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, October 05, 2005

God and Job (not the person...occupation)

Dancing on the Head of Pin is not a political blog. There are many political blogs on the net and there are many religious/political and many Episcopal/poliltical blogs out here. If you want to take a look at some, just hit the "Random" link on the "Blogging Episcopalians" box to the right, and you're bound to find some in two or three clicks. This is not a political blog for many reasons. Among them being the fact that the aim of this blog is to provide daily (or sometimes daily) thoughts and news for the people of St Michael's and all the internet world. Also, politics is a messy arena. Most of us have political views without knowing the details of any given political situation; myself included. So we will not pontificate on what the President or anyone else is doing right or wrong based on a soundbite on the evening news or some other blog. That is not fair. That being said, Judge Roberts made an interesting statement during his confirmation hearings. He said "My faith and my religious beliefs do not play a role in judging. When it comes to judging, I look to the law books and always have. I don't look to the Bible or any other religious source." This is not a partisan commentary, but a broad political one. Politicians on both sides have been accused of bringing their religion into politics. JFK concerned many Protestants because he was Catholic. Joe Lieberman, a Jew, said he would try not to work on the Sabbath as president. George W. Bush has made many comments about faith and prayer. But when asked how their religious views would influence their decision making, all politicians (to my knowledge) make some reference to governing for all people and not letting one aspect of faith dictate or determine their positions. Essentially what Judge Roberts said earlier in this post. You may remember John Kerry saying emphatically that personally he is not a fan of abortion, but that is the law. And we know of many Roman Catholic Dioceses that have refused communion to those who publically support abortion. In 215, the Bishop of Rome - Hippolytus - composed the Apostolic Tradition in which we see the liturgies of baptism and the Eucharist from the early Church. What is interesting is how Hippolytus (and by extension the church) prohibited certain occupations to be included in the Christian life.
They will inquire concerning the works and occupations of those are who are brought forward for instruction. 2If someone is a pimp who supports prostitutes, he shall cease or shall be rejected. 3If someone is a sculptor or a painter, let them be taught not to make idols. Either let them cease or let them be rejected. 4If someone is an actor or does shows in the theater, either he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 5If someone teaches children (worldly knowledge), it is good that he cease. But if he has no (other) trade, let him be permitted. 6A charioteer, likewise, or one who takes part in the games, or one who goes to the games, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 7If someone is a gladiator, or one who teaches those among the gladiators how to fight, or a hunter who is in the wild beast shows in the arena, or a public official who is concerned with gladiator shows, either he shall cease, or he shall be rejected. 8If someone is a priest of idols, or an attendant of idols, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 9A military man in authority must not execute men. If he is ordered, he must not carry it out. Nor must he take military oath. If he refuses, he shall be rejected. 10If someone is a military governor, or the ruler of a city who wears the purple, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 11The catechumen or faithful who wants to become a soldier is to be rejected, for he has despised God. 12The prostitute, the wanton man, the one who castrates himself, or one who does that which may not be mentioned, are to be rejected, for they are impure. 13A magus shall not even be brought forward for consideration. 14An enchanter, or astrologer, or diviner, or interpreter of dreamsb, or a charlatanc, or one who makes amulets, either they shall cease or they shall be rejected.
Now certainly there are historical and cultural reasons as to why many of these occupations are listed. The point of this post is to ask the question: The early church did not see Christianity as divisible between public and private arenas. Has it not become that and if so, what is the result? Of course it is easy for me to post this, I'm a priest. My job is my faith, or my faith is my job. If someone asks me if my religious views influence my decision making in my job, I or course say, YES.

Steve +


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