Category: Mystical Theology

  • Orthodoxy and Religious Experience

    How do we experience God? Do we hear voices? Do we sense a presence? Are there physical sensations involved? Should we see light or feel warmed? Some may be surprised to hear that our belief in God is not based in an interior human experience. Such things stretch across an incredible variety (such is the…

  • Boundaries, Borders, and the True God

    Years ago, as a young seminarian, I wanted to paint icons. I knew nothing about icons, only that I liked them and that they were holy. The vast wealth of books and materials on their meaning and even on the technique of painting them simply did not exist. My knowledge of painting was also non-existent.…

  • Messiness in the Modern World

    Salvation can be messy. I believe this with all my heart and so I state it at the outset of this article. As such, it marks me as a heretic in Modernity. I not only believe that salvation is messy – I believe that messiness is pretty much inherent to salvation. And along with that,…

  • The Dangers of Apologetics

    Writing in the mid-2nd century, St. Justin produced his famous “Apology,” a defense of Christianity that plead for its toleration within the Roman Empire. Any number of famous examples of “apologetics” can be found in patristic writings – most serving as refutations of heretical teachings (such as St. Irenaeus’ Against the Heresies or St. Athanasius…

  • The Texture of Life and the Kingdom

    There is a “texture of life” that cannot be reduced. It has a richness that rational descriptions cannot capture. Though we battle with powerful forces that draw us towards the destructiveness of sin – there is written deep within us a hunger for wholeness and the capacity for God. In the words of St. John,…

  • Dust of the Earth

    “You are dust, and to dust you shall return…” (Gen. 3:18) Human beings have a fundamental bond with the planet on which we live – we are made of its stuff. We are not made of Mars dirt, or Moon dust, Jupiter gas, or Saturn rings. We are made of earth dust – we always…

  • Is Anybody There? Speaking to the Heart

    “Talking to you is like talking to a fence post!” I can still hear the words. I don’t remember who said them – but I heard them sometime in my teenage years. The occasion was doubtless some sort of argument. There were many things to argue about: Love, Peace, War, Jesus, Drugs, Sex, Rock ‘n…

  • Passionately Drunk

    The Philokalia, that wonderful collection of writings by the fathers on prayer of the heart, has as its full title, The Philokalia of the Neptic Saints gathered from our Holy Theophoric Fathers, through which, by means of the philosophy of ascetic practice and contemplation, the intellect is purified, illumined, and made perfect. Little wonder it is…

  • The Incomprehensible God

    In ’03 there was a small Indy film, Dopamine. The story involves a young computer programmer who is part of a small tech start-up in the Bay Area developing an artificially-lived computer character. The cartoon-like bird, can “hear,” “see,” and “interact,” with the user. The tech company manages to place its prototype in a children’s…

  • What We Really Want

    One of the great misunderstandings of our modern world centers around the place of the “will” in our lives. Modern democracies are built around slogans of freedom and fancy themselves to be the vanguard of advancing that cause. It has been a powerful force. Coupled with various aspects of free-market capitalism and the technological revolutions…


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  1. Fr. Stephen, thank you for the clarification. I hope you go on to “fill in the blanks” with more posts.…

  2. Ah, Father! Your words bring back memories as I came to The Church from a Christian organization from one for…

  3. Thank you for the swift response, Father! Now that you’ve pointed it out, I realize I’ve not properly acknowledged the…


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