Unit 7.2 Ruby K. Payne’s work on poverty with traditions in small United Methodist Churches in the United States


When one compares Ruby K. Payne=s work on poverty with traditions in small United Methodist Churches in the United States, there is a high correspondence with cultural aspects of poverty.[1] This means that customs of United Methodist churches, generally speaking and regardless of their socioeconomic status, are culturally Afriendly@ to persons in poverty despite leadership rhetoric that would dispute this. The smaller the church, the more this seems to be true in my estimation; Methodist churches are therefore more able to evangelize and include the poor in their faith communities if poverty is properly understood. Payne indicates that a significant requirement to rise above poverty is to be able to leave one social community for another where social values do not reinforce poverty causing behaviors; early Methodism provided that social community, ready made, in the holiness driven class meetings and bands. It would be useful to know if the community aspects of Methodism friendly to poverty that developed on the American frontier correspond to community behaviors in Methodism in England. We have a good understanding of the spiritual practices of early Methodists; much remains to be learned from their social interactions as a community. We need to understand more about their practices relating to raising children and building educational systems for them; Wesley did have band groups for boys and girls as young as 8 years old. Religion is more than theology and spiritual disciplines; to understand how our traditional ADNA@ can bless us today, we need to know as much about the common Methodist people as we know about Wesley.[2] The pursuit of holiness guarantees that Methodist faith communities involved themselves in the growth of the whole person and shaping healthy behavior; to restrict our study to theology and spiritual disciplines is to neglect and negate the greatest value of Methodist DNA for the building of healthy communities today.

[1]Ruby K. Payne=s work on poverty is available through http://www.ahaprocess.com/. The primary text is Ruby K. Payne, A Framework for Understanding Poverty (Highlands, TX: aha Process, Inc., 2005). Churches will be particularly interested in Dr. Ruby K. Payne and Bill Ehlig=s What Every Church Member Should Know About Poverty (Highlands, TX: aha Process, Inc., 1999).

[2]While Payne=s work is largely based on cultures within the United States, it would be useful to know if common social practices exist in third world cultures of poverty in Africa, Asia and South America.

NOTE (my response)



The quote is from Major League Disciple Making: An Overview of the Best Research on the Cell Church, an online course developed for the Institute for Discipleship at www.BeADisciple.com in 2009. Course materials, including these lectures, can be downloaded here: http://www.disciplewalk.com/IFD_MLD_Class_Links.html

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

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