About

Brief bio

James Miller (Fr Basil) received a BS in Biblical Studies from Liberty University in 2004. During his studies, he felt there was something missing in the Evangelical theological tradition and he always felt at odds with the general theological stream in those circles. Early attraction to social justice and anarchist thought proved incompatible. After a brief stint as a pastor in emergent evangelical ministries, he started a philosophy degree at Western Kentucky University in 2005. At WKU he looked into other traditions and soon met a few friends interested in social justice and who had similar questions. This group began to meet regularly to discuss social justice and read ancient church theology. Over time people in the group began to convert to the Orthodox Church and the group became focused on starting an Orthodox mission. James was received into the Antioch Orthodox Church in 2008 taking the patron St Basil the Great. Soon thereafter the group officially launched an Orthodox mission. James began almost immediately serving in the alter and soon after parish council.

Fr Basil graduated from the philosophy program and pursued an MA in folk studies, looking to study more about belief, social justice, and intentional communities. These studies and his internship in Gales Point Belize put him in contact with the WKU Gender Studies department. Having a lot of questions and interests, Fr Basil completed a graduate certificate in Gender and Women’s Studies. Along the way, he was also pursuing theological education and ordination in the Antiochian Church.

In 2016 he has ordained a sub-deacon in preparation for the diaconate, with considerations for the priesthood. At this time he was working on a program for mission organization and development with the local diocese. This process began to make clear to him functioning as an affirming priest or other clergy in the canonical church would be difficult at best.

While his particular parish was relatively progressive he began to see the overall church was not, often quite hostile to LGBTQ persons, rejected women clergy of any rank, and some social issues. These were problems and created cognitive dissonance for him. After his son was born there were further frustrations with the local parish (later resolved). These considerations lead him to take a step back in 2017. Without a more progressive jurisdiction to go to, he wandered around a bit in a sort of ‘dark night’. He spent time in Unitarian Universalist parishes, Pagan communities, and Buddhist Sanghas. In 2019 he and his wife moved to Florida. James served in a local Orthodox parish for a while, however, the same frustrations and limitations were still present. Eventually, James found the Universalist Orthodox Church and was ordained in March 2021. Soon after he found the convergent Christian Communion and was a part of developing the St John Chrysostom Eastern Rite Connexion. Fr Basil considers himself a Universalist and is fond of many faith traditions.

Education

B.S Biblical Studies – Liberty University

B.A. Philosophy – Western Kentucky University

M.A. Folk Studies – Western Kentucky University (focuses in belief, ritual, international/ascetic communities)

Graduate Certificate (21 hrs). Gender and Women’s Studies

Doctoral Course Work – University of Louisville – Focus : Philosophy and Theology of Asceticism.

Doctoral Course Work – Global Center for Advanced Studies – Focus: Philosophy and Critical Theology

MTh in Applied Orthodox Theology – Antiochian House of Studies – Thesis: Asceticism in Nicolas Berdyaev’s Conception of Creativity.

Publications

“Isn’t Asceticism an Eastern Thing?” In Reintroducing Christianity: An Eastern Apologia for a Western Audience – Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2016

“Punk and Anarcho-Punk” , “Straightedge”,  and “Boy Bands” In The Encyclopedia of Youth Cultures in America – Greenwood Press,  2016

Canon and Identity: Thoughts on Hyphenated Anarchisms. In Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies, 2013

Academic Presentations

“The Angelic Life: Masculinity in the Eastern Orthodox Monastic Narratives.” American Folklore Society Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana. Oct 2012 

“Economic Culture of Gales Point Manatee, Belize” 44th Annual Western Kentucky University Research Conference, Bowling Green, Kentucky. Feb 2012 

“Modern Legend Making: The Narratives of Father Seraphim Rose.” 3rd Annual Re: Conference, Louisville, Kentucky. Feb. 2012

“Men in the Kitchen”, 43rd Annual Western Kentucky University Research Conference, Bowling Green, Kentucky. Feb 2011