Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 51 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

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Rector's Rambling - July 4, 2010

Today we are commemorating the “birthday” of our country, the 234th year after the public acclamation of our Independence from the King of England.
I went to college in Philadelphia, the cradle of our Independence (pace to those from Boston who think otherwise). While living there, a passing interest in colonial history became an avocation. Not only did I become an amateur tour guide to many historic sites in colonial Philadelphia, but ended up working with a National Guard unit which had its foundation before the Revolutionary War and participated as a Calvary Unit under General Washington. It was with the First Troop Philadelphia City Calvary that I learned how to ride horses and served in their ceremonial parade unit, an interest which continues through my one-time chaplaincy work with the Detroit Police Mounted Unit, and now on the foundation of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Mounted Unit.
Even to this day, I continue to be fascinated with the early history of our country. Being created by fallen human beings (no one is perfect!), the continued blessings and growth in grace that has occurred on our soil is proof of God’s blessing on the endeavor begun nearly 2 1/2 centuries ago.
However, also being interested in reading theology, I am struck by many similarities in our current society, and that which is described in St. Augustine’s The City of God. St. Augustine, describing the fall of the Roman Empire, happening in his own time, is responding to claims made by some pagans that the fall is a punishment by the Roman “gods” for turning from their religion to Christianity. St. Augustine goes on to take apart that argument, not only by defending the truth and virtue of the Christian Faith, but by showing them that the fall of the Roman Empire had more to do with the growing affluence, lack of virtue, immorality, and luke-warm religiosity of the leaders and upper-classes of society. St. Augustine rails on those who try to justify their increasing immorality by projecting it onto their religion, trying to change its teaching. Sound familiar?
“America! America! God mend thine every flaw, confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law.”
O beautiful for spacious skies, v.2b