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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Wednesday
Aug192015

Dr. Ben Carson and the Vote Know Ad

In 1992 I was the Vice President for Communications of the Vote Know Coalition. This organization had been formed to coordinate a referendum campaign against a new Maryland law, one that had repealed a handful of consumer-protection laws related to abortion. (For example, this new law repealed the prohibition against paying kickbacks for abortion referrals, and another statute requiring abortion customers to be given a pamphlet listing alternatives-to-abortion resources.) We gained a record-breaking number of signatures and brought this law to referendum; we urged voters to “Vote No on Question 6.”

Election Day that year was November 3. In September we asked Dr. Ben Carson, then a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins, if he would tape a commercial for us. At that point he was becoming a familiar figure in Christian circles, but had not taken a public stand on abortion. He agreed to do the ad, and we faxed the script back and forth (in those pre-email days) until it said what he wanted to say.

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Tuesday
Jul072015

"God Desires All to Be Saved" (1 Timothy 2:4)

Here is an immensely helpful essay by Met. Kallistos Ware, in which he traces the careful path between assuming that all will be saved (universal salvation) and praying that all will be saved—praying with yearning and tears, for “God desires that all may be saved and come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4). He does this by examining the thought of St. Silouan the Athonite (1866-1938), a Russian monk with little education who became a very wise elder. St. Sophrony (1896-1993), also mentioned in this essay, was a spiritual child of St. Silouan and wrote his story.

There’s a distinction that is often missed between praying that all will be saved and assuming that all will be saved. That’s especially the case in our time, when the more challenging aspects of faith are routinely played down, and God’s mercy is emphasized to the near exclusion of any other characteristic. Of course he is great in mercy, and what we say of that is true; yet in emphasizing it we can lose our balance, tipping too far toward one side. In a comfortable age such as ours, we assume God wants us to be comfortable, and we skip over the Scriptures that tell the tougher things Jesus said.

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Monday
Jun152015

Bringing It Home

Yesterday I received an email from a priest in Australia, who said he is reading my new book, Welcome to the Orthodox Church. He likes it, but notes that it is aimed at people already familiar with Christianity. In his case, he said, he dealing with two generations of nonbelievers.

He said something next that I’m not sure I agree with. He said that he thinks in the future we will need to be like John Wesley, who went out directly to the people, preaching in towns and fields to preach.  But, he said, we’ll need to reach them in different ways, through the internet or mass media.

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Friday
Jun122015

Welcome - Discussion Questions

Part One: Inside the Temple Exploring the empty church

 

1  “Enter His Gates”        3  In the narthex, the church’s lobby or foyer

 

1. Icons are images of our Lord, and of our fellow-believers who are now with him. We keep these images near us wherever we pray, because they help us feel a connection to the people they depict. Do you have a photo of a loved one that affects you that way?

 

2.  Iconography requires each artist’s unique skill and talents, yet the artist does not seek self-expression, and sticks to the traditional ways icons show people and events. How does this differ from our expectation of what “art” is like? Might such restrictions make icons more useful to the community?

 

3. St. Athanasius, like early Christians generally, expected that making the sign of the Cross would have immediate, sometimes visible, practical effects. Are those effects still possible today?

 

4. C.S. Lewis noted that, in Orthodox worship, “no one takes the slightest notice of what anyone else is doing.” But is there a good side to monitoring and evaluating how others are behaving? Does it help us be more aware that we are worshipping as a community?

 

2  “The House of God”    11   In the nave, the congregation’s worship space

 

1. Have you visited a church, in the US or abroad, that was built in the cross-in-square design? Does that form of a worship space have any particular effect on a visitor? On the “feel” of worship?

 

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Friday
Jun122015

Welcome to Orthodoxy - Outline

Part One: Inside the Temple Exploring the empty church

 

1  “Enter His Gates”        3  In the narthex, the church’s lobby or foyer

 

            An arriving worshipper takes a candle and venerates an icon     4

            Introduction to icons     4-7

            Making the sign of the Cross     8-10

            CS Lewis: Worshippers don’t monitor others’ behavior     9

 

2  “The House of God”    11   In the nave, the congregation’s worship space

 

            Traditional church architecture, the basilica, adding a central dome     12-14

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Saturday
Jun062015

Open Question: Tithing

Q.  Is it robbing God to tithe on your after-tax (not gross) income?

A.  My husband and I were in seminary and still newly-Christian when a friend told us about tithing. She stressed the importance of giving the full 10% before taxes, before anything else, so that we would be giving God the “first fruits” of our labor. We recoiled at the thought of such an unexpected expense, but she said that, in her experience, it had given God room to work miracles in her life; once she and her husband had put their last dollar in the plate, only to have the pastor turn around and give them the whole collection.

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Saturday
May232015

Tomorrowland

“When I was a kid, the future was different.” So says George Clooney at the beginning of “Tomorrowland,” looking directly into the camera. Before you can wonder what he means, you see it: the 1964 New York World’s Fair, where everything is shiny, sunny, and rocket-shaped. Clooney’s character, young Frank Walker, has arrived with his homemade jetpack (powered by twin Electrolux canister vacuums), and waits in line for an expert’s evaluation. But the jetpack suffers from the technical flaw of not, actually, working. The sour evaluator, Nix (Hugh Laurie), sends Frank off with a discouraging word.

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Monday
Apr272015

Summary - List Version

Books

If you would like to include a book signing, please contact the publishers at the 800 numbers below, and say that the order is “in conjunction with an author visit.” You will get a discount, and can set whatever price you like, and can return unsold books for a refund. You keep all profits. Please have someone sit at the table with me to handle payments.

 

Welcome to the Orthodox Church: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity

(Paraclete Press, 2015; 800-451-5006)

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Monday
Apr272015

Summary - Text Version

[Event hosts often draw from this when preparing an introduction for a speaking event.]

Frederica Mathewes-Green is a wide-ranging author, whose work has appeared in such diverse publications as the Washington Post, Christianity Today, Smithsonian, the Los Angeles Times, First Things, Books & Culture, Sojourners, Touchstone, and the Wall Street Journal. She has been a regular commentator for National Public Radio (NPR), on Morning Edition and All Things Considered,

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Monday
Apr272015

Complete Vita - Essays

2015

“Tithing” appeared in

            Christianity Today, June 2015

 2014

“The Public Atheists Refute an Imaginary God” appeared on

            Frederica.com, Jan 28, 2014

“Miraculous Flowers” appeared on

            Frederica.com, Jan 29, 2014

“Grand Budapest Hotel” appeared on

            National Review Online, Feb 2014

 

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