Question and Answer
Do I have to be clever to be a good Christian?
There are a lot of people who think like this because the Christian church seems to appeal to people who read a lot and are good at figures.
In many churches the hymn numbers are only announced once and then the music starts. A lot of people have not found the place until the end of the second verse!
And of course we get so many written things when we go to church. There may be a very big prayer book, a hymn book with 700 songs in it and perhaps two more sheets of notices etc.
No wonder many people think that Christianity is only for those who read a lot.
But the earliest disciples of Jesus were a real mixture of people of all kinds. There was a tax collector (and he must have had to reckon well!) but there were fishermen and people like that as well.
In fact in the history of the church, when it has been most successful, it has often been the common people who heard him gladly: for Jesus came to save all people and not just those who are clever with their minds. He also wanted those who are clever with their hands and we ought to remember that the Lord himself was in fact a carpenter.
“But”, you might say, “How can I manage if I am not a reading person ?”
First of all, talk to your vicar and tell him what you find difficult about the services. If he is any good, he will be glad to hear what you say and he may not have thought about the matter for himself. Nowadays so many vicars are forced to read many books and, as a result, they do not understand other folk who have not done what they have done.
Secondly, If you find reading the bible difficult, buy one of the many tapes of the bible and listen to that every day when you have your prayer time.
Thirdly, get into a bible or discussion group where you can talk about your faith and ask questions.
Christianity is for everyone!
John Pearce is Rector of Limehouse, in the diocese of London
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