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Theological English (15): Atom

In this sixteenth video on “Theological English”, Jonathan Dunne looks at the progression from the A of creation to the I of the Fall to the O of repentance/realization, which was the subject of the second video. Having already seen how this progression AIO can be found between words such as “what”, “why” and “who/how”, he examines to what extent this progression can be found inside words. When we draw a line through the selfish demands of the ego (I) and form a cross (†), which is also a plus-sign (+), A+O, we get the name of God in the Book of Revelation at the end of the Bible: Alpha and Omega. This in turn gives “and” (A ’N’ O) and its reverse “DNA”. When we use the Greek letter omega (“w”), we get “man” (A ’N’ W). So the idea expressed by Christ of denying the self, taking up our cross and following him is at the heart of language and in our very genes.

To access all the videos in this course, use the drop-down menu “Theological English (Video Course)” above. The videos can be watched on Vimeo and YouTube.

Video

Theological English (14): The Names of God

In this fifteenth video on “Theological English”, Jonathan Dunne looks at the importance of names. “Name” is “man” in reverse with a final “e”, and we read in Genesis chapter 2 that God brought the creatures to Adam so that he could “name” them – in effect, so that he could translate them and choose the right word. God didn’t ask Adam to make the creatures because he is not an author – he cannot create out of nothing. He, and the rest of humankind, are translators. So “name” is central to man’s role in this world. What can the names of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary tell us about their roles? And what meaning can we find in the names of people like Strauss and Grant Gustin, and countries like Ukraine?

To access all the videos in this course, use the drop-down menu “Theological English (Video Course)” above. The videos can be watched on Vimeo and YouTube.

Video

Theological English (13): Believe

In this fourteenth video on “Theological English”, Jonathan Dunne looks at the importance of the word “believe” in the Christian Gospel. The word “believe” crops up again and again in the Gospel – this is what God requires of us: to believe in him, to believe in his name, in order to receive – the power to become children of God, eternal life, salvation, healing. When we believe, all things become possible. The video focuses on John 7:38 and the verse from Scripture: “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.” Once again, language is not only used to convey the message – it is the message.

To access all the videos in this course, use the drop-down menu “Theological English (Video Course)” above. The videos can be watched on Vimeo and YouTube.

Gallery

Vitosha, Water

It is remarkable that “water” has four of the same letters as “earth”. And where would the earth be without water? “Earth” has the same letters as “heart”. Without water, our heart would shrivel up.

What amazes me is the way it flows constantly. Even in the night, when I am not there. During the week. All the time until my next visit, it flows.

Sometimes it is blue, like the sky. Sometimes it is reddish brown, like a brick. Sometimes it takes on the colour of my shadow.

It is whatever is thrown at it. But sometimes it becomes a blur – too fast for my eyes to distinguish.

In the night, it is black – unless there is a moon, I imagine.

Water always finds a way – even if it has to go underground. Or fly through the air.

On Vitosha, I have seen it so calm it resembled a mirror. But I have also seen it rage after a storm. Then it is no longer transparent, it seems to boil.

We step on the land; without water, we would sink, as in a desert. Too much water, and we swim.

Water lies on a bed of gravel. And rests its head on rock pillows. It rises up from the rock. It slips through gaps. It causes us to build bridges – that is a good thing.

When it enters the air, it is smashed into smithereens.

Later, in the sea, it evaporates to fall on my head. Then I walk through a sauna. The water is so prevalent it climbs up my legs. I have sat in the car as it beat down with unusual ferocity. Still I got out.

I like it when it’s the mountain and me. Today I walked through the hordes, as if I came from another planet. Another age.

Water is most beautiful on the mountain. It is like a curtain. Or a seam. The mountain shudders. Sends the water tumbling. It resists – for now.

I know a secret place where I sit and watch it gleam.

27 August 2022

Text and photographs by Jonathan Dunne, photograph selection by Tsvetanka Elenkova.

Vitosha is the mountain that lies just south of Sofia, the Bulgarian capital.

Video

Theological English (12): Paradox

In this thirteenth video on “Theological English”, Jonathan Dunne looks at paradox as an indicator of truth, as the path towards truth. Sometimes the most obvious statements can be misleading, while what on the surface appears to be contradictory, illogical, can turn out to contain the truth. Christianity is a religion of paradox – the Trinity is “three in one”, we must “lose our life in order to find it”, Christ dies and rises again… All of these are examples of seeming paradox. In this video, we look at Christ’s statement that “many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Matthew 19:30) and how the cycle of physical/spiritual thirst, referred to in the meeting between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well in Sychar (John 4), can be broken.

To access all the videos in this course, use the drop-down menu “Theological English (Video Course)” above. The videos can be watched on Vimeo and YouTube.

Video

Theological English (11): Connections – Addition of Letters (1)

In this twelfth video on “Theological English”, Jonathan Dunne continues looking at word connections made by the addition of letters, this time from “i” to “w”. It is curious that “die” contains “be” and “I” (we saw in the previous video that the “world” is a spiritual “womb”, which might explain this). What is even more curious is that “live” also contains “be”, but two “I”s in the first two letters. “Blood” gives “spirit”, as “seed” gives “sleep”. “Word” gives “sword” – our words can become physical, just as God’s words in the beginning created a physical environment. There is a previous video on this theme: “Addition of Letters (0)”.

For the connection between “blood” and “spirit”, see Marcus Plested’s instructive article “‘Give Blood and Receive the Spirit’: The Ascetical Dimension of Mystical Experience” (available online), which looks at the connection between ascetic endeavour and direct experience of God in early Christian literature and how it can be applied today.

To access all the videos in this course, use the drop-down menu “Theological English (Video Course)” above. The videos can be watched on Vimeo and YouTube.

Video

Theological English (10): Connections – Addition of Letters (0)

In this eleventh video on “Theological English”, Jonathan Dunne starts to look at word connections between words that do not have the same number of letters, where it is necessary to add one or two letters. If we do not want to be like Narcissus and only to hear our own voice, we must open our spiritual eyes and ears. This will lead to a seed being planted in our heart. The two greatest commandments are to love God and to love our neighbour: love – other – theos. It is “love” that makes us “whole” (without the initial “w”, a letter that resembles the number “3” and can be taken to refer to the Holy Trinity, all we have is a “hole”). There is a second video on this theme: “Addition of Letters (1)”.

To access all the videos in this course, use the drop-down menu “Theological English (Video Course)” above. The videos can be watched on Vimeo and YouTube.

Haven’t They Noticed My Absence Yet?

He fell asleep on the lilo

and woke up on the open sea.

How many missed calls are written on the phone buried in the sand?

Is there even a signal in this wild bay found after searching?

Will the sunset come quickly enough?

The burning on the open sea hurts more

than breathing in after laughter.

Haven’t they noticed my absence yet?

A friend affirms

the castaway has been saved already.

Terrible was the wandering sailor’s fate.

Haven’t they noticed my absence yet?

from The Heart Is Not a Creator (2013) by the Bulgarian poet Yordan Eftimov, translated by Jonathan Dunne

Video

Theological English (9): Connections – Appearance

In this tenth video on “Theological English”, Jonathan Dunne looks at the shape of letters in the alphabet and how this can be used to make word connections. Just as the order of letters was borrowed in part from Egyptian hieroglyphs, so the shape of some of our capital letters was taken from here. This video focuses on the similarity between lower-case letters, which can be turned back to front, upside down, or continued. This enables us to make connections between birth and death, the Old and New Testaments, opposites such as “north” and “south” or “east” and “west”, and love and money. Language is full of information, words carry spiritual meaning, we only have to have “eyes” to “see” it.

To access all the videos in this course, use the drop-down menu “Theological English (Video Course)” above. The videos can be watched on Vimeo and YouTube.