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 (186)


Playing the Lottery, Idols

[Today's Christian, September-October 2003]

Q. May Christians participate in state or private lotteries? Will such an act bring dishonor to Jesus Christ? --M.J.K., Republic of Seychelles

A. Lotteries raise a host of related questions. Should Christians ever get involved in something decided by chance? Do you buy a lottery ticket, hoping to win the Daily Million' What about tossing a coin to see if you should take that job in Chicago? Is it OK to play bingo, if it's sponsored by a church?

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Under the Heaven Tree

[Essay included in "The Church in the Emerging Culture: Five Perspectives,"
Leonard Sweet, editor (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003)]

This book contains five essays on the question of the Church’s engagement with culture, and to what extent we should change, or preserve, its message and its method. This essay was my contribution.

Why is this essay written in question and answer format?

It is intended to reference the penultimate section of James Joyce’s "Ulysses." This section, called "Ithaca," concerns a late-night conversation between Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus. It is cast in the form of a series of objective, impersonal questions and answers, for example, "What seemed to the host to be the predominant qualities of his guest?"

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Confession, Good for the Soul

[Books & Culture, September-October 2003]

Does being a Christian mean always having to say you're sorry? When outsiders look at the Roman Catholic rite of confession (now more often termed "reconciliation"), they suspect it is driven by feelings of masochistic self-hatred, and sustained by claims of sacerdotal magic. Why should we have to spend this life groveling over sins, if Jesus already paid for them on the Cross? Why should we speak sins out loud to another person, when it could remain between us and the bedpost? And why should we believe that a priest stands between us and God, forgiving or retaining our debts as he chooses?

Two new books from Roman Catholic authors

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Marriage in Heaven, Prodigal Daughter

[Today's Christian, July-August 2003]

Will I Be Married in Heaven?

Q. Since the recent death of my wife, a godly "Proverbs 31" woman, I have been wondering if our marriage will continue in heaven. --John R., via e-mail

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The Bent Woman

[Beliefnet, June 2003]

The topic "Jesus and Women" calls forth such a varied cast of characters that it's hard to focus on just one of them. At the forefront is his mother, of course, followed swiftly by the many young, vigorous women who served or questioned him, who were healed or protected by him. Far in the back of the crowd there is a nameless woman who is easy to miss. She is bent double with pain.

Jesus heals her, but she doesn't get to be the center of attention long.

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The Matrix of Reality

[Christianity Today Online, May 11, 2003]

If you can read this, you're probably not waiting in line at a movie theater. If you don't know why people might be waiting in line at a movie theater, you need to come out of that fallout shelter. Fans have been anxiously anticipating the release of The Matrix Reloaded ever since the house lights came up at the end of 1999's blockbuster, The Matrix.

The Matrix is surely the most overanalyzed movie since they invented Christian film critics.

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Ready for the Apocalypse

I blush to say that I was one of the people who thought Y2K might mean a world's end-- some kind of ending anyway. Not to the extent of a friend who talked about converting all her assets to gold coins

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Praying for a Spouse, Personal Recognition

[Today's Christian, May-June 2003]

Q. I'm a 25 year old single lady who loves the Lord. Lately I've been very confused about how to find the right partner. In my church, dating is viewed almost as a sin. They believe in the praying method--that God will show you the right person when he's ready. I've watched a lot of young people in my church follow this model, and almost four out of five ended up being miserable--some have even backslid.

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About Face, Christian Soldiers

[Unpublished, March 2003]

I subscribe to a newsweekly magazine. One week the cover story is about Buddhists. I read the article. It is about spirituality.

Another week the cover story is about students of the Kaballah. I read the article. It is about spirituality.

Another week the cover story is about Christians. I read the article. It is about politics.

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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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