Saturday, October 4, 2014

"The Best of Jonathan's Corner" by C. J. S. Hayward

EXCERPT
The Best of Jonathan's Corner
by C. J. S. Hayward


The Best of Jonathan's Corner is currently on tour with Enchanted Book Promotions. The tour stops here today an excerpt. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
The Best of Jonathan’s Corner, newly expanded after getting five star reviews, is a collection of varied works of Eastern Orthodox mystical theology. It spans many topics and many different genres of writing, but it keeps coming back to the biggest questions of all. It is inexhaustible: the works are independent, and you can read a few, many, or all of them to suit your taste. Fans of C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton will love it.

Excerpts
From "A Pet Owner's Rules"
God is a pet owner who has two rules, and only two rules. They are:
1.   I am your owner. Enjoy freely the food and water which I have provided for your good!
2.   Don't drink out of the toilet.
That's really it. Those are the only two rules we are expected to follow. And we still break them.
Drunkenness is drinking out of the toilet. If you ask most recovering alcoholics if the time they were drunk all the time were their most joyful, merry, halcyon days, I don't know exactly how they'd answer, if they could even keep a straight face. Far from being joyful, being drunk all the time is misery that most recovering alcoholics wouldn't wish on their worst enemies. If you are drunk all the time, you lose the ability to enjoy much of anything. Strange as it may sound, it takes sobriety to enjoy even drunkenness. Drunkenness is drinking out of the toilet.
Lust is also drinking out of the toilet. Lust is the disenchantment of the entire universe. It is a magic spell where suddenly nothing else is interesting, and after lust destroys the ability to enjoy anything else, lust destroys the ability to enjoy even lust. Proverbs says, "The adulterous woman" - today one might add, "and internet porn" to that - "in the beginning is as sweet as honey and in the end as bitter as gall and as sharp as a double-edged sword." Now this is talking about a lot more than pleasure, but it is talking about pleasure. Lust, a sin of pleasure, ends by destroying pleasure. It takes chastity to enjoy even lust.
Having said that lust is drinking out of the toilet, I'd like to clarify something. There are eight particularly dangerous sins the Church warns us about. That's one, and it isn't the most serious. Sins of lust are among the most easily forgiven; the Church's most scathing condemnations go to sins like pride and running the poverty industry. The harshest condemnations go to sins that are deliberate, cold-blooded sins, not so much disreputable, hot-blooded sins like lust. Lust is drinking out of the toilet, but there are much worse problems.
I'd like you to think about the last time you traveled from one place to another and you enjoyed the scenery. That's good, and it's something that greed destroys. Greed destroys the ability to enjoy things without needing to own them, and there are a lot of things in life (like scenery) that we can enjoy if we are able to enjoy things without always having to make them mine, mine, mine. Greed isn't about enjoying things; it's about grasping and letting the ability to enjoy things slip through your fingers. When people aren't greedy, they know contentment; they can enjoy their own things without wishing they were snazzier or newer or more antique or what have you. (And if you do get that hot possession you've been coveting, greed destroys the ability to simply enjoy it: it becomes as dull and despicable as all your possessions look when you look at them through greed's darkened eyes. It takes contentment to enjoy even greed: greed is also drinking out of the toilet.

From "Silence, Organic Food for the Soul"
We are concerned today about our food,
and that is good:
sweet fruit and honey are truly good and better than raw sugar,
raw sugar not as bad as refined sugar,
refined sugar less wrong than corn syrup,
and corn syrup less vile than Splenda.
But whatever may be said for eating the right foods,
this is nothing compared to the diet we give our soul.
The ancient organic spiritual diet
is simple yet different in its appearances:
those who know its holy stillness
and grasp in their hearts the silence of the holy rhythm,
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner,
grasp the spiritual diet by their heart,
by its heart,
by God's heart.
What treasure looks good next to it?
It is said that many would rather be rich and unhappy
than poor and happy,
stranger still than thinking riches will make you happy:
Blessed stillness is a treasure,
and next to this treasure,
gold and technology are but passing shadows,
no better to satisfy hunger than pictures of rich food,
no better to satisfy thirst than a shimmering mirage,
for like the best organic food,
a diet of stillness gives what we deeply hungered for,
but deeply missed even seeking
in our untiring quest to quench our thirst with mirages.
And we have been adept at building mirages:
anything to keep us from stillness.
Perhaps technology, SecondLife or the humble car,
perhaps romance or conversation,
perhaps philosophy or hobbies,
not always bad in themselves,
but always bad when pressed into service
to help us in our flight from silence,
which is to say,
used the only way many of us know how.
There is a mystery,
not so much hard to find as hard to want:
humble yourself and you will be lifted up,
empty yourself and you will be filled;
become still and of a quiet heart,
and you will become home to the Word.

Featured Review
Jonathan Hayward is a remarkably deep thinker with a pronounced skill for allegory. In the tradition of C. S. Lewis, he finds ways to make extremely subtle, complex material comprehensible, and even comfortably recognizable. While the title and foreword suggest that this is for Orthodox Christians, I think any believer who thinks about the "big ideas" of Christianity will find this a treasure of valuable insight. It's a great introduction to the spirit, thoughts, and work of this multifaceted young writer.

About the Author
Christos Jonathan Seth Hayward wears many hats as a person: author, philosopher, theologian, artist, poet, wayfarer, philologist, inventor, web guru, teacher.
Some have asked, "If a much lesser C. S. Lewis were Orthodox, what would he be like?" And the answer may well be, "C. J. S. Hayward."
Called "Jack of all trades and master of many" by one boss, he also wears many hats professionally: open source/IT generalist, front end developer, JavaScript programmer, back end web developer, Pythonista, PHP and Perl user, Django developer, end to end web developer, Unix/Linux/Mac wizard, LAMP guru, SQL generalist, Unix shell (both using existing shells and implementing a new shell), system administrator, researcher, technical writer, usability advocate, UI developer, UX/IA enthusiast, and more.
Hayward has lived in the US, Malaysia, England, and France, and holds master’s degrees bridging math and computers (UIUC), and philosophy and theology (Cambridge).

Links



No comments:

Post a Comment