For today I felt that I would go ahead and write more dialogue between the John Wesley and another person or persons. I am not sure what this scene will have in the show, if it will make it or not but I thought it would be a possible idea to have a character in which is a narrator of the show. Through this character, I can give the time for set changes, costume changes, and some interesting reflection between the narrator and the character of John Wesley. I see this narrator character to be a student researching John Wesley. By doing this I bring a context in today’s society and can play the difference between the two time periods. This scene below is further in the show as John is spending a moment writing a letter while he waits out a storm. I hope you enjoy this as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
(Lights Up, Student sits on bed reading. The sound of rain is played. John Wesley sits under a blanket as he writes a letter of reflection)
John: As the rain falls on my blanket brother I cannot help but remember that our journeys are never the easiest to travel. They are essential for the souls of our brothers and sisters in Christ as well as our own souls.
Student: This is yet again, nothing but a letter to his brother. When will I find something I can use for this paper? John Wesley is all well and good, but I do not have the time to keep reading pointless letters to his brother.
John: Brother, I cannot share with you all of the horror I have seen in my journeys around these countryside. I fear for my life almost every hour of every day but I do not show fear as I did on the boat to the American colonies. I have had many run ins with mobs of men whom feel that what I am trying to teach is against their beliefs. As I have told you many times my brother, I do not wish to distance ourselves from the Church of England, but rather want to change the church for the better. I do not know how much more I can continue to journey with all this danger filling my days and night. I wish you nothing but the best brother but I wish you would travel to the areas around your home. Your family is one thing but the souls of the nation are what are truly important.
Student: So let me get this straight. John fears for his life every day, does not want to continue with this fear for his life and yet he wants his brother, who is happily married, to leave his family at home and travel spreading the movement amongst all this danger. Why does this man put himself through this torture all for a movement, and what does he get in return?
(TO BE CONTINUED)
After writing this I am not so sure if I will use a narrator for the show. Yes it gives a different perspective and breaks up the old English. However, by breaking up the old English there is a possibility of the show not having flow and becoming too choppy. This is far from what I would like the show to do. I thought I would try the idea out, this is just a rough draft and it looks like I most likely will not keep it. But we shall see what the finished product looks like in the fall. Who knows whether the narrator will continue to be a character or not, I guess you will just have to stay tuned.
Yesterday’s blog was filled with John Wesley explaining the Methodist movement to people who feel that they were breaking the laws of the Church of England. Today’s blog will be along the same line, but I will focus on the letter from John Wesley to the Reverend Mr. Perronet. In this letter John Wesley describes how the Methodist movement came into being.
John Wesley starts with prefacing his letter saying “I must premise, that as they had not the least expectation, at first, of any thing like what has since followed so they had no previous design or plan at all; but every thing arose just as the occasion offered. They saw or felt some impending or pressing evil, or some good end necessary to be pursued.” John admits that the Methodist movement was not planned or thought to do good at the beginning, but as he continues to write, he explains how Methodism grew and the focus of the groups created from him and his friends.
John writes “About ten years ago, my brother and I were desired to preach in many parts of London. We had no view therein, but, so far as we were able, (and we knew God could work by whomsoever it pleased him,) to convince those who would hear what true Christianity was, and to persuade them to embrace it. The points we chiefly insisted upon were four: First, that orthodoxy, or right opinions, is, at best, but a very slender part of religion, if it can be allowed to be any part of it at all; that neither does religion consist in negatives, in bare harmlessness of any kind; nor merely in externals, in doing good, or using the means of grace, in works of piety (so called) or of charity; that it is nothing short of, or different from, ‘the mind that was in Christ;’ the image of God stamped upon the heart; inward righteousness, attended with the peace of God; and ‘joy in the Holy Ghost.’ Secondly, that the only way under heaven to this religion is, to ‘repent and believe the gospel;’ or, (as the Apostle words it,) ‘repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Thirdly, that by this faith, ‘he that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, is justified freely by his grace, through the redemption which is in Jesus Christ.’ And, Lastly, that ‘being justified by faith,’ we taste of the heaven to which we are going; we are holy and happy; we tread down sin and fear, and ‘sit in heavenly places with Christ Jesus.’” This is what the original Methodist group was formed upon. It was just John, his brother Charles, and a few close friends who were concerned about their souls. They longed for their lives to have some meaning and their souls some rest.
I do not think that this will be used in the show, but it will serve to show that John Wesley did not plan on becoming the man that he became. He did not plan on the movement being anything more than a meeting of friends. He then realized that this was his calling and his movement was to be what will change the Church of England (in his eyes). I want to show this piece of John Wesley’s life. The very beginning when John Wesley did not feel what he was doing was that important. It will truly show the growth of the character of John Wesley. This is important to show because it is important to have the main character grow in the show. This growth will be seen from the start, I hope, in the drama, and with this story and others like it, I feel the growth will be great.
For today, I have read the appeal that John Wesley wrote and I feel that I should try to write something similar in his voice. I will tell you right now that mine will not be even close to the length that he wrote in, but I hope you enjoy.
Dear Gentleman of Reason and Religion,
Before I enter into the unpleasing task of answering the opinions of some of you, I beseech you brethren, by whatever love you bear to your God, to your country, and to your own souls, do not consider who speaks, but what is spoken here in this letter. Every day there is judgment towards me and those who are fellow Methodists. I am writing to clear the air as it were to you fellow Christians.
The movement, which is given the name Methodist, has been seen as troublemakers and lawbreakers. Have not you broken the same laws as the Methodists? Have you not read the canon’s of the Church of England and broken the canon just as we have? You hold us to a higher standard and judge us when we falter but it should be yourselves that you hold to a higher standard. We believe that all should love one another as neighbors and help each other receive eternal life from our Father in heaven. I pray for you and your families.
Your humble servant,
I have officially finished reading the journal portion of John Wesley’s works. This means for you readers that we have now moved into a different form of John Wesley’s writing. For today’s reading John wrote an earnest appeal to men of reason and religion. This may not seem to be of much importance as it pertains to my show because it does not have to do with conversations with characters that I have already planned on using. This is far from it; rather, this serves some purpose in my show. This piece of writing is John Wesley defending not only his beliefs, but the beliefs of all Methodists of the time. He argues with those who criticize, yet still shows them love as he writes. The problem I am facing right now in this blog is there was so much in this one piece of reading; I wish I could have you read it. However, there were some pieces that I think truly show John Wesley’s character and also the character I would like to see portrayed on stage.
The first piece that I want to pull out of the reading are John Wesley’s 21st and 22nd points in his writing, it reads as such: “It is not reasonable also to love our neighbor, every man whom God hath made? Are we not brethren, the children of one Father? Ought we not, then, to love one another? And should we only love them that love us? Is that acting like our Father which is in heaven? He causeth his sun to shine on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. And can there be a more equitable rule than this: ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself?’ You will plead for the reasonableness of this; as also for that golden rule…Is it not reasonable, then, that, as we have opportunity, we should do good unto all men; not only friends, but enemies; not only to the deserving, but likewise to the evil and unthankful? Is it not right that all our life should be one continued labour of love? … Should we shut up our compassion toward those who are of all men most miserable, because they are miserable by their own fault? If we have found a medicine to heal even that sickness, should we not, as we have freely received it, freely give? … Well this is the sum of our preaching, and of our lives, our enemies themselves being the judges. If therefore you allow, that it is reasonable to love God, to love mankind, and to do good to all men, you cannot but allow that religion which we preach and live to be agreeable to the highest reason.” This shows that John Wesley truly cares about those around him, but does not see why those who are his fellow Christians do not see that they are supposed to love each other. John did have a problem, however, with people saying that his movement was against the Church of England.
To that last statement, John Wesley writes this in his appeal: “With regard to the Canons, I would, in the first place, desire you to consider two or three plain questions: First. Have you ever read them over? Secondly. How can these be called the Canons of the Church of England, seeing they were never legally by the Church, never regularly confirmed in any full Convocation? Thirdly. By what right am I required to observe such Canons as were never legally established? And then I will join issue with you on one question more, viz., Whether you or I have observed them most. To instance only in a few: ‘Canon 29.-No person shall be admitted godfather or godmother to any child, before the said person hath received the Holy Communion. Can. 59.-Every Parson, Vicar, or Curate, upon every Sunday and holiday, before Evening Prayer, shall, for half an hour, or more, examine and instruct the youth and ignorant persons of his parish…Can. 75.-No ecclesiastical persons shall spend their time idly, by day or by night, playing at dice, cards, or tables.’ Now, let the Clergyman who has observed only these five Canons for one year last past, and who has read over all the Canons in his congregation; (as the King’s ratification straitly enjoins him to do once every year;) let him, I say, cast the first stone at us, for not observing the Canons (so called) of the Church of England).” John Wesley wanted to show that he was part of the Church of England but was rather a movement that was designed to improve the Church of England. John saw that people thought he was breaking the law of the Church of England. John, being the intelligent person he was, turned their laws on themselves and proved to them that they themselves were breaking the laws as well.
These small excerpts may not necessarily make the show, but the character of John Wesley that we read in them sure will. I love John Wesley as the person defending what he believed in and using his knowledge to prove his beliefs. I hope you enjoyed this blog post as much as I enjoyed writing it. Stay tuned for another blog post tomorrow, should be an interesting one.