Monday, May 14, 2007

An Orthodox Response to Islam

This Tuesday (May 15) at 7:30 PM, Dr. George Bebawi is going to be giving a lecture of sorts at St. John the Forerunner Orthodox Church in Indianapolis. Why should you care?

First of all, I'm actually surprised that there wasn't more hype about this at my parish and that I really haven't heard much talk about this at all. If my dad hadn't forwarded me an email that had a list of his credentials on it, I probably would have just blown this event off.

Not going to hear this man talk is the equivalent of walking past Joshua Bell as he plays in a New York subway. Even if you're not Orthodox and don't care about current events and having a deeper understanding of the Islamic faith and why so many Islamic fundamentalists are out to kill you; missing an opportunity like this would be a travesty.

I'm often embarrassed of myself for not taking advantage of things of this nature. I'm also often embarrassed that I live in a place where people would rather watch American Idol than go listen to a renowned scholar for free. It just boggles my mind what we will waste our time doing (myself included).

So anyways, if you have nothing better to do Tuesday night, you should go hear Dr. Bebawi speak. If you have something better to do, you're probably lying to yourself and you should reschedule those plans and make an effort to go to this. I'm like 90% sure you won't regret it.

Here's St. John's Church
Here's how to get there
And here's all you need to know to inspire you to attend:

We’re living each day with the threat of terrorism from Islamic Fundamentalists. There is so much information, false and inflammatory, floating around; I thought it might be good to invite an expert on the subject to come and speak to us. Dr. George Bebawi, a scholar and expert in the fields of Orthodoxy and Islam will come to address this topic with us on THIS Tuesday, May 15, 7:30pm. Please mark your calendars for this very informative meeting.

Dr. Bebawi was born in Cairo , Egypt in 1938 to an Egyptian Christian father and a Hungarian Jewish mother. He was adopted by his maternal grandmother at the age of five, who reared him as a Jew. He converted to Christianity in 1957 and joined the Coptic Orthodox Church which is the oldest church of Egypt . Dr. Bebawi studied theology, Bible, church history and more at the Coptic Orthodox Theological College and received his Bachelor's of Divinity in 1961. He was awarded a scholarship and studied at Cambridge University , where he received his M. Lit and Ph.D in 1970. He taught theology, Church History, Patristic Studies and Islam at Orthodox, Evangelical, and Catholic Seminaries in the Middle East, Europe and the United Sates from 1970-1984. Also during that time, he served as an advisor for Christian Affairs to Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat before his assassination in 1981. He returned to England in 1984 to lecture at various British Universities and to teach at St. John's College , at Nottingham University from 1985-2000. He served as the Director of Studies at the Institute for Christian Orthodox Studies, at Cambridge , England , and lectured on Islam and Judaism at for the Cambridge Federation of Theological Colleges, Cambridge University from 2000-2002. He is internationally recognized as one of the world's leading scholars on Eastern Christianity. He recently retired from Cambridge University and moved to the Indianapolis area and was joined in marriage to May. He is the father of three young adult men. He currently engages in public speaking and church ministry.

15 comments:

mike said...

That sounds fascinating. Wish I'd know about it early enough to request the night off insetad of having to work until 10:00

Anonymous said...

Not to put a damper on your excitement to hear this man speak, but he was recently excommunicated from the Coptic Orthodox Church for having outspoken heretical views.

Arthur said...

Mike- Yeah, I'm disappointed in the short notice too. That will probably keep many people from showing up, who might have otherwise.

Anon- Are you serious? Do you know anywhere I can read up on that? That should make tonight's talk even more interesting. I wonder if someone will bring it up. Thanks for the info and if you could provide more details, I'd appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Totally serious. Unfortunately, though, there isn't much literature on the web documenting his excommunication. The situation is complicated and has a long history. You could look for an "Al Ahram" article on the web, but it is horribly written and very misleading. Just be discerning in what you hear and warn others.

Arthur said...

Thanks for the info and warning. I'm anxious to hear if anyone knows anything about this and if it'll be mentioned at all tonight.

Joshua said...

Man, that was a good talk! Probably one of the best lectures I’ve heard in a long time. There was a ton of stuff he covered tonight that I wasn’t aware of. It seems to me that Islam is to religion what Spanish is to language: it would definitely be smart to learn (about) it.

With the whole excommunication deal, I don’t know all the details, but from what I’ve heard, it tells more about the heterodoxy of the Coptic patriarch than it does of Dr. George. It seems like all of the Orthodox priests in Indy are pretty supportive of Dr. George. Heck, there were at least eight local priests who came to the talk tonight. And the ones I’ve spoken with have had nothing but good things to say about him. In fact, they feel pretty lucky to have him here in Indy.

Joshua said...

The Joshua Bell thing did sound like a travesty… but then again, $32.17 an hour ain’t bad. If he kept at it, he could probably get his violin paid off before he dies.

Arthur said...

Agreed. It was a great lecture. Hopefully I'll have time to do a post about it, but that's doubtful. I'm just glad I made it and hopefully he'll do a couple more.

Brian said...

I was happy with the direction his talk went. It really paralleled the book I read called The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and The Crusades) by Robert Spencer. I did a short post about his talk last night, but I'd like to see what you thought of it, Arthur. I'm glad so many people showed up for it, and I bet you he'll come back in the future.

Arthur said...

Thanks for posting something. I meant to ask you what you thought about it last night, but it was getting late. I'll try to write up my thoughts over lunch today and post something. I'm sure I'll swing by and comment on your blog too. I definitely hope he comes back for more though.

Jason266 said...

Life is so busy. Even if I had come to your blog on Monday to see this, I wouldn't have been able to attend because of another meeting Tuesday night. It definitely sounded right up my alley.

Brian said...

His last name is Bebawi, so I couldn't resist (sorry for the spam Art...)

Beckoned British Bebawi Bashes Bin-Laden's Bretheren, Bequeathing Boldness; Blaine-street Brains Boggled

Luke Beecham said...

Dangit! Yeah, i had totally planned on going, and then got out of work around 6:30 and still had a crap-load of stuff to do for Summer Camp, and there's Liturgy tonight, and then a meeting at RB, and then...

Yeah, so I've got a billion excuses for missing it, but I'm hopeful he'll come again. I would like to hear him speak and it sounds like all who went got something from it. So many social engagements; so little time. (Dell - Raising Arizona)

Arthur said...

Brian that was beautifully bequeathed.

Sherry said...

Josh, I googled "George Bebawi lecture" and your blog came up. After reading the comments I just wanted to respond to Anonymous. I've listened to Dr George speak theologically for over 30 hours now and am certain he is not a heretic. He had concerns about some of the directions the Coptics were going in their theology and they reacted (badly/violently) and accused him of polytheism. A dangerous accusation with mortal consequences. I would encourage anonymous and anyone else who is concerned to talk to Dr George directly rather than posting such comments on the web. Take care! Glad you could make it Tuesday. :) Sherry