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Incarnational Exodus: A Framework for the Advancement of a Christocentric Ecclesial Model for the Coptic Orthodox Diaspora in North America Based on ... Theology of Athanasius of Alexandria Paperback – December 18, 2014
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Paperback, December 18, 2014
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Point #1 - What our ideals?: My personal feeling is that the book gets an A+ in outlining our ideals in stating that "Just as Christ was Incarnate into a cultural context that was foreign to his very being, so too must the Copts of Egypt become incarnate into a foreign context, making this new culture its own."
Point #2 - What is our vision?: The book then opens up a conversation that is currently in evolution on what this incarnation actually means and should look like in North America. The author has his opinions on several topics, some of which I agree with and some of which I do not. This will be true of anyone reading this book as many of the issues that he bravely and thoughtfully approaches are polarizing with many people having extreme (and opposite) opinions.
Point #3 - What should we do?: Eventually, I hope and pray that we can reach some consensus on point #2 so that the Copts in North America, clergy and laity alike, can share a vision of what we want our Church to look like in 20 years. Then and only then can we conceivably expect to effectively work together to achieve that vision. Realistically, we have to take some preliminary steps now before this vision has become completely clear. This is evidenced by the creation of so called "mission churches" - a term which Father Michael encourages us not to use.
A great and heartfelt thanks to Father Michael for starting this conversation. I hope that people will take this as I perceive it is intended as the introduction rather than the conclusion of the story of "how the Copts left Egypt and founded a Christocentric community in North America."
Have you ever asked yourself "Are we doing enough as a church to spread Jesus and His love?"
Have you ever wondered if God sent us to a new land for a bigger purpose?
Fr. Michael did his research!
"The Egyptian Federation of Human Rights has reported that approximately 52,000 Copts immigrated to North America in the first 7 months following the revolution."
52,000 Copts. 7 months. North America alone.
Where are we heading?
Fr. Michael offers a review of three different culture models our diaspora can fall into - ethnocentric, ideology-centric, or Christocentric- using various Orthodox communities already established outside or their original formation. Are we Christocentric?
He also reviews the Athanasian theology - from St. Athanasius of Alexandria's On The Incarnation - to understand the incarnational church and its role within the Coptic Orthodox diaspora in North America.
Full of historical tidbits and references, don't let the small size of the book fool you, you will come out with a lot of knowledge on the topic.
Best part is Fr. Michael then gives us an inside scoop on the historical conference that took place in 2014, "North American Mission and Evangelism Conference". He also concludes with some suggestions on how we can adopt the favorable culture model, the Christocentric model, with some small slow changes.
I believe this research is only the beginning.
I hope to see more from Fr. Michael and others on this matter.
I highly recommend this book!