The lowest of the low

When I became a Christian, I became just that – a Christian. I eventually joined an Anglican church via a contact at work but I didn’t really think of myself as ‘an Anglican’.

When a friend’s husband asked me where my church was, I replied, ‘In Bedworth.’ That wasn’t what he wanted to know. This was his next question: ‘I mean, where is your church? Is it high or low?’ Well, it’s the ‘default’ church for the town and it’s got quite a tall steeple, so maybe it’s ‘high’? I’d missed the point again, apparently, so he asked me a third question: ‘Do you have bells and smells?’ I dodged out of that one and told him I’d check it out with one of our leaders.

A lay reader filled me in. We were ‘low evangelical – the lowest of the low.’ She explained all about ‘bells and smells’ and about the high church up the road and I felt that I was becoming initiated… into something…

Little did I know then about all the ‘-isms’.No, that’s not entirely true.I had heard of Methodism and Catholicism and of course, baptism. Now I’m hearing about Calvinism, Evangelicalism, Presbyterianism, Lutherism/Lutheranism, Barthism…it is so very complicated and I often wish it were more straightforward.

More recently, the word ‘inerrancy’ has found it’s way into my consciousness and  I am still amazed by all the debate about it. I have a part of my mind which I label ‘don’t know’ and I ‘file’ things in there and pray about them, ask about them and do some research on them and so on.

I suppose the good thing about the ‘-isms’ and the debates about inerrancy is that they remind us that we don’t have all the answers- far from it… and that we are dependent on God’s grace and have a continued need to study the scriptures, meditate, pray, research, seek the counsel of others and so on.

Just imagine if it were all simple and plain-sailing and we could all get it ‘sussed’ quite quickly. We might easily forget our need for God and that just wouldn’t do.

Jesus said: ‘Apart from me, you can do nothing.’

These words sustain me. I love the rich breadth and depth and complexity of the scriptures but I also do a fair amount of fretting about the passages that don’t add up for me and  I am thankful for those simple words of Jesus. He is the vine and we are the branches. We need him and we need each other.

A verse from an old hymn has just come into my mind                                                                      ‘He that is down needs fear no fall,                                                                                                     he that is low, no pride;                                                                                                                       He that is humble ever shall                                                                                                             have God to be his guide.’                                                                                                              [John Bunyan]

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8 thoughts on “The lowest of the low

  1. theoldadam

    You are in an exciting place (with so many questions). I remember when I first started studying theology and the Bible and all the isms…it was a lot of fun.

    My pastor is a terrific teacher and I have many great classes of his recorded on mp3’s. There are some terrific ones on inerrancy.

    Thanks, very much.

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  2. theoldadam

    Here’s an example of an excellent class (the Gospel of John), which touches on the inerrancy issue:

    [audio src="http://theoldadam.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/pastors-class-the-gospel-of-john-part-2.mp3" /]

    Enjoy.

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  3. triciafrasman

    The more I know, the more questions I have! Today we were reminded that Christianity is about Christ – we are saved by Grace, through Faith, in Christ alone. Our Faith is based on Jesus, not Jesus plus X, Y, or Y.

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  4. suesconsideredtrifles

    I missed this post due to a very busy week! Some people, who have belonged to the same parish church for a long time can be completely unaware of the differences in “height”. One way to judge is from the hymn book! Sue

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    1. quinnjones2 Post author

      Hi Sue,
      Thank you for your comment. It’s interesting that you mentioned the hymn book, because when I couldn’t answer the question about ‘where’
      our church was,the person then asked me which hymn book we use! We have 3 services at our church and use Mission Praise at 9.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. I often play the keyboard at 9.00 a.m. and sometimes dip into the Anglican Hymn Book because the folk prefer some of the tunes in there. At 11.00 a.m. we have a worship group and sing from song-sheets – they mainly choose songs from Songs of Fellowship. They did ask me to play with the group, but I couldn’t keep up with them – I take longer to learn new songs now, and my fingers aren’t as nimble as they were!
      I do like some of the new songs though,and often play the ones I can manage at our sister church(at 10.30 a.m.!) It means that I get to meet a lot of people, so I’m not complaining!
      Thank you again for your reply
      Christine

      Liked by 1 person

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