Theologians

I’ve been steadily working on this new book that’s due out late next year. It involves reading through the first volume of the Philokalia, one page at a time, and then reflecting on something I’ve read there.

It’s slow-going because it’s a meaty work but also because of the nature of my crazy life. Let’s be honest, though. My life probably isn’t much crazier than yours. We all have stuff to do, whether it’s our jobs to do, our family to nurture, our pets to feed and walk. The growing list of things I have to fix, do, or just pay attention to is insane.

In any case, I am getting my “journal entries” in each day for this new book. Once I have a year’s worth, I’ll go back through and edit, and then edit again, and then edit a third time probably. It’s like anything we create in life– we make and then we try to make it better.

So, today, I’ll share a quick excerpt of this work in progress so that you can catch its flavor (and full disclosure, also because my brain is so tapped out I haven’t got much room to come up with anything new to post.)

………….

February 21st

“If you are a theologian, you will pray truly. And if you pray truly, you are a theologian.”
Evagrios the Solitary On Prayer pg 62

God, word, dweller. When I think of “theologian” a vision of stuffy old academics in tweed coats come to mind, or perhaps, robed bishops with long beards whitened with age. I say all the time, “well, I’m no theologian but…” as though this caveat will lend some context or some passing credit to whatever I will say next. 

Evagios tells me today that my prayer lends credit and context, but how? My livingroom houses a prayer corner, cards, and books stacked haphazardly on the windowsill nearby. Candles go unlit for weeks at a time when I’m busy. I pass the prayer corner in the morning, the afternoon, the evening and I nod to it. “Yes, soon.” I think to myself. Drive through prayers. Is this truly praying?

But I see today that I’m not absent prayer. Not completely. In the car, on the dog’s walk, the grocery store, the after-school reading program where I sit next to a boy struggling with words, prayer comes here. God. Word. Dweller. 

We reserve a room in the heart and the head when we dwell in prayer, and in word, and in deed. With each dwelling, we increase the space we devote to God. With each word, each deed, we furnish ourselves with care and faith and peace until, at last, over time, we are filled. Theologians, praying truly.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for this. I will go on record as saying I’m very excited to read this now!

    I’m a long-time reader and find your work very moving and helpful in my own, broken, chaotic, struggle for faith.

    So something like this will be very welcome.

    P.S. I just finished listening to Nearly Orthodox on a cross country drive. My second time through the book. I hope you’ll consider a follow-up about what came next for you.

  2. The centrality of all this, this journey, comes through for me in your brief post. It looks personal. Yet it’s where we dwell in our differing ways, struggling to make it central. I haven’t yet read the Philokalia. Thanks for offering a glimpse of your interaction with it.

    And, busy life, oh, yes. I get that!

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