Author Archives: thevicarsview

Idolatry

The Rev. Noah Van Niel

St. John the Evangelist

October 15th, 2017

Pentecost 19 (Proper 23 A): Exodus 32:1-14; Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23; Philippians 4:1-9; Matthew 22:1-14

Golden Calf

Of all the exceptional capacities human beings have, one of the most unique is our inherent capacity to be religious. From the earliest discoveries of human civilization, to the Egyptians, to the Native Americans, to the people of Israel, to the Greeks and Romans, to the East and to the West and the North and the South human beings share the conviction that there is something more to this world than what meets their senses, they share the drive to explore it, and the desire to worship it. Our capacity and inclination to worship is part of being human.

Like most deep desires, this desire to worship can be a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good in that our questing spirits drive us to discover of God and experience God in our lives. In fact I see the common human desire to worship the divine as a powerful argument that God exists, how else could you explain such commonalities across such wildly different times and places? But the impulse to worship can be a bad thing when that impulse is directed away from God, for then it can lead us down some wayward paths. Our human need to worship can often lead us into the realm of idolatry. Continue reading

How We Remember

 

The Rev. Noah Van Niel

October 1st, 2017

Story

Pentecost 17 (Proper 21 A): Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16; Philippians 2:1-13; Matthew 21:23-32

We’re going to start this morning with a pop quiz. I want to know, who won the Super Bowl in 2013?…..Give up? It was the Baltimore Ravens. See, no wonder you couldn’t remember. Well, one of you may have.

Now that super bowl was watched by over 100 million people, probably most of you caught at least some of it. And it was not even five years ago that it happened. Granted the super bowl champion may not have a lot of impact on your life, but you’d think we could recall what happened during one of the most watched sporting events in American history, right?

Well, it’s not just because some mediocre team won a fluke super bowl that you probably had a hard time answering. It’s also because human beings are really good at forgetting. We forget our keys, we forget our anniversaries, we forget where we parked, we are experts at forgetting. And our propensity to forget is not just some modern consequence of technology melting our brains, it’s been that way from the beginning. Continue reading

Forgiveness

The Rev. Noah Van NielGears

September 17th, 2017

St. John the Evangelist

Pentecost 15 (Proper 19): Genesis 50:15-21; Psalm 103:8-13; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35

Now don’t take this the wrong way, but do you ever feel like the most annoying thing about life is other people? I think it was Jean Paul Sartre who wrote, “Hell is other people!” Sometimes don’t you just feel like if everyone wasn’t such an idiot things would go a lot better? If you didn’t have to deal with other people things would get done quicker and right? Of course I never feel like that anymore since coming to St. John’s. But I used to feel like this. Continue reading