Orthodox Theology and Technology: A Profoundly Gifted Autobiography Review

Orthodox Theology and Technology CJS Hayward CJS Hayward Publications 979-8584713522 $7.99 Paper/$.99 Kindle https://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Theology-Technology-Profoundly-Autobiography/dp/B08R4FTXH5

Orthodox Theology and Technology: A Profoundly Gifted Autobiography will attract two different kinds of readers: those interested in orthodox theology and its intersection with technology and personal life, and autobiography readers (especially those with some prior familiarity with CJS Hayward's weighty, expansive writings and reflections). It includes the kind of work that has drawn from prior readers responses of, "When I read it, I was stunned."

At a little over a hundred pages, this presentation will prove especially inviting for busy readers with only a cursory interest in Orthodoxy or Hayward.

Orthodox Theology and Technology opens with Hayward's musings about his life and work. His retrospective on life is explored in a 'Dear Reader' letter that moves from his teachings about math's simple beauty to how he has struggled "to become more human" in his approaches to (and perception of) life, theology, and everything in-between.

It will immediately become evident to readers that although Hayward's musings are quite accessible, they are also filled with observations that embrace philosophical, psychological, and theological reflection. Thus, they are weighty reading even when they strive for language and descriptions to attract a casual reader. Furthermore, they offer a unique encounter with the kind of mind that most readers encounter only in books written long ago and far away.

Orthodox Theology and Technology is no light collection of life encounters, but a deeply personal inspection of self and the spiritual works that drive relationships with God. Hayward is candid about his admittance of successes and failures in both arenas, as well as the impact of such writings on those who seek wisdom and faith: "I believe there is some merit in these pieces, but not that much: if they say something that needs to be said, they are limited to winning an argument. Theology can win an argument and some of the best theology is meant to win an argument, but the purpose of real theological writing is to draw people into the presence of God. These pieces may say something valuable, but they do not really do the job of theology: beckon the reader to worship before the throne of God." The effect is, at times, mesmerizing.

It's important to note that this survey of Hayward's life focuses on his scholarly and spiritual revelations at different points of his studies. This is no light romp through childhood and adult years, but a thought-provoking examination of the major influences on and developments of his intellectual pursuits. There is something here for everyone to take away, and the reading is meant to be rewarding to many different kinds of readers.

As such, it's a critical discussion of his involvement in mathematics and Orthodoxy that juxtaposes "a mathematician's approach to relating" with broader inspections of college studies, interactions with professors and peers, and the overall contributions of his evolving psyche and scholarly studies on the foundations of life perceptions which translated to his writing a series of books inspecting Orthodoxy's place in his world. This may seem very esoteric, but the book offers a real, live glimpse into such a world of mysticism and brilliance.

Some might deem these discussions wide-ranging ramblings; but for those truly interested in the foundations of Orthodox thinking and the influence of education on the pursuit of God and character, Orthodox Theology and Technology offers a window into how this passion and pursuit evolved against different kinds of obstacles. Readers looking for wonder will find many wonders are to be found in these works.

Additionally, as the end of the cyber-quarantine increasingly draws near, this book offers exceptional food for thought about "Do we really want to live this way?"

Anyone with an interest in Orthodoxy in general and Hayward's influences in particular should begin with Orthodox Theology and Technology before pursuing his other works. It is fascinating, providing a foundation for understanding, and a sense of his voice that will prove keys to a better appreciation of his writings.

[Diane Donovan
Senior Reviewer,
Midwest Book Review]