So last night we were closing up the barbershop and a gentleman walked in and asked if he could get a cut. At first we told him no because we were closing but then my boss/pastor changed his mind and told him that he’d cut him. The man sat quietly waiting his turn while he listened to my pastor talk to the kid in the chair about Jesus. When it was his turn he revealed that he was originally from Egypt and a member of the Coptic Orthodox Church. That sparked a lengthy and interesting conversation.
I won’t rehearse all of the details (honestly, I couldn’t remember them all anyway), but this brother, I believe Emil was his name, mentioned Nestorius and his heresy. I asked him if the Copts were Chalcedonian or Non-Chalcedonian and he told me they were Chalcedonian. In fact, when I described the Christology commonly referred to as Nestorianism he actually agreed with my description of it and my disagreement with it. But I just read that the Copts are, in fact, Non-Chalcedonian! So perhaps something was lost in translation, or he’s just a bit of a rebel, but something is amiss here.
One thing is certain: whatever our differences in faith and practice, Emil knew his faith. He shared a lot of stuff with us and it was all interesting. Most interesting was his testimony about growing up in Egypt as a Christian who was persecuted my Muslims. You could still hear the hurt in his voice as he spoke about it. And while he was clear on his belief that Muslims who read the Qur’an (which he says is watered down in English (Arabic being his first language and all) are violent when they follow its precepts; he didn’t come off as bitter or resentful.
It was just another reminder of how good we have it here in the US. As bad as things may be for Christians right now; they’re still better than pretty much anywhere else in the world. We are so extremely blessed that when we call things persecution we should be slapped with soggy fish. In any event, I’m looking forward to his next visit to the barbershop so we can discuss some more things about the Bible, tradition, and the differences in the ways we worship.