Are All Rulers, Good & Evil, Placed in Power by God?

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In the U.S.A., we are less than one week away from selecting a new president. During the primaries, as hopes of my favorite candidate becoming president faded, a young friend made a remark that made me think. He said (and I paraphrase), “No matter what ends up happening, we know that God is behind it and He will do what is best.” As I was preparing a lesson on Romans 13, where St. Paul says “there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God,” I wondered: could it be that all rulers, good and evil, are placed in power by God’s direct will and intention?  Continue reading

The Church is the whole world

Picture courtesy of Katherine Nawar.

Picture courtesy of Katherine Nawar.

As an Egyptian immigrant to America and a Coptic Orthodox Christian, whenever I stepped foot outside of my church I felt I was entering into a vastly different world, that the two were so disconnected.   Recently I came across a great quote from the famed St. Augustine that summed up a truth that I had been living with, which seemed greatly at odds with most people I’ve encountered:

“Whoever claims that the Church is only a small portion of the world is in error.  The Church is the whole world.”

I realize why I’ve felt so different all this time, why people look at me strangely when they find out I’m “religious.”  I’ve always been confused by that: am I supposed to just turn off my religious beliefs or pretend they don’t exist when I’m not at church or engaging in religious activities?  I see the Church as my whole world, and the world I live in is filtered within the framework of my religious-minded self.  On the other hand, most people seem to view the Church and religiosity as something that is confined to certain occasions and places.  An Orthodox Christian priest wrote a book on this very subject, entitled: “Everywhere present: Christianity in a One-Storey Universe.”  If you’re interested, you can find that book here: http://store.ancientfaith.com/everywhere-present/

As for me, I guess I’ll just keep getting those stares and glances and keep on experiencing those odd moments when being religious seems like something I was supposed to leave at the church doors before I left, because God is present everywhere whether we want Him to be or not.