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Grail: January 2011

Grail: January 2011

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Published by: Jody+ on Feb 10, 2011
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02/10/2011

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I heard a disk jockey say something on the radio a few days ago that rang especially true. He commented thatbirthdays never really made him feelany older, but new years? That wasanother story. I can sympathize. I’venever really thought much aboutbirthdays; my usual response is thatI feel a day older than I did the daybefore. But the turning over of another year? That provides some food forthought, if only because it takes a fewweeks to get used to writing out the newdate, 2010, 2011. As we embark on this new year togetherhere at St. Joseph of Arimathea, Iwanted to take the time to thank allof you for your welcome to me andto Anna over the past year. Thank  you especially for your patience as I’velearned--and as I continue to learn--more about what it means to be apriest among you. I pray that over thecoming year we will be able to build
upon the rm foundation that is this
community, and that we will be grantedthe discernment and wisdom we needas we move forward together.There is an appropriate amount of 
looking back, of reection, during any
new year or new endeavor. It’s nocoincidence that January is named forthe two-faced Roman god, Janus, whopresided over transitions and doorways,always looking both backward andforward. But for those of us who must
divide our time between reection on
the past and building for the future, weneed to make sure we take the best of the past and carry it with us into thefuture that is already taking shape.In Christ,
 
 January 2011
Grail
The 
St. Joseph of Arimathea 
103 Country Club Dr. Hendersonville, TN 37075 | stjosephofarimathea.org |T: 625-824-2910 |info@stjosephofarimathea.org 
Our Mission:
“To encourage and equip one another asthe baptized peopleof God, to witness tothe transforming and  reconciling power of JesusChrist.” 
nnn
 A New Year 
 
p
 
N
ews
 
from
o
ur
C
ompaNioN
C
hurCh
 (i
glesia
C
ompañera
)
iN
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itoral
 We recently received a letter from the Reverend Betty Juarez, the priest at our companion church Jesús elSeñor.Queridos hermanos en Cristo reciban un cordialsaludo en nombre de Nuestro Señor Jesucristodeseando seencuentren bien de salud. Estoy muycontenta de conocer las actividades de nuestra Iglesiacompañera San José de Arimatea y poder aprenderde ellas. Le cuento que acá en Ecuador tenemos unclima inestable hace calor y tambien frío. En la Iglesiaestamos trabajando mucho en lo pastoral y tambienen lo espiritual , todo para la gloria de Dios. Quierocontarle que trabajamos en la Iglesia ,cerrando lasclara bolla del lado del callejon y solo dejamostrescruces por que entraba mucho polvo. Para este tiempoestamos preparando un bingo con la junta misionera
para nes de noviembre y esperamos recaudar fondos
para terminar esta obra. Le cuento que Navidad ennuestra Iglesia se celebra con mucha alegria, conmuchos niños , con cánticos de villanciscos y lo másimportante la recordación del nacimiento del hijo deDios. Con estas pocas palabras me despido pidiendoa Dios en oracion por todos nuestros hermanos detodas nuestras Iglesias espcialmente por nuestra Iglesiacompañera San Jose de Arimatea. Que Dios derramemuchas bendiciones en sus vidas . Atte su hermana en CristoRvda BETTY JUAREZTranslation:Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,Receive a cordial greeting in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope you are all well. I am very pleasedto know of the activities of our companion churchSt. Joseph of Arimathea. Here in Ecuador we have a variable climate, sometimes it is hot and sometimescold. In the Church we are working hard both inpastoral care and in spiritual areas, all for the gloryof God. We are also working on the church building,enclosing the blocks on the side of the street with3 crosses to prevent the dust from entering. We areplanning to hold a Bingo at the end of Novemberwith the Vestry’s help and we hope to collect enough
funds to nish this work. Christmas at our church is
celebrated with great happiness, with many children,with Christmas carols, and the most important part,the remembrance of the birth of the son of God. With these few words I take my leave, praying to Godfor all the churches, especially our companion churchSt. Joseph of Arimathea. May God pour out manyblessings on your lives. Attentively your sister in Christ,The Reverend BETTY JUAREZMay God continue to bless us through our companionrelationship, Sarena Pettit2
Birthdays & Anniversaries
 Jan. 5 Elizabeth Yeldell Morgan Jan. 12 Ruth Torri Jan. 13 Lucy Pulley Jan. 19 Carol Bufton Jan. 23 Tom Gibson Jan. 23 Sallyanne Fossey Jan. 25 Al Torri Jan. 28 Vikki Morris Jan. 29 Bea Hayes
0
 Jan. 12 Fred & JoAnn Frank  Jan. 22 Jim & Julie Leggett
 Please help us keep our information correct and up to date. if you
see an omission or an error, please contact the church ofce at 824-2910 or via email at ofce@mysja.org 
 
3
Everything You Think You Know About the Dark Ages is Wrong 
By Nancy Marie Brown
The Abacus and the Cross: The Story of the Pope Who Brought the Light of Science to the Dark Ages
 Nancy Marie Brown
 Basic Books (2010)
What inspired you to write The Abacus and theCross? 
I was introduced to The Scientist Pope through an actof grace. Writing my previous book, The Far Traveler,about an adventurous Viking woman, I found myself making an imaginary pilgrimage to Rome just afterthe year 1000. Wondering which pope (if any) Gudridthe Far-Traveler had met, I discovered Gerbert of  Aurillac, Pope Sylvester II.I was astonished. Nothing in my many years of reading about the Middle Ages had led me to suspectthat the pope in the year 1000 was the leading mathematician and astronomer of his day.Nor was his science just a sidelight. According toa chronicler who knew him, he rose from humble
beginnings to the highest ofce in the ChristianChurch “on account of his scientic knowledge.”To my mind, scientic knowledge and medieval
Christianity had nothing in common. I was wrong.I felt as if I had stumbled into a parallel universe, analternate history of the Middle Ages that had beenperfectly crafted for me: For most of my career, I have
worked as a science writer, but my heart had rst been
captured by medieval sagas. The story of The ScientistPope—one scholar called him “the Bill Gates of the
end of the rst millennium”—was a story I needed to
tell.It didn’t hurt that from about 70 years after his deathin 1003 until today he was known (if at all) not as ascientist, but as a wizard—a sorcerer who had sold hissoul to the devil. According to a thirteenth-centurywriter, he was “the best necromancer in France, whomthe demons of the air readily obeyed in all that he
required of them by day and by night.”
This legend inspired fantasy writer Judith Tarr toinclude Gerbert as a magical character in two of hernovels,
 Ars Magica
and
The Eagle’s Daughter 
, both of which I loved.But I found the truth about Gerbert’s life, once Iunearthed it, even more fascinating. A professor at a cathedral school for most of his
career, Gerbert of Aurillac was the rst Christian
known to teach math using the nine Arabic numeralsand zero. He devised an abacus, or counting board,that mimics the algorithms we use today for adding,subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. It has been
called the rst counting device in Europe to functiondigitally—even the rst computer. In a chronology
of computer history, Gerbert’s abacus is one of onlyfour innovations mentioned between 3000 BC and theinvention of the slide rule in 1622.Like a modern scientist, Gerbert questioned authority.He experimented. To learn which of two rules bestcalculated the area of an equilateral triangle, he cutout square inches of parchment and measured thetriangle with them. To learn why organ pipes do notbehave acoustically like strings, he built models anddevised an equation. (A modern physicist who checkedhis result calls it ingenious, if labor-intensive.)Gerbert made sighting tubes to observe the stars andconstructed globes on which their positions wererecorded relative to lines of celestial longitude andlatitude. He (or more likely his best student) wrote abook on the astrolabe, an instrument for telling timeand making measurements by the sun or stars. Youcould even use it to calculate the circumference of theearth, which Gerbert and his peers knew very well was
not at like a disc but round as an apple.
Much of this science Gerbert learned as a youthliving on the border of Islamic Spain, then anextraordinarily tolerant culture in which learning wasprized. Born a peasant in the mountains of Francein the mid-900s, Gerbert entered the Benedictinemonastery at Aurillac as a boy. He learned to readand write in Latin. He studied Cicero, Virgil, andother classics. He impressed his teacher with his skill in
debating. He was a ne writer, too, with a sophisticated

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