Every United Methodist pastor and teacher should read page 140 of Thomas Oden’s A Change Of Heart.
I’m not much for “oughts” and “need to” . . . but I really, truly believe all of us in Wesley’s tribe ought to read this page of this memoir.
Here are some of Oden’s gems as he crystallizes his journey from modernity to orthodoxy.
- My life story has had two phases: going away from home as far as I could go, not knowing what I might find in an odyssey of preparation, and then at last inhabiting anew my own original home of classic Christian wisdom.
- There it was, still pulsating as a living, caring community that had survived unnoticed underneath the illusions of modernity.
- I had been enamored with novelty. Candidly, I was in love with heresy. Now I was waking up from this enthrallment to meet a two thousand year old stable memory.
- Since meeting and dwelling with the Christian exegetes through their writings in their own words, I came to trust the very orthodoxy I had once dismissed.
- . . . radiant minds of many past generations from varied cultures spanning all continents for two thousand years [made me] more relevant, not less relevant to modern partners in dialogue.
- I was elated to realize that there was nothing new in what I was learning; I was only relearning what had been relearned many times before from the apostolic witnesses.
Relearning what has already been relearned. I think that describes my role as a pastor pretty well.
Amen. And amen.