Theology Update for the Week Beginning Feb 16

Dear friends in Christ

The new class, “Sick People in the Bible,” has its third session next week (Sunday the 16th and Thursday the 20th), on the healing of Naaman and on a strange incident when the prophet cries. (The stories are in 2 Kings 5 and 8.) This will be our last class on this topic in the Old Testament. We meet weekly on Sundays at 10 a.m. on the 5th floor, with the class repeated on Thursdays at 12:40 p.m. on the 2nd floor (when the weather isn’t extreme!). Newcomers are always welcome, and there is always coffee and tea.

The topic for the Rector’s Christian Doctrine Class on Tuesday, February 18, is church organization and ministry: a particular focus on how the Episcopal Church is structured and on the sacrament of ordination. Interested persons are welcomed every week: in Andrew Hall from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Ethical Wednesdays: On Wednesday, February 19, the class on Christian Ethics: A Guide for the Perplexed will discuss chapters 4 and 5, which describe “Christian virtue ethics,” wherein the classical cardinal virtues (self-control, courage, justice, and good sense) are transformed by the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. I find this material both exciting and challenging. It is a significant development from the virtue ethics that is merely philosophical or Aristotelian. We meet in Andrew Hall from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. There will be coffee, if needed, to help you stay awake. (Visitors welcome.)

Christians Readings Greeks, the series of first-Monday seminars, will discuss Plato’s Apology on March 3 at 6:15 p.m. Anyone who reads the dialogue (in any translation) is welcome to the seminar.

Looking ahead: Professor Stephen Hildebrand of Franciscan University will give the spring theology lecture on Wednesday, March 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the church. “Should a Christian Sell Everything?” will offer insight into Jesus’ challenging call. Dr. Hildebrand is a scholar of the early church fathers, particularly Basil the Great, and he will draw upon their wisdom in this lecture. A reception will follow. No registration needed.

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One of my fellow seminarians back in the 1980s had been a missionary to Sudan, and after his ordination he returned there. He died of cancer about 15 years ago – Fr Marc Nikkel. I continue to follow news from South Sudan today, and of course the recent news is heartbreaking. Here is a recent story from the Anglican Communion News Service:

There are new books in our bookstore that I would recommend to you. One is Flannery O’Connor’s recently published prayer journal (from her Iowa schooldays). The other is Professor Hildebrand’s translation of St Basil the Great’s treatise on the Holy Spirit.

Peace

Fr Austin
vaustin@SaintThomaschurch.org