Over the last four or five days reading blogs on the internet, I've been struck by how negative Methodists are about themselves and about their Methodist brothers and sisters.
This negativity seems to be true not only for British Methodists but also for the United Methodist Church in the US. Reading the blogs of UMCers who I find thoughtful and whose ideas I respect, I've actually begun to wonder whether I want to be part of the UMC when I move to the States in August.
In my last job, if anyone had talked down their organisation or their colleagues in the way that Methodists talk each other down, I reckon the boss would have called them in for a talking-to about their attitude.
Martin Atkins, General Secretary of the British Methodist Church, has called us to find the positive stories and tell the positive stories. I didn't read this as a call to be unrealistically Polyanna but to actually see the good in our brothers and sisters and to 'advertise' it.
Why is this important? Basically because if we keep telling each other we're rubbish, we're going to start to believe it. This does not obviate trying to find solutions. But, in commercial-speak, we are living in an era when the demand for our 'product' is declining. Let's stop acting like we can control the demand for our product; let's stop acting like we are all individually responsible for the decline in demand. And let's find ways of increasing market-share and then spreading these ideas around. And let's see the good in those who keep trying and trying and trying and see little worldly signs of success.