The Purpose of Via Media Methodists is as follows: 1. To offer an alternative beyond the current polarization in The United Methodist Church; 2. To raise the level of discourse within The United Methodist Church; and 3. To practice what we preach. In his book The Challenge of Jesus, N.T. Wright reflects:
“I have known economics faculties and history faculties and others too, where half the professors are Marxists and half are not, or where half are committed postmodernists and half are not. Where should the Christian be in such a case? You may well believe that the gospel commits us to one side of the debate, though these things are rarely that easy. But my suggestion is that you see it as a call to be in prayer where your discipline [or, your church] is in pain…And out of that prayer discover the ways of being peacemakers, of taking the risk of hearing both sides, of running the risk of being shot at from both sides. Are you or are you not a follower of the crucified Messiah?”
We see it as a worthy and necessary task to prayerfully run the risk of “hearing both sides.” Via media, Latin for “middle way,” was a descriptor claimed by early Anglicanism as a third way between Catholicism and Protestantism. At its best, Wesleyanism as a branch of the Anglican family tree (including United Methodists and many others) has maintained this witness to a “third way” during the last two and a half centuries, evidenced by Methodism’s emphasis on both faith and practice, personal and social holiness, word and sacrament. However, we believe this via media has been lost in many of the present debates, which often turn on ideological convictions rather than prayer and holy conferencing. Our vision is thus to represent, resource, and give voice to a Middle Way at a crucial time in the North American church. As the Charles Wesley quote on the blog title suggests, the source of our unity and our hope is not in a particular party or sect, but solely in Jesus’ name. We are excited for you to join this journey as we seek a via media for the people called Methodists and welcome your prayers, thoughts, and contributions.
The Rev. Drew McIntyre is an Elder in the Western North Carolina Conference and serves Grace United Methodist Church in Greensboro, NC. Born and raised in the Tar Heel state, he was educated at High Point University and Duke Divinity School. Drew enjoys spending time with his wife, playing with their pets, reading, and watching movies. He is avid fan of mixed martial arts and Duke basketball, and also blogs at DrewBMcIntyre.com. Follow him on twitter @drewbmcintyre.
The Rev. Evan W. Rohrs-Dodge is an Elder in the Greater New Jersey Conference. He is the senior pastor of Belvidere United Methodist Church in Belvidere, NJ. He was born and raised in a small coastal town in northeastern Maine, and received his BA degree from the University of Maine and his MDiv degree from Drew Theological School. He is married to Amanda, also a United Methodist pastor, and father of twin girls, Amelia and Auden. He blogs at revev.info. Follow him on twitter @therevdodger.
The Rev. Stephen Fife is an Elder in the Louisiana Conference. He received his MDiv from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. He currently serves at First United Methodist Church in Columbia, Louisiana. Stephen is married and has three foster children. He enjoys reading, daily prayer, liturgy, and spiritual formation. He also blogs at methodistmonk.org and you can follow him on twitter @methodistmonk.