Country Music for Troubled United Methodists

When I am under a lot of stress I find myself listening to old country music. Under normal circumstances, I don’t listen to it, but there is something comforting about how it takes me back to my father’s pick-up truck and hauling wood. Catharsis for a refined redneck.

In this season of annual conference elections, I have been drawn to it as I drive to and from the sessions. So much could be said about the Indiana Annual Conference session, and yet so much should not be said. I ought to feel good about the outcome, but I don’t, knowing what lies ahead.

Some form of separation or dissolution must be created lest the 2020 General Conference is worse than St. Louis. Yet, it remains to be crafted. Until then, we must wait for the Spirit.

Here’s my playlist as I ponder and pray:

#1. Kitty Well’s Makin’ Believe:

“Making believe
That I never lost you
But my happy hours
I find are so few

My plans for the future 
Will never come true
Makin’ believe
What else can I do”

#2. Ernest Tubb’s Thanks a Lot:

“Thanks, thanks a lot
I got a broken heart that’s all I got
You made me cry and I cried a lot
I lost your love baby thanks a lot”

#3. Patsy Cline’s If You’ve Got Leavin’ on Your Mind:

“Don’t leave me here, in a world
Filled with dreams that might have been
Hurt me now, get it over
I may learn to love again”

#4. Buck Owen’s  Kickin’ Our Hearts Around (This should be the theme song for the 2020 General Conference!):

“Oh let’s stop kickin’ each others hearts around it’s not the thing to do
Let’s pick them up dust them off and start our love anew
Let’s be fair and let’s don’t dare to try to hurt the other
Let’s stop kickin’ our hearts around and let’s love one another”

#5. Hank Williams, Sr.’s Lost Highway:

“Now boy’s don’t start to ramblin’ round
On this road of sin are you sorrow bound
Take my advice or you’ll curse the day
You started rollin’ down that lost highway”

#6. Ferlin Husky’s Wings of a Dove:

“When troubles surround us
when evils come
The body grows weak (body grows weak)
The spirit grows numb (spirit grows numb)
When these things beset us, 
He doesn’t forget us
He sends down His love (sends down His love)
On the wings of a dove (wings of a dove)”

Ferlin reminds me of the hope that awaits us in Minneapolis. Until then, I’ll turn up the radio in my pick-up and pray real hard.

[For more perspective order my book The Secret Transcript of the Council of Bishops]

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Notes for a New Methodism

Rev. Darren Cushman Wood is the senior minister of North United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana and is an elder and full member of the Indiana Annual Conference. He is a graduate of the University of Evansville and Union Theological Seminary (New York). Darren was a delegate to the 2004 & 2008 General Conferences and a delegate to the 2000 & 2016 Jurisdictional Conferences. He is the author of "The Secret Transcript of the Council of Bishops" and "Blue Collar Jesus: How Christianity Supports Workers' Rights."

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