Why I Wrote the Book
While in seminary, I completed my thesis on Orthodox anthropology – that is, the study of what it is to be human. With the guidance of the faculty at St. Tikhon’s Seminary, I researched many patristic resources that relate to this topic.
My thesis was later revised and published as a book called Becoming Human: The Healing Journey into the Orthodox Church. Initially, I published it for private use: I wanted something I could use to teach the catechumens in my church about Orthodoxy – something that would teach theology but in a practical way.
I wrote this book for a society that is becoming increasingly polarized and unstable. People are searching desperately for answers. The internet floods them with information, but then they lack the wisdom in how to apply it. Inquirers who enter our churches often feel confused by the information read and competing voices online. Therefore, I felt a catechism that focuses on spiritual healing through life in Christ is needed.
Section 1 of the book begins at creation when humanity lived according to nature. All was good and peaceful. But then we fell into sin, which is a state contrary to nature. Our Lord Jesus came to begin the work of healing our humanity with the goal of raising us to a life above nature (deification or theosis).
Section 2 then describes practical ways that we can begin this walk with Christ to wholeness. The Orthodox Church is a hospital for the soul. She teaches us through the services, the scriptures, and other inspired writings how to walk everyday with our Lord. The body, our free will, effort, asceticism, payer, and humility all play a role in our healing.
Section 3 brings us to the climax of becoming fully human: love. God is love and all who are remade in Him become creatures of love. But what is love and how should we live in it? This section brings both practical and lofty answers – showing us steps to our divine calling.
Section 4 was added to the book for catechetical purposes. While the concepts in Sections 1-3 are extremely important in developing a healthy spiritual life, there are still doctrinal basics that need to be covered with those who are either new or would like to further their Orthodox education. Topics covered include God and the Holy Trinity, baptism, confession, Christ’s death on the cross, prayers to the saints, iconography, a brief response to charismatics, and an essay on universal salvation in early Church Fathers. This section was revised and expanded in August of 2022 and a second edition of the book was released (those who bought the Kindle edition should receive automatic updates).
The book has been more popular than I thought it would be, especially among cradle Orthodox. Some have told me that – despite being Orthodox for many decades – this helped them to understand their faith much more deeply. At least a few priests that I know of have also begun using it for their catechumens or as a book study in their churches.
Since I didn’t do any promotion with the book upon releasing it, I was initially uncertain I would sell any copies. It’s been a blessing to see such warm reception of the book. It encourages me to keep writing and to see if I can supplement my livelihood as a priest with my writing.
DISCOUNTS: I’ve kept the price low so that churches can purchase multiple copies for classes. At this time, I’m not offering wholesale discounts because the current price of the book provides very little profit margin on it.