By Ryan Phipps

In the study of theology, if one studies long enough, it’s likely that they will come across a method of study called, “Via Negativa.” 

Via Negativa, is the Latin for, “The Negative Way.” It’s a type of theological thinking that attempts to describe God by negation— to speak only in terms of what may not be said about God.

This way of thinking is a struggle for those of us in living here in the west, because we pride ourselves in knowing who and what God is, and how to explain God in simple terms so that our friends and neighbors can understand what we believe. 

Though this is useful in smalltalk, when it comes to what one deeply believes, it falls horribly short. It makes the Divine something small— something that can be read off of an index card— when in truth, we can’t even explain a grain of salt in such simplistic terms.


Ryan is the Lead Pastor of Forefront Church in Manhattan, New York City. Forefront is a vibrant, growing faith community dedicated to cultivating a just and generous expression of the Christian Faith in New York City and around the world. 

Ryan also serves as the Director of Marketing and Communications at Convergence, a network seeking to foster collaboration between Evangelicals, Catholics, and Mainline Protestants. 

In his spare time Ryan can be found at his desk writing, composing music, or designing things.

Learn more about Ryan at ryanphipps.com