C.J.S. Hayward: An Orthodox Christian Author

Welcome to the official author site for C.J.S. Hayward! There’s a lot to enjoy here: theology, literature, and creative works.

If this is your first time here, you are encouraged to read Doxology or The Angelic Letters. If you like being surprised, the link for the “Now highlighted” link below can pick something out of the smorgasbord that is offered.

Psst! Want me to pick one for you?


An Official Author Site: And an Online Museum!

This is the official site for author Christos Jonathan Seth Hayward. Its intended purpose is to showcase the full spectrum of Hayward’s creative works across a period of decades.

Museum attractions include annotated bibliography, article, akathist, Borges-style, Christian, dictionary, dystopia, Eastern Orthodox, essay, experimental, fantasy, game, game review, homily, humor, imaginary anthropology, interactive fiction, koan, maze, metacognition, mysticism, novellas, parody, philosophy, poetry, prayer, reference, satire, science fiction, short story, Socratic dialogue, speculative fiction, and theology.

As time passes, C.J.S. Hayward is focusing more and more on mystical theology.

Enjoy!

What’s New? A Quote:

Alice in Wonderland

I was given a copy of Singled Out: Why Celibacy Must Be Reinvented in Today’s Church. I’ve read some but not all of it, and I’ve read the introduction in full. I really have more to say than that the Orthodox tacit response to hearing an Evangelical say, “I’ve been reading the Fathers” when they have only been reading the Blessed Augustine is, “Ouch!” Saint as he may be, the Blessed Augustine is not any kind of legitimate polestar for navigating the Fathers, and when Singled Out deals with a Tertullian who fell into heresy and gave Augustine a singularly bad precedent, the best thing to say to Evangelicals is, “You do not understand monasticism as it exists in the Orthodox Church.” Possibly parts of the book I didn’t get to start to bring in quotes from the Orthodox Church’s Greek Fathers, but I have not found such a passage and it certainly doesn’t set the stage. Alan Perlis said something entirely relevant to Protestants who wish to understand Orthodox monasticism: “The best book about programming for the layman is Alice in Wonderland, but that’s just because the best book about anything for the layman is Alice in Wonderland.” And the best book for Evangelicals on Orthodox monasticism is decidedly Alice in Wonderland.

I wish to state briefly, and without explanation, that the first step in understanding Orthodox monasticism is understanding it is nothing Protestants can project. One routine moment in a conversation with a respected parishioner, informally called “the godfather of us all” within the parish, came when he had said he wanted to understand Orthodoxy and asked an Orthodox Christian what books to read, was told, “You don’t understand Orthodoxy by reading books. You understand Orthodoxy by participating in the services.” And if the Orthodoxy of the parish is not something to analyze, it is all the more confusing to understand monastic Fathers without even being Orthodox. Regarding sexuality, for instance, monasticism knows as well as anything else that sex is a powerful impulse, and it has powerful built-in features intended, ultimately, to transform carnal desire into a desire for God. Part of this is an extreme caution in monks’ dealings with women, but the same caution is present in the (admittedly less numerous) warnings by Mothers for nuns dealing with men. One nineteenth-century Russian monk compared the Christian living in the world to a wildflower, with the monastic (male or female) compared to a flower that needs to be in a “hothouse” (i.e. a heavily curated greenhouse) to flourish. Marriage is a good and honorable thing, but it’s not just marriage where sexuality serves a legitimate purpose. Monasticism does not provide a track where sexual impulses become simply absent or unimportant; it provides a track where sexual impulses are to be one of several areas where the human is transformed according to divine glory.

A theology of failure

My first real point about Singled Out is that is that the introduction does not call for a new theology of celibacy. It calls for an old theology of failure.

Read more of Monasticism for Protestants, posted the Sunday of the Last Judgment, 19 February 2017.

About the Author

Who is C.J.S. Hayward? A man, made in the image of God and summoned to ascend to the heights of the likeness of God. A great sinner, and in fact, the chief of sinners. One who is, moment by moment, in each ascetical decision choosing to become one notch more a creature of Heaven, or one notch more a creature of Hell, until his life is spent and his eternal choice between Heaven and Hell is eternally sealed.

Man, mediator, midpoint, microcosm, measure: as man he is the recapitulation of the entire spiritual and visible creation, having physical life in common with plants and animals, and noetic life in common with rank upon rank of angel host, and forever in the shadow of that moment when Heaven kissed earth and God and the Son of God became Man and the Son of Man that men might become gods and the sons of God.

He’s also a writer with a few hobbies, but really, there are more important things in life.

A Peek at the Author’s Books

Bookworm’s Corner