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

Monday, August 29, 2016

Feast of St. Augustine - Rector's Rambling for August 28, 2016

August 28, if it does not occur on a Sunday, is the Feast of St. Augustine of Hippo.  He will be remembered at the altar, his Feast Day being transferred, on Tuesday at St. John’s.
This St. Augustine is best known for his book The Confessions.  Reportedly the first autobiography written in the first person narrative, St. Augustine goes into detail in this book about his early life, his desire for worldly honor and prestige, his belief in a false religious system, and his conversion to authentic Christianity.
Born in the year 354 in Thagaste, now a part of Algeria in northern Africa, St. Augustine grew up as Roman citizen after the Emperor Constantine had become a Christian and eventually converted the empire to Christianity.  However, various heretical sects continued, including the Manichaeans, which he joined.
But by God’s grace, the fervent persistent prayers of his mother (which he credits), and the mentoring of St. Ambrose of Milan, where Augustine was a professor of rhetoric, he repented of false doctrine and became a Christian.
He then went on to become a priest and then the bishop of Hippo in modern day Algeria.  He wrote prolifically on the scriptures and other theological disciplines.  His master work is The City of God, written after the fall of Rome to the Visagoths in 410.
Many Roman citizens began to say that the fall was a punishment from the gods for adopting Christianity as the official religion of the empire.  Augustine lays out in The City of God a rational explanation on how the ancient Roman false religion was originally built on the virtues of strength and sacrifice, but had morphed over time into one of self-justification for sinful personal vice as the empire got lazy and bloated with a focus on self.  Augustine then goes on to explain the truth of Christianity, and how it is that the City of God is the only thing that matters rather than the City of Man here on earth.
He died in 430, but his writing lives on today.