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]


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.


  2. theoldadam

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

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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.


  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


    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

      Liked by 1 person


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