Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors, Open Theology?

What began as a fairly clever ad line is well on the way to becoming United Methodist Theology.

The slogan, “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors” was created by an advertising firm for the United Methodist Church. It was rolled out to use in the “Igniting Ministries” marketing strategy.

As an ad line, I have no real problem with this slogan. However, I hear more and more United Methodists refer to this line when describing our church. When difference of opinion, or more seriously, difference of doctrine comes up, some fall back to this slogan as though it is the lowest common denominator of all things United Methodist.

I’m not really sure what “open hearts” are, but an open heart is certainly not our goal. “To worship God and enjoy Him forever” is the chief end of man. Where openess of heart and mind are important aspects of this that the individual can come to know and love God better, I am all for it.

Our purpose is NOT to have “open minds.” Open minds are an essential part of learning and growing, but because learning and growth are possible, the openess of the mind is ultimately secondary to its capacity to learn and grow. In other words, if one has learned something, one no longer needs to have one’s mind as open as when was merely ignorant.

Again, our purpose is also NOT “open doors.” It really bugs me when my ushers, for whatever reason, lock one of the two doors to our sanctuary, figuring since one is open, everyone can get in. I shudder at the idea of someone reaching for a door handle to enter a sanctuary and the door not opening. On the other hand, there is something very particular and specific going on in our sanctuaries; the worship of the God we have come to know chiefly in and through Jesus Christ.

I don’t have all the answers. My theology is not airtight and completely formed. For it to grow closer to where it ought to be, looking to Our Theological Task and our Articles of Religion will do me far more good than will turning to an ad slogan.

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