Why and How We (Copts and Eastern Orthodox) Fast Before Nativity (Christmas)

WhyFastForChristmas

As Americans approach the Thanksgiving holiday, many Orthodox Christians openly or secretly grumble about how the Nativity (a.k.a. Christmas/Advent) fast interferes with their holiday eating plans. So let’s take a moment to understand why and how we (should) fast before celebrating the incarnation of our divine Lord, taking flesh and living among us.

Basics 

How many days do we fast before Christmas?

  • 40
  • (and if you are Coptic Orthodox, add an additional 3 days [reason explained below])

Spiritual basis for length of fast 

The Coptic Church as well as the Eastern Orthodox agree regarding the spiritual basis for the length of the fast. Continue reading

How to Explain the Need for Christianity, and Orthodoxy in 5 easy steps

Christ And Disciples (from icon in Coptic Church in Columbus, OH) If someone were to ask you, why do I need Christ? Why do I need to be Christian? Why do I need Orthodoxy? Why can I not simply be a good person?

Some answer: because God gives me blessings, and so I need Him to remain blessed and prosperous. To that I say, Christianity is not just a feel good religion conferring material prosperity as erroneously preached by many today (such as Joel Olsteen and Joyce Meyer—see this article for more on this). There is no denying that by God’s grace He gives (2 Corinthians 9:8), but at the same time God’s grace is manifested in our lack and in enduring suffering (Matthew 7:14; 2 Corinthians 12:9–10). With or without material abundance, a Christian seeks spiritual compensation now and hereafter. So if prosperity is not guaranteed, then why do I need Christianity, and Orthodoxy? It’s easy to get lost in all the details, so let’s simplify things. The answer revolves around two key matters:

Continue reading

Why the Resurrection Is the Reason for the Season, More So Than Christmas

Resurrection the Reason for the Season, Not Christmas

As we approach the Christmas season, I can’t help but think of the oddity, especially of the western world, in the way people celebrate Christmas more than Christ’s resurrection. Don’t get me wrong. I love the Christmas season. Santa Claus, Christmas movies, the trees, the lights, the smells, the sounds, the food, everything. But what does the Resurrection get? A bunny? Some egg picking? Pastel colors? Seriously?

If you don’t believe me when I say things are flip-flopped, look at what I read on Al-Ahram Weekly’s website about how people in the middle east celebrate Christmas, as exemplified by Egyptian Christians: Continue reading

5 Lessons on Obedience You May Have Missed In the Book of Joshua

Joshua-Obedience-Cover-forBlog

As I was preparing to speak to the Adult Sunday school group at my church on the subject of obedience as it can be found in the Book of Joshua, I feared this would be a difficult task. When I think of the Book of Joshua, I think of the Israelites going into Canaan and taking over the place and all its inhabitants, and then dividing their new promised land (present day Israel) among all the tribes. That’s what this book is about in a nutshell, so where will I find stuff about obedience? In the few chapters (5–7) assigned to me to speak about, I was surprised to find at least 5 ways we can extrapolate practical lessons on obedience. Continue reading

Looks & Lustful Eyes: How Ladies Can Hurt & Help The Guys

Suzy Guest Post

LooksandLustfulEyes

Hello all! I’m John’s wifey, A.K.A. Suzy! And of course the wifey thing to do would be to raid the husband’s blog 😛 haha.

Background

A little background info about me before I start my rant: Egyptian, born and raised Coptic Orthodox in Columbus, Ohio. Graduated from THE Ohio State University. Psychology major. Been married to Mr. Habib for three years now. We have a furry child (doggy) named Bella. I love Jesus, family and friends, food, music, artsy stuff, a good read, the beach, and of course shopping. Yeah! 🙂

SuzyandJohn Bella

Now, let’s get down to business! I was trying to sleep around 6AM the other day when out of nowhere Continue reading

Death with Dignity: An Orthodox Christian Perspective 

Brittany Maynard

Few stories have afflicted me with so much sadness as Brittany Maynard’s, the young woman and newly-wed suffering from terminal brain cancer, who, in the State of Oregon, was allowed to possess a pill that would end her life at a time of her own choosing, and who just took that pill today. Continue reading