David Goa focuses on deepening the capacity of the faithful to think through the gifts of the Christian tradition: the spiritual life, the theological traditions, and our responsibility to the public world.


Religion & Public Life

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The Christian Responsibility to Muslims

Exploring the dialogue between Christian Orthodoxy and Islam in the ancient world, the current landscape of Muslim-Christian conversation and how Christians may think about the Prophet Muhammad.

(Camrose, Alberta: Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion & Public Life, 2014)

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Working in the Fields of Meaning

This is the first volume in a monograph series, The New Pluralism and Institutional Transformation.

(Camrose, Alberta: Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion & Public Life, 2012)

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Pietism and the Challenges of Modernity

With Cam Harder and Eugene L. Boe.

(Edmonton: Chester Ronning Centre, 2011)


A Christian Response to Physician Assisted Death

A seminar for the International Medical School, Vasile Goldis University, Arad, Romania. Following a description of the legalization of MAID in Canada I explored the cultural and social conditions that have led to this change and invited a conversation with medical students from many countries, including Romania, to explore the spiritual implications of such legislation. Romanian and English.




The Genius of Christian Thought

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Anno Domini

With Linda Distad and Matthew Wangler.

(Edmonton, AB: Provincial Museum of Alberta, 2000)

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Reading the Bible as Life-Giving Word

(Camrose, Alberta: Chester Ronning Centre, 2013)

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“Ways of Imperfection: Spiritual Disciplines for the Healing of the World”

An essay by David Goa exploring the insight of the muslim theologian, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi and the Christian Orthodox spiritual teaching on the Beatitudes, particularly, “blessed are the poor in spirit”.

See Ways of the Spirit, Persons, Communities, Spiritualities,

Edited by M. Darrol Bryant

(Kitchener, Ontario: Pandora Press, 2015).

The Stranger at the Gate and the Cry of the Human Heart

A Philokalia Conference, the House of Culture, Ineu, Romania. Fr. Teofan asked me to reflection on the spiritual vocation of the family, on Saint John Chrysostom’s call to engage the stranger, on the Psalms as the cry of the human heart and my own journey to Orthodoxy. Romanian and English.



Orthodox Pathways

A Philokalia Conference, the Orthodox Church in Cintel, Romania. We were taken by horse drawn carriage with outriders into the village, greeted by many in local costume and welcomed with bread and salt. Settled in the church Fr. Teofan asked me to reflect on a variety of matters including my initial encounter with Orthodoxy at Saint Mary’s Romanian Orthodox Church near Andrew, Alberta, and following the services in Great Lent and Pascha, the most important things I had learned from my mother and father, on teaching as the care for the soul of the young, on the vocation of politicians, and, on teaching in prison those charged with terrorism. Romanian and English.

Part 1

Part 2


Approaching Scripture as Life-Giving Word

A conversation with Brad Jersak in which David and Brad explore a third way of engaging scripture, a recovery of its revelatory character, after the tragedy of it’s colonization in the twentieth century by the co-dependent twins, liberal modernism and evangelical literalism.



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A Regard for Creation: Collected Essays

(Dewdney BC: Synaxis Press, 2008, reprinted 2010, 2013)

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“Passions and the Disciplines of Compassion: Christian Orthodoxy on the Spiritual Life”

An essay by David Goa exploring the way the liturgical life draws the faithful onto the pathways of compassion “for the least of these.”

Published in Practices of Compassion, An Exploration and Experience.

Edited by M. Darrol Bryant, Lama Doboom Tulku and Yanni Maniates

(New Delhi, India: Manohar, World Buddhist Trust, 2018).


Art and the Landscape of Human Meaning

A Philokalia Conference, The Elite High School for the Arts, Arad, Romania. Fr. Teofan asked me to speak about the gift of the arts and its relationship to the spiritual life. I reflected on St. John Chrysostom’s words, “The arts are given to us so we may hold the world together” and on the arts as a form of presence to the meaning of human joy and sorrow. Our gathering was opened by two of the students, a piano solo and a beautiful Romanian song. Romanian and English.

A Philokalia Conference, the Cultural Centre, Sebis, Romania. Fr. Teofan asked me to discuss the nature of the Church, the nature of the Christian family, acedia, the noon-day demon, and my work in prisons with men who had been charged under Canada’s terrorism laws and the question of belonging.

Part 1

Part 2

The Spiritual Vocation of the Family

A Philokalia Conference, the Theatre for the Cinematographic Arts, Arad. The gathering was opened with a beautiful Romanian song. Fr. Teofan asked me to reflect on the spiritual vocation of the family. He also asked that I speak about the great Romanian historian of religion, Mircea Eliade. Romanian and English.

PART 1 -

PART 2 -


Estrangement and Being Human

David Goa and Archbishop Lazar at the Monastery of All Saints of North America discuss the insight into human nature, estrangement, and the pathways to salvation in the Orthodox Christian tradition.


The children in the Holy Hierarch Nicholas primary school sing a welcoming song for Fr.Teofan Mada and David Goa


Museums & The Arts

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The Scriver Blackfoot Collection: Repatriation of Canada’s Heritage

Co-curated with Philip H. Stepney at the Provincial Museum of Alberta.

(Edmonton AB: Provincial Museum of Alberta, 1990)

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"For God’s Eyes Alone: The Meaning of the Hutterian Brethren Aesthetic"

in Just for Nice: German-Canadian Folk Art

Edited by Magús Einarsson and Helga Benndorf Taylor

(Hull PQ: Canadian Museum of Civilization, 1993)


“At Play in the Fields of Meaning: Reflections on Field Research”

in Godly Things, Museums, Objects and Religion

Edited by Crispin Paine

(London & New York: Leicester University Press, 2000):28-56.


“Stockholm Sentences”

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Seasons of Celebration: Ritual in Eastern Christian Culture

(Edmonton AB: Provincial Museum of Alberta, 1986)

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"Liturgy, the Art of Arts"

in Heaven on Earth: Orthodox Treasures of Siberia and America

Edited by Barbara Sweetland Smith

(Anchorage AK: Anchorage Museum of History and Art, 1994)


“Modernity’s Priest, Cultural Apologist, or Friend”


Studies in Religion

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Mantra: Hearing the Divine in India and America

With Harold G. Coward

(2nd Ed. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004)

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The Ukrainian Religious Experience: Tradition and the Canadian Cultural Context

(Edmonton, AB: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, 1989)

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“Ritual, Word and Meaning in Sikh Religious Life - A Canadian Field Study”

In the Journal of Sikh Studies.

With Harold G. Coward.

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"Hindu Christian Dialogue: The Canadian Experience"

in Hindu Christian Dialogue: Perspectives and Encounters

Edited by Harold G. Coward

(Maryknoll NY: Orbis Books, 1989)

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“Hindus in Alberta: A Study in Religious Continuity and Change”

in Canadian Ethnic Studies.

With Harold G. Coward and Ronald Neufeldt.

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“Sacred Ritual, Sacred Language: Jodo Shinshu Religious Form in Transition”

In Studies in Religion

With Harold G. Coward.


Occasional Essays

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Cultivating the Excellent Life: The Task of Religious Culture and Civilization

How may we cultivate our capacity for hospitality around difference?

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The School of Joseph: Prisons as a Place of Transformation

The incarcerated men I have been privileged to teach over the last few years …have experienced a duel failure. Their religious formation was without the depth needed in modern society and their understanding of the gifts of our civil life—its genius and its limitations—was never taught to them.

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Book Review of The Slow Professor, Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy

Reading Berg and Seeber’s book prompted me to think again about several long-standing concerns. The first is the corporatization of the public university central to the thesis of the book. From 1975 through 2005 university faculties have increased by about 50%, a similar increase to the growth of students population. During this same period university administration has increased by 85% and administrative staff by 240%.

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Spiritual Friendship & Caring for the Soul of the City

Several years ago one of Canada’s foremost ethical thinkers commented to a gathering of largely left-leaning Christian activists that he sometimes thought they had done the job of translating religious language into a public language so well that their children no longer had even a feel for why the church, as local parish, should exist—much less why their parents continued to participate in the life of a congregation.

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Deep Religion, the Antidote for the Diseases of Modernity

How does it come about in a country like Canada that some 200+ young men and a few women will leave their homes and loved ones and travel to Syria and Iraq and join Daesch?

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Toward a Paradigm for Teaching Religion in a Pluralistic Age

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declared the Lord: I will put my law on their hearts, and write it on their minds.
-Jeremiah 31

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The Good, the True, the Beautiful

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in

Him were all things created, the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or authorities. All things.

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The Stance of Fear, the Stance of Faith

Earlier this year the monks of St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery in Arizona published The Departure of the Soul According to the Teachings of the Orthodox Church. They flag it as a “patristic anthology” and amass an enormous amount of material to make a simple argument. Chapter seven is titled, “On the Falsifications, Misrepresentations, and Errors of Those Who Oppose the Teaching of the Orthodox Church” and provides a fore-piece from Psalm 25:1, “Judge me, O Lord.”


Sermons & Meditations


Genesis 3, Is There Life Before Death?

David Goa talks to Brad Jersak about Genesis 3, the meaning of the story and its existential implications for the reader and the believer.

Excerpt: “Genesis 3 is a myth, it is a narrative about how something comes to be. Mircea Eliade always talked about Myths as being stories of creation. How does iron come to be, how does steel come to be, how does the art of refining come to be. So myths are the stories about how things come to be. The amazing thing about the story of Genesis 3 is that it is a myth that doesn’t have to do with God, and as such it is about how death comes to be.”

Memorial for Frederick Russell Cervin

I first met Fred Cervin in Chicago shortly after I arrived at the North Park Academy in1961. Our friendship was deep and abiding. Our fifty-year conversation ended when Fred
entered the Eternal on the 9th of August 2013. Here is my reflection at the memorial service held in his memory. May his memory be Eternal.

The Mind of Christ

A homily I gave at the Monastery of Gai, Arad, Romania.