Book offers blueprint for Wesleyan way of life


From Staff and Wire Reports

Members of the Mississippi Annual Conference this week began receiving a special gift from Bishop Hope Morgan Ward.


All members, lay and clergy, were sent a copy of Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living, written by retired Bishop Rueben P. Job and published by the United Methodist Publishing House.


The rules from Wesley, the founder of Methodism, are simple: “Do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God.”


“These simple rules then and now applied to everyone,” Job says. “No one was left out. No one was too good, too mean, too rich or too poor, too educated, too illiterate.”


Ward wants those rules to be a guide for the conference. “The book is calling us back to our Wesleyan roots while giving us direction for our future,” she said.


The simple wording of the rules contrasts with actually applying them.


“The three rules, while simple, are demanding,” Ward said. “They beckon us to draw deep, to gather around what is centrally important, to live and lead in unity that is humble and courageous. It is my prayer that we might remember who we are in Christ and live forward seeking to do no harm, to do good and to stay in love with God.”


The book drew quite a bit of attention when presented to bishops and cabinets from across the denomination at a gathering at Lake Junaluska, N.C., in November.


Drawing parallels between Wesley’s time and the world today, Job says feelings of disenfranchisement, doubt and fear are much the same.


“Our world is deeply divided, highly cynical about its leadership, greatly disappointed in its structures and systems that seem so flawed, broken and corrupt, broadly conflicted and gravely afraid of tomorrow.”


With so many hurting, frightened people Job says a radical change must take place.


“There are two enormously encouraging truths for us to remember,” Job says. “One, God is with us. God continues to woo us, seek us out, love us, speak to us, enable us and lead us into the future. Second, it has been done before.”


Wesley’s three simple rules transformed women and men and started a movement that became a denomination and transformed a forming nation in North America, Job points out.


“Today we also need a message that can be clearly understood by persons of every age, every educational and economic level, every condition and circumstance of life,” he says. “And today these three simple rules provide that message.”


Primer for holy living
“In Three Simple Rules, Job tells the truth about God and about our relationship with God. He makes plain the way of life that, in John Wesley’s day, launched a vibrant movement that transformed the personal lives of millions and their communities,” says Susan Salley, executive director of adult resources at the publishing house.


“Job provides a straightforward path that leads to the joy of deepening our love of God and living every day the way Jesus shows us,” she says.


Bishop John L. Hopkins of the Ohio East Annual Conference, says Job’s book offers “a more faithful way of living as a disciple of Jesus Christ with personal practices that have the power to change the world.


“If you want to change the world, you must begin with changing yourself,” Hopkins says. “Three Simple Rules is a primer for holy living that is both personal and social.”


“Every year I review the three general rules of The United Methodist Church with those who are being ordained,” says Bishop Sally Dyck of the Minnesota Area. “I try to get them to envision these historic rules in contemporary terms along with the historic questions. Now I have a wonderful ordination gift to give them in Bishop Job’s, Three Simple Rules, to start and deepen the conversation as they enter a new relationship with the church.”


An important component of the book is lessons on daily practice that will help Christians live a faithful life.


“It is not what many of us have been doing, so to adopt this way is a radical shift in our lifestyle,” Job says. “It is a radical departure from our regular way of living, so of course it will be difficult.”

The book offers a liturgy for the beginning, middle and end of the day with prayers, scriptures, reflections and blessings.


The book closes with a song adapted from John Wesley with music by Raquel Mora Martinez, Stay in Love With God.


“The rules are simple, but the way is not easy,” Job writes. “Only those with great courage will attempt it, and only those with great faith will be able to walk this exciting and demanding way.”


Rule Book
Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living is published by Abingdon Press and can be ordered at for $5 each. A video to go with the book is in production and will be available in April.