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

Monday, May 05, 2014

Conversion of St. Augustine - Rector's Rambling for May 4, 2014

Tomorrow (May 5) the Church celebrates the conversion of St. Augustine of Hippo.
Although the Church was blessed with many outstanding theologians in her first five centuries, St. Augustine stands a head above the many others for his lasting impact upon the life of the Church.
St. Augustine wrote across many genres of theological disciplines.  His City of God was an answer to the pagan accusations that the fall of Rome was due to the gods’ anger at the abandonment of worship of them because of Christianity.  St. Augustine refutes this on many levels, comparing the City of Man (Rome) to the City of God (Heaven), and that Rome’s fall was in large part due to its loss of virtue and morality.
He also wrote texts and letters refuting the errors of various heretical groups, one of which he used to belong to before his conversion (Manichæan).  Most voluminous are his exegetical writings on the Scriptures along with various moral and pastoral topics.  No other one person would have such an impact on the theology of the church until St. Thomas Aquinas (13th Century).
The Feast tomorrow commemorates his conversion as an adult to Christianity from the false teachings of the Manichees.  He was living in Milan and teaching rhetoric.  He went to hear St. Ambrose preach because of his reputation as a good rhetorician (speaker/debater).  Over time the Truth about Jesus began to challenge him.  Supported by the holy prayers for conversion by his mother Monica, in a moment of emotional angst he hears a child’s sing-song calling to “Pick it up and read”.  He picks up the Scriptures and is convicted of his sin and need to convert.
This story is contained in the book The Confessions of St. Augustine, and I commend it to you most heartily!  It is not a long, arduous theological tome, but a great read for those at any stage of spiritual growth.