Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What United Methodist content would you put in humanity's digital library?

Today's post is by UM & Global blogmaster Dr. David W. Scott, Assistant Professor of Religion and Pieper Chair of Servant Leadership at Ripon College.

United Methodist Communications recently announced its collaboration with a company called Outernet. Outernet has the ambitious goal of connecting every person in the world to freely-accessible content via satellite.

The collection of content that Outernet is assembling is being referred to as "humanity's public library." The agreement between Outernet and United Methodist Communications is essentially that UM Communications will contribute some content to this global digital library. UM Communications is the first faith-based organization to agree to do so.

What exactly that content will be has yet to be announced. Outernet began the selection process this last weekend at a conference in Uganda in conjunction with receiving input electronically from all over the world. Presumably UM Communications will have some say in recommending what they think would be appropriate content that they can provide.

This raises the question, though, of what United Methodist content should belong in "humanity's public library." What United Methodist documents, text, and pictures are important enough and demonstrate United Methodism's unique contribution to humanity that they should be included in this collection?

I think this is a useful question for United Methodists to reflect on as part of discerning not only what it means to be a global church, but what it means to be a church that is part of a much larger global community. The United Methodist Church's 12 million members is a tiny fraction of all of humanity. We would like to think that we have something to offer to the rest of humanity, but we should be humble and realistic in discerning what that is.

So, readers, what do you think? Share your ideas for what United Methodist content should belong in humanity's public library in the content section below.


  1. Off the top of my head, I think the Interpreter's Bible should be included along with the Works of John Wesley, the books of E. Stanley Jones, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

  2. I would highly recommend two books: The combined volume of Albert C. Outler's "Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit" and "Evangelism in the Wesleyan Spirit" and Gregory S. Neal's "Grace Upon Grace." I think these three best encompass John Wesley's ideal of God's grace in language that is accessible across cultures.