Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

A Refreshing Knapp – Search on for 'shouting Methodists' (Sept. 23, 2015 issue)

What is meant by the term, “shouting Methodists”? A name commonly applied to early nineteenth century Methodists was “shouting Methodists” – a name Methodists were glad to accept and make their own. At the very least, it meant that Methodists were a noisy lot, interrupting the preacher with shouts of “Praise the Lord,” “Hallelujah,” and “Amen.”
Now, it seems Methodists are as conservative in their services as Presbyterians…you will hear the occasional, “Amen,” after the preacher drives home a point, but usually, that’s all.
The Presbyterians were more into shouting praises when their most famous Preacher, Billy Sunday, was in his prime during the late 19th century. Billy, among other things, was known to have smashed a few chairs to pieces in emphasizing a point in the gospel during some of his stirring sermons. I’m sure that got some “Amens” from the congregation.
What got me started on all this was an inspiring gathering of the United Methodist Churches in Unicoi County, which I attended the 30th of last month. It was held at Limestone Cove UMC. That evening, after the usual opening formalities, the get together commenced, featuring the children performing some beautiful and upbeat songs and performances.
Not to be outdone by these youngsters, 95 year old, John Marcus played a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace on his home-made psaltery; 79 year old Leroy Hale played a rousing hymn with spoons, and other talented musicians and singers gave their all with inspirational hymns.
This was topped off by an upbeat, inspiring sermon by Limestone Cove’s Pastor, Melinda Strum. No one got carried away enough to walk the back of the pews (as I’ve seen in the past), but there were some “Shouting Methodists” there. I felt blessed for not missing this service – it reminded me so much of the church services of my youth.
Looking back, it does seem that a variety of churches I attended then were quite emotional and seemed to preach that suffering was good for you, or worse yet, that suffering was God’s will for us. Those preachers hadn’t read far enough – to the verse (John 10:10) where Jesus said that he had come that we might have life and live it abundantly. Of course, I’m not preaching to you, but letting you know that you can enjoy church and leave with a smile on your face as I did.
Leaving that service last month I left thinking how enjoyable it had been; inspirational too, due to the music, sermon, and those “Shouting Methodists.”
Of course what church you attend, or whether you attend, or don’t believe in God at all is a personal choice. I know my own father never went to church. When I questioned him about his beliefs, he would say, “I know there is some higher power out there above you and I. You can call it God, if you want to.” That would be the end of the discussion.
My mother on the other hand would go to church at every opportunity. “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink,” she would say disappointedly after one of those rare occasions when dad had driven her to church; returned home and then returned to pick her up after church. Her belief was much like Garland James, former pastor of Grace UMC, who is fond of saying; “Faith and Christianity are a personal relationship between you and God. When God’s speaks through his word, listen, take heed, and apply it to your life.”
Religion through the ages has shaped history – even as it is doing today. Very few Christians remain in the Middle East where Christianity began; being repressed with church members being beheaded by Muslim extremist.
I don’t know if this would have pleased renowned American atheist, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, founder and president of the American Atheists organization or not. I do know she and her organization rejoiced greatly over the 1963 Supreme Court ruling that banned prayer in public schools and official Bible-readings in 1964.
Barring some restrictive Supreme Court Rulings, I would like to give a “shout-out” that America is still a nation of religious freedom regardless of what belief you profess.