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I'll Come Speak

    I write and speak on all sorts of topics: ancient Christian spirituality and the Eastern Orthodox faith, the Jesus Prayer, marriage and family, the pro-life cause, cultural issues, and more. You can contact Cynthia Damaskos of the Orthodox Speakers Bureau if you’d like to bring me to an event. This Calendar will let you know when I’m in your neighborhood.

 

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Monday
Mar022015

Vita - Speaking and Interviews

Speaking Engagements

and Interviews

 

Speaking Engagements

 

2015

Ctr for Byzantine Material Arts retreat, Leesburg, VA, Jan 23-24, 2015

Classroom Skype talk, Messiah College, Jan 26, 2015

 

2014

St. Vladimir’s Seminary, St. Ambrose Society, Jan 21, 2014

Biola Univ, Chapel, Jan 31, 2014

Biola Univ, Center for Christian Thought, Feb 1, 2014

St. Mary Episcopal Church, Abingdon MD, Mar 12, 2014

Westmont College, Santa Barbara CA, March 17, 2014

St. Nicholas Church, Baltimore MD, April 5, 2014

King University, Johnson City TN, Sept 15, 2014

Buechner Institute, Johnson City TN, Sept 15, 2014

Milligan Univ, Johnson City TN, Sept 16, 2014

St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church, Oct 10, 2014

Baylor Univ, Conyers students, Waco TX, Oct 24, 2014

Baylor Univ, Faith & Film Conference, Waco TX, Oct 24, 2014

Birthright banquet, Kingston Ontario, Nov 1, 2014

St. George Anglican Church, Colorado Springs CO, Nov 14-16, 2014

All Saints Orthodox Church, Bloomington IN, Dec 3-4, 2014

 

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Monday
Mar022015

Vita - Writing

Writing

BOOKS

Welcome to the Orthodox Church: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity

            (Paraclete Press, 2015)

The Jesus Prayer: The Ancient Desert Prayer that Tunes the Heart to God

            (Paraclete Press, 2009; 800-451-5006)

            In England, Darton, Longman & Todd, 2010

The Lost Gospel of Mary: The Mother of Jesus in Three Ancient Texts

     (Paraclete Press, 2007; 800-451-5006)      

First Fruits of Prayer: A Forty-Day Journey through the Canon of St. Andrew

     (Paraclete Press, 2005; 800-451-5006)

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Tuesday
Feb032015

Bibleworks 9

[Leadership Journal; Fall 2012]

 

Shoppers are funny. We want our tech purchases to come with all the bells and whistles, but once we bring the product home, we don’t do as much whistling and bell-ringing as we thought. One study showed that, when offered a hypothetical cell phone, consumers wanted every possible feature to be included; when queried about their actual cell phone use, they admitted they were not using most of the features they already had.

So it’s worth thinking about what you really want, in a comprehensive bible software program. I’d used a previous version of BibleWorks some years ago, then made a leap to a much more complicated program. Never did hang of it. I was glad to give BibleWorks 9 a try.

I started with a challenge: could I jump right in and start using it, without reading up online or looking at any instructions or videos? The program opened with three windows, and the first had a search box. After a tiny hitch—a popup box told me to add a period, as in “.fruit of the Spirit”— the center window opened four versions of Galatians 5:22, two in Greek. (You can, of course, select which bible versions you want to see; dozens and dozens of choices there.) It was fast and easy—two attributes I had really missed.

But it’s the third window that makes this program such a dynamo. I moved the cursor over the bible text, and a flourish of lexicographal information popped up there for every word. I selected specific words, and now could use the third window in a dozen ways—making notes, checking cross-references, see how and where this word is used throughout the Scriptures, look at Bible notes or a Greek apparatus for the verse. Then, to my great surprise, a tab labeled “MSS” opened an image of this verse in the Sinaiticus manuscript, with that clear, handsome uncial script that is in itself a work of art. What an electric moment, to gaze on the work of a fellow Christian who had thought about and transcribed these same words, almost 1700 years ago.

Of course, once I looked at the first instructions and videos I found many more capabilities and resources, particularly for helping someone with rusty original-language skills dig into the original text. And considering the strings of unexplored icons and buttons above and below the main windows, I will be expanding the usefulness of Bibleworks 9 for a long time. But finding this program so very intuitive and easy to use made me almost absurdly grateful; and the blisteringly-fast speed meant that newbie mistakes came and went in a flash. It’s stress-free.

All this swift accessibility is based on a single goal: to get the user in direct contact with the Scriptures themselves. If that’s your goal too, then this surprisingly affordable package can give you everything you’re looking for—minus the bells and whistles you don’t need.

 

Monday
Dec152014

Karen Armstrong's "Fields of Blood"

Well, good for her. I’ve often thought what Karen Armstrong states in her new book, “Fields of Blood”: that people don’t go to war for religious reasons, but for property. If there’s no property to be seized from another people, there’s no motive to fight. (I’ve read James Fallows’s review in the New York Times, not the book itself.)

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Monday
Dec082014

Psalms 152 and 200

My son Steve (Fr Steve Mathewes, pastor of Christ the Savior Orthodox Church in Bluff City, TN), was putting the kids to bed, and Ruthie (who turned 7 yesterday) asked him how many psalms are in the Bible.  He told her that there are 151 in the book of Psalms (according to the numbering in the ancient Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint). Ruthie said, “I bet I could make the 152nd Psalm.” She wrote the following.

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Friday
Jul252014

Magic in the Moonlight

[National Review; July 25, 2014]

When they invent a really reliable time machine, I’m going back to the day I graduated from college. I was an English major who took electives like “German Film of the 1930s” and dreamed of being a movie critic for The Village Voice. (How did I end up here instead? It’s a long story.) One thing graduation-day me will ask is “How have movies changed in 40 years?”

I’ll say, “You can’t imagine how much better the visuals are.” Not only because of improved cameras, and not even considering the advent of CGI, but because such meticulous care is now taken with color design, costumes, lighting, locations, and set dressing. Even crummy movies provide an immersive, atmospheric experience. Modern-day filmmaking is consistently a feast for the eyes.

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Saturday
Jun282014

A Summary of Orthodox Spirituality in St. Maximos

Every day I get an entry from the writings of St. Maximos the Confessor, from his Four “Centuries” (four sets of one hundred short sayings) on Love. They come in Greek and English. I don’t know who sends them; I expect someone has set himself a task of translating one a day.

As I read today’s I thought how absolutely mystified I would have been by it, a few years back.

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Sunday
Jun152014

Leaping into Light

Springing from her lap he leaps,

my father, into light;

Grandmother holds him tight;

and Grandad penned the frame with time:

“MAR 30-1926”

and birthday “7-MONTHS.”

But all this fails to hold him back:

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Friday
Jun062014

The Fault in Our Stars

It was “beautifully tragic,” my young companion said, and judging from the sobs and sighing all around us, this opinion was widely shared. The film is based on the best-selling Young Adult book by the same title, authored by John Green (best known, with his brother Hank, for the YouTube channel Vlogbrothers). The novel bucked current trends by not being set in a near-future dystopia ruled by vampires. Instead it’s a dying-teenager story, but not of the usual sort. It’s literate and funny. It doesn’t exploit the drama of diagnosis, horror, and teary acceptance; the characters have had cancer for years already, and have worked out believably different ways of living with their condition. (As a one-time aspirant for the Episcopal priesthood, Green spent some time as a chaplain in a children’s hospital. Hard lessons learned greatly benefit the storytelling.)

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Tuesday
Apr012014

St. Mary of Egypt (for all ages)

St. Mary of Egypt

Feasts: April 1 and 5th Sunday of Great Lent

About 500 years after the Resurrection of our Lord, a holy monk by the name of Zosimas lived in a monastery by the Jordan River. He had lived as a monk since childhood and when he was about 50 years old he began to think that he had surpassed all the other monks in virtue and that no one could teach him anything he didn’t already know. To prevent such a prideful thought from taking root, God taught him a lesson.

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