by Michael Shapcott
Sometimes a handful of words in the Bible can be wrenched with violence out of context in order to support a position that is pernicious. Take today’s Gospel reading of the Pharisees trying to trick Jesus. The phrase often plucked out of this little passage is part of verse 21 that most of us know by heart in the poetical language of the King James Version:
“Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.”
This story was obviously considered important to early Christians as it is repeated, in somewhat similar form, in Mark and Luke.
Skip forward to Romans 13 and we read, once again, in the good old KJV, ‘let every soul be subject to higher powers’ in verse 1 and the word ‘render’ appears once again in verse 7. In fact, the margins notes in my old and beloved King James Bible has these three phrases next to the first few verses in Romans 13 – Duty to the State, Authority of the State, Duties of Citizenship.
Continue reading Render Unto Caesar
May 18th Homily by Michael Shapcott
Good morning. We may be somewhat diminished in numbers today in the midst of this holiday weekend, but we gather as participants in a Christian communion that stretches back some 2,000 years and circles the globe.
I am four and one-half months into theological studies at the Faculty of Divinity at Trinity College in the University of Toronto where I am seeking to deepen my understanding of the profound connections between universal human rights and fundamental faith values. My goal is not simply more knowledge, but a more effective rights-based practice when it comes to fundamental issues of justice and equity such as housing, homelessness, poverty and hunger.
Continue reading ‘oh you are so big’
A very special welcome on this ‘Back to Church Sunday’ to our visitors this morning. Last year, at this time, I was welcomed back to Holy Trinity after I spotted Archbishop Colin Johnson in his full vestments standing in front of Union Station.
I took up the invitation last year… and here I am today.
Let’s begin with a plunge into the deep end of the doctrinal pool, starting with the words of the great American Anglican theologian, Robin Williams. Our sisters and brothers in the Anglican communion in the US prefer to call themselves Episcopalians. Here the esteemed Mr. Williams sets out the top ten reasons for being an Episcopalian:
10. No snake handling.
9. You can believe in dinosaurs.
8. Male and female, God created them; male and female, we ordain them.
7. You don’t have to check your brains at the door.
6. Pew aerobics.
5. Church year is color coded!
4. Free wine on Sunday.
3. All of the pageantry, none of the guilt.
2. You don’t have to know how to swim to get baptized.
And the number one reason for being an Episcopalian:
1. No matter what you believe, there’s bound to be at least one other Episcopalian who agrees with you. Continue reading The Mystery of Faith: Fear and Trembling