Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Rector's Rambling - September 6th

This week I got a phone call from the parishioner who so graciously edits for grammar and clarity our monthly newsletter The Eagle. He had a question about a phrase I used. We came up with a better one because the one I picked had a variety of meanings not related to what I intended.

That discussion morphed into one about about “Churchy Talk”. We use all sorts of great, ancient, specific words - often with Latin or Old English roots. They perfectly describe what they describe!

The problem is, unless you are an “insider” those words mean little to nothing to you. There are two ways to correct this problem. One, the preferred method by most is to just stop using the proper names. But for some of us, it is important to use the right words for the right things! The better solution is to use them AND explain them. For example, when I describe where coffee hour is I say, “In the Undercroft, which is directly beneath where you are sitting”. This way you learn the proper word AND what it means. Now for terms like Nave, Narthex, Sanctuary, Thurifer, Acolyte and even Rector we will have to work it into a conversation or perhaps a future Teaching Note.

I also want to wish you all a blessed Labor Day. Started primarily to celebrate the organized Labor movement in this country, for which many positive reforms in workplace resulted, we now broaden it to celebrate all human labor big and small. We pray for those who work the auto-line, push a broom, patrol our streets AND for those who take the risks to develop and grow businesses that provide employment opportunities.

The Roman Catholic Church has a history of encyclicals (teaching pronouncements) that encourage neither communism/socialism nor unrestrained capitalism. Instead, they promote a responsible business atmosphere that allows for private ownership and the opportunities for workers to make a dignified wage. Anglicanism, without a central teaching authority, would do well to start the conversation there, and pray God’s blessing on our common good.