Encountering Orthodoxy RTE: What finally brought you to Orthodoxy? MICHAEL: All through my Rasta years, my reason for being there was to get closer to God. I think it was just God working with me through the Rasta movement. As I said earlier, in everything you read about His Majesty, in every speech, every proclamation, he talked about the Church, the Gospels, the saints, and especially about Jesus Christ, but I didn’t focus on those things. The first Orthodox encounter I had was at the reggae fest here in Kansas City ten years ago. I always had a booth at the festival, and one year there was a man walking around in a long black … [Read more...]


The Rastafari Movement Part Three of Seven RTE: So, what is Rastafari, and how did it begin? MICHAEL: In my understanding, Rastafari is an Ethiopian word – Ras means “head, chief, or king”; tafari means “Creator” or “the One to be feared.” Ras Tafari was His Majesty Haile Selassie’s name before he became the emperor of Ethiopia. The word “dread” means “God-fearer,” so people who were serious about the practice grew their hair into dreadlocks (letting long locks of hair just naturally grow together) as a sign of reverence for God. Later, it became more of a fashion, like a badge. The movement began in 1928, when the British were … [Read more...]


Teresa’s Story Part two of seven RTE: Teresa, how did the Rasta movement fit for you? TERESA: I wasn’t as into the music. What I liked was that they lived a simple life, that they lived “Ital”1 – no white flour, no white sugar, no pop, nothing processed, no meat. That was something I wanted also; I didn’t want to eat anything that wasn’t directly from the land (although I must admit that I had a sweet-tooth). Also, to be honest, we were both heavy herb smokers, and with the Rastas we could smoke as much as we wanted. I also liked the idea that we are all created equal. Mike and I both had black and Mexican friends at school and we … [Read more...]


The Rastafari Road to Orthodoxy This interview was published in the Road To Emmaus, and is reprinted here with permission of Michael and Teresa Wilson. This is the first of seven installments on their journey to the Orthodox faith. In an engagingly open interview, Michael and Teresa Wilson of St. Mary of Egypt Serbian Orthodox Church in Kansas City, Missouri, talk about their decades as Rastafarians in America and Jamaica, their path to Orthodoxy, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. RTE: Michael, what was your background? Did you grow up Christian? MICHAEL: In my family, we didn’t usually go to church, except perhaps on … [Read more...]