24 August 2021
Recommendations for ‘Understanding my World’
Top 10 recommendations for ‘Understanding my World’
“Welcome to my world” we say!
If you wanted me to understand your world better what would you suggest that I read, listen to, watch, enjoy?
We are gathering lists of Top Ten TV series, webpages, blogposts, sound tracks, novels, films, non-fiction books that you think other Methodists could enjoy to help us all ‘get out of our comfort zones’ and begin to learn about each other’s cultures.
If you have any ‘Top Ten’ recommendations to make please send them to email@example.com, explaining what kind of ‘world’ you are living in.
At the beginning of Methodism, John Wesley set the example of being interested in the world around him (anything from science, to culture, to prison reform, to medicine and beyond) as well as being concerned about social holiness. He believed we need to know that we are known by God, but also to know the world that we live in, and where God is calling us to serve.
The Methodist Conference 2021ii committed to recognising the wide variety of cultures (of every kind) which Methodists live within and to celebrating their diversity of Methodist life.
That means that your culture (from a particular geographical area, a particular ‘interest group’, or life experience) matters and is of value to God and to the Methodist Church.
All Christians, including all Methodists, need to learn to live between cultures… the ones we live in now and the ones that God wants to help us develop.
Two definitions of culture are ‘the water we swim in’ or ‘the way things are done around here’. Sometimes our own culture is so familiar to us that we aren’t even aware of it… but others, from a different perspective, might not ‘get it’ at all. We all feel ‘at home’ in our own culture, even when we don’t notice what it is, and can sometimes feel alienated by ‘different’ cultures until we learn to understand them.
All cultures are rich for being particular and for having so many things which are precious to them, but also have flaws and challenges which might make it difficult for others to understand or enjoy them.
What does all this have to do with the Gospel?
Jesus was born into one particular culture, he came to ‘dwell’iii among human beings which meant living among us but in one particular place and time. Human life and societies matter to God. The gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost iv (and upon all Christians since) shows that God wants to speak to everybody in our own language so that nobody is excluded from hearing the Gospel however we speak or whatever language we use.
By learning from one another about the worlds that we inhabit and the cultures which are important to those around us, we understand more of God at work in the world and of how to communicate well with one another, building on our unity and learning from our differences.
We would love to hear from you. Then, from your recommendations, we will provide a resource ‘Welcome to my World’ which will help us to broaden our horizons and to learn more about the wonderful world God has made.
i We can’t promise to include them all but will be interested in all your responses
ii Through its adoption of the Strategy for Justice, Dignity and Solidarity. For the full report see Conference 2021 Agenda Volume 3 (methodist.org.uk)
iii John 1
iv Acts 2