This is an author's library of free online books, centered on Orthodox books. Whether you want to read online novels, or short stories, or theology and homilies, or other literature, why not look around here?
Works reviewed in the prestigious Midwest Book Review include:
For one of the first books to read about taking your life back from technology.
This is a short sampler of the author's works for people who would like to know him better as an author before tackling some of his longer works.
Happiness is not just for easy times and easy living. It is also for hard times and difficulty living.
Out of all the works the author has written, the ones he would most encourage a reader to read now are included in this collection. About one work in four made the cut, but it remains a prolific collection.
C.S. Lewis formed CJS Hayward as an author. Now Hayward looks back as an Orthodox author.
If you read it and you'd like to read more, see the Hidden Price Tags: An Eastern Orthodox Look at the Dark Side of Technology and Its Best Use.
This is a bit different of a work for the writer, and it offers an interesting suggestion.
This provides an autobiography, and is intended both for people wanting to meet the author behind the books, and for people interested in reading autobiographies.
This Swiss Army Knife of a book collection holds a broad sampling of many kinds of the author's writing.
Using porn is not insignificant. It matters, and it has real significance.
The Sign of the Grail represents the last of the author's novels and a selection of works on the cusp of his becoming more deeply Orthodox.
You can find works from several Orthodox books here, but this section itself is really one big Orthodox book: an anthology of Orthodox mystical theology.
The works in this collection span many types and genres, but overall they can be gathered into three large categories: theology articles, hymns and poems, and odds and ends, curiosities and creative works, Each of these has author's picks highlighted; the author is personally partial to hymns and poems.
If you are looking for a place to start in these attempts to share the Orthodox Church's mystical theology, I suggest Silence: Organic food for the soul or Doxology. Both are taken from the hymns and poems section.
Suggested starting points include Creation and Holy Orthodoxy: Fundamentalism Is Not Enough, Exotic Golden Ages and Restoring Harmony with Nature: Anatomy of a Passion, Money, A Pet Owner's Rules, and "Religion and Science" Is Not Just Intelligent Design vs. Evolution.
G.K. Chesterton said, "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried."
Alchemy glitters on the outside, but it is only fool's gold. It's an easy way out that doesn't work.
No critique to Pseudo-Dionysius or apophatic / negative theology, but all theology is the same kind of thing as positive theology.
Amazing Providence (short)
- One thing I have learned as a Christian is what it means for God to look after you.
St. Seraphim of Platina is a newly canonized saint, and should be recognized as such.
However, some of his followers do not quite match his degree of holiness.
C.S. Lewis posited that the devils do not care about whether someone is a materialist or a magician, but suggested that they have an unholy grail in trying to find the materialist magician.There's a good case to be made that games provide just such a materialist magic.
Archimandrite Zacharias has written a number of books my abbot has recommended to me, and they have been tremendously helpful to me. Here is an appreciation of Archimandrite Zacharias's works.
This article endorses some rather interesting exercises for nature connection. They are worth trying.
Orthodox need not be afraid if some of their beliefs, religious or otherwise, are classified as "crank theories." However, may I make a suggestion?
Ecumenism has been formally anathematized as heresy, but heresies sport new masks: the very name of "New Age" is a lie, and Orthodox concerned about ecumenism might be interested in the particular permutation of ecumenism shown in this title and answered in a review.
St. Paul wrote, "The love of money is the root of all evil." Here is a look at branding that lies downstream of that truth.
That Beautiful Strength (medium)
A look at the hideous strength of C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength, and the beautiful strength that is even stronger.
After ignoring an uneasy conscience, CJS Hayward tried to study a martial art on Orthodoxy-appropriate terms. Here is a retrospective that looks at the broader question of whether we can "smoke, but not inhale."
A meditation as COVID was hitting the world.
- A Comparison Between the Mere Monk and the Highest Bishop
The position of a simple monastic is that position which is to be most desired in the entire Orthodox Church. And that is what I am seeking.
We were made to enjoy contemplation, in more than one sense.
An ascetical look at how to avoid a constant go-to activity of going to screens whenever we need something to do.
Years back, I wrote a couple of pieces about origins questions. This is a more recent piece that addresses a very specific point about bringing Protestant fundamentalism into Orthodoxy, and it moves away from origins questions towards a more important issue.
You might also read the companion piece, Note to Orthodox evolutionists: Stop trying to retroactively
shanghairecruit the Fathers to your camp!.
Our Crown of Thorns (short)
Christ's crown of thorns has every relevance to our daily lives. Is it something we can have on our own terms?
Things that are tinged with occult themes seem to sparkle. But there is more to be had in life than chump change.
A meditation on covetousness, desire, and true happiness.
A look at two works that may reveal less about Orthodoxy than fashion.
When I was studying at Fordham, the question of dissent loomed large. This is an attempt to respond to what was "in the air" at that school.
Does God Suffer? (medium)
A grieving pastor, after the death of his son, wrote that God suffers with his Creation. This is a respectful look at his masterpiece that tries to explain why it is good news that God does not suffer.
Its central points revolve around what is called "theology proper," or "the doctrine of God." It responds to a powerful picture, in the masterpiece A Foot in Two Worlds, of a God who can handle creaturely suffering because he suffers with them. And it looks at what it means for God to be so great that he is beyond suffering.
Do We Have Rights? (medium)
We have a lot of rights these days. Or at least we think we do, and the list of our rights is growing longer and longer.
What if I told you that people can get along well without thinking in terms of rights?
The Eighth Sacrament (short)
In Orthodoxy, you can say that there are seven sacraments, or that there is one, or that there are a million.
In Orthodoxy, there are seven sacraments, officially speaking; but there's a great deal of truth in saying that there is only one sacrament, or that there are a million of them. This is a look at one among many of the "other" sacraments.
A look at what is always missing in fantasy.
Escape or escapism represent a devastating thing to give into. Here is a meditation about it.
There is a perennial cry in some quarters to reclaim former glory. We thirst for the exotic, but not always in the best places. Do we appreciate what we have?
Years back, the author was very attentive to Gandhi's writing, enough so that his first public speech was formed by that attentiveness. Now, years later, he has some second thoughts, and realizes areas where he was wrong.
God the Game Changer (medium)
A meditation on God as the Game Changer who responds to sin, evil, pain, and death by changing the game.
A Glimpse Into Eastern Orthodoxy (medium)
Eastern Orthodoxy is both Christian and Eastern. and sometimes other Christians, and the West in general, don't pick up on what exactly this means. A Glimpse into Eastern Orthodoxy is written in the hope of creating a spark of connection.
God the Spiritual Father (medium)
A collection of quotes and reflections on God the Father in light of the spiritual fatherhood in Orthodox monasticism, in its relevance to us today in an economic depression.
Halloween: A solemn farewell (short)
I enjoyed Halloween for many years, but it looks different as I begin to understand Orthodoxy.
Happiness is not only for easy times.
Happiness is available in times of crisis, too!
Many strange things have happened in relation to COVID, that may look strange in history books. Here's a heart-to-heart.
That Hideous Strength is perhaps the greatest example of C.S. Lewis reading as if he had plagiarized things written decades after his death.
A meditation on eternity and time.
It is possible.
A concise summary of both the sacred and secular dimensions to an Orthodox Christian's jobhunt. (Getting a job for Orthodox Christians calls for both.)
How to Survive Hard Times (medium)
- Would you like to know how to survive an economic depression? People have survived every kind of disaster from recessions to economic collapses. The way they have survived may have had something to do with spirituality and faith. Do you want to dig deeper into how to survive a depression? You might find some answers here.
This describes pretty much the current state of psychology. Elder Sophrony and Elder Zacharias are reticent to take psychology away from people for whom that is all they have, but there is better to be had.
The theory of evolution is ordinarily looked at through a scientific lens, or what is considered to be scientific.
Nonetheless, a look at evolution from the perspectives of the humanities can be very interesting.
On Humor (short)
- A look at humor (off-color and otherwise) in the light of Orthodox Christian classics.
The Hydra (short)
A look at a hydra whose heads include the covetousness of Romanticism's Sehnsucht or longing, escapism, fantasy, the occult, and the freedom that comes when one rejects all of these.
Sometimes ignorance stems from just not knowing yet. But there is another kind of ignorance that shuts its eyes to facts and acts more stupidly than it has to be.
Incarnation and Deification (short)
An written for the Feast of the Nativity and the Fast before it, about Incarnation that unfurls in deification.
Introduction to the Jesus Prayer (short)
When we pray the Jesus Prayer, God uses it to build silence in our hearts and untangle those things we have knotted inside.
Albert Einstein famously said, "Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them." The Law of Love exists on the scintillating plane of virtue and offers something better than the level of thinking represented by the Golden Rule.
An Orthodox artist looks at art as a variety of icon.
In The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis argues that the foundations of science come from an unsavory neighborhood and are much closer than the occult than was commonly thought.
But there's a third shoe to drop, even if Lewis would not drop it for important reasons. The same neighborhood is the neighborhood the Reformation came from, and the age of the Reformers was seedy.
Otherkin identify as not simply human.
This is a theme interestingly engaged by the Orthodox Tradition and what it really means to be man.
One of several works on happiness.
We are seeking mindfulness from the East because we have rejected it in the West.
Boomers knew mindfulness as a department of manners.
Loss is a part of life. In fact, loss is a part of Divine Providence: "Every branch that bears fruit, [the Vinedresser] prunes that it may bear more fruit."
In truth, everything in life is either a blessing from God or a temptation which has been allowed for our strengthening.
Modus tollens explores this pruning.
A meditation of mystical theology about kings and kingdoms, monarchs and monarchy.
Monasticism is best understood by direct experience, and probably by someone who is a monastic. However, I wanted to write something to give some concrete face to my monastic aspirations when I might as well be describing something as foreign as living on the moon.
A homily touching on a subject that doesn't get much treatment for how important it is.
Did not St. Paul say we are "more than conquerors"? The same applies to royalty.
Wanting to have a child and not having one can be a form of profound suffering. There are one or things Orthodox couples should know about this cross.
Orthodox Christians may believe in evolution, but when Orthodox claim that the Fathers' overall teaching goes hand in hand with evolution, there is something fishy going on.
You might also read the companion piece, Creation and Holy Orthodoxy: Fundamentalism Is Not Enough.
There is something that is not quite right about the Western Rite in the Orthodox Church. (Really? When they are trying so hard to reconstruct the authentic Western Orthodoxy of the first millenium? Yes!)
An open letter about an elephant in the room that Orthodox are painfully aware of and Catholics seem not to see at all.
Some of us wish, or are tempted to wish, that we lived in the age of the great Christological controversies, or nineteenth century Russia, or perhaps the Middle Ages or the Baroque era.
But God has placed us here and now, and ordained for us our ordinary lives to live out. Has God made a mistake in doing so?
One perennial debate is about war and peace, just war and pacifism, violence and nonviolence, soldiers and armies, and figures like Gandhi. Listen to the mystical theology of the Orthodox Christian Church as She listens out of the depths of Her silence.
A look at Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica's title, Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives, as uncovering a more interesting secret than just Rhonda Byrne's The Secret' and the Law of Attraction, and a secret for inner transformation—and outer!
A Pet Owner's Rules (short)
God is like a pet owner who has only two rules.
The Pleasure-Pain Syndrome (medium)
A look at the pleasure-pain syndrome that for an instant crystallizes in the discussion of the Philokalia under a work attributed to St. Maximos the Confessor.
Being a holy fool is a solid and well-established tradition within Eastern Orthodoxy.
Here is a corrective to the thought that Pope Francis, by virtue of odd behavior, is a member of that tradition.
Porn can seem attractive enough and many of us have been ensnared by it.
This is a look at what's really at stake in the porn that seeks you out.
A look at the venomous hydra called narcissism and pride, by which Satan fell from being an Archangel in Heaven to being the Devil.
It isn't good for us, either.
There are certain kinds of interpersonal boundary issues that, among Orthodox, seem to happen only with conversations with former Protestants.
I received Stage 1 of Pfizer's COVID vaccine. It was by caving in to pressure, and being put into a delicate position pastorally by my bishop. However, this is my confession after I and no one else decided something I shouldn't.
A look at "religion and science" that takes a slow, careful look at how we should receive patristic attitudes towards what is now considered to be the academic discipline of chemistry. (Note: this has nothing to do with alchemy even if there is a historical relation between modern chemistry and alchemy.)
There's a lot that I connect with in C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength.
Judas Iscariot had remorse. Would that he had instead had what Orthodox view as repentance!
As an undergraduate, I was asked, "How do you overcome the evidentalist objection to Christianity?" I answered, "What is the evidentialist objection to Christianity?" He answered that it was that we should only believe what was demonstrated by evidence.
I asked, "How do you overcome the evidentalist objection to evidentalism?"
Virtue is its own reward.
Repentance leads us into the rewards of virtue.
It is Heaven's best-kept secret.
- Science and Knowledge: Regenerate Science, Philosophia Naturala, and Human Ways of Knowing
A not entirely successful musing about the nature of science.
Soldiers entering a scenario are given a brief list of "rules of engagement" that often fits on a single card.
This work isn't quite so brief, but it offers rules of engagement for Orthodox spiritual warfare.
A Shaft of Grace (short)
A description of an everyday religious experience.
The Golden Rule is a feat in formulating ethics, a simple criterion that sheds light on a wide variety of situations.
The Silicon Rule is a tribute to such feats and asks a simple question relevant to almost anything containing silicon computer chips / electronics.
An article exploring the social issues surrounding technology and faith and inviting Orthodox clergy to provide pastoral guidance, in other words "social antibodies", for the internet, iPhones, and other features of the technological nexus that we are in.
Cyril Lucaris, Patriarch of Constantinople in the days of the Reformation, raided the Protestant armory for weapons and armor to defend Orthodox.
St. Seraphim of Platina may have done the same.
The Swiss Army Knife and God (short)
Do Swiss Army Knives offer a lens to see God with?
The Fathers see something in the Lord's command to Take your shoes off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground, and it has every relevance to Great Lent.
What do the Fathers see? And what does it have to do with Great Lent?
People concerned about living simply may be wary of having a late model of a darling brand of phone.
Nonetheless, there is good reason to view our technology as part of our impoverishment.
Looking for an apocalypse and finding things in the Book of Revelation is a spiritual trap, even though what is written in the Book of Revelation certainly will come true and it is possible that such things in fact are coming true already.
Too much attention to tollhouses might fit in the same bucket.
This is a work I am still not happy with, and it should be taken with a grain of salt. None the less, it has its strengths as it discusses martial arts as a lens to see the Do / Way of Orthodoxy.
Everything we say of God is inadequate. Yet this God who is far beyond anything we can say has a vicar on earth: not the Pope, but every person who crosses our path.
- Treasure (short)
Calvin and Hobbes said, "There's treasure everywhere!"
And really, there is.
It is no blessing to say, "May you have all of the wealth in the world and the health with which to spend it." There are conditions in health where no money in the world is worth it...
...and there are blessings in the spirit that one would be utterly scorned to buy for all of the wealth in his house. It's not just love that is like that: humility, true humility, that someone who understands things would scorn rooms full of silver and gold to part with.
The proud person is enchanted with only one person, and the enchantment fails. The humble person sees the beauty in many people, and the beauty never ends.
"Do not store up treasures on earth," in the Sermon on the Mount, may seem to be the ultimate strict standard of sacrificial living.
It is a strict standard, but its plain sense may be the outer shell of an important inner meaning.
Not quite as concise as G.K. Chesterton's "Sir, I am," but concise.
True Woke is Repentance (long)
There are much better ways to wake up than becoming "woke."
Two Decisive Moments (short)
One of the moments is long ago. The other one can be right now.
Remembering something about Buddhism helped me when I was in a bit of a fix.
An article by someone who believes humans genuinely ARE a special flower and royal, on what evolution / revolutionary punk eek has to tell us who believe in the divine image.
- What Makes Me Uneasy About Fr. Seraphim (Rose) and His Followers (short)
A look at what exactly about Fr. Seraphim (Rose) and his followers could disturb an Orthodox Christian.
Among Christians, there's a debate about "headship". And those involved can miss something very important.
In the days of Luther, the Roman hegemony was strong enough that even Protestants had difficulties imagining how one could be at odds with the Roman Catholic Church and yet be right with God.
Feminism enjoys a similar position today for women's interests, but "the women's movement" is slipping, and there are signs a growing number find that "the women's movement" is not their movement.
Work offers something of a missed opportunity for many of us: drudgery we endure to get pay, rather than an opportunity to serve and enjoy in a very high sense.
It doesn't have to be this way, and there is in fact room for a mystical theology that encompasses work, and transforms it.
It took years for me to be ready to write this, but God's maximum Providence includes just where he has placed me in the history and pre-history of our human race.
Why we Should Believe in Hell (medium)
Hell is something you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy, but there are excellent reasons to believe such.
A look at a current recent convert's work.
A topic that comes readily to mind for many of us.
Orthodoxy is for the here and now, and happiness is for the here and now, not some other place we think we should have been placed.
Hucksters claim to be able to see details of Revelation fulfilled in our day.
Here is another way of taking our day's singularity seriously without getting into murky grounds interpreting Revelation.
(You might also be interested in material from other sections of this website, such as Stephanos, and An Orthodox looks at a Calvinist looking at Orthodoxy.)
Hymns and poems
An akathist hymn celebrating St. Philaret the Merciful of Asia Minor, who was generous and merciful when he had much, and remained no less generous and merciful when he had little or nothing.
There is a saying: "Only God and I exist."...
We may have hospitals to hide death from our eyes, but all of us are moving towards death, even if we are in denial as a society. But there is another way; love is stronger than death.
A poem to hymn the glory of God.
We thirst for glory. There is only one way that thirst is rightly slaked.
How Shall I Tell an Alchemist? (short)
A musing prayer about how to open the eyes of an alchemist.
A celebration of the resplendent beauty of the natural world.
In the New Testament, rarely if ever do Christ or the apostles thank God that everything is going their way.
Now everything going your way is something to be thankful for, but we also have things to be thankful for in hard times.
Written in the struggle not to reach for things that are not helpful.
A meditation on the Maximum Christ we approach and maximum repentance as the true realization of God's maximum ambition for our lives.
A poem pouring forth mystical theology of eternity, time, and that precious moment we call 'now'.
A poem about closed fists, open hands, and true joy.
A prayer and poem about pilgrimage on earth.
A Pilgrimage from Narnia (short)
A poem about a pilgrimage that begins with C.S. Lewis's Narnia and ever presses 'further up and further in.'
This was a tool I made for myself after realizing I wasn't spending nearly enough time praying through the Psalms. This will pull up different psalms, and there is a a mobile-friendly version too.
Silence: Organic Food for the Soul (medium)
A meditation on spiritual discipline and silence as an organic diet for the soul reaching out to the whole person.
Why This Waste? (short)
A poem that opens when a woman opens a priceless jar of perfume and a thief asks a question that was deeper than he knew: "Why This Waste?"
Odds and ends, curiosities and creative works
Suggested starting points include The Angelic Letters, The Best Things in Life Are Free, The Most Politically Incorrect Sermon in History: A Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount, and Technonomicon: Technology, Nature, Ascesis.
The Angelic Letters (medium)
A collection of letters from a senior angel to guide a guardian angel watching over a man, as envisioned by an Orthodox Christian. Inspired by C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters.
Apprentice gods (short)
A look at this life as an apprenticeship of becoming gods and time as the womb of eternal life.
A look at the best that's available for Orthodox Christian app seekers with iPhone and Android smartphones and tablets.
The Arena (short)
A work of mystical theology that looks at life as a great spiritual arena and training ground.
Athanasius: On Creative Fidelity (short)
Ever hear a broken record talking about how Orthodoxy has always been a matter of creative fidelity and never a matter of parrot-like repetition?
The Best Things in Life Are Free (short)
An exploration, connected with the chalice, of what it means that the best things in life are free.
Originally written to an audience of one.
Some minor tweaks on Martin Luther's most famous declaration.
A not-so-light parody of C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength.
When you're living life sucked into your phone, it seems like there is "nothing to do" when you do not return to the maternal breast of your phone. This is a list of activities intended to partly remediate that.
A commentary on the Sermon on the Mount intended to unfold just how it appears to be the most politically incorrect sermon ever.
St. John Chrysostom is well worth reading. Here is a note about how to get the best out of reading him.
Some very basic admonitions worth repeating.
An Orthodox Bookshelf (medium)
An Orthodox Bookshelf covering The Orthodox* Study Bible, some of the Fathers, Neo-Platonism, and one or two works today.
An Orthodox 'Physics', or study of the nature of things, designed to respond to Aristotle's 'Physics.'
A collection of short prayers for different occasions and purposes, offered to and for the Orthodox Church.
This is not something I've written (besides a preface), but something I put together from The Divine Lutirgy to help me understand the public parts of the Russian Liturgy. I offer it in the hope it may help others.
I was asked what my credentials were for the Classic Orthodox Bible. Here's how I replied.
The Refutation of All Heresies.
The Royal Letters (short)
Three intimate letters from a father to a son about God, kings, and men.
The Russian Orthodox Church has a lot of experience living with hard times. This piece talks about not only survival lessons but the spiritual beauty that can come in political and economic difficulties.
Sometimes the rumor mill gets things half-right.
As the text accompanying this beautiful icon begins, "St. John the Much-Suffering is a saint who fought industrial-strength sexual temptation for decades and WON in every sense of the term."
We are entranced by technology, and yearn for harmony with nature. But there is more to life than getting technology or taking walks in the woods.
Twelve quotes to explain in particular why Orthodoxy seems to have such a cold response to Catholic ecumenical advances.
Free online articles. These articles range over a number of topics, from business communication to unexpected reasons to study mathematics. As well as these, there's another section of miscellaneous nonfiction works. If you're looking for a place to start, I suggest AI as an arena of magical thinking for skeptics: artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and Eastern Orthodox views on personhood.
You probably know the story of the boy who cried, "Wolf!" Here's an updated version, with a lesson for business communication.
Some of us spend a lot of time thinking about what it means to be human. It's also worth thinking a little about animals.
Feminists have been meticulously picky about sexist language, but they do not apply their principle across age. It is anathema for "men" to include women, but unquestioned for "women" to include "girls" in the sense of female children.
Most people—pacifist or not—would agree to the claim that violence should be avoided, and that people should study alternatives to violence. Here's a chance to do just that.
A look at cruelty-free pet keeping and an unlikely candidate for a pet where one's living conditions would otherwise be cruel to something furry.
A political meditation.
We have not only gay pride but disability pride (I'm disabled), and an open-ended list of other prides. I ask: "Could we pursue a profoundly gifted humility?"
An article challenging something in the business world that is not brought forth for questioning nearly as often as it should be.
A look at what I have found useful for everyday carry.
I wrote this for a mailing list where I felt attacked for my beliefs—by people who didn't understand them. This post helped other list members to see why I thought certain ideas should be considered and not dismissed out of hand.
Wittgenstein's "forms of life" are a slippery concept, or at very least slippery to give good examples of. (An example is something preferably easy to understand, and the nature of "forms of life" is that it is difficult to see your own as "forms of life.
In one sense you have a better picture if you understand the standard critiques of some school of thought, or concept.
Here are what might be some helpful critiques of the nature connection movement.
A look that takes 'Getting to Yes' interest-based negotiation from hostile settings to win-win negotiations in a friendly setting. Examples are included.
A brief suggestion about the enterprise of philosophy.
The Fulfillment of Feminism (medium)
An essay following The Patriarchy we object to which talks about how feminism might find its home.
This was an attempt to think outside of the box. It failed, but there may be something very interesting in how it failed.
An essay I wrote in college about how masculinity and femininity are real, good, and part of how we are meant to flourish.
A look at what the Incarnation means for practical, lived life, and how it may be present or absent in Orthodoxy, Islam, and Protestant Christianity.
A conservative alumnus answers questions posed by his egalitarian thesis advisor from a minor degree.
Killing a culture kills a lot of things.
Knights and Ladies (medium)
A more recent treatment of masculinity and femininity which tries to go deeper, and voice something important that has been unspoken.
- Learning a Language Like Russian
- I am familiar with several language and wanted to write down my own experience and technique in learning languages.
An Orthodox Christian reader looks at Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, originally titled The Heretic, as a Christological heresy.
A look at ethical issues connected with icons, Theophany, Creation, animals, and meat from an Eastern Orthodox Christian perspective.
A look at current trends.
A very helpful work for Orthodox who want to know what Rome's embrace to us really means.
One Presbyterian minister took the time to earn a doctorate from an Orthodox seminary... and wrote some reflections which left me wondering what he'd missed. I think his impressions may be a lot of people's impressions, and I think he's given a pretty candid take.
This note quotes the original reflections (with permission), and posts my reply to what seemed like getting a lot of details right but missing how they fit together in the big picture.
The Patriarchy we object to (medium)
A talk about some of what Orthodoxy can say to feminism.
Mainstream biology speaks of "neo-Darwinian evolution."
In fact all theories of evolution, including Darwin's, have been dead in the academy for so long that they no longer even small bad!
This meditation looks at privilege—the privilege of celebrities, which the author does not have and has no desire for, and then other forms of privilege which make the concrete fabric of the author's life.
Attention is paid to childhood literary heroes, and moves on to looking at what can be found in the lives of the saints.
A brief meditation about the conservatism that can be associated with profound giftedness.
A seminary paper.
Some Thoughts about Heaven (short)
Heaven is meant to be important to earth.
Academic articles in identity politics make a standard, boilerplate, footnoteless assertion that nobody else in the whole wide world could have it as rough as the author's demographic.
The only exception I've seen to this is an article by a privileged, white, woman professor who wrote about (various kinds of) dirt and dirty jobs and said that the worst jobs with dirt coming from the human body are usually done by poor women of color. And this article did not make the case that poor women of color are the worst-off victims and no one could possibly have life rougher; it just made the point that this demographic does much of the most disgusting work.
Here is a slightly closer look about that assertion.
Scott Peck, in People of the Lie missed some important things in his own data, some of which are drawn out here.
Theology of Play (short)
It sometimes seems easier to think about why work is important, than why play is important. This is an essay on why play is important.
A Treatise on Touch (medium)
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made is written by the doctor who found out that leprosy ravages the body by destroying the sense of touch. He recounts a story about getting sick, letting his foot fall asleep, thinking he had leprosy, realizing his error, and living a life alive to touch as he had never done before. This is part of that story's impact on me.
A few carefully chosen purchases can genuinely support happiness. However, acquisitiveness is not a route to happiness.
A study of two of the greatest scholar's works that looks at the Un-man's tales in C.S. Lewis's Perelandra, with eyes wide shut.
The West doesn't get Islam...
...and Western efforts to just understand Islam leave us further, not closer, to understanding Islam and Muslims.
Why Study Mathematics? (short)
Have you ever felt like mathematics was a secret game that everybody but you understood? Here's the secret.
A look at why some people insist on a young earth creation in the face of scientists' constant claims that evolution is the only game in town—and why they're not completely wrong.
Those gifted enough interact with the Zeitgeist in an interesting way. A quote: "It is my general experience that gifted and profoundly gifted people are not, in fact, unaffected by the Zeitgeist. Often they may want to challenge the Zeitgeist, but it is not characteristic to rise above it, and the more common pattern is to concentrate the Zeitgeist and to run ahead of it, perhaps getting into the game when it is greeted with hostility. In this case, I was disappointed when I realized the topic of the holy kiss had reached the status of being more or less fashionable. I felt, if anything, violated that I had channelled the Zeitgeist, a Zeitgeist that had spoken through my mouth."
A retrospective on some times I failed to exercise a Theory of Alien Minds, and failed in communication.
This is a "grab bag" of assorted creative works. Other sections have longer fiction and short stories; this offers a colorful collection of things you can't find other places. If you're looking for a place to start, I suggest A Dream of Light.
Christian Koans (medium)
A koan is a unique kind of story that is both short and powerful.
A Dream of Light (medium)
Dreamlike images flow throughout this narrative.
A look at true philosophy.
An exploration of seven different cultures in a world of pure goodness, a world without evil. This comes to mean seven forms of goodness which are sharply different from each other.
Game Review: Meatspace (medium)
It is, in a sense, a description of the ultimate game.
Fingerprinted Collects (short)
A short collection of prayers, in French and English.
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (short)
A twist on the classic Dr. Seuss story.
A marvelously silly game from planet Espiriticthus.
Jobs for Theologians (short)
An irreverent look at jobs available in theology.
Worth a brief look.
The Modern Baccaulaureate (short)
You've heard of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Modern Major-General"? Here's an update.
You may not know how much you are appreciated!
The Portal (medium)
The Portal is an interactive story. You're the hero.
What is it like to meet someone who is considered to be in the profoundly gifted range?
Romantic Impressions (medium)
A set of vignettes trying to capture romantic impressions like the 19th century Romantics did.
The Way of the Way (medium)
An "early work" collection of poems underscoring something I sensed in Christianity that can be hard to see from the West.
Here are two journals I've kept. If you're looking at a place to start, I suggest Journal of an Awakening.
Journal of an Awakening (long)
A journal of a spiritual awakening.
A journal of ideas I wished to record.
This is from a lecture and "reading aloud by the author" session.
A letter to the reader about God, some of my flaws, and God's work even in a flawed person such as Yours Truly.
- The Case for Uncreative Web Design (medium)
Many people think good web design means making a design that's different from other websites. This article argues another perspective.
- "Concept Demo" Awards Program (medium)
A carefully thought-out resource for reviewers for web awards program, on how to best present their programs to the web.
A discussion from a mailing list.
Part of an even bigger failure.
Jonathan's canon (medium)
An annotated bibliography of works that have influenced me, that I would like to pass on.
On Kything (medium)
Excerpted from the Journal of an awakening.
Memory and Prayer (short)
Do you believe that prayer is a good thing, but struggle to enjoy it for more than two minutes? I did for a long time; then something clicked.
On Mentorship (medium)
A description of mentorship that has more than technique.
The author wonders if a new term might be helpful in one very specific case.
Not Stressed? (medium)
This is something I wrote about spiritual discipline and stress. I went to a Bible study that talked about dealing with stress, and when I heard the discussion, I realized that I was living at a much lower level of stress than what was assumed. I thought about how to explain why I experience less stress, and I realized that stress was the tip of the iceberg.
The phrase "The customer is always right!" heralded in good customer service in an age of bad customer service.
Now some companies take "The customer is always right!" in a way that rewards customers who burn out their employees. This is a call to treat employees as human beings and perhaps free them to offer better customer service.
An Open Letter to Spam Patrons (short)
Do you hate spam? Here's a letter you can send to business owners who don't understand why spamming is bad.
Seven-Sided Gem (medium)
This lecture was given at Mensa's Chicago Regional Gathering, and was meant to share several facets of interesting personal experience.
Something I wrote when my brothers were twelve to introduce them to programming. It tries to be very simple—just enough so kids can start tinkering.
There was something I missed in school, and had to invent myself. This book is for bright young people, and their parents, who would want to know what I've learned about thinking.
This section has free online novels. Other free online books include Yonder and Hayward's unabridged dictionary: a free online (satire) dictionary, or the how-to book Tinkering With Perl.
But the novels are right here, and several of them are Orthodox books. As well as these novels, you can also see short stories and other assorted creations. If you're looking for a place to start, I suggest The Sign of the Grail.
The Christmas Tales (long)
Several pilgrims speak over the Christmas meal.
A Cord of Seven Strands (long)
A novella which explores the connection between a circle of friends as they pass through harrowing experiences.
Firestorm 2034 (long)
A science fiction story about a medieval who is transported to the 21st century, and the chaos that ensues. It explores decades of shift in technology and culture. Heinlein fans will note a resemblance to Stranger in a Strange Land, which I drew on—perhaps they'll like this one, too.
The Sign of the Grail (long)
In this Orthodox book, a college freshman explores his room and finds a book, Brocéliande, and his eyes begin to open when he starts to read legends of King Arthur's court.
The Steel Orb (long)
The Steel Orb is an Orthodox book that tells a story from a world that has been simmering in my heart for years. It concerns a young pupil who wants to be a teacher, and the struggles he goes through on the way. It is a fantasy novella based on the patristic Orthodox East instead of the medieval Catholic West.
This section has Christian jokes and humor, and the lighter side of Orthodoxy. If you are looking for a place to start, I suggest Archdruid of Canterbury Visits Orthodox Patriarch. But free to check out the Orthodox books section too.
1054 and All That (short)
The confused person's guide to being even more confused about Orthodoxy.
If you don't know what this refers to, do a Google search for "Archbishop of Canterbury becoming a Druid." The issue is more complex than it looks, but not that much more complex.
They're at it. (Again.)
You may have heard of the Evangelicals who studied hard, tried to re-create the Early Christian Church, and rediscovered the Orthodox Church. Here's an update.
Hot off the trail of the Pope's offer to Anglicans comes a new historic bid, this time aimed at Eastern Rite Catholics(!).
The most convenient way to become an Orthodox bishop.
Funny how those who speak of "crank magnetism" have a magnetism to a standard model they are magnetically stuck to. (And no, I'm not interested in Individual Sovereignty, Wh*te N*t**n*l*sm, or a moon landing hoax when the U.S.S.R. had every vested interest and competency to debunk any U.S. / NASA forgery.)
A "Two can play at this game!" gotcha.
Ambrose Bierce wrote a classic of wit and satire, called The Devil's Dictionary. This book follows in that tradition, and comments on any number of things in American life.
In historical fiction, there are almost always people whose psyches are like our contemporaries: postmoderns in armor or whatever the historically accurate garb of the day was. Here is, ostensibly, such a work by an ancient author writing "historical" fiction set in our day.
There is a considerable buzz among New Testament scholars among the discovery of a nearly complete manuscript to the book of the Bible called Romans.
Inspired by a visit to a "seeker service." To those unacquainted with Christian lingo, this means a church service which tries to reach out to people seeking God—but "reach out to people seeking God" really means, "put on a circus."
A strange archaeological find (medium)
Read a 26th century historian as he extols the poetic beauty of a light bulb, praises Darwinism as a truly great myth... and analyzes a rather strange archaeological find.
A leading nutriceutical supplement MLM announces a line of Kool-Aid for its distributors, containing some of the most powerful plant toxins available to "humankind."
Sometimes it's not just psychologists trying to keep up with the physicists.
A twist on a classic passage from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy dealing with today's Woke Studies.
A pyramid scheme that is actually based on relativity or modern physics!
Scholarly Works, Dissertations, and Ideas
This section includes dissertations, other scholarly works, and works that have a scholar's heart, so to speak, but which I was not able to properly develop in an academic setting. These works cover both the sciences (math and computers) and humanities (generally theology).
An Abstract Art of Memory (medium)
The ancient Greeks developed an art of memory that is very good with concrete facts. I wanted to see if I could adapt the principles to be more effective in storing abstractions.
My second master's thesis, from Cambridge. It's theology (or what is considered academic theology at a university, which isn't really theology at all), and touches on a number of interesting areas.
There were a few ideas that stayed with me from what I did while exploring and working for my master's (or my first masters, at least). This offers a model of computation that is theoretically more powerful than a Turing machine; however I don't believe it does so in an interesting way.
This is not written to scholarly standards, but it contains the germ of potential academic exploration.
The thesis I wrote for my first master's. It represents something unusual: a development in pure mathematics (even if I had an applied mathematics degree so I could get the Computational Science and Engineering option), that arose from practical problems in applied math and computer science.
My first thesis in academic theology, looking at how the concept of dark patterns or anti-patterns may illuminate recurring tendencies in the wrong kind of advocate scholarship.
This offers something fundamentally better than arbitrary precision's arithmetic letting you choose where the digits drop off. It stores any (computable) number exactly, and offers print-on-demand decimalizations.
If you originally calculate a number to three decimal places, and later find you need six, or want the user to be able to specify any number of decimal places you can't know in advance, no problem. Just ask for six or a user-entered number of decimal places: no need to refactor all of your code. And if an exact number is generated by someone else's code, you need not dig into that code to get your preferred number of decimal places.
This also does not suffer the corruption on arithmetic operation that slowly corrupts float- (or arbitrary-precision) arithmetic.
This is not written to scholarly standards, but it contains the germ of potential academic exploration.
After years of being a pariah and whipping boy, the Blessed Augustine is going through a rehabilitation. This is an essay I wrote where Augustine served to me as a Church Father and as a halfway house between a Western, more philosophical approach to theology and the Eastern, mystical ocean I needed to dive into.
The essay looks at Augustine with respect but calls to task some of the silliness in people who are willing to be selective about Augustine's own words in order to make him look better.
To be human is to have a profound gift in the first place, and one that far overshadows what psychology refers to as "profound giftedness". But that "profound giftedness" is both human and interesting. Here's an article looking at it from a theological perspective.
This article was occasioned by the discovery of some of what programmers ironically call, buried treasure: in this case, current Orthodox positions on contraception often are built on top of the buried treasure. Maybe this buried treasure is, as the definition in the jargon file says, "something that needs to be dug up and removed."
This is a nonscholarly writeup of what I had hoped to explore in my doctoral dissertation in theology. Alas, I was unable to complete the program!
This work is dense, but not written for scholarly audiences. It does, however, quote the germ of a master's thesis that I was actively prevented from completing.
Here are short stories you can read online for free. Besides the short stories, there are some works of fiction in the assorted creations and free online novels. If you're looking for a place to start, I suggest Unashamed.
A science fiction tribute to Damon Knight, "To Serve Man."
The Commentary (medium)
This is a piece of wisdom literature about a man who has been searching for the Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, in One Volume, Containing a Careful Analysis of All Cultural Issues Needful to Understand the Bible as Did Its First Readers... and why he is so very unhappy when he finds what he desires.
A professor offers to make anything an image that shows the glory of God.
Some students nominate porn.
A Glimpse Through a Crystal (short)
A dream about another world.
The Metacultural Gospel (medium)
A fictionalized Gospel account set in contemporary America. It tries to convey how genuinely shocking a person is described in the Gospels—and how he'd still be stunning, today.
The Monastery (short)
The story of a traveller moving deeper and deeper into a monastery—in more ways than one.
A Picture of Evil (short)
What, exactly, is the nature of evil? Read about three painters who tried to show it.
There is more to this man than meets the eye. He appears quite ordinary; he's learned that skill well enough...
Stephanos begins when a boy enters a temple to get away from his sister...
A Strange Picture (short)
Why was a picture of beauty so disturbing?
Abigail loves to sit down at a keyboard and improvise with her father. Why is she afraid one day?
The Voyage (medium)
A disillusioned young man wants to escape into another world, a magical world, and finds an old man who might help him.
There's more connecting these three items than you might think. But the differences are more than meets the eye, too.
A Wonderful Life (medium)
It really doesn't matter if the situation is ordinarily bad or extraordinarily bad. Not for what really counts.
Socratic dialogue: philosophy with more than a dash of drama. If you're looking for a place to start, I reccommend The Watch.
A look at "Christ is risen!" as the foundation to everyday living.
Many people reading Boethius's classic The Consolation of Philosophy wonder why the Christian author did not write a consolation of theology.
This represents an attempt to write what people wondered why Boethius did not write.
The Damned Backswing (short)
A dialogue about a "damned backswing" that keeps coming up in life and society.
How Shall We Live This Instant? (medium)
Humans have long lived as hunter-gatherers, then in a geological eyeblink adopted the agricultural revolution, and then in an eyeblink even compared to the agricultural revolution, spin out in a cascading, coruscating, coruscating succession of technologies.
In shaky times, many people look to the Law of Attraction. Orthodox Christianity has a way to delve deeper.
A Socratic dialogue between a fan of Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land and an Orthodox theologian about Martian and human life, happiness, and the Paleo diet.
The Mindstorm (medium)
A dialogue which has a brilliant alumnus return to his school and discuss philosophy of education with its founder.
A slightly updated look at Plato's Allegory of the Cave... or perhaps not really an updated look at all. Should the most famous piece of Socratic dialogue have been called the Allegory of the Television?
A Socratic dialogue about the present cultural singularity emanating from the West and reaching across the globe.
The dialogue is between Merlin, chrismated John, and Herodotus.
A slightly different perspective from "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."
God is spirit, and he invites us to be spirit too.
"Do You Want to Date My Avatar?" is a viral music video that is funny and demure by music video standards. At first glance, at least...
The Watch (medium)
On the surface, it's about a watch that has another way of telling time. Under the surface...
Within the steel orb (medium)
Does Einstein's theory of relativity say anything that relativism does not? Or does relativism say anything that Einstein's theory of relativity does not?
Is there a difference that matters?
A sleek car under starlight, a different kind of information technology, a deep, blue-robed host, and the wisdom of a Socratic dialogue in a science fiction world.
Yonder is a science fiction story that starts in a world where mind and body are separate. Or at least that's one way of looking at it. You could also describe it as a miniature Divine Comedy, a journey which begins in Hell and ends in Heaven, but uses none of the traditional imagery: Hell is a place where you can have any pleasure you want, while Heaven is a place with intense suffering.
Here are a collection of works about technology, programming, web design, and hackerdom. You may also be interested in the open source software projects section and possibly Technonomicon: Technology, Nature, Ascesis. If you're looking for a place to start, I suggest The Luddite's Guide to Technology: fasting from technologies or Passwords Maker.
As I look back on my programming experience, the most important things were not writing low-level serialization routines, or stunning optimizations that drew on deep theory. All I Really Needed to Learn About Programming, I Learned from Java.
Many people think good web design means making a design that's different from other websites. This article argues another perspective.
Mac OSX and now iOS have a reputation for pushing the envelope on user experience.
But at the same time, they've grown increasingly nasty to Unix aficionados.
Here's a suggestion about what is good in OSX.
The result may surprise you.
The title "The Luddite's Guide to Technology" is quite deliberately ironic. The content, a work of Orthodox mystical theology, is not ironic, and is a discussion of spiritually disciplined use of today's technology. The discussion is meant to provide a roadmap and provoke reflection.
Once upon a time Apple worked hard to make overtures to the Unix community, and the NSString used in programming iOS has the initials of "NeXTSTEP" Unix that Steve Jobs worked on before returning to Apple as CEO.
Times have changed.
I've received plenty of requests for people who want the precious gift of an unpaid one-way inbound link but write letters that telegraph, "I neither know nor care what your site is about." Among these are letters that claim to be tremendously impressed by my whole work but do not mention any particular detail of any particular work. (I do get the sporadic email from people who are genuinely very impressed, but they usually do not have the slightest difficulty pinpointing what, exactly, impressed them.)
This is an article about how to make link requests that won't make it to my spam folder... and, perhaps, how to avoid other website owners' spam folders as well.
Passwords Maker (short)
It can be surprisingly difficult to make a password that is both strong and secure on the one hand, and not impossible to remember. Sure, if your password is "BQRaW3@8-i--d5bce" it is going to be a hard password for anyone malicious to guess, but that kind of password is hard to remember, and for that matter hard enough to type in!
This is a revision of a classic guide for managers confused by hackers they've hired. Not the vandals who break into other people's computers—the other kind of hacker, the law-abiding kind. Haven't heard of them? Here's a chance to do just that.
Tinkering With Perl (long)
Something I wrote when my brothers were twelve to introduce them to programming. It tries to be very simple—just enough so kids can start tinkering.
A look at a 'theory of alien minds' that is relevant, and profoundly useful to, UX and especially usability.
Programmers can easily enough make software with an interface that makes sense only to them. This is a discussion of personal attributes that many programmers can draw on to make software that is much more usable.
An introduction to Python that looks at usability as one of the most fundamental aspects of the language.
If you do your own search, there are queries you might special-case.
If someone said, "I wish I were gifted enough that people would start harassing me," the response may be "Huh?"
But that doesn't make the experience any less real.
The poem "Invictus" is a horror. As said in this lecture, it is squeaky-clean free of racism and doesn't contain a single racial slur, but it's just the thing to appeal to the kind of misguided soul who would actually try to make racism into a heroic virtue.
Part of what I said fell flat: "I'm not racist! Some of my best friends are tan! Well, maybe not in this [February] weather..."
Texting while driving is dangerous; we've learned that texting is a strong enough technological drug not to mix with driving. But there are other lessons in life besides "Hang up and drive!" This is especially true with the technological drug of the iPhone.
- Get to the point: Humor Delivers Pain (short)
People see humor as joyful, but take away a joke's pain and what's left isn't funny. As Mark Twain the humor wrote, "The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in Heaven." Orthodoxy would agree.
There is an experience beyond being a big fish in a small pond, and it matters tremendously for some people.
A look at the relation between simplicity, complexity, and the simplicity that matters most.
If I were to give one last lecture, what would it be? The answer is something close to this ragged lecture.
Toastmasters Icebreakers tend to be individualistic. I took flak through an off-topic speech, but this speech was one that talked about connections that make me more fully human, and not so much about me myself.