I just finished my last class on United Methodism. While at times the class was quite boring, there are some distinctives of Methodism that are quite brilliant. These distinctives are what make me proud to be Methodist.
One of the coolest concepts in Methodism is "plundering the Egyptians."
The day Moses set the Israelites free, an ironic twist took place. The Israelites had the audacity to ask the Egyptians for jewelry and clothing...and the Egyptians obliged (Exodus 12:35-36). The last part of verse 36 is great: "so they (the Israelites) plundered the Egyptians."
The father of Methodism, John Wesley, used this phrase as way to express the importance of using the best of what culture has to offer to grow in knowledge and faith. Wesley made himself aware of current events, recent scholarship, scientific discovery, medical breakthroughs, new technology and pop culture by reading, listening and being available. He thought it was essential to know what was going on around him so that he could grow in knowledge of God's truth. Scripture was always primary and essential for Wesley and that's why he was not afraid of "contamination" by the cultural "texts" in which he engagned. Wesley gleaned everything he could from the best of the culture around him because he believed God could speak in more than one way. Wesley "plundered the Egyptians" without fear, because he did not have to question the source of ultimate and timeless truth.
As a Methodist, I will proudly carry on Wesley's practice of "plundering the Egyptians," not just for the sake of relevance, but because I believe God can and does speak through the cultural "texts" of today.