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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Entries in Christian Life (177)


Suicide, Why worship?

[Today's Christian, March-April 2003]

Is Suicide Unforgivable?

Q. We got into a discussion in my Bible class about whether Christians who commit suicide go to heaven. I always thought that God forgives everything, except the unforgivable sin of not accepting him. But others in my class hold different views. I have two questions: (1) Do Christians who commit suicide go to heaven? and (2) What is the "unforgivable sin"? --Carly M. Spokane, Washington

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Jerry LaHaye & Mercy

[Beliefnet, March 2003]

Since they debuted their after-the-Rapture thriller series a decade or so ago, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins have not aimed their "Left Behind" books at pleasing the sophisticated elite, the so-called "chattering classes." It's not great lit, and doesn't pretend to be. (Personally, I gave up a few pages into the first volume, when a character was introduced this way: "His coworkers called him Buck, because he was always bucking the rules.")

But the idea behind the series is nothing if not gripping.

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Demons, Panhandlers

Today's Christian, January-February 2003]

Q. I have a friend who believes that everything bad that happens to him is due to a demon. I worry about him both because he is not taking responsibility for some of the bad things that are happening to him, and because I believe that I do not really need to worry about demons when I am surrounded by the love and power of God. Am I right, or is he right, or are we both wrong? --Jodi J., Westville, IN

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The Economics of Sin / Mosquitoes

[Today's Christian, November-December 2002]

The Economics of Sin

Q. I have a tough question for you. I was asked this in my Acteens Class and I need to know how to answer it next time. (1) Once we become Christians, why should we ask God's forgiveness for sins we commit, if he has already forgiven our sins? (2) What is the use of asking God's forgiveness for sins that we know we will continue to commit, and keep on committing, because we like to? Both these questions are hard to answer, and I'm not sure I did it well enough in my own words. --Ann P.

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Anniversary of September 11th

[Beliefnet, September 10, 2002]

A year ago everything changed. When the towers fell, we discovered how much we loved this country, and how much we needed each other. We found resources of courage that we hadn't known were there. We saw challenge on the horizon, and rose to meet it.

And then everything changed back.

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Seven Deadly Sins: Pride

[Beliefnet, August 15, 2002]


Here's why we hate those family newsletters we get during the holidays: "It's been a great year for the Lamplighters! Greg had been hoping for a promotion, but what a surprise when the CEO came to his desk and begged him to take over the company. The whole office chipped in and gave the family a week in Paris to celebrate. Wasn't that nice?

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Miner Miracle

[Beliefnet, July29, 2002]

"God Gave Us a Miracle" reads the sign outside a diner in Somerset, Penna. But did He? Did God personally deliver the nine miners trapped 250 feet below ground? Would he have done it even if we hadn't prayed?

"I don't think we got his attention," a friend tells me. "I don't think he said, 'I'm busy over here creating a solar system, but I'll take a minute and help you out.'"

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Repentance, Both Door and Path

[From "The Illumined Heart", Paraclete Press, 2001]

* Selected for Best Christian Writing, 2004*

The first time Jesus appears, in the first Gospel, the first instruction he gives is “Repent.”

From then on, it’s his most consistent message. In all times and every situation, his advice is to repent. Not just the scribes and Pharisees, not just the powerful—he tells even the poor and oppressed that repentance is the key to eternal life. In an incident that would make modern-day spin doctors frantic, Jesus even advises repentance in response to a horrifying atrocity. Some in his audience tell him that Pilate has murdered some Galilean worshipers, spattering their blood on the animal sacrifices. Shockingly, Jesus says, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Apparently he is not concerned about how this will play on Mt. Peor.

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Did the Devil Make Her Do It?

[Beliefnet, March 1, 2002]

Months after their deaths, the five drowned Yates children still linger at the edges of our minds, like silent, patient ghosts. The whole tragedy is a mystery. We can't imagine how any mother could do such a thing. We can't understand why the shock of the first limp body didn't stop her from killing any more. We can't even picture how she was physically able to do it. Those maternal arms look so thin; how could she hold a squirming 7-year-old under water for all those endless passing minutes?

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The Case Against "Youth-anasia"

Beliefnet, February 15, 2002]

Greta Van Susteren took a look in the mirror not long ago and didn't like what she saw. "God, how did I get to be 47?" she says she thought. So she had cosmetic surgery to tighten up the skin around her eyes. "I just did it on a whim," she told People magazine.

Leave aside the question of whether someone who whimsically has her face permanently altered can be relied on for more sober judgment about, say, Al Qaeda. The bottom line is that the deed seemed so out of character. Greta's was one of the few really authentic female faces on television. Her face was interesting because it was unattractive, and attractive because it was so interesting. It was a startlingly real face in the world of artifice, a face that could attract and pull you in.

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