Methodist Preacher has another challenging post on his blog and it made me think of my first foray into Methodism in the early 1980's. I cam in through the witness of a young lad who kept inviting me to go and hear a gospel rock band called Blazing Apostles. I eventually went along and then accepted a further invitation to go to the youth group at his church. This youth group had about 60 young people who were very much into contemporary worship and interested in the charismatic side of the church. Most of them had read 'Nine O'clock in the Morning' by Denis Bennett which was an incredible story of his awakening to the working of the Holy Spirit. In one meeting there was a message in tongues but before there could be an interpretation the visiting minister who I suppose either did not understand what had gone on or didn't want to rushed on to the next thing on the programme and the moment was lost. One of the girls from the youth group was almost physically sick because she said she really felt that she had the interpretation.
Going on from this point I attended synod and on my first visit to it got elected to go to conference in 1982 - at the time I was out of work and at some points in the week I really fumed as people in very expensive suits with posh accents pontificated on the topic of unemployment and I have to say I doubt if any of them had ever been without a job or struggled to make ends meet, or if they had it had been a long time away. I did at one point say to the minister I sat with for most of the week that I was incensed by these people - he suggested I should go to the podium and say something but of course as someone in their mid twenties attending such a huge event I did not have the courage to do so. If I were attending now I would have no hesitation but then I looked at all these posh people who appeared far superior to an ordinary working class Black Country lad and bottled out.
Having had this experience I can understand much of what MP is saying in his post about the lost generation - there are only a handful of that 60 or so young people who still have any connection with the church, Methodist or otherwise and it really is a great shame as there was a great deal of potential among these young people if they had been nurtured and allowed to develop without the strait jacket approach that seemed to prevail.