As a United Methodist Iâ€™m influenced by John Wesleyâ€™s quadrilateral. Ah-oh, thatâ€™s a fancy faith-muttering kind of word. But itâ€™s inspired by Methodist founder Wesleyâ€™s belief that faith is discerned by four â€œtestsâ€: scripture (always #1), tradition, reason, and experience. Most Methodists I know appreciate the open-mindedness this four-legged stand on faith encourages. I certainly do. After all, it affirms that my experiences with God, with Creation and Christ, may be different from yours, but should be honored. Listened to. Considered.
Hereâ€™s the toughie, though. As always, it works both ways. Arrggh! How hard it can be to realize anotherâ€™s interpretation of scripture or anotherâ€™s personal experience may be dramatically different than mine. Wouldnâ€™t living out our faith be easier if you could easily identify whoâ€™s right (people that agree with me) and whoâ€™s wrong (people that donâ€™t agree with me). Alas, faith is not easy, nor easily categorized. At least thatâ€™s been my personal experience.