How did you get involved in Toastmasters?
I am an author. I came to Toastmasters because I wanted to be a better public speaker should that be called for.
What are your present goals for Toastmasters?
At the moment, to maintain skills and be able to give a speech when I have something to say.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do, for instance?
I am an Eastern Orthodox author and a bit of a Renaissance man. I’m currently trying to write something about the darkside of branding. I’ll post a link if and when it’s ready.
Probably my biggest single contribution is a realization:
- If we use technologies in the way that comes most naturally to us, it isn’t really best for us as human beings made in the image of God.
- The Orthodox ascetical tradition, including fasting and self-denial, has a basis for using technologies in ways that are better for us as human beings, and abstaining from things that don’t really help.
This realization is fleshed out in what may well become my most important collection, The Luddite’s Guide to Technology.
I’ve been told that I have achieved pretty much all the recognition I would rightly seek among conservative converts to Orthodoxy. I tend to be known and respected there. I would also like to be able to give something to people raised in Orthodoxy, but I think there are rhetorical obstacles there. However, I don’t mean “rhetorical” when people talk about differences in “language” or “rhetoric” when they should be saying an “opinion” or “position” someone was taking. I was formed as an author by C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, and English-language apologists, and people who have read such background tend to appreciate my work. However, I have only begun in the rhetoric that is characteristic of Church Fathers, and people who have been sensitized by the writing of Church Fathers may read my writing and sense I haven’t arrived yet. I am very grateful, though, that for all I’ve failed to do, I am known as an an author among the people I am most writing for.
Do you have any websites or social media channels?
- My main website and collection. There’s a lot there.
- A while back, I had an artificial intelligence project that fizzled, but before it fizzled I had a concept for a way of making a website so people could search and follow things through search results with much less clicking and mousework than mainstream web interfaces. It houses several classics including the Bible first and foremost, and also the Philokalia, the Ante-Nicene Fathers collection, and the Nicene and Post-Nicene Series 1 and Series 2 collections.
- This is a Bible search tool that runs on the same concept as OrthodoxChurchFathers.com and has been reported to be very accessible.
- The homepage to an experimental Orthodox version of the Bible.
What is your educational background?
I have a Certificat Semestriel, Niveau Supérieur I (an advanced level 1 [undergraduate] certificate) from the Sorbonne, an MS between math and computers from UIUC, and an MPhil between theology and philosophy from Cambridge.
I’m also a Fordham survivor. I don’t want to talk about it.
Is there anything else about you that you’d like others to know?
I’d invite you to “meet” me by reading my autobiography, Orthodox Theology and Technology: A Profoundly Gifted Autobiography. It’s short, a bit over a hundred pages. It is available in paperback, Kindle unlimited, and free Kindle and ePub downloads!