There are people that you do not know personally, but you are so aware of and so influenced by, that you feel like you belong to them. It may be a grandparent, it might be your priest, it could be anyone. You feel insecure when they are gone. This is how I feel about Anba Serapamon. From the get-go, I want to make it clear that I am not pretending that His Grace (HG) and I were personally close. I have some personal experience with him, and I have seen the effect of him on many of his children (including my Bishop). It’s his very existence, however, that mattered to me and the whole Church.Continue reading In Memoriam: Anba Serapamon (1937-2020)
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].
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
Q: I’m having some troubles dealing with suffering, and I don’t want just the “Jesus loves me” answer. Any thoughts or insights?
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’.
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.
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.
Continue reading A true elder: remembering Abouna Stefanos
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?
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”.
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.”
Continue reading Cold-blooded murder: are you afraid of the truth?