Most People are Better than their Theology

January 30th, 2020

A Conversation with David Goa. 


At the All Saints of North America Orthodox Monastery in Dewdney, BC we gather to speak with David Goa. David has said things to us like;

"My goal is to convert evangelicals to Jesus" and "Most people are better than their theology".


We talk about a lot of things with David;

  • conversion and faith
  • recent events in Iran
  • the Orthodox understanding of judgment
  • the nature of truth and how being contentious for truth is a tell that truth has not been tasted

Take your time with this one, or maybe listen a couple of times. David speaks deliberately and at times even slowly, but there is so much in what is being said.  Enjoy!


David Goa is a lecturer, speaker, writer, museum curator, etc. He grew up in Canadian Prairies among Norwegian Pietists/Evangelicals.

He became part of the Orthodox tradition of Christian faith in his adult life.

David regularly teaches on hopeful relationship between Christianity and Islam.


Track down David's books, other writing, lectures and his own podcast at


Books and articles referenced in this podcast:

The Christian Withdrawal Experiment - The Atlantic, January 2020  

The Christian Responsibility to Muslims - Lectures by David Goa, 2014 

For The Life of the World – Alexander Schmemann 

After Atheism - CBC mini series, 2014


Episode Terminology:


Desert Fathers: In the Christian tradition, leaders who pre-figured the monastic movement. Often thought of as hermits (many were actually quite engaged in culture) the Desert Fathers (and Mothers) quit the cities of the day for what is now the Egyptian and Syrian desert where they lived often alone. They became sought after for their spiritual wisdom and were referred to as Abbas and Ammas. 


Religious ideology contrasted with actual faith: Religious ideology describes a way of seeing the world and often a way of explaining everything. Faith is something that is lived. Ideology is what leads people within religious or political systems to ask questions like “what is our stance on this?” 


Vatican II: The Second Vatican Council was held from 1962-1965. It was a gathering of Catholic leaders to determine the statements and beliefs and practices of the church moving forward. Some consider its conclusions “too liberal”, others see Vatican II as overly conservative in regards to gender, leadership, birth control, etc. A “pre-vatican II” Catholic often describes someone who wishes for the church “as is used to be” in terms of practice and religious and social stance. 


Vladika: Means shepherd, a term of somewhat relational or familial authority used in the Orthodox faith.


World Council of Churches: A gathering of Christian churches across denominational lines. WCC became part of what is known as “ecumenism”, religious understanding shared beyond denomination. 


The Christian East (Orthodox expression of faith): Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, etc.  - the “Orthodox Church” existed before the Catholic Church. The first church division was this and not the Protestant Reformation. 


Dogmatic Theology/Systematic Theology: David speaks of the Orthodox expression of faith as not having a dogmatic or systematic theology. This means that the faith cannot be understood by a set of religious suppositions, but rather can only be expressed as something that is lived. Faith is not something described by a “statement”, but rather something that is lived in relationship. This moves towards what David Goa calls the “theology of the spiritual life” 


Christian Patrimony: David uses the term in speaking of our common humanity. The idea is that Christian faith best expressed sees all of humanity as part of the family. 


This episode we tasted Prospector Canadian Rye Whiskey from Odd Society Spirits, a small batch distillery in Vancouver, BC.

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