Dancing on the Head of a Pin

There is a legend of St Thomas Aquinas asking "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" At this blog we ask all questions dealing with our faith and spirituality. Some are down to earth, rubber meets the road questions, while others are more lofty...like, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Here and Now

In 1982, the sequel to the Mel Gibson movie "Mad Max" hit theatres. This movie was entitled "Road Warrior" and was set in a post-apocalyptic world where gas was the most scarce and sought after commodity. This movie came to mind today when gas prices went over $3 a gallon. In Waynesboro, one gas station had gas at $3.45 a gallon. People were waiting in line, police were manning the Wal-Mart gas station, and many, many people were greatly concerned. What will gas prices be tomorrow? How will we afford the winter bills? Tonight we gathered for our third study group on CS Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters." "Screwtape" is a (obviously) fictional collection of letters between two demons - one seasoned and the other, a novice. Tonight we discussed how dangerous it is for us to get caught up in the future. The seasoned demon, Screwtape, advised his novice nephew to cast his "patient's" attention on the future, instead of the present. The future is uncertain and unknowable. Who knows what will happen with gas prices and energy costs. We cannot afford to avoid, however, the present - the here and now. As we are worried about (and rightly so) about our brothers and sisters in New Orleans and other hurricane devastated areas and our own futures, we can't forget our own spiritual status right now - our connection with God -right now. How we are treating others - right now. As Jesus reminds us - tomorrow will have it's own worries. Let us live today, in the here and now. Let us pray for those who are suffering. Let us be responsible with our energy. Let us not forget our need for daily bread.

Steve +

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Most Religious and Secular Colleges/Universities

In a recent post on Beliefnet.com, Reed College and BYU were voted most secular and religious schools, respectively. Click here for the story.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Maximilian Kolbe

Sunday's sermon, "Kolbe's Cross" is now online.

Steve +

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Our First Encounter with Church

Last night I spoke to a PTO gathering at a South Carolina elementary school on the importance of a good experience at school. I asked all the parents if they could remember the names of their elementary school teachers. 99% raised their hands, as did I: Ms. Runyan, Ms. Bull, Ms. Roquemore, Ms. Bright, and Ms. Geoly. We remember their names because they represent our first encounter with learning. Ms. Runyan shared the alphabet with me, Ms. Bull taught me how to write, Ms. Roquemore how to write in cursive, and Ms. Geoly taught me to love reading. Their influence, and my experience helped me through high school, college, and graduate school. Had I not had a good first encounter with learning, I would not have wanted to spend 20 years in school. The same is true in the Church. What do our children (or adults for that matter) experience when they come to Church? How will their early encounters with worship, the Bible, and other Christians shape their lives in the future? In all of our parishes we have college students who have moved away from home for the first time and are on their own for the first time. Will they go to Church without mom and dad dragging them? In my opinion - like school, it depends largely on their early encounters. In other words - how can we enhance everyone's encounter with Church?

Steve +

Monday, August 22, 2005

An Anglican City?

Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan is already the founder of Ave Maria University. Now he is building Ave Maria, Florida. The devout Catholic is spending 200 million dollars in creating a planned city in Collier County, Florida built exclusively for Roman Catholics. Everything about the city will reflect Catholic teaching; from the businesses to the school. The city will be anchored, of course, by a huge church in the center of the town. We are curious here at Dancing on the Head of Pin, if an Anglican had 200 million dollars to invest in an Anglicanville, what would it look like? What do you think?

Steve +

PS: Sunday's sermon "Pretending to Know (and afraid someone will ask)" is now online.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Founder of Taize Murdered

During the evening prayer on Tuesday 16 August, in the midst of the crowd surrounding the Community in the Church of Reconciliation, a woman - probably mentally disturbed - struck Brother Roger violently with knife blows. He died a few moments later.

In its sorrow, the Taizé Community thanks all those who are supporting it by their affection and their prayer. On the morning of 17 August, after Brother Roger’s death, the following prayer was read in the church:

“Christ of compassion, you enable us to be in communion with those who have gone before us, and who can remain so close to us. We confide into your hands our Brother Roger. He already contemplates the invisible. In his footsteps, you are preparing us to welcome a radiance of your brightness.”

The funeral of Brother Roger will take place on Tuesday 23 August at 14.00.

Each afternoon, from 15.00 to 19.00, his body is placed in the church of Taizé, so that all who wish may go and meditate close by him.

Eight years ago, Brother Roger designated Brother Alois to succeed him, as the person in charge of the community. Brother Alois has entered straightaway into his ministry as servant of communion at the heart of the community.
- from the Taize website.

Click here for a response from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

Steve +

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

DaVinci Code vs. a Nun

Quite an interesting story concerning the filming of Dan Brown's "The DaVinci Code." A nun, Sister Mary Michael, is protesting the filming of the moving in the Lincoln Cathedral (Church of England). The dean of the Cathedral says this on their website:
The book is not in our view offensive to the Christian faith, merely speculative and far-fetched. It is not blasphemous in that it does not denigrate God in any way. Some of what is said in the book about the church and its teaching is heretical and is based on ideas put forward rather late in the church's history.
Apparently, Sister Mary Michael disagrees. Regardless of your side of the debate, the filming of the DaVinci Code does bring up the question of the role of fiction and faith. Churches seem to split pretty evenly over fiction. Some churches I know have had Harry Potter parties and took midnight youth trips to buy the new book. Other churches, perhaps right across the street, have had services condemning the books all together. The same is true with the DaVinci Code. Is it that fiction is a better read than non-fiction? Recent fictional books that deal with faith have been huge bestsellers: Left Behind, DaVinci Code, and depending on your perspective, Harry Potter. Where, or rather, how do we draw the line between fiction that is good and fiction that is bad. After all, isn't all fiction - "not true?" The bigger question may be: has recent fiction dealing with faith become more authoratative than the "non-fiction" book we bound in leather and read from at least once a week?
What do you think?

Steve +

Monday, August 15, 2005

Not Funny

Sunday's Gospel text is one that it difficult to deal with - not only the obvious problems of Jesus calling a Canaanite woman a dog, but also the implications of his encounter. It is far too easy for us to be exclusive in our love and service. Christianity, as I view it, is exclusive in the sense that there are demands and requirements that adherents must follow. Jesus was very clear about sheep and goats, good fish and bad fish. But our love and outreach should not be exclusive. It should include everyone, the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is not our job (thank God) to divide sheep and goats, good fish from bad fish. It is our job to love everyone, serve everyone, and offer the hope found in Christ to everyone. But that is not always as easy and it may sound.

Yesterday's sermon can be found here.

Steve +

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Where have you seen Christ

Years ago in youth group retreats, I remember a small group segment called, "Where have you seen Jesus?" The idea was to move us to think where we have seen the face of Jesus in actions and love. Some would say they have seen the face of Jesus in children, in elderly women, etc. I mention this because the latest ebay relic of Jesus has appeared in a tortilla shell. There are so many ebay relics and other sightings of Jesus or Mary in wood, food, on wall,and so on. These sightings attract dozens, even thousands of people, and they inspire devotion. While I don't rule out the possibility of winking statues and the like, I still think we are more likely to see the face of Jesus in the places he told us - where were gathered in his name.


Monday, August 08, 2005

Habemus Sacerdos!

We have a priest! I don't know if my Latin is correct, but I know I didn't want to try "We have a Rector," Habemus Rectum? On the feast of the Transfiguration, The Right Reverend Henry I. Louttit, ordained me to the Sacred Order of Priests. It was among the greatest moments of my life. The most surprising event, however, happened as the procession of clergy ended outside the church. As I emerged from the building, the clergy applauded and many knelt to receive a blessing from the newly ordained priest. It was a tradition that caught me by surprise, but it was a gesture that solidified the love and bond shared by those in the priesthood, and really all who are joined together through baptism.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Pardon the Posts

I apologize for my inconsistency in posting this past week. I've been a little busy. On Saturday, the Feast of the Transfiguration, I will be ordained to the Sacred Order of Priests. For the past six months, I have been serving as a Transitional Deacon. Please pray for me and the church. I will be sure to post pictures of the ordination on this blog and at stmichaelsparish.net.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A nod and a wink

In Hoboken, NJ, there have been reports of a statue of Jesus that opened his right eye and turned his head. The priest, Fr. Michael Guglielmelli said
"As a priest, I'm always open to everything. Whatever lets a person pray is good. If this is from God, one way or another he will let us know. If not, it will fade away."
Read the story on beliefnet.

The sermon from Sunday mentioned crying statues and other miracles.