Category: Mystical Theology

  • 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…

  • A Single Moment

    Grushenka, a character in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, relates a now-famous fable about an old woman: Once upon a time there was a woman, and she was wicked as wicked could be, and she died. And not one good deed was left behind her. The devils took her and threw her into the lake of…

  • To See God

    Across the Old Testament, there are various encounters with God of an unusual sort. Moses speaks with God-as-fire in the burning bush. Jacob wrestles with God as an angel/man throughout the night. Abraham entertains God by the oaks of Mamre. Isaiah sees God, “high and lifted up,” and heard the angels singing the thrice-holy hymn.…

  • The Erotic Language of Prayer

      The very heart of true prayer is desire, love. In the language of the Fathers this desire is called eros. Modern usage has corrupted the meaning of “erotic” to only mean sexual desire – but it is a profound word, without substitute in the language of the Church. I offer a quote from Dr.…

  • Before the Judgment Seat of Christ

    For a Christian ending to our life: painless, unashamed, and peaceful; and a good defense before the dread judgment seat of Christ, let us ask of the Lord. From my childhood, I have memories of the phrase, “Great White Throne of Judgment.” It comes complete with an abundance of frightening images and threats. It is…

  • The Liturgy of Life

    In the earliest years of my Orthodox parish, we rented a “warehouse” space. Essentially, it was a store front with warehouse storage place in the rear. It was a daunting task to stand in a bare, concrete room with heating machinery hanging from the ceiling and an overhead door gracing the back wall with the…

  • Knowing the Knowledge that Transforms

    “If only I had known…” These are, not infrequently, the words of an apology. They are also an explanation of why we are sometimes the way we are. Ignorance is, in the mind of the Fathers, a major cause of sin. Of course, if sin is understood in a legal/forensic framework, then ignorance would be…

  • Robed in the Glorious Garment of Salvation

    “My soul shall rejoice in the Lord, for He has clothed me with the garment of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of gladness; as a bridegroom He has set a crown on me; and as a bride adorns herself with jewels, so my God has adorned me.” With these words from Isaiah,…


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  1. Something I love about Orthodox theology is it’s both/and approach. Both faith and works. Both nature and grace. Both God…


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