First Methodist Church, Newton, Iowa
What John and Charles Wesley would have thought of my youthful Methodism, I can’t say.
To be frank, I’m not certain I knew during childhood that John Wesley had a brother. I loved hymn-singing on Sunday mornings, but it was years before I realized that Charles Wesley had written most of my favorites.
I certainly didn’t know about the history of the denomination, the doctrine of prevenient grace, or why our Greek revival building looked more like the town bank than any of the other churches in town.
I only knew that our church was comfortable, and well-suited for children. No one had to force us out of bed on Sunday morning in order to force us into a pew; we suffered no nightmares because of Jonathan Edwards-style preaching. In spring, we played tag or jacks on the church’s broad, sun-warmed steps. In winter, we sneaked into the kitchen to filch coffee hour cookies: then ate them, giggling, in the narrow, hidden passageway leading to the dome.
Anyone living in the swath of snow now stretching from Oklahoma to Illinois to New York, anyone who still is digging out from the storms that affected hundreds of communities across the country, could be forgiven for calling us crazy.
While they cope with feet of snow and the problem of where to put it, we’re fixated on breathless local forecasters and their obsessive reports on our “winter blast”, a weather event capable of bringing Life As We Know It to its knees. We’ve already received freezing rain. There are suggestions we may receive an inch – even two! – of sleet and snow in a few more days. They suggest we pay attention, and pay attention we do.
Of course we look silly to the outside world, but we know our limitations. Many of us don’t know how to drive in snow. We don’t know how to walk on ice. Our pipes are exposed to the weather and our plants begin to shrivel when temperatures dip below 40 degrees. We don’t have ice scrapers for our windshields or snow shovels for our walks. We don’t carry kitty litter in the trunks of our cars and we certainly don’t have de-icer for locks. Not only that, we don’t dress right and we get cold. We’re the very definition of “wuss”. Continue reading