Category Archives: Back to Basics

2. The Ministers & The Chief of Ministers

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Our Story: Chapter 1: Beginnings

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Let me tell you a story. It’s a long story, though. It’s going to be told in more than one part because you probably won’t be able to hear all of it today. It’s a beautiful story, but it’s also a sad story. The good thing, though, is that the story is not actually over, and a happy ending is very possible. Actually, the happy ending is preferred, and you will find out that you have a say in how it ends.

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Let Me Tell You a Story: Preface

The following is an excerpt from Yann Martel’s, Life of Pi, when the protagonist has finished telling his extraordinary tale of survival:

“If you stumble at mere believability, what are you living for? Isn’t love hard to believe?”

“Mr. Patel–”

“Don’t you bully me with your politeness! Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer. What is your problem with hard to believe?”

“We’re just being reasonable.”

“So am I! I applied my reason at every moment. Reason is excellent for getting food, clothing and shelter. Reason is the very best tool kit. Nothing beats reason for keeping tigers away. But be excessively reasonable and you risk throwing out the universe with the bathwater.”

I have hesitated at doing what I want to do in this “story” that I’m going to tell. I wanted to bring some of the Theology of books like “On the Incarnation”, while retelling the stories and traditions that we have received from the Holy Bible. In doing this there was a great fear that using the word ‘story’ might reduce the Truths that these stories hold to being mere tale-telling, fiction. That somehow the “story” would become less believable because it’s a ‘story’.

Yet, to borrow again a concept from Yann Martel, it’s like what I am trying to say is, “let me tell you a story that even though it is not true, it is true”. What I mean here, is that while I might give characters life or create a dialogue between them, give them new names or new looks, the story underneath it is a true story. Stories are valuable for us to understand truths. This has been the tradition of humanity since we were capable of communication.

The mere recounting of an experience is the telling of a story, and consequently, we ought not to look at story-telling with contempt. Story-telling does not make belief laughable, as story-telling is what all humans are doing all over the world, all the time. That does not make their stories false.

I want this story to be simple, because our story is simple. Our God issimple. The Covenant is simple.  I want anyone of any age to understand the foundations and promises of Love.

I will begin with some foundational blocks before going into recounting the stories of humanities encounters with our God. Feel free to send feedback, or to request elaborations on concepts.

Chapter 1: Beginnings
Chapter 2: The Ministers & the Chief of Ministers
Chapter 3: The people, the Gift and the Purpose.

Pray for me.
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Love became man.

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A very Merry Christmas to all of us celebrating the feast of our Lord’s Incarnation today!

How amazing is it that we have a God who wants us, loves us, and is willing to come out of His majesty to literally be one of us? He Who is outside of time accepted to be in it, He without a body took on Flesh! What was the point of that? Really, why did Love become man?

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I was born this way, so how can you blame me?

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So many of us ask this question, either about ourselves or about others. Lady Gaga has also most graciously written a song about it. With the progress we’ve made in the human genome project and our understanding of genetics in general, we are finding more and more things that ‘wire’ a person to behave in a certain way. So, we find ourselves asking the question, “If I was born this way, why am I being blamed? That’s not fair!” Let’s discuss the extremes we have when discussing genetic issues: “celebrating a disease” and “victimising the victim”.

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Cold-blooded murder: are you afraid of the truth?

The Truth is not afraid of discovery, because it helps us inform us more about God.

Last Friday you find out from watching the news that Hany Shenouda, prominent steward of the Service (amin el khidma) at your church, is found guilty of the murder of Hermonia Grangeria in an alley near his house. To most people in the church, he has only been an image of piety. He’s at every church service, he’s the go-to deacon for mid-week anything, and he’s at every tasbeha/psalmody every week. He taught you how to make korban. He taught the kids Sunday School. Everything about him points to, “this guy is clergy material.”
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Don’t blame it all on God. Back to basics: Origins, Free will, and Sin.

We have to be very careful not to attribute causality to God when typically the reason for anything is our whole fallen world that we all work in. What God does is use the evil that we do to work good from it, but He certainly doesn’t will for any of these things to happen.

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