Sunday, May 17, 2009

Greek Food And Faith

I love Greek food. A lot of it is very similar to what I have grown up eating, but its made with some different ingredients to add that Greek flavor to it. I tried the Pastitsio, pictured above, the Mousakka, and some chicken and potato's made Greek style. My favorite things I've eaten so far have been the Greek salad, spaghetti with fantastic meatballs and a cheese pie, of which I forgot the name.

Not a fan of Ouzo, don't like the licorice taste and the coffee is very strong. I'm not a coffee drinker anyway, so this style coffee was not for me.

The desserts are the best part. Baklava, which you probably have had, Loukomades, which are little dough balls and you put honey and crushed nuts on them. My favorite desert though is the white powdered, almond shortbread cookie known as the Kourabiedes.

One food item that surprised me to see was fried squid. Lots of places are serving this dish and several of me mates tried it and liked it, but its not for me. I have a really weak stomach when it comes to eating something I know is not normal for me to eat. Fortunately though, our stay here has been filled with good eating, lots of beautiful sights, and wonderful people.

One more day of work here and then we head home. I haven't gotten to see all that I wanted to see since there is so much history, culture, and entertainment that one would need a week or two to see. We did tour a Greek Orthodox church and the priest who showed us around actually impressed me with a lot of the comments he made and I found him very interesting to listen too. He talked a lot about the conflicts between Muslims and Christians and the difference between the Greek Orthodox church and other Christian churches.

There were two comments he made that stood out to me and I was surprised to hear them come from someone as closely connected to the church as he is. The first was that the Greek Orthodox church priests stand with their back to the congregation and perform the service. This is because a priest is also a human and one of the fallen and is no better than the other members of the church. I actually liked that belief because in many western churches the one providing the sermon always seems to be preaching down to the church, not with the church as if they are somehow better than everyone.

The second comment he made was when someone made a comment about the alters with all the gold and the beautiful things in the church. His response was yes, they are beautiful things but he would be just as happy sitting in a meadow and worshipping. He said all of the beautiful items in the church were put there by men over the years who thought they were honoring God by lavishing this house with the best furnishings. He said while its true that humans should offer their best to God, he knows God does not even notice these items because its our hearts that he cares about and if our hearts are at peace, he is at peace. I really liked that response because I have grown accustomed to preachers from my religion growing "mega" churches and living in mansions and driving fancy cars as if they were rock stars.

He even mentioned in time he believes all will be welcome in the church, that stones will no longer be thrown and differences will be praised. Then and only then will man be able to achieve greatness. Now I still have a lot of conflict with organized religion and the hate and division that comes from it. Even though those two comments stuck in my head, there were a few things I wanted to challenge and discuss with him, but I thought they were better left as thoughts in my head. Still I left that church with an experience I will remember for a long time and with the hope that my own religion can find a man with an open mind and open heart such as him to guide it. I'll just need to have a little faith.


Joey7777 said...

That church tour does sound very interesting.

David said...

Wow! Fantastic thoughts you wrote in this blog. I'm always inspired by how you see the world and impressed with the words you write. Keep up the good work and I hope you get to see Gareth soon.

American Irish said...

Thanks David for the nice comment.

Joey, what a nice surprise to see your comment. I thought you and Adam would read this and think oh another feckin church story. lol

Anonymous said...

Well done.

Joey7777 said...

Huh? A.I., I think you're getting me mixed up with one of the anti-church guys..? Anyway, I love various houses of worship from a religious and/or historical and/or cultural point of view.

Gardenman said...

My thoughts, for what they are worth, are that religion is in your mind and your heart not in a large building that asks for 10% of your annual income. If that's what some people need to feel better, more power to them. I think God actually judges you on how you live your life and treat other people. If you cause no harm to others and help the ones you can then I think you are living a 'righteous' life in God's eyes. If you keep God near every day, the weekly trip to the big building might not be needed.