It seemed to me to have all the usual feminist unfair bias towards women and incapacity to perceive the plain facts of what lies before us that I have come to associate with the world of psycho-tinkering.
The writer of the article quotes a letter from Wesley to his appalling wife in which he says:
‘Know me and know yourself. Suspect me no more, asperse me no more, provoke me no more: do not any longer contend for mastery…be content to be a private insignificant person, known and loved by God and me.’
The article describes these words as hostile and scathing.
Scathing? Hostile? Is it? To go on steadily telling someone that you love them and that God loves them too, even when they have done their utmost to ruin your reputation and even behaved violently towards you? Why?
It reads to me like a simple, humble plea. True he speaks plain, and maybe a person would have to understand plain speech to see where he's coming from. But what a man! I honour him.
The article describes with sympathy Molly's cause for disgruntlement:
At first Molly accompanied him but his travel schedule (by any standard through all church history) was relentless, and she, as a newly married 40 year old woman, was clearly hoping for some normal domestic joys.
But, did she not pause to consider whom she would be marrying? Did she not realise that Christ was his first love and deepest passion? What did she imagine marriage to John Wesley would be like?
The writer describes the Wesleys' home life as very unhappy, saying that Molly left home on more than one occasion, and John Wesley begged her repeatedly to return - in spite of her violence towards him; the article cites a diarist of the time who entered their home to find Molly dragging John across the floor by his hair.
He did his best. The article says that when Molly finally walked out on him, John recorded in his diary - 'wryly' the article says, I don't know why:
‘I did not forsake her, I did not dismiss her, I will not recall her.’
But what enveloped me in red mist was the paragraph in which the writer concludes:
He should have consulted with Charles. He should have asked for the wisdom of other leaders. He should have been prepared for marriage. He should have considered his wife’s needs more than his own.
And his wife? Oh yes, poor lamb! She should have had everything exactly her own way and it was all John's fault, of course!
At the end of this piece, the writer suggests that if we, too are experiencing difficulties in our marriage we might like to apply to Holy Trinity Church Marriage Course to be further immersed in more of the same.
You can see it now, can't you... a whole classroom full of whingeing disaffected violent women whose lives are SO unfair because unlike John Wesley their husbands had the temerity to get a haircut and can't be dragged anywhere.
You know what? I would have married him. I would have been PROUD to be married to a man who loved the Lord as much as John Wesley did, even if he was just the tiniest bit bonkers.