May 24, 2011

Plucked from the burning

John Wesley by Romney

There were two really important days in John Wesley’s life.  The first occurred when he was about five years old and the Wesley home caught fire. John was rescued from the burning building and ever after, he later wrote, felt that he had been saved for a special purpose, ‘a brand plucked from the burning.’

The second was on May 24, 1738.  Wesley by then was 35 years old and having a tough time. He and his brother Charles had just returned from Georgia, to which they had been invited by Gov. James Oglethorpe who asked them to take charge of the Savannah parish.

On the trip over, Wesley had been impressed by a group of Moravians on board – they had ridden out a terrible storm with great courage and much prayer.  He had apparently also been impressed by a certain Sophia Hopkey, in whose company he spent rather a lot of time until he decided to break it off.

Susanna Annesley, mother of John Wesley

Sophia wasn’t pleased – swearing that Wesley had promised to marry her, she sued him for breach of promise.  Even though she eventually married, she continued her suit against Wesley in Savannah and finally, John and Charles snuck out of town and went back to England.

The whole debacle left Wesley very depressed and one evening he wandered into a Moravian service in a hall on Adersgate Street in London.  During the service he experienced the epiphany that led him to begin his open-air preaching and organizing of the Methodist church.

So for Methodists, today is Aldersgate Day.

Here is a completely irrelevant but utterly enthralling fact about Wesley: he was the eleventh of 15 children born to Samuel Wesley and Susanna Annesley and Susanna herself was the youngest of – ready? – twenty-five!

* * *

Photo by Alberto Cabello

Today is Bob Dylan’s birthday, so let us wish Minnesota’s greatest gift to the world many happy returns. I’d post a video, but they all seem to be extremely commercial – some even have actual commercials.  This of course is indescribably ironic.  So instead, here is a picture of Dylan disguised as a senior citizen:



  1. Trippy stuff thank you.


    Comment by avery — May 24, 2011 @ 7:55 am | Reply

  2. love your description:”disguised as a senior citizen” as if he could ever be that.


    Comment by Carol — May 26, 2011 @ 10:29 am | Reply

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