May the peace of Christ be with you,
I am new here, so I thought I would send greetings to everyone and introduce myself. I was born in the United States (New York) but currently live in Georgia which is within the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States overseen by His Grace Bishop Youssef. I was not raised in any particular religion. I was baptized as an infant in the United Methodist Church but never attended services. My maternal grandmother, may she rest in peace, was Roman Catholic. My paternal grandmother, may she rest in peace, was Jewish. My father is agnostic and my mother is Christian (though she is not affiliated with a church).
I have spent a great deal of my life exploring various spiritual paths - some Christian, some not. At times in my life I have struggled against God, against Christ, against organized religion as a whole. I'm just being honest. I'm not proud of this, but it is part of my own personal history. I find comfort when I read about Jacob wrestling with the Angel of the Lord, or when I read about St. Paul, how he used to persecute Christians, but later - after his experience on the road to Damascus - was transformed, received baptism, become Apostle to the Gentiles and a great leader of the Early Church. When I read things like this, it shows me that I am not alone in my struggles. Others before me have struggled as well.
About four years ago I began to take an interest in the Orthodox Church (in general) and the Coptic Orthodox Church (in particular). I have pursued personal study at home, through books (I am an avid reader) and through the Internet. I find great beauty in both (Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Orthodox). In particular, I am inspired by the Desert Fathers, the Catechetical School of Alexandria (with its many Holy Fathers), the art, the hymns, the Liturgy (though I have never attended yet, but have read the texts by St. Cyril, St. Basil and St. Gregory as well as watching Liturgy videos online). I have recently purchased an English translation of the Agpeya and have begun to pray some of the Hours each day. There is a Coptic Church near my house which I am thinking about visiting.
Not your typical post, I imagine. But it is what it is.
I am here to learn and explore and see where it leads me.