This short episode simply answers questions about “Broken Not Divided.” It answers questions such as the agenda and structure of the podcast and my background in religious and theological education. Hope you enjoy this introductory episode.
Listen to the episode here: https://anchor.fm/andrew-youssef/episodes/Pilot-Episode-What-is-this-Podcast-about-eobcdm
Or on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/1taeFfd9eWv8UioCx8GaXw
Christ is Risen
You might wonder why I start with this greeting. It is not Easter or Pascha. It is because I firmly believe that all Christians ought to live in a constant awareness of the resurrection. Christians are called to believe that they are in the Risen Christ. We are the people of life, unity, and victory. Controversies often lead to divisions. This podcast is about exploring ways to put an end to controversies or at least put an end to the divisions that come with them if putting an end to the controversy itself is not feasible.
But why should I trust you anyways? Who are you? Well, this episode’s goal is to tell you a little bit about myself and the structure of this podcast.
I am an Orthodox Christian from Egypt. I participate in my faith through the Coptic rite. I immigrated to Canada with my family at the age of fourteen. Like many Egyptians, I wanted to pursue medical school. I started in Kinesiology at McMaster University. It was then that I realized I do not belong in Medical School at all. I finally had the guts to tell my parents what I have always dreamt of pursuing, namely Religious and Theological Studies. With the grace of God, I was able to finish the four-year Religious Studies program at McMaster University in three years. There, I learned about Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, philosophy of religion among other topics but at the end, I specialized in biblical studies.
Following that, I wanted to pursue a Masters of Theological Studies at the Orthodox School of Theology in Toronto’ School of Theology. There, I learned more about the Church fathers, life, theology, and Christian anthropology of the Orthodox Church. Currently, I am doing my PhD in theological studies where I work on comparative christology between the Chalcedonian Churches such as the Churches of Greece and Constantinople and the non-Chalcedonian Churches like the Coptic Church and the Syriac Church.
With time, I needed something more personal and relational and that is when I decided to pursue chaplaincy. You can read all the books you want about anthropology, but nothing will help you more than actually conversing with people and serving them. I had the blessing of training at two hospitals, and a senior’s home. Clinical pastoral education—which is the chaplaincy training—did not particularly change my theology. In fact, it didn’t at all. But it certainly changed how I present it in a more kind and loving approach. In a nutshell, it made my theology more human.
In 2020, I had the blessing of authoring a short book on COVID19 titled Father God or Mother Nature? From the Great Flood to COVID-19. In this book, important themes such as divine wrath, divine retribution, divine love, and human suffering were examined.
Now back to this podcast…
This podcast aims to look at controversies. It will be divided over a few seasons. In each season, I plan to produce some episodes that will be accessible to the public. Others will be available on Patreon where we can discuss more controversial topics in a Christian manner, and where Patreons can suggest future episodes. At the end of each episode, I will recommend a few sources if you want to search more about the topic. At the end of the day, I am definitely not the final authority on any topic. Each episode aims to show you where the other side is coming from.
I hope that by the end of each episode you continue to hold the same view you had before listening. I am not here to change your views on anything. In fact, this is the least of my concerns. I do not think I am even in any position to do so. Ultimately, I am a lay person who studied theology and had the blessing to teach in few Churches and jurisdictions by bishops and/or presbyters. I do however hope that you would see where the other is coming from because that is the most important thing. Now of course, truth is more important than all of that. But you know what I mean.
I will be taking the liberty to share my opinion as well on some of these controversies, which again you are welcome to disagree with them, and are welcome to voice your disagreements on Patreon.
Throughout the episodes and seasons, I will freely draw on resources from the Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox Churches. Occasionally, I plan on drawing on Roman Catholics and Academic resources as well.
Finally: Why the name “broken but not divided?
Ultimately, it is an invitation to realize that the other is not a villain… Disagreeing with someone does not mean the other is automatically evil… So, in this podcast and in all the episodes, let us avoid tribalism, division and polarization. Let us desire peace and unity living peaceably with everyone as much as that is possible as St. Paul says. We can be broken, upset, and even angry with each other at times. But let us not lose sight of our identity as members of the one and undivided body of Christ.
And now, we will end where we began by saying “Christ is Risen”
God bless you.