Guest Post The Best of Jonathan’s Corner

October 22, 2014 at 3:03 pm Leave a comment


I’m sharing a guest post today for the book tour for creative non-fiction / spirituality “The Best of Jonathan’s Corner”. Enjoy the guest post!

The Best of Jonathan’s Corner: Readers speak out

I thought about trying to delve deep in myself and find something special to share, but there was something not quite right about doing things that way. I have, perhaps, done so in some of my works, and the best of these, included in The Best of Jonathan’s Corner, is An Author’s Musing Memoirs About His Work: Retrospective Reflections, Retracings, and Retractions.
What I thought would be better is to let readers speak in their own words as my final guest post on this tour.


Cynthia Clampitt, “Spirit and Skill:”
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.​

Kent Nebergall, “C S Lewis and Steve Jobs walk into a bar…”

Thank God for Kindle, and praise His holy name for Text-to-Speech. On otherwise dreary winter days at work, I can listen to the wisdom of theologians and great men and women while I work in my cubicle. No day without meetings can avoid being blessed with wisdom of the ages (and no day with meetings… you get the picture). I can carry a thin piece of electronics or read my iPhone app without calling attention to myself with some crushing work of Bonheoffer or Plato to intimidate my fellow cubicle meerkats.

When I read C. S. Lewis, A. W. Tozer, or G. K. Chesterton, there is a deep ache for both the times and the men that made honor, wisdom, and clarity a thing of such beauty and strength. We wonder what they would say of our time, and why, with so many more people and better communication, we don’t see more of them.

Jonathan Hayward is such a person of wisdom and depth. I do not say this lightly or flatteringly. He and I don’t agree on everything, but when we contrast, it will never be his side of the issue that is lacking in depth, beauty, or elegance. He’s Orthodox, yes (I’m not). But I suspect all sides will claim him as they do Lewis and Chesterton.

Before you assume you need a Masters in Theology to follow his work, I suggest actually reading it. If you loose a point, it may be because he occasionally uses examples from his mathematical or programming background. You won’t feel talked down to, but your intelligence will be respected. He’s a bit like a game you can explain to a child clearly but may have difficulty getting through to a professor, because professors may be too busy tripping over their convoluted filters to see the point.​

Vincent J. Frattarulo, “Essays from an Eastern Orthodox perspective”
CJS Hayward’s book consists of a series of essays covering a variety of subjects, both cultural and religious from the perspective of an Eastern Orthodox Christian. I recommend this book to both Catholics and Protestants who are interested in Eastern Orthodoxy.​

Colleen Woods, “A gift that is given”

The Best of Jonathan’s Corner (author: Christos Jonathan Hayward) is written work that has been divinely inspired for our day and age’s spiritually thirsty fellows. More than ever, people are starting to search for deeper answers to things they might not be able to answer on their own. They’re looking for their path in and with God, and reading this book will lead them to the way. Perhaps through each page flipped and every line read, Orthodox Christian or not, readers will discover answers they’ve been looking for. They will be able to grasp it with such great ease and genuine understanding. The way this book is written it wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the author’s drive, his very own inspiration to bestow this thirsty world with his book. His knowledge hails from written passages of Church Fathers and the best of all his own life experiences that helps transform this book from enlightening to relatable for our present day and its people.

Spiritual topics are explored throughout the book to pique interest in the reader and to engage the reader on subjects that should be brought to the forefront in one’s faith. The author, as mentioned above, delicately and attentively writes about these sometimes touchy subjects in such a manner, that he it makes it comfortable for the reader to retain the information that they’ve read. Due to it being written that way, it allows the reader every angle of the topic and not just one, allowing them to be able to discern and form their own answer, especially when religion and science is discussed in the pages. This author has gathered bundles of knowledge, piecing it together to quench our thirst for answers or simply for something more. It is only fair for us to take this gift that is given and to not only deepen our faith, but to strengthen our ties to God.​

Sydney Nicoletta Freedman:

The Best of Jonathan’s Corner: An Anthology of Orthodox Christian Theology is a book that provides not only a good introduction to the author’s work but also a dose of the clear thinking and spiritual wisdom prescribed for our times. The author lives to create treasure, and he has mined, refined, and gathered wisdom for our age. It is not new knowledge, but rather, it has been artfully distilled from the writings of Church Fathers and his own life, from study and experience.

The pieces in this book speak with clarity about spiritual topics and with depth about practical ones, addressing the intrigues and issues that we all face, explore, and question. Orthodox Christian readers will find insightful discussions of art and worship, such as Lesser Icons, and lucid, applicable discussions of the spiritual life, such as God the Spiritual Father. This Eastern Orthodox perspective may shed light on matters for readers from other traditions as well. Such is especially true for pieces on such timely issues as economic hardship (Money, and The Best Things in Life are Free) and the discussion of religion and science, including “Religion and Science” Is Not Just Intelligent Design vs. Evolution. Regarding this latter work, a Roman Catholic reader recently deemed it to be one of the ‘most intelligent and erudite’ things that he has ever read. The essays on silence, the place of technology, and nature are treasures among the discussions of such popular and important issues.

The poetic and fictional works in this book offer the same spiritual knowledge for which our society thirsts but in the deeper and more elevated way that is inherent to their genres. Some of the poems, Open, for example, are prayers, which readers may find to voice some of their own words and which fittingly glorify God and His saints. Other poetry, such as How shall I Tell an Alchemist, pointedly deals with questions of spirituality and theology with the magnified acuity that only this particular art can achieve. Socratic dialogue (The Damned Backswing) and other creative forms play their part as well, rounding out the book.

The work that stands out most among the creative pieces, perhaps among all of them, is that which opens the book, The Angelic Letters. I have had the pleasure of reading nearly all of Hayward’s writings, and I was delighted that he undertook to write such a work. Readers who are familiar with C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters will recognize at once that it is the very book which that author desired, but felt unable, to write in order to balance the demonic correspondence. It is a mark of Hayward’s skill, knowledge, and spiritual insight that he has successfully written something that such a theologian as Lewis did not wish to attempt, and according to a psychologist of his acquaintance, the average Harvard PhD has not ever met someone as talented as Hayward. He has of course accomplished this work with God’s help, but one must realize the spiritual struggle, mental effort, careful study, and deep prayer that has gone into every piece in this anthology. Hayward has done much work for us. He has grappled with questions and problems that many of us face, but we may not feel that we have the resources to confront them. We therefore can find within these pages words that will perhaps directly answer some of our questions and certainly facilitate the difficult but necessary task of learning and discerning that we all must carry out, each is he is able. I am privileged to introduce some of the fruit that has come from the author’s efforts to complete this task himself so that all may benefit from both its example and its contents. May it leave seeds of knowledge in all who read. This author has gathered pearls for us, and may we gladly look upon them. They hold glimmers that can reflect our lives.

And that last review is included as the foreword for The Best of Jonathan’s Corner. I invite you to read it!

About The Book

the-best-of-jonathans-corner-front-coverTitle: The Best of Jonathan’s Corner

Author: CJS Hayward

Genre: Creative non-fiction / many genres / religion and spirituality / Eastern Orthodox

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 CS Lewis and GK Chesterton will love it.

Author Bio

wardrobe_full 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 U.S., Malaysia, England, and France, and holds master’s degrees bridging math and computers (UIUC), and philosophy and theology (Cambridge).



Entry filed under: Enchanted Book Tours, Guest Posts. Tags: , , , .

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