Theology Update for the Week of January 17

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Dear friends in Christ,

The class on the collects of the Book of Common Prayer will continue on Sunday with the prayers appointed for the Christmas and Epiphany seasons. The primary objective of the class is to grasp the Anglican theology that is contained in the collects. In addition, we have a minor focus on the sources of the collects, and how they have been changed in the history of the Prayer Book’s development. We meet on the fifth floor of the parish house at 10 o’clock. Hot coffee and hot tea are available in the room without, it is hoped, too much hot air. Please note that the Sunday class will not be repeated on Monday, January 18, because of the holiday. The Monday class will resume on January 25 at 12:40pm.

Tuesday, January 19, the Rector’s Christian Doctrine Class is on God the Son: Incarnation, Atonement, and Glory. Although designed especially for people who would like to be confirmed or received in the Episcopal Church, the class is open to anyone interested in the topic of the day. It meets in Andrew Hall from 6:30 to 7:30pm.

Friday at 12:45pm, Father Spurlock leads a Bible study on the 2nd floor of the parish house. The group is working through the Gospel according to Saint Luke.

A week from Monday, the “Good Books & Good Talk” seminar will discuss Muriel Spark’s smart novel, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Anyone who reads the book is welcome to the conversation (January 25, from 6:15 to 7:45pm in Andrew Hall). We won’t talk about it on the 25th, but if you like Muriel Spark, I recommend her first novel also, The Comforters. There’s a character in it who starts hearing a typewriter followed by voices; she comes to realize (or fear) that she is a character in a novel written by someone else. The same conceit is played out in the film, “Stranger than Fiction.” And you may remember that I think it is a helpful analogy for thinking of God as our creator. Which is to say, we are all characters in a novel being written by Someone Else (but since our author is God, we are no less ourselves by being his characters, and — crucially — no less free).

Here’s a first work on a course coming in Lent: We will do three weeks on the Good Samaritan, beginning Wednesday evening, February 17. More details to come.

Elsewhere this Friday (i.e., in a day or two)

My theological memoir, Losing Susan: Brain Disease, the Priest’s Wife, and the God Who Gives and Takes Away, is coming out in June from Brazos Press, at which time we’ll have a lecture and book signing at Saint Thomas. Meanwhile, this Friday, January 15, I am going to read a bit from the book for the Olmsted Salon. It’s a free event, open to the public, and you can drop in without registering. The Olmsted Salon is at St. George’s Church, 209 East 16th Street. More info here.

Peace,
Father Austin