Thursday, November 22, 2012

How many angels?

There is an old pseudo-theological question regarding how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Presumably, the question is how many at the same time. Angels, I guess, unencumbered by mass can all dance, at the same time, on the head of a pin. Not that it happens or even needs to happen. It’s one of those questions that answers itself (rhetorical).

It spawned another rhetorical (and meant to be funny) question: How many Baptists can dance on the head of a pin? Just like the first question, you assume people know angels have no mass. With this question people are supposed to know that Baptists don’t dance. So, the answer is: none. Now people are asked: How many Anglicans can dance on the head of a pin? And again we all know that the answer is: none, because, Anglicans can’t dance.

I don’t know about angels, but I know the assumptions made in these other humours questions are wrong. Some Baptists do dance and some Anglicans make mighty fine dancers. The humour plays on misconception and generalizations.

Anglicans sometimes are even saddled with the title of God’s Frozen Chosen; playing on the misconception that all Anglicans are stiff, nearly frozen in their demeanour towards God’s love. Well, it might be funny, and it might even be true in places, but here at St. Paul’s we are anything but frozen. Even our old liturgy points to a thaw, a warmth, a joy in our faith. The Collect traditionally used today, from the BCP, calls on God to “stir up” our wills. A people willing to seek God’s stirring-up can hardly be described as frozen.

And even though it is unlikely we will ever see every angel dancing on the head of any pin, if God wills it then it is possible. If God wills that Anglicans be unfrozen then it will be so.

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