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and the ethnic Copts will not abandon their heritage to attract new members. It is just a fact.
However, they cannot force their culture on others.
The ideal way is to have ethnic Churches so that people of the same culture and language can worship with one spirit. We see this happening in Africa, India, And Britain where the Copts converts have their own rites and way of worship. They share the same faith yet worship according to their own different backgrounds.
Does Coptic music suit the Coptic ear? When 95%+ of the Copts know less than 5% of our Coptic hymns, much less tolerate any hymn that is more than 2 minutes, can we actually say Coptic music suits the Coptic ear?
Every time we choose to a new Protestant-like Arabic hymn instead of a Coptic hymn, we are abandoning our heritage a little bit. It happens all the time. Every time we choose to have a social gathering, a pizza party, a fund raiser, instead of praying like Elijah or Macarius, we have abandoned our heritage a little bit. These things came about within the last 50 or 100 years. I can go on but this should suffice.
But they are forcing their culture by ostracizing everyone who is not Coptic. Zoxasi gave some examples. I gave some examples.
The converts in Africa didn't modify their culture because they still live there. They cannot bring their form of worship to Egypt and expect every native Copt to follow their form of worshipping.
Secondly, if multiple Churches occupy the same space and the only difference is culture, then there is no unity.
Assume Egypt had one Christian faith. The Greek Catholic, the Greek Orthodox, the Coptic Catholic, the Anglican, the Presbyterians, the Episcopolains, and the Coptic Orthodox (and any other Christian faith in Egypt that I forgot to mention) all communed with each other. What would be the point in having all these denominations? Will they still exist or will there be one Christian Church in Alexandria? If they continued to exist, then we would all be guilty of disobeying the Gospel's call for unity. The only distinction, if they continued to exist, is culture. This would mean we only want "moulokhia churches".
Mabsoota: abouna pishoy salama has an awesome church, i saw it via the net once and lots of his church servants (from all different ethnic groups) got interviewed.
Concerning the hymns - I disagree 100% with iMikhail. What do you mean western hymns cannot function in the Orthodox Church? This is hogwash.
Mikhail: I like Coptic hymns a lot, and my ears are as white as the rest of me! So I don't know what you're talking about there. I think any non-Copt attracted to the Church is probably first attracted by the beauty of the hymns and liturgy (except for me, I guess; it was translated sermons by HH that did it for me). How could it be otherwise when they probably don't know very much about the faith, or the cultures in the church? How many other things are there to make people curious in the first place? We can't all just be looking for Coptic spouses! (That's what people here have told me usually attracts white people, but I think that's stupid even if true. You can marry into a Church but not into a faith; that has to come from God and your own heart.)
How could it be otherwise when they probably don't know very much about the faith, or the cultures in the church? How many other things are there to make people curious in the first place? We can't all just be looking for Coptic spouses!
Fund raising is not abandoning the faith. St Paul himself sis raise funds for various Churches.
I do not see how a pizza party is abandoning the faith .. it depends on what goes on during that party.
We have a Coptic local church that serves ethnic Copts, then a new convert joins. Should the ethnic members now abandon their heritage for the sake of the convert?
At the same time, I do not want the other cultures to interfere with my Church. I have long argued that Greek hymns recently added to our Church hymns should not have been added because they simply so not blend with the Coptic music.
So how can we solve this dilemma of attracting new converts while preserving both the Coptic heritage and allow for the converts to worship within the Orthodox faith? The ideal situation is to have "stand alone" churches that tend to the specific ethnic group that it is serving.
Generally, people are not attracted to Orthodoxy because of music but because it is the authentic faith. Why would people specifically be attracted to the Coptic Church? Again, because of its history and place in the Orthodox faith.Yes, there are occasions when people get attracted by the music, but we are not going to evangelize people through singing. We should evangelize our faith instead of our culture.Hope this helps
Yes. "To the Greek, I became Greek so that I may win the Greeks. To the Jew..." To the convert, I became a convert so that I may win converts. No convert expects you to abandon your language, your tradition or your hymns. They are going to expect to be treated like non-converts. They are going to expect a fellowship of love and community, not ostricization and contempt for being different. And if language, tradition or hymns is the only thing that makes you different, then there is no spirit of unity. Can parents say to their adopted son, "you're our son, but not really because you don't speak English"? Or "you're our son, but not really because you don't speak Coptic, like baked beans or know Pekethronos"? Where is the bond of family, the bond of fellowship, the bond of one faith and one baptism that St Paul speaks about in Galatians 5?
In Zoxasi's example, a Copt told the convert that "What are you doing here?...You're not Egyptian" Granted this was a child and this incident was probably an aberration. But such verbal abuse is equivalent to pointing a gun at a convert's head and killing them because they are different. If this isn't forcing a culture on somebody, I don't know what is.
And imikhaiil is wrong. If Kenyans in Britain or the US form their own church when there is already an Orthodox Church, then we are no different than Martin Luther and other Protestants who started the Protestant Reformation.
If Christians with the same faith begin forming churches solely based on culture, what will end up with? Will there be a Kenya British Orthodox right next door to the South African Orthodox Church, next door to the Coptic Orthodox Church, next door to British Orthodox Church, next door to the New York Orthodox Church in Britain, next door to the Little-people Orthodox church of Britain, next door to the Orthodox Church for the Obese? All exist because each one doesn't like the other church's moulokhia? Why can't we figure out how to form a new identity based on everyone's culture, not one specific culture?
You could form a "American Coptic Orthodox Church"