Sunday, June 29, 2003


Boynton missed John Wesley's first 300th birthday on the 17th of June, but did acknowledge his second, the 28th, yesterday as she passed his statue in Lonsdale Street (the actual day depends on which calendar style is followed apparently). She observed that his outsretched right hand, with frozen grip, might be read as a gesture of the missing glass, or stubbie, a gesture of lack, indeed a classic methodist position. Interesting to read that John Wesley was not an abstainer, and enjoyed fine wine. Boynton was born into a Methodist family but never knew the special edicts of the denomination. Perhaps by that stage we were only nominally of the denomination. We did go to a small timber church that looked a bit like this, that had been moved across Melbourne to sit among the gum trees at the foot of the Dandenongs, whose congregation, a local community, was doomed to amalgamate with the posher parish and its solid sixties style building a few miles away. The semi rural hamlet was also getting swallowed by suburbia at this time, that local feel dispersing, gumtrees going. It was only through attending an Anglican school with its cultural shift into high ritual and subdued singing that boynton could define that old time religion of childhood. A kind of community hymn singing church down the road with picnics and tennis and concerts.
John Wesley's famous rules for singing: Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength must have travelled down the generations and across the world, and out to the rural fringes of the city. Everyone seemed to sing pretty lustily to boynton - just as they may well have played tennis lustily in the privacy of their own court.
The shocking truth about John Wesley is an account of his London house and various health devices including his personal electric shock machine
He'd turn the crank on this crude device to generate a current of electricity through a metal rod, against which he'd press his tongue, forehead, or an ailing body part—a burn or a sore tooth, for example
and chamber horse "—an exercise chair with a thick leather cushion filled with air, which, when sat in, flattened like an accordion. Wesley hopped up and down in this chair for hours, simulating horseback riding.
General references on JW 300
Local ABC radio report
Methodist Heritage tour of England
cyber hymnal John Wesley

Comments: wesley

How is Methodism travelling these days?
Are they into charity services work?
Helping the homeless etc?
Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at June 30, 2003 11:36 AM

Bit like South Melbourne football club, our other family denomination, the methodists were absorbed into the National competition. That is they've been part of the Uniting Church since 1977, and unlike the Presbyterians, there's no continuing line that I know of. Different story /culture in America it would seem.That ABC radio has some good info on the state of play. I imagine that charity and social justice is attended to lustily. (I was going to say as with tennis, but the local courts here, still bearing the methodist imprint, seem to sit idle on most weekends)
Posted by boynton at June 30, 2003 12:53 PM

Actually Gary I think the link I meant was one I forgot to include, an article wriiten by Keith Suter, consultant for social policy, Wesley Mission, Sydney.
Posted by boynton at June 30, 2003 02:53 PM

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