Should Wesleyans Merge?
Wesleyans have recently been involved in low-level flirting with some other denominations. That has triggered rumors of impending marriage with one or another of our friends. Of course, the rumors are blown out of proportion. Wesleyans have not even held hands, let alone kissed or dated any of these denominations. But the rumors bring the opportunity to talk about merger anyway and since I wrote about whatever I’ve thought or heard about that week here goes a column on merger. So, should the Wesleyan church merge with another denomination and if so, who should we marry?
1. Should we marry Nazarenes?
Nazarenes are the best looking bride among our friends. She is strong, well off, has great leadership
gifts, is well educated, and is the prettiest girl at the prom. Sure, we
grumble about her conceited attitude but we have to admit she is pretty! Alas! We’re not getting to
first base with her. We’ve made a few moves and given a few “meaningful
glances” --even offered some hints. She seems uninterested. (I think she knows how pretty she is and thinks we’re
rather drab.) Also, her family is really strong.
Would we get gulped up by them and be forced to go to their home for single
every Thanksgiving and Christmas? Could
it be an equalitarian marriage of any sort? (I bet we couldn’t even get a
hyphened name and might have to adopt her
name?) And, boy she’s high-maintenance. Her tax rate on local churches
could lead us into poverty. But my goodness, she’s so pretty… and living with
such beauty in poverty might be OK?! I
bet if she fluttered her eyes our way and offered to make our marriage at least
appear equalitarian we’d melt into a
pile of goo and start collecting boxes to move to
2. Free Methodists?
It might make more sense for “plain folks to marry plain folks.” Free Methodists are plain like Wesleyans. We’re similar in background and size and we almost got married once before (early 1970’s). Admittedly, she’s not as appealing as the cheer-leader Nazarene and she doesn’t make our hearts thump. But, then again, we’re not such hunks ourselves, are we? On the local level Free Methodists and Wesleyans can’t be told apart. I bet we could build a solid marriage if we got together. The only hitch is our parents. Free Methodist Bishops have often treated Wesleyan General Superintendents with disdain. And since all denominational mergers are actually “arranged marriages” I suppose this one won’t get arranged—at least until the parents like each other more. But if we ever did marry I bet we could make a solid marriage with Free Methodists of the non-heart-throbbing kind.
3. Conservative Holiness denominations?
I suppose some might say we ought to hitch up with an old plain home town girl—one of those conservative holiness denominations who still dresses like they did when we were kids. There are some of these gals still available and some are tiring of their single life. I suppose if we married one of these she’d keep us Wesleyans on a tighter leash. NO more movie-going or card-playing and she’d stomp her foot and refuse to allow us to bring alcohol into her house. But falling in love again with someone you used to live with is hard. She angrily moved out (1960’s) and her exit was messy and hurtful. The divorce was final I’m afraid. Not much chance for a marriage here. Besides, we never see each other any more.
4. United Methodists?
A long time ago we used to be married to the Methodists but we left. She liked us fine but we got mad and stormed out of her house (1843). She did not even cry. I think she said something like, “I did not bid him leave and I shall not bid him to return.” She promptly forgot us and moved on with life. We both have changed so much since then (she more then we). Our journeys have taken us so far apart I doubt we could find common ground now. If we called her cell, she’d probably say, “Wesleyan who?” Then again, recently we’re getting more like her. She’s getting more conservative while we are getting more liberal. Who knows, maybe we will some day meet in the middle. Not soon.
Maybe we won’t get married after all. We’ll keep “playing the field” and stay single for a while yet.
Rather than marrying maybe we will try adopting. There are a number of tiny holiness or Methodist-type denominations out there tired of living with their mother. We Wesleyans are catholic-spirited, aren’t narrow-minded, we welcome others into the family; we’re equalitarian in approach, and to boot we have an exceeding low tax rate (that keeps getting lower). Maybe instead of marrying the homecoming queen we’ll adopt these kids—maybe several! And once we have a bigger family and a smaller tax rate the prom queen we secretly hold in our heart might take notice? Who knows?
So what do you think?
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