Entries with tag scriptures .

A New Way to Learn the Bible

Do you ever struggle to understand the Scripture?

The Church has a rich tradition that can help us understand the Bible (after all, the Church wrote it). Yet, for many of us, the Scripture seems inaccessible and hard to connect with.

Be the Bee” helped people engage with the deep and profound theology of the Church. And now we’re back with a new weekly series to help people connect with Scripture: “Live the Word.” 

Every Monday, we’ll cover the following Sunday’s Epistle and Gospel readings. We’ll end each episode with three challenging questions to help you work through what God has for you, in your life.

Every Thursday, we’ll post a short response to these questions, offering a vulnerable and personal look into how we struggle to know Christ and live Orthodoxy.  

We’re also posting short intros to each New Testament book, to help guide your reading. For example, we’ve released videos on the Gospel according to Saint Luke and Paul’s 2nd Epistle to Timothy.

These videos are the perfect resource for youth and young adult groups, Bible studies, and family devotionals. They’re a great way to help you and the people in your life wrestle with Scripture and open your hearts to God’s guidance and grace. 

And best of all, these videos will reflect on God's Word as we hear it proclaimed in the Sunday Divine Liturgy.

Thanks to “Be the Bee” and “The Trench,” Christians of every generation connected with the Church’s theology like never before. Many converts even joined the Church because of the series!

We pray that God will bear even more fruit through our new series: “Live the Word.”

New episodes premiere every Monday and Thursday. Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel and turn on notifications so you never miss a video.

Steven Christoforou is the Director of Y2AM.

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On God and Gilmore Girls

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Gilmore Girls is being revived for a final four episodes (thank you, Netflix!) at the end of the month.

 

And in case you don’t know me, I don’t love many things in this world as much as I love Gilmore Girls.

 

I can’t even begin to explain all of the ways that the show resonates with me. But here’s a start. There’s a point during which Lorelai and Rory, the two main characters, are watching a TV show with Rory’s boyfriend and he asks, “So, it’s a show?” and they respond, “It’s a lifestyle,” and, “It’s a religion.” And many Gilmore Girls lovers have taken to having that as their tagline for this show, which is fitting.

 

While I obviously do not consider Gilmore Girls to be my religion, I do know the show like the back of my hand (seriously...ask me anything). Because when you love something so much, you take as much time be acquainted with it as I have with Gilmore Girls.

 

And when you love something, it becomes a part of you, even long after it’s gone. I mean, Gilmore Girls has been off the air for almost ten years, and there is still something magical about it every time I watch. I can still even remember the last time that I watched it on live television: the series finale, during which I sat in my basement, on the couch, bawling.

 

Every time I turn it on now, I see something new in every character, event, and episode. That’s how it’s retained it’s magic for me for so long. I am excited for the fact that it is being brought back but, to be quite honest, my hopes aren’t that high because the show has already worked it’s magic on me. As corny (or crazy) as it sounds, Gilmore Girls has affected my worldview. For example, almost every life situation that I have, or that someone else has, conjures up an image of Gilmore Girls for me. Some people appreciate it when I share the parallels, and others don’t, but it’s where my mind goes regardless.

 

I’m not quite sure how this can happen with something like a TV show. I mean, it’s a completely intangible thing. I can visit the set (and I have!), I can meet the actors, writers, and producers involved, but I will never be in Stars Hollow, I will never meet Lorelai Gilmore.

 

It’s kind of like my faith in that way. It’s intangible, but I know that it’s there. In an even more real way than Gilmore Girls. And although I haven’t directly interacted with Christ, the way that His presence shapes me is undoubtable.

 

And His words, which I can still read, and His acts, which I can still read about, are such a big part of me having faith.

 

I was sitting in Liturgy a few Sundays ago, when we read the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, and I heard something new in the story that I had never focused on before. While I don’t know everything about the Scriptures, this is a story that I thought I knew well, and yet I still found something new in revisiting it. I kept thinking about how if I had just ignored this story, had glossed over it because I’ve heard it before, I would have missed something that resonated with me moreso on that day than it ever had.

 

As we continue to go to church week after week, we are going to hear the same things year after year. So it’s up to us to find something new, something to light a spark in us and keep our faith alive, in every passage of Scripture.

 

The fact that I can learn more about Christ by attending Divine Liturgy every Sunday, by reading the Scriptures, and by simply allowing Him to enter my life is amazing. And, unlike Gilmore Girls, of which there is a finite amount of knowledge that I can gather, I will not run out of things to learn about Christ. This fact really keeps me going through the good times (season 1) and the bad times (season 7).

 

Regardless of what happens in the future, if my faith in Christ wavers or if I hate the revival episodes of Gilmore Girls, I can look back on my life and say that I have learned a lot about, and loved, both of these things wholeheartedly. And that fact will be enough to keep me coming back to old episodes of Gilmore Girls, and to church, where the Scriptures will show me something new every time I sit down in the pews.

 

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Maria is the Administrative Coordinator of Y2AM. She is a New York native who isn't completely sold on the city's charm, yet has never left. A proud graduate of Fordham University and occasional runner, she is happiest whenever chocolate, a sale, or a good Gilmore Girls reference is involved.

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How Hamilton Taught Me to Love the Scriptures - Pop Culture Espresso Shots

I can’t stop listening to the soundtrack of the hit Broadway show, Hamilton.

It’s amazing. The genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda is astounding as he finds rhyme after rhyme to tell the story of the “ten-dollar founding father without a father.”

When I was in high school, I dreaded U.S. History. To be perfectly honest, history still frequently bores me. It often seems like a bunch of things that happened to a bunch of people a bunch of years ago that, apart from setting the stage for the present, really has no bearing on my life now.

Hamilton, however, has opened my eyes to the riches of history.

I wish someone would have produced this musical when I was in high school so if I needed to recall some detail of the establishment of the national bank, I could have remembered that Hamilton’s idea was strongly opposed by Jefferson and Madison, as dramatized through a rap battle in cabinet meeting. Genius.

But history retold through the lens of hip-hop isn’t simply engaging because of the phat beats. Rather, by interpreting history in a new light, I can see that that the problems the founding fathers faced are really no different than the problems we face today.

Hamilton explores the reality that politicians form coalitions, quid pro quo arrangements to further their own agendas. Those in power have affairs, hide scandals, and blackmail one another. They get upset by petty disputes and take professional slights personally, calling people out publically (even to the point of being willing to kill each other).

In other words: nothing has really changed.

It took hip-hop to reveal this to me. In a lot of ways, the America of today looks a lot like the America of then. By looking at history with new eyes, we can see that it has a lot to tell us about our current context. It is not just the story of the founding fathers; it is the story of America. It is our story, too.

So, if this is true with the story of America, how much more true must it be with the story of Christianity, the story of God’s people?

Often we look at the scriptures and are baffled that the apostles didn’t understand who Christ was; after all, they saw the miracles, the healings, the resurrected Christ. Perhaps we look at the stories of the scriptures and feel the same way I felt about American history: good stories about people who are all dead.

Or perhaps more arrogantly, we read the scriptures and think, if we had been there, we would have recognized Him as the Son of God. Of course, apart from the one time Peter proclaims Christ as the Son of God and Longinus’ revelation following the death of Christ, the Gospels make it abundantly clear that the only people who recognize Jesus as the Son of God are those who are possessed by demons! Suddenly, I’m not so confident I would have gotten it either.

But if we read the scriptures with the same eyes we’ve learned to have through things like Hamilton, we may see that the story of faith is not just a series of events that happened to people millennia ago, but rather it is a living story, a story that we are a part of. It is not just the story of the founding fathers of Christianity; it is the story of God’s people. It is our story, too.

Perhaps the cast of Hamilton has taught us that it is indeed possible to look back at the stories of yesteryear and realize that we have much to learn from those who have gone before us. Perhaps when we look at the stories in scripture we realize that we are not simply reading about apostles who don’t seem to get what Christ is saying; we are reading about ourselves, disciples of Christ who still don’t understand what He wants.

Perhaps when we open the scriptures we can see ourselves in its pages. Perhaps we can take great comfort in realizing that even those who literally walked with Him had no idea what He was doing, so we, too, might begin to feel a little more comfortable in our own questions of discipleship to Christ.

The story of following Jesus is something that is written anew for everyone baptized into Christ, but it is indeed the same story. It is the story of a ragtag group whom Christ has chosen, people He has commissioned to be His witnesses in all parts of the world. It is a story that happens in this moment, in every moment, and it is a story to which we know the ending: Christ wins.

So while we may feel disconnected or lost as if we are seeking Christ in a dark room, we can have hope as we realize that our struggle to take hold of Christ now is the same struggle people have encountered for the last 2,000 years. And if we can learn to rap, it’ll just make it all the more fun in the meantime.

Photo Credits:

Hamilton Stage Joe Shlabotnik Flickr via Compfight cc

Cross: Depositphotos

Christian is a Young Adult Ministries Coordinator for Y2AM. He is a husband, father, coffee drinker, sandal wearer, podcaster, and CrossFitter. Christian has his first MA from Azusa Pacific University in Marriage and Family Therapy and a second MA in Children, Youth, and Family Ministry from Luther Seminary. Christian and his family live in Phoenix, Arizona.

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