Wherever You May Lead Me, Lord
A. Tell us a little bit about yourself before the conversion.
I grew up Catholic with Jewish best friend. I was not very religious,
but I did attend CC school and was christened with the saint
“St Francis”. I never served as an alter boy though. Being much in
to comic books, I was more involved in the world of mystic arts,
Dungeons & Dragons, and movies.
B. How did you get introduced to Orthodoxy?
Through marriage. My wife is from Egypt and she loved her faith and it meant a lot to her to raise our family in the Orthodox faith. So have been active members in the Coptic church. Attended almost every church in Southern California.
C. What attracted you to Orthodoxy?
I am an English major and love literature. I love good writing and the meaning of things. The more I asked questions the more rich the faith began to feel for me. Just like the fragments of the five loaves and two fish, nothing in our faith goes to waste or is not for a reason. Even down to carvings on the iconostasis that people never see.
D. What were some of the hurdles you faced in your conversion?
Language barrier was number one. But as I began to immerse in the faith and the liturgy, I began to not even notice if it was in English, Coptic or Arabic. In fact one time, we had an Abuna visiting from Bolivia. He had asked Abuna Bishoy if he could do some of the liturgy in Spanish. I never even noticed. I know the liturgy so well in my heart and mind that I never focused on the language being used.
Another challenge for me is the tunes. I grew up Catholic and I, to this day, really enjoy the Latin Gregorian chants. The Coptic hymns, although familiar to me now and are part of the liturgical faith I follow, they still have a foreign ring to them to me.
E. What would you like to say to the youths in the Orthodox church?
I would say the same I have said to my three children - you are lucky to be born orthodox. I wish I had been. I came to the faith late in life, and I carry a lot of unnecessary baggage that is the life I led away from the church and the faith. You can never unbend a tree. But know the difference between what is the faith and the celebration of that faith and what is culture.
F. What would you like to tell someone who maybe considering Orthodoxy?
Talk to me. I would love to know what you like and don’t like. I would love to share my struggles being a foreigner in my own country :-)