term from Randy L. Maddox)  to ensure that the poor were served by the sanctifying activities of the believers.[11]  It is equally clear that over time Wesley’s efforts among the poor moved beyond simple acts of charity to include empowerment strategies such as schools for poor children, employment programs, loan funds and even parish-based wellness efforts stemming from his rather innovative pharmacy work. 

                Wesley’s attitude toward the poor included an unique sensitivity as to how Christian acts of compassion, charity and justice would affect those served.[12]  Wesley evidences a social understanding well beyond his times when he defends the poor against the charge that their poverty is the result of their unwillingness to work.  The following journal entry in February 1753 reflects Wesley’s heart and understanding:

Thursday, 8 . . . In the afternoon I visited many of the sick; but such scenes, who could see unmoved?  There are none such to be found in a pagan country. If any of the Indians in Georgia were sick (which indeed exceeding rarely happened till they learned gluttony and drunkenness
from the Christians), those that were near him gave him whatever he wanted. Oh, who will
convert the English into honest heathens!   On Friday and Saturday I visited as many more as I could. I found some in their cells underground; others in their garrets, half-starved both with cold and hunger, added to weakness and pain. But I found not one of the unemployed who was able to crawl about the room. So wickedly, devilishly false is that common objection, “They are poor only because they are idle.” If you saw these things with your own eyes, could you lay out money in ornaments
or superfluities?[13]

                While Wesley’s vision of a reformed church and a renewed nation through the work of the Methodists did not materialize, I contend that the movement he helped create and led resulted in the planting of important, revolutionary seeds that bloomed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Ironically, his social teaching did not result in what he had hoped for during his day.  However, Methodist social doctrine informed the creation of a new, robust form of social democracy that took seriously the needs of its people in ways the church could not imagine.  Further, while not thoroughly radical, Wesley’s work, and especially the organizational strategies of the societies, served very well the rise of labor in response to the Industrial Revolution in England.             
With this in mind, I’ll conclude with a description of the work of the “Sheffield Society,” one of the many more radical labor groups that began appearing on the English social, economic, political landscape toward the end of the 18th century.  Reported by noted, Marxist historian, E. P. Thompson, who regarded Methodism as an overall hindrance to social resistance;  notwithstanding, I find the passage clearly connected to the influence and form of the Wesley societies:

The Sheffield Society originated . . . from a gathering of “five or six mechanics. . . conversing about the enormous high price of provisions.”  It grew so rapidly that by January 1792, it comprised eight societies “which meet each at their different houses, all on the same evening.”  “None are admitted without a ticket . . . and perfect regular good order kept up.”  The societies met fortnightly, the General Meeting, “at which some hundreds attend,” monthly.  There were 1,400 subscribers to a pamphlet edition . . .of the First Part of Rights of Man, which was read with avidity in many of the workshops of Sheffield.”  In Mach 1792, after four months in existence, the society claimed nearly 2,000 members.  In May a new method of organization was adopted:  dividing them into small bodies or meetings of ten persons each, and then ten to appoint a delegate:  Ten of these delegates form another meeting, and so on . . . till at last are reduced to a proper number for constituting the Committee or Grand Council.[14]

[1] John Wesley, “Causes of the Inefficacy of Christianity,” in John Wesley’s Sermons:  An Anthology. Edited by Albert C. Outler nad Richard P. Heitzenrater, Nashville:  Abingdon Press, 1991, pp. 550-557.
[2] M. Douglas Meeks, “On Reading Wesley with the Poor,  The Portion of the Poor, pp. 9-10.
[3] Meeks, p. 11.
[4] “Chapter IX, Society and Class,” John Wesley the Methodist, The Wesley Center Online, p. 3.
[5] “Chapter IX, Society and Class,” p. 3.
[6] Donald W. Dayton, “Liberation Theology in the Wesleyan and Holiness Tradition.” On Public Theology website (, p. 5.
[7] “Chapter IX, Society and Class,” p. 4.
[8] Randy L. Maddox, “’Visit the Poor’ John Wesley, the Poor, and the Sanctification of Believers,” in The Wesleys and the Poor:  The Legacy and Development of Methodist Attitudes to Poverty, 1729-1999.  Edited by Richard Heitzenrater, Nashville, TN:  Kingswood Books, 2002,  p. 62
[9] John Wesley, “The Scripture Way of Salvation,” in John Wesley’s Sermons: An Anthology.  Edited by Albert C. Outler and Richard P. Heitzenrater, Nashville:  Abingdon Press, 1991, p. 377; and  Randy L. Maddox, “’Visit the Poor’ John Wesley, the Poor, and the Sanctification of Believers,” p. 65.
[10] John Wesley, “The Scripture Way of Salvation,” p. 378.
[11]Randy L. Maddox, “’Visit the Poor’ John Wesley, the Poor, and the Sanctification of Believers,” p. 66.
[12] Randy L. Maddox, “’Visit the Poor’ John Wesley, the Poor, and the Sanctification of Believers,” p. 75.
[13]The Journal of John Wesley, edited by Percy Livingstone Parker, Chicago:  Moody Press, 1951, pp. 205-206,  Randy L. Maddox, “’Visit the Poor’ John Wesley, the Poor, and the Sanctification of Believers,” p. 75.
[14] E. P. Thompson, The making of the English working class, New York:  Vintage Books, 1963, pp. 149-150.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Peculiar Institution

John Wesley, Slavery and the Failure of American Methodism
Larry James
United Methodist History  HX 7365, Fall 2013
Professor Tamara E. Lewis

In August, my master attended a Methodist camp-meeting held in the Bay-side, Talbot county, and there experienced religion.  I indulged a faint hope that his conversion would lead him to emancipate his slaves, and that, if he did not do this, it would, at any rate, make him more kind and humane.  I was disappointed in both these respects.  It neither made him to be humane to his slaves nor to emancipate them.  If it had any effect on his character, it made him more cruel and hateful in all his ways; for I believe him to have been a much worse man after his conversion than before.[1]

This statement from Frederick Douglass presents in stark relief the juxtaposition of John Wesley’s ethic and the troubling practice of the church which he helped export to North America.  Given the teaching, personal conviction and activism of John Wesley regarding slavery, how does one explain the failure of the movement he founded to embrace and sustain those same values in its New World expression and experience? 
John Wesley’s views on human bondage combined clarity, passion, courage and an integrated understanding of God’s creation of a common humanity.  Wesley’s most definitive and comprehensive teaching on slavery appears in his pamphlet, Thoughts Upon Slavery, first published in 1774.[2] In the essay Wesley sketches slavery as an institution that creates capacity and benefit for only the master, allowing slave owners to relate to their human property “in the same manner as his cows and horses” (I.2).  Wesley takes great pains to describe geographically, politically and socially the delightful nature of the regions in African from which slaves originated.  In his brief, but careful study of Africa, he effectively debunks the pro-slavery notion that those captured and transported are being rescued from a land “so remarkably horrid, dreary and barren, that it is a kindness to deliver them out of it” (II. 1-11). 
Wesley’s evaluation of the African people encountered by European explorers and businessmen presents an extremely positive, if idealized, view of the indigenous population.  His viewpoint is important in light of the fact that as early as four decades earlier people began to question the full humanity of Africans.[3]Again, Wesley’s purpose is to counter the understanding that slavery brings great benefit to Africans captured and transported to the New World for this purpose.  Speaking of the Fulis nation of Senegal, Wesley observes,
The Fulis are governed by their chief men, who rule with much moderation.  Few of them will drink anything stronger than water, being strict Mahometans.  The Government is easy, because the people are of a quiet and good disposition, and so well instructed in what is right, that a man who wrongs another is the abomination of all.  They desire no more land than they use, which they cultivate with great care and industry.  If any of them are known to be made slaves by the white men, they all join to redeem them.  They not only support all that are old, or blind, or lame among themselves, but have frequently supplied the necessities of the Mandingos, when they were distressed by famine (II. 6).

Speaking of natives of Benin,

. . . also very charitable, the Kind and the great Lords taking care to employ all that are capable of any work.  And those that are utterly helpless they keep for God’s sake; so that here also are no beggars. . . . Upon the whole, therefore, the Negroes who inhabit the coast of Africa, from the river Senegal to the southern bounds of Angola, are so far from being the stupid, senseless, brutish, lazy barbarians, the fierce, cruel, perfidious savages they have been described, that, on the contrary, they are represented, by them who have no motive to flatter them, as remarkable sensible, considering the few advantages they have for improving their understanding; as industrious to the highest degree, perhaps more so than any other natives of so warm a climate; as fair, just and honest in all their dealings, unless where white men have taught them to be otherwise; and as far more mild, friendly, and kind to strangers, than any of our forefathers were.  Our forefathers! Where shall we find at this day, among the fair-faced natives of Europe, a nation generally practicing the justice, mercy, and truth, which are found among these poor Africans (II. 11)?

                        Wesley makes clear the scandalous manner in which slaves ended up in the colonies of North America.  By trickery and fraud, numerous slaves were enticed to come on board ships where they were constrained and carried away (III. 1.). Many other Africans entered the slave trade after their European oppressors stirred up conflict and war among various tribes and nations.  The spoils of these unnatural conflicts included prisoners who came to be sold as slaves to the traders supplying a growing North American demand for laborers (III. 2.). Wesley also documents the incredible loss of life during the passage to the New World (III. 5.), as well as the heart wrenching separation of families placed on the auction block in the slave markets (III. 7.).
                        Clearly, John Wesley adamantly opposed any form of human bondage as thoroughly unchristian and terribly wrong.  In 1788, Wesley used much of the content of his pamphlet in a sermon he preached in Bristol, one of the most active centers of slave trafficking.  The sermon caused a troubling stir in his audience that resulted in something like a riot. [4]  Given the realities of Wesley’s conviction and the strength of his consistent message, as well as the extent of his influence upon the preachers with whom he worked (including those sent to and raised up in the colonies), how does one account for the manner in which these teachings were so quickly compromised and ultimately set aside? 
                        First, Wesley answered the question, at least indirectly in his rather distressed sermon, Causes of the Inefficacy of Christianity.  Wesley feared that personal holiness declined in direct proportion to the affluence of a disciple of Christ.  He mused in the sermon whether or not,
. . . true scriptural Christianity has a tendency, in process of time, to undermine and destroy itself?  For wherever true Christianity spreads, it must cause diligence and frugality, which in the natural course of things, must beget riches.  And riches naturally beget pride, love of the world, and every temper that is destructive of Christianity. Now if there be no way to prevent this, Christianity is consistent with itself, and of consequence, cannot stand, cannot continue long among any people: since, wherever it generally prevails, it saps its own foundation.[5]

Christians involved in the slave trade found it to be lucrative.  As Methodism came to North America and co-existed alongside profitable slave markets, many members of the movement, especially in the south, invested in the business, often carried away by greed and its attendant benefits and success.  In Thoughts Upon Slavery, Wesley recognized the role of money and greed as prime motivators in the slave enterprise.  Of course, he railed against both in the pamphlet.
It is far better to have no wealth, than to gain wealth at the expense of virtue.  Better is honest poverty, than all the riches bought by the tears, and sweat, and blood of our fellow-creatures (IV. 7.). 

And again,

            Regard not money! All that a man hath will he give for hislife! Whatever you lose, lose not your soul: Nothing can countervail that loss. Immediately quit the horrid trade: At all events, be an honest man (V. 3.).

In large part American Methodists were driven into support of slavery for strictly economic

reasons. Greed trumped faith.

            Second, many argued simply that the practice of slavery and the slave trade was

authorized by law.  Slavery was legal. Not only was the peculiar institution legal in secular law, a compelling argument could be made that slavery was authorized in holy scripture as well.  Clearly, many Christians in the New World felt completely justified in supporting slavery thanks to the message of the Bible itself. 
            Wesley seems to understand this reality.  In Thoughts Upon Slavery, Wesley argues in a most radical manner against the horror and the evil of the slave trade.  Setting even scripture aside, he calls upon natural law and common sense:
I would now inquire, whether these things can be defended, on the principles of even heathen honesty; whether they can be reconciled (setting the Bible out of the question) with any degree of justice or mercy. Notwithstanding ten thousand laws, right is right, and wrong is wrong still.  There must still remain an essential difference between justice and injustice, cruelty and mercy.  So that I still ask, Who can reconcile this treatment of the Negroes, first and last, with either mercy or justice? (IV. 1., 2.)

            Wesley’s hermeneutical instinct, leading to his “setting the Bible out of the question,” begs a number of questions relating to social and theological questions facing followers of Jesus today.  Leaving that discussion for another day, it is important to note a version of Methodism’s quadrilateral at work in Wesley’s argument against slavery.
            Third, American Methodists did not hold to Wesley’s views on slavery, at least in part due to the thought and life practice of another extremely important Methodist influence in and upon American colonists:  George Whitefield. 
            If John Wesley influenced the clergy of England and to a lesser degree those who first served the colonists, George Whitefield had a larger influence on the American people.  Whitefield’s preaching during the Great Awakening commanded attention and a following in the colonies.  The fact that Whitefield himself eventually owned slaves and argued that Georgia make slavery legal surely had great influence on American Methodists.  Whitefield’s support of slavery began as at least a pragmatic consideration.  His efforts to begin and sustain a working orphanage in Georgia, led him to believe that slaves would be needed to make the enterprise financially viable.  He argued the same about the Georgia economy.  Whitefield lobbied the trustees of the colony to legalize slavery for economic reasons.  Citing the challenge of developing and operating his orphanage, Whitefield argued, “Had a negroe [sic] been allowed, I should have had a sufficiency to support a great many orphans, without expending above half the sum which had been laid out.”[6]
            One last thought concerning Whitefield:  there remains much work to be done regarding his position on slavery.  Especially important will be consideration of both his personal views on the importance of evangelism and pietism, as well as his Calvinism and its effects on his views of social reality and worldly justice.  To be sure, the observations of Frederick Douglas noted at the beginning of this paper make very clear the irrelevance and hypocrisy of the prevailing faith perspectives of growing numbers of Methodists from across the new nation.

[1] Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, in The Classic Slave Narratives, ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., (New York:  Mentor, 1987), 287 from a reference first discovered in Kyle Painter, “The Pro-Slavery Argument in the Development of the American Methodist Church,” Constructing the Past:  Vol. 2:  Iss. 1, Article 5.
[2] John Wesley, Thoughts Upon Slavery, 1774.  Published by Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church at
[3] Brycchan Carey, John Wesley’s “Thoughts Upon Slavery” and the language of the heart, in The Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 85:2-3 (Summer/Autumn 2003),  272.
[4] Ibid, 277 which references Wesley’s Letters vii, 359-360.
[5] Albert C. Outler and Richard P. Heitzenrater, editors, John Wesley’s Sermons:  An Anthology, 556.
[6] Kyle Painter, “The Pro-Slavery Argument in the Development of the American Methodist Church,” in Constructing the Past: Vol. 2: Iss 1, Article 5, 34-35