This evening I went to the seminary where I work and attended a discussion group on what discipleship means in different contexts. As it turned out the Egyptian concept of discipleship is similar to the the Presbyterian Church (USA) concept. Discipleship is a means of equipping Christians with the knowledge and tools with which to go out into the world and participate in ministries. When it comes down to it though, I believe Egyptians are better at actually living out their lives as disciples.
I have heard Presbyterians in the U.S. refered to as the "frozen chosen" several times in my life. While we are steeped in knowledge about the bible and the life of Jesus Christ, because Presbyterians do place an important emphasis on education, we do fall a bit short in the "action" department. I think at least by comparison to the Egyptian Presbyterians this is true. Perhaps it's the fact that they are constantly oppressed by the Muslim majority. Their faith means so much more because they truly have to live it everyday.
At the end of the meeting I had a chance to speak with an Iraqi from Basra who is a student at the seminary. He is one of the friendliest people I have ever met. He walked with me as I walked back to Dawson Hall. He told me that he studied English at a college in Iraq before moving to Cairo at the suggestion of his pastor to attend seminary. He was dressed smartly in slacks and a white button up shirt with a tie and had a broad smile on his face the entire time we talked. He was genuinely glad to talk to me and held no animosity against me for being an American. In fact he recently visited the U.S. with a delegation of young adults from Iraq. He was the only Charistian that went. The rest of the members of the delegation were all Muslims. I invited him to come and speak to me and the rest of the volunteers because I am sure he has many interesting stories to tell. He said he would be happy to. We just need to work out a time to get together now.
Yours in Christ,