The Wheel of Thoughts and Virtues

This post is part of the Desert Prayers Project, a component of my doctoral thesis work through Virginia Theological Seminary.

April 5, 2022 · 20 words

God's Love Letter

One of Evagrius’s lesser known writings is his Letter to Melania. A “Desert Mother,” Melania managed a monastery in Jerusalem and is credited with inspiring Evagrius to embrace a monastic life in the Egyptian desert. In this eloquent and tender letter, Evagrius expounds on some of his mystical, “gnostic” insights–he had come to understand creation itself as a love letter, chronicling God’s desire for us. “Just as those who teach the alphabet to children trace the letters on tablets, so too, Christ, in order to teach his wisdom to the rational beings, has inscribed it into corporeal nature” (Harmless, William....

March 7, 2022 · 508 words

Against the 'Seven Deadlies'

One of the most bingeable shows of the past several years is the Netflix series, Sense8. It was created by the immensely talented Wachowskis (of The Matrix fame) and tells the story of eight very different individuals who realize they share an intimate psychic bond. Their dissimilarity becomes their strength and they achieve, together, much more than they could separately. I rewatched the first episode over Christmas and fell in love with the characters all over again....

January 5, 2022 · 612 words

More Love

It’s fairly common in the bishop’s office this time of year to notice a measurable uptick in the number of phone calls, visits, and emails from distressed clergy and lay leaders. Stewardship season is naturally a challenging time for congregations. Combine that with planning for Christmas worship services, attending holiday parties, and negotiating the sensitive details of family gatherings, and it’s understandable that the Christmas cheer we are “supposed” to be feeling can be hard to come by....

December 14, 2021 · 443 words

Virtues in Disguise

Reviewing your day and prayer experience to identify interruptions by the various “troubling thoughts” is not easy work. We can understand, on an intellectual level, the desert wisdom that thoughts are illusory and transient–that they don’t define us. However, sometimes it can be difficult to “feel” that truth after a long day at work or a destabilizing life event. Of course, prayer can and will help. If not silence, then direct petition to God for comfort and strength can often move us into a more objective mental space....

December 8, 2021 · 365 words