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Q&A: Why am I not allowed to believe in [science]?

Question: Why am I not allowed to believe in the Big Bang Theory?
Question: Why am I not allowed to believe in Evolution?
Question: What is my stance supposed to be on dark matter?

There are too many questions of this kind that I cannot encapsulate them all other than the [insert theory here].

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Brothers who fought: On Orthodox [dis]unity – Part 1

There have been both progressions and setbacks lately in discussions about Christian unity – Oriental Orthodox vs. Eastern Orthodox. Catholic vs Orthodox. Protestant vs Catholic. You name it. We have acronyms to express every denomination and viewpoint on the planet. I cannot speak to most of those, but I want to reflect a little bit on the division between the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox. This first blog will be an analogy of sorts from which to work from, and the follow-up blog or two will be personal reflections of this story as it applies to our present-day situation through the lens of my own life and experience thus far. They are thoughts about the matter after years of reading about it, being angry about it, and then arriving at where I presently am.
Continue reading Brothers who fought: On Orthodox [dis]unity – Part 1

“Love is love”, why not 3?

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This is not meant to be a political post, nor is it an angry rant that the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of homosexual marriage. This has been expected for a long time, so really, nothing shocking occurred. Rather, it’s a personal rumination and critique over how in our being so cliché, we are actually being very inconsistent and harming society. I want to get at the reasoning behind the ruling, and why it is not carried forward to other types of ‘love’. This blog is more explicit than I am usually comfortable with, so reader discretion is advised.

I am not interested in debating whether or not I think it should be legal or not for homosexuals to marry, as I’m not online to discuss the human rights aspect of things. The same freedom that allows homosexuals to marry is the same freedom that allows me to practice Orthodoxy in North America. Really, I want to get at the issues underlying everything: total superficiality, a worship of ‘rights’ and a forgetting of ‘wrongs’.

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In honour of our 21 martyrs of Libya

I am breaking from my retreat to write with tears a tribute of honour and veneration to our newest martyrs, the 21 martyrs in Libya. These valiant men have offered themselves as a living sacrifice as a testimony before the whole world and all nations.

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A true elder: remembering Abouna Stefanos

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Some old men said, “If you see a young man climbing up to the heavens by his own will, catch him by the foot and throw him down to the earth; it is not good for him.”
– Paradise of the Fathers

This week I was saddened to hear about the passing of a righteous elder, Abouna Stefanos Anba Bishoy. He was a monk of several decades, and the right hand man and steward of the monastery of Saint Pishoy in Wadi Natrun. While Paradise rejoices at the arrival of a struggling hero, I cannot help but feel sadness at the fleshly separation, at the end of the day, I am still a man. I want to share some meditations about what I observed in him over the last two years.
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When I try, things get harder. Why bother?

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Q: Every time I find some resolve to begin to work on my spiritual life, I find that things get difficult. Instead of feeling like God “has my back” so to speak, I feel like my problems increase. I don’t just mean spiritual temptations (although that’s happening as well), I mean both spiritual temptations and things in the world. School goes bad, friendships get rocked, I don’t know, problems increase, and I can’t help but wonder if this is worth it. I guess the question is, what do I do when I feel like this?

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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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Discussion: Church has so many hypocrites, I’ve had enough!

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From discussions with various people, chats in church basements, and random correspondences, a topic that seems to be important is differentiating being being “a fanatic”, and just being “a Christian”. There seems to be two polarly opposing groups: those who feel that we have a bunch of Pharisees being loud about their faith and forgetting what it means to be a Christian, and those who think that “in the end, we’re all the same”. There is a group in between, but it’s easier to discuss by studying the extremes.

Continue reading Discussion: Church has so many hypocrites, I’ve had enough!