[Apparently there may be 80 million Methodists worldwide, but about 10 million in the USA. See other thoughts at the end of the post].
Now, it is true that this particular issue, indifference to history, annoys me a lot. But that is just me and if I dont like it I should not live here. Which is correct, I should not live here.
There is also a potential perceptual error in this post. I assume that because I did not know something, that no one did, and in fact I have asked around, and no one I have talked to seems to have known this story. But maybe everyone else does, and I am just wrong. Lets see what you think when I finally get around to telling the story at the end.
But before we begin, why should we care about history?
This particular story is about the history of religion in Los Angeles, and no, I am not talking about hippies or the love generation or Transcendental Meditation. This is about the creation of a new denomination of Christianity that has done very well for itself over the last century.
How is it possible that a major religious movement could start in the city of Los Angeles and yet no one here seems to know about it? Is it because this movement was started by a poor black man and had beliefs outside that of the religious orthodoxy? Is it because there is no particular way to cash in on the story and make money? Perhaps. I really don't know. I do know that the LA Times wrote nasty articles about the movement back in the day and the LA Times has always been the voice of the people who run Los Angeles.
But I also know that a denomination of 270 million people is worthy of notice and if it started in my city I would want to know about it.
I think its a little weird, ok?
[Further reading has suggested other explanations for the apparent neglect. Although all the Pentecostal organizations and independent churches do, apparently, trace their origins to the Azuza Street Revival and William Seymore, these organizations and churches are not at all united and have various differences between them. Of course that is true in many different denominations in Christianity and all other religions I am aware of. But it would help to explain why there is not one important voice calling for recognition and acknowledgement in Los Angeles. Furthermore, I was not aware of the extent of the hostility between the more established Christian churches and Pentecostalism. Only recently has Pentecostalism been acknowledged or partially acknowledged as a legitimate part of Christianity. Whether I have that right or not, the extent of the outsider status of these Church(es) could also help to explain the anonymity in this, its home city.]