Theology Update for the Week of February 15

Dear friends in Christ,

Today — Sunday at 10am — I turn to Genesis chapter 17, where God once again promises Abram he will have a child. The beginning and ending of the chapter involve the circumcision command and, at the end, the circumcision of every man and boy in Abram’s household. It is explicitly said that Abram and his son Ishmael were circumcised–that Abram circumcised his son. This is a strange foreshadowing of Genesis 22, when Abram will be commanded by God (again) to take up a knife against his son (in the latter case, Isaac, not yet born or even conceived in chapter 17). It’s not too late to join the class; newcomers are welcome every week. We meet on Sundays on the 5th floor. (This coming week the class will not be repeated on Monday at 12:40pm, on account of the Washington’s birthday holiday.)

Tuesday, February 17, at 6:30pm, the Rector’s Christian Doctrine class turns to church history: “From house church to organized religion: The Body of Christ is still broken.” The class is for those who wish to be confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church. People are welcome to join the class anytime the topic is of interest to them. We meet in Andrew Hall, for one hour.

Next week, on Monday, February 23, we will have — God willing! — a seminar on Christopher Beha’s novel, What Happened to Sophie Wilder. I’m looking forward to the conversation, and hope many of you will be able to join in it. We’ll meet in Andrew Hall from 6:15 to 7:45pm.

Jeremy Waldron’s lectures, “One Another’s Equals,” for which we have been waiting several months, are finally at hand. As you will recall, our esteemed parishioner Professor Waldron was invited to give the 2015 Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh, from which he has recently returned. He is now offering, as a gift to the parish, a three-session precis of those lectures, on Wednesdays, February 25, March 4, and March 11. These will be in Andrew Hall at 6:30 p.m. If you have not been to any of our previous classes with Jeremy, you are in for an intellectual feast. Although a world-renowned legal philosopher, Jeremy remains the son of a New Zealand pastor, that is to say, he is accessible, even humble, while being at the same time brilliant. These talks will explore the basis on which we human beings are equal to one another. In particular:

I hope you have these dates on your personal calendars, and look forward, once again, to engaging with Jeremy Waldron on some very important, basic questions.

(If you would like to access the full Gifford lecture series, they are here. Here is a link directly to his final lecture.