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?
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.
- Amazing Providence (short)
- One thing I have learned as a Christian is what it means for God to look after you.
- 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.
- Can You Smoke Without Inhaling? Martial Arts and the Orthodox Christian (medium)
- After ignoring an uneasy conscience, C.J.S. 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 Comparison Between the Mere Monk and the Highest Bishop
- St. John Chrysostom wrote A Comparison Between a King and Monk, which I tried and failed to locate at a U.S. library (it’s not on Orthodox Church Fathers, so far as I can tell). So I wrote my own.
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.
- Contemplation (short)
- We were made to enjoy contemplation, in more than one sense.
- 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?
- Desire (short)
- A meditation on covetousness, desire, and true happiness.
- Dastardly duo considered harmful: “Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives” and “Wounded by Love”
- A look at two works that may reveal less about Orthodoxy than fashion.
- Dissent: lessons from being an Orthodox theology student at a Catholic university (medium)
- 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, 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.
- 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.
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.
- The Horn of Joy: a meditation on eternity and time, kairos and chronos (medium)
- A meditation on eternity and time.
- How to Fnd a Job: A Guide for Orthodox Christians (short)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Lesser Icons: Reflections on Faith, Icons, and Art (medium)
- An Orthodox artist looks at art as a variety of icon.
- Monasticism for Protestants
- 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.
- Modus Tollens: Meandering Reflections on Life, Faith, and Politics (medium)
- 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.
- Monarchy (short)
- A meditation of mystical theology about kings and kingdoms, monarchs and monarchy.
- A homily touching on a subject that doesn’t get much treatment for how important it is.
- Book Review: A New Face on an Old Ecumenism (The Orthodox Dilemma Second Edition : Personal Reflections on Global Pan-Orthodox Christian Conciliar Unity)
- 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.
- 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.
- Oops… Could the Western Rite Please Try Again? (short)
- 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 to Catholics on Orthodoxy and Ecumenism (medium)
- An open letter about an elephant in the room that Orthodox are painfully aware of and Catholics seem not to see at all.
- Ordinary (short)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- Virtue is its own reward.
Repentance leads us into the rewards of virtue.
It is Heaven’s best-kept secret.
- Rules of Engagement
- 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.
- 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.
- The Swiss Army Knife and God (short)
- Do Swiss Army Knives offer a lens to see God with?
- Take Your Shoes Off Your Feet, For the Place Where You Stand Is Holy Ground (medium)
- 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?
- The Transcendent God Who Approaches Us Through Our Neighbor (short)
- 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.
- Treasures in Heaven: The Inner Meaning of “Do Not Store Up Treasures on Earth”
- “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.
Two Decisive Moments (short)
- One of the moments is long ago. The other one can be right now.
- What Evolutionists Have to Say to the Royal, Divine Image: We Are Missing Something (short)
- 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.
- What the Present Debate Will Not Tell You About Headship (short)
- Among Christians, there’s a debate about “headship”. And those involved can miss something very important.
- Where is the good of women? Feminism is called “The women’s movement.” But is it? (medium)
- 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.
- Your Own, Personal Hell (medium)
- It has always been seductively easy to create your own, Personal Hell. The Fathers say that the gates of Hell are bolted and barred from the inside, that Hell is self-chosen, that there are in the end there are two types of people: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God ultimately says, “Thy will be done.” And some have suggested that even the fire of Hell is the Light of Heaven as experienced through the rejection of the only joy we can ultimately have, Christ Himself.
(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.
- 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.
- A meditation on the Maximum Christ we approach and maximum repentance as the true realization of God’s maximum ambition for our lives.
- Now (short)
- A poem pouring forth mystical theology of eternity, time, and that precious moment we call ‘now’.
- Open (short)
- A poem about closed fists, open hands, and true joy.
- Pilgrim (short)
- 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?”
- A Yoke That Is Easy and a Burden That Is Light (short)
- A prayer.
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.
- Apps and mobile websites for the Orthodox Christian smartphone and tablet: best iPhone, iPad, Droid, Samsung, Android, Kindle, and Blackberry mobile websites and apps (short)
- 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.
- Bible verse (short)
- This page loads a different randomly selected Bible verse each time, and provides a link to read it in context.
- Christmas Gift Guide 2015: A Tale of Two Watches…
- An interesting guide to of some of the best Christmas guides available today, from an author who would much rather say “Christmas” than “holiday.”
- A commentary on the Sermon on the Mount intended to unfold just how it appears to be the most politically incorrect sermon ever.
- 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.’
- Prayers (short)
- A collection of short prayers for different occasions and purposes, offered to and for the Orthodox Church.
- Public Portions of the Divine Liturgy, in Russian and in English
- 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.
- Refutatio Omnium Hæresium
- The Refutation of All Heresies
- The Royal Letters (short)
- Three intimate letters from a father to a son about God, kings, and men.
- From Russia, With Love: A Spiritual Guide to Surviving Political and Economic Disaster (long)
- 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.
- 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 on Orthodoxy, Ecumenism, and Catholicism (short)
- 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.
- The Administrator Who Cried, “Important!” (medium)
- You probably know the story of the boy who cried, “Wolf!” Here’s an updated version, with a lesson for business communication.
- Animals (medium)
- 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.
- 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 Disruptive Take on Unbranding
- An article challenging something in the business world that is not brought forth for questioning nearly as often as it should be.
- The Evolution of a Perspective on Creation and Origins (medium)
- 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.
- A look that takes ‘Getting to Yes’ interest-based negotiation from hostile settings to win-win negotiations in a friendly setting. Examples are included.
- The Fulfillment of Feminism (medium)
- An essay following The Patriarchy we object to which talks about how feminism might find its home.
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.
- The Hayward nonstandard test: an interesting failure (medium)
- This was an attempt to think outside of the box. It failed, but there may be something very interesting in how it failed.
- He Created Them Male and Female, Masculine and Feminine (short)
- An essay I wrote in college about how masculinity and femininity are real, good, and part of how we are meant to flourish.
- The Incarnation: Orthodoxy, Islam, and the Reformation (medium)
- 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 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.
- “Inclusive” Language and Other Debates: An Orthodox Alumnus Responds to His Advisor (medium)
- A conservative alumnus answers questions posed by his egalitarian thesis advisor from a minor degree.
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.
- Looking at “Stranger in a Strange Land” as a Modern Christological Heresy (medium)
- An Orthodox Christian reader looks at Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, originally titled The Heretic, as a Christological heresy.
- Meat (medium)
- A look at ethical issues connected with icons, Theophany, Creation, animals, and meat from an Eastern Orthodox Christian perspective.
- An Orthodox Looks at a Calvinist Looking at Orthodoxy (Medium)
- 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.
- Privilege, pure privilege—extreme privilege (medium)
- 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.
- Some Thoughts about Heaven (short)
- Heaven is meant to be important to earth.
- 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.
- Un-man’s tales: C.S. Lewis’s Perelandra, fairy tales, and feminism (medium)
- 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.
- Why Young Earthers Aren’t Completely Crazy (short)
- 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.
- Zeitgeist and Giftedness
- 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.”
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.
- Espiriticthus: cultures of a fantasy world not touched by evil
- 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.
- I learned it all from Jesus (short)
- A poster in the tradition of “How To Be An Artist” and “I Learned It All In Kindergarden”.
- A marvelously silly game from planet Espiriticthus.
Jobs for Theologians (short)
- An irreverent look at jobs available in theology.
- The modern baccaulaureate (short)
- You’ve heard of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Modern Major-General”? Here’s an update.
- The Portal (medium)
- The Portal is an interactive story. You’re the hero.
- Profoundly Gifted Magazine: an Interview with Maximos Planos
- 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.
- Musings (long)
- A journal of ideas I wished to record.
- Actually, to Me, It Is a Very Good Day (medium)
- This is from a lecture and “reading aloud by the author” session.
- Amos and Andy represent a low point, a shameful low point, in U.S. race relations and politics as a whole.
Some have said that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme. This is a look at, so to speak, something in today’s political arena that seems reminiscent of Amos and Andy.
Join a new Amos and a new Andy as they discuss politics, Republicans, prejudice, and Barack Obama!
- An Author’s Musing Memoirs: Retrospective Reflections, Retracings, and Retractions (medium)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Tinkering With Perl
- 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.
- The way I think (short)
- 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.
- Devotees of Fr. Cherubim (Jones) demand his immediate canonization and full recognition as “Equal to the Heirophants” (short)
- They’re at it. (Again.)
- Evangelical converts striving to Be Orthodox (short)
- 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.
- Pope Makes Historic Ecumenical Bid to Woo Eastern Rite Catholics (short)
- Hot off the trail of the Pope’s offer to Anglicans comes a new historic bid, this time aimed at Eastern Rite Catholics(!).
- Your fast track to becoming a Bishop! (short)
- 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.)
- 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.
- Inclusive language Greek manuscript discovered (short)
- 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.
- Unvera Announces New Kool-Aid Line (short)
- 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.
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).
- ABSOLUTE Precision Arithmetic with Arbitrary Precision OUTPUT
- 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.
- 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.
- AI as an Arena of Magical Thinking Among Skeptics (long)
- 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.
- Closeness Spaces: Elementary Explorations Into Generalized Metric Spaces, and Ordered Fields Derived From Them
- 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.
- Dark Patterns / Anti-patterns and Cultural Context Study of Scriptural Texts: A Case Study in Craig Keener’s Paul, Women, and Wives: Marriage and Women’s Ministry in the Letters of Paul (medium)
- 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.
- Does Augustine Return to the Interpersonal Image of Love as Representing the Trinity, or Does He Abandon This in Favour of the Psychological Image?(medium)
- 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.
- Frankincense, Gold, and Myrrh: A Look at Profound Giftedness Through Orthodox Anthropology (medium)
- 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.
- Orthodoxy, Contraception, and Spin Doctoring: A Look at an Influential and Disturbing Article (long)
- 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.”
- “Religion and Science” Is Not Just Intelligent Design vs. Evolution
- 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!
- Zeitgeist and Giftedness
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- The Law of Attraction: a dialogue with an Eastern Orthodox Christian mystic (medium)
- In shaky times, many people look to the Law of Attraction. Orthodox Christianity has a way to delve deeper.
Martianhuman complete set of working instructions to happiness: life, the Paleo diet, (Paleo) Orthodoxy, and other things (medium)
- 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.
- Spirit (medium)
- God is spirit, and he invites us to be spirit too.
- Veni, vidi, vomi: a look at “Do You Want to Date My Avatar?” (short)
- “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 (long)
- 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.
- All I really needed to learn about programming, I learned From Java (short)
- 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.
- The Case for Uncreative Web Design
- Many people think good web design means making a design that’s different from other websites. This article argues another perspective.
- The Luddite’s Guide to Technology: Fasting from Technologies (long)
- 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.
- Macs are now Super.Computer.s running “IRIX,” a Super.Computer. OS!
- 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.
- An Open Letter to Other Link Prospectors
- 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.
- Usability, the Soul of Python: an introduction to the Python programming language (medium)
- An introduction to Python that looks at usability as one of the most fundamental aspects of the language.
- Your Site’s Missing Error Page
- Think you’ve covered the bases in appropriate error pages? 404 and 500 covered professionally? You’ve still got at least one left.
- The ice breaker: Why such harassment? (short)
- 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.
- Organize your speech: iPhones and spirituality (short)
- 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.