Met a Coptic Orthodox Christian Last Night

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.



3 thoughts on “Met a Coptic Orthodox Christian Last Night

  1. Unfortunately many Muslims see the West as their enemy. In reality, most problems in the Middle East involve Muslims fighting Muslims. I find that most Muslims are in denial with this problem. So Christians, who are few in numbers are convenient scapegoat for these problems. The West needs to a better job in telling Muslims that they need to deal with their own problems before pointing the finger at the West and western influences like Israel.

  2. This is great,i dont get to read things like this.
    Eliz,n.j.,that is one reason,i m moving to toms river ( my moms89)
    I helped start a k of c ft.max kolbe 81
    Members in ten mounts.keep me informed .please,i just entered 21cen ,smartphone,bhabha.GOD BLESS

  3. I know this is an old post but I just came across it.

    On the Chalcedonian question, yes something is lost in translation and apparently has been for several centuries. The Copts went into schism at Chalcedon but it turns out their position is compatible with Chalcedon, today the Catholic Church and most Orthodox do not regard them as heretical. The Coptic theology is ‘Oriental Miaphisite’ not Monophisite, it has something to do with some verbiage of St. Cyril of Alexandria.

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