HAWAII OF MY HEART
How an Icon Brought a Calvinist to Orthodoxy
By Robert K. Arakaki, Hawaii, USA
A Journey to Orthodoxy
It was my first week at seminary. Walking down the hallway of the main dorm, I saw an icon of Christ on a student’s door. I thought:
“An icon in an evangelical seminary?! What’s going on here?”
Even more amazing was the fact that Jim’s background was the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination. When I left Hawaii in 1990 to study at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, I went with the purpose of preparing to become an evangelical seminary professor in a liberal United Church of Christ seminary. The UCC is one of the most liberal denominations, and I wanted to help bring the denomination back to its biblical roots. The last thing I expected was that I would become Orthodox.
Called by an Icon
After my first semester, I flew back to Hawaii for the winter break. While there, I was invited to a Bible study at Ss. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church. At the Bible study I kept looking across the table to the icons that were for sale. My eyes kept going back to this one particular icon of Christ holding the Bible in His hand. For the next several days I could not get that icon out of my mind.
I went back and bought the icon. When I bought it, I wasn’t thinking of Continue reading “How an Icon Brought a Calvinist to Orthodoxy – Robert K. Arakaki, Hawaii, USA”
An Interview with Troy Polamalu
The Mane Man
Pittsburgh Magazine, August 2009
JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY
Football is a given: How was this year’s Super Bowl experience versus XL? Tomlin versus Cowher? Goals for the coming season?
Fatherhood is new in Polamalu’s life since the birth of his son, Paisios, named after a beloved contemporary Greek Orthodox monastic, Elder Paisios, on Oct. 31, 2008. Has daddy-dom been life-changing? Will he encourage his son to play professional sports? How’s that beautiful new mom doing?
And last but not least: Faith. In order to properly meet Polamalu where he lives, this is the requisite, the grounding force that gives meaning to everything he does, every play he makes. Polamalu’s evident gratitude to the one who made him is marbled throughout our talk – from his training regime to his travels to Mount Athos, a monastic site in Greece, a place he calls “heaven on earth.”
While he has a reputation for being one of the NFL’s fiercest players, Polamalu would prefer “Tasmanian angel” over “Tasmanian devil” because his ball game is about glorifying God. “Football is part of my life but not life itself,” he says. “Football doesn’t define me. It’s what I do [and] how I carry out my faith.”
Whether shooting a Coke Zero commercial or running up the sand hills on Manhattan Beach to train – which he’s probably off to do after this interview – Polamalu, 27, is refreshingly modest and introspective, choosing his words as precisely as he picks his spots on the gridiron. He’s intense when the Continue reading “The Mane Man – An Interview with Troy Polamalu of Pittsburg Steelers Team, Samoa & USA – Journey to Orthodoxy”