They find the established rituals provide them with a link with tradition and give them a sense of security.

K. Karen Armstrong: Many of the people who attend religious services in our society are not interested in theology, want nothing too exotic and dislike the idea of change. They find the established rituals provide them with a link with tradition and give them a sense of security. They do not expect brilliant ideas from the sermon and are disturbed by changes in the liturgy. In rather the same way, many of the pagans of the late antiquity loved to worship the ancestral gods, as generations had done before them. The old rituals gave them a sense of identity, celebrated local traditions and seemed an assurance that things would continue as they were.[1]

L. A Late Adopter viewpoint: When people are deprived of a rich and subtle language about God, it deprives them of their legitimate theological and spiritual inheritance. So, for example, if you’ve never been given the language in worship which enables you to talk about salvation as an emphatically Trinitarian project, a project of God the Father, in and through the life, death, and resurrection of the Son, and recognized and responded to in the power of the Holy Spirit, then you are likely to see it only in narrowly personalistic terms: “through a personal relationship with Jesus I am personally transferred from being ‘lost’ to being ‘saved.’” And this becomes the sole object of the process of redemption, to get ME from one box into the other. Now that may be some form of Christian theology, but it certainly isn’t Methodist theology. Methodist theology begins and ends with the loving purposes of God to restore the world to eternal friendship with God, and everything — including Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, including my own relationship with God in Christ — is a part of that overarching purpose. In other words, my salvation is not the end of the story, it is for some larger redemptive activity of God directed at every single human being and every single human system: political, social, religious.[1]


Laggards cannot be persuaded; build no bridges. They will adopt or not in their own time.

HOMEWORK Discussion Questions:

2.23. Who do you know in this category, inside and outside the church?

2.24. For Late Adopters inside the church, what are their passionate interests?

2.25. What would a church made up entirely of Late Adopters be like?

2.26. What sort of church activity would be very appealing for Late Adopters?

2.27. How would people in this category prefer to follow Jesus?

2.28. How would a Late Adopter convince another Late Adopter to chair a committee?

2.29. How would a Middle Adopter convince a Late Adopter to chair a committee?

[1]Susan J. White, What Ever Happened to the Father? The Jesus Heresy in Modern Worship, (accessed June 15, 2007).

[1]Karen Armstrong, A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (New York: Knopf, 1993), quoted in Herbert Benson with Marg Stark, Timeless Healing: The Power and Biology of Belief (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 179.

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