There seems to be a common yet inaccurate perception that United Methodists don’t actually believe anything (or believe everything). That somehow, “Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.” became a statement of faith rather than a marketing campaign. Recent conversations on orthodoxy and the lack of a Wesleyan voice within church culture and broader culture in general, highlights this confusion. This is the first in a series of posts talking about this stereotype.
To suggest United Methodists don’t actually have a core set of beliefs is unfair. One does not have to look far to find our Doctrinal Standards listed in The Book of Discipline to see that we hold certain and specific beliefs. Holding certain doctrinal beliefs does not, however, mean we are not open to lively conversation and theological exploration. The fact that we hold certain foundational beliefs is what gives us the freedom to engage in these conversations from various perspectives without becoming defensive, abrasive, or condescending (at least it should).
Being “open” is not the belief that anything goes but rather stresses an openness to hearing different opinions and perspectives and a willingness to walk with individuals on their faith journey wherever they might be coming from. It means we’re open to hearing your story, and will not pass judgment if you choose to share it. It also means we trust the spark of God’s grace present in every individual’s life and am open to seeing what He has in store for both you and me.
I hope you will share your thoughts and join the conversation as we continue a series of posts discussing this topic.