Filed under Religion

Happy Orthodox Easter, from the Egyptian President

Happy Orthodox Easter, from the Egyptian President

Happy belated Easter, to Protestant and Catholic Christians who celebrated last week. But having enjoyed either “Pascha” or “Paas” (or both), please do not be remiss in remembering your Orthodox brothers and sisters today. After all, even the president of Egypt extends his greetings — and more. “I call on all of us to remember … Continue reading

Pope Tawadros’ Weekly Sermon, in English

Pope Tawadros’ Weekly Sermon, in English

Pope Shenouda III of the Coptic Orthodox Church was known as the ‘teacher of generations.’ I had the privilege of attending the beloved 87-year-old deliver one of his Wednesday weekly sermons back in 2010. Five years later, in post-revolutionary Egypt, I watched his successor Pope Tawadros continue the tradition. He preached on Esther, and for … Continue reading

Good Mourning America

Good Mourning America

This article was originally published at The Table, of Biola University’s Center for Christian Thought. In the days leading up to our presidential election, it seemed quite clear that Christians were not happy. But the ennui went beyond politics toward a greater sense that America was changing. The unhappiness was rooted in good reason. Our … Continue reading

The Arrogance of Enemy Love: A Poem to ISIS

The Arrogance of Enemy Love: A Poem to ISIS

This article was first published at The Table. Many have been impressed by the forgiveness Coptic Christians have offered to their enemies. Beheaded, ambushed, churches bombed, shot in cold blood – they have not retaliated. Instead, though anger boils, they pray for their persecutors. In the links above you can explore the opportunities I have … Continue reading

The Christmas Rabbits of C.S. Lewis

The Christmas Rabbits of C.S. Lewis

Creation is alive with the spark of God, often witnessed in the innocence of children. For those made curious by the title, it is actually an amalgam of two oddly related God moments recently experienced through the pen of two celebrated English writers. The first came through reading Watership Down to my children. The classic … Continue reading

Must the Muslima Wear a Headscarf?

Must the Muslima Wear a Headscarf?

Identity politics are dangerous. Unfortunately Muslims have long been swept up into the fray. Sometimes willingly. In many traditional and conservative societies, women have covered their heads. This is not exclusive to Islam, whatever the Quran says about it. But a time came also when Muslims were mobilizing on the basis of faith, using it … Continue reading

Secondary Separation, in Islam

Secondary Separation, in Islam

In fundamentalist Christian circles there is an approach to the world known as ‘secondary separation’. While the Bible notes Christians are not of this world, there is tension when Jesus says they are also in this world, and should not expect to be removed. Fundamentalism is one expression of this tension, that leans in the … Continue reading

How Do Copts Endure their Martyrdoms?

How Do Copts Endure their Martyrdoms?

From my article published at Providence Magazine: “On a day like today,” Fr. Samaan Shehata was murdered in Cairo. The day was October 12, but he likely read those very words in mass just one day earlier, introducing the lives of the saints. Hunted down and stabbed repeatedly by a Muslim extremist, his name now … Continue reading

Can Polygamy be Curbed in Islam?

Can Polygamy be Curbed in Islam?

Islam grants a man the right to take up to four wives, as long as he can provide for and treat them equitably. As it has been explained to me, the original allowance came early in Muslim history when the male population was greatly reduced by warfare. Some Muslims argue the original reason for revelation … Continue reading

Wisdom and Foolishness in Abrahamic Faith

Wisdom and Foolishness in Abrahamic Faith

“Knowledge is power,” is an oft-repeated saying. In an information economy this makes perfect sense, and our educational system is geared to develop know-how. Wisdom, on the other hand, sometimes seems a neglected virtue. It is the realm of philosophers, maybe, who have little to do with practical life. Or religion, often considered a private … Continue reading

Did the Muslims Conquer Jerusalem?

Did the Muslims Conquer Jerusalem?

Did the Muslims conquer the Middle East? History says they did, from both the Western and Islamic perspectives. Much of the self-understanding of modern civilization has been built upon this premise, the resulting Crusades, and eventual colonization by European powers. Some fear there are signs of a renewed animosity between the Western and Muslim worlds, a … Continue reading

Is Sex Slavery Legal in Islam?

Is Sex Slavery Legal in Islam?

In my recent post about al-Azhar and the doctrine they spread around the world, one reader offered this question in the comments: Someone I know wrote an article about Islam recently and made the statement that, according to his knowledge, official Islam has never condemned the action of ISIS soldiers in raping Yazidi women. He … Continue reading

The Coptic Church in Japan

The Coptic Church in Japan

There may be three million Christians in Japan, one percent of the population. They now have a Coptic Orthodox Church among their options. Egypt’s Pope Tawadros arrived on August 26 to consecrate Japan’s first Coptic Orthodox congregation, the Church of St. Mary and St. Mark. Tawadros hailed the cooperation between Japan and Egypt, especially the … Continue reading