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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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Entries in Christian Life (167)

Friday
Jan282000

Do We Need Church?

[Crosswalk, January 28, 2000]

Q. What would you say to a Bible‑believing Christian who "doesn't believe in organized religion"? A friend recently wrote to me: "God loves the Church (as in the body of true believers), but He can reveal anything to any person at any time.

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Friday
Jan282000

Found Object: Snow-covered Tree

[Crosswalk, January 28, 2000]

My mother-in-law' s phone call woke us up.  "Hello?"  my husband said, groggily. I could hear her voice piping, five hundred miles away: "It snowed last night! Two inches!"

 

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Monday
Jan242000

More than Suffering

[Crosswalk, January 24, 2000] 

Q. My friend Mike was trying to explain Christian faith to me over dinner one night, and he said something I could understand. He said to look at the Son of God, unjustly strung up like a criminal.

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Sunday
Jan092000

Found Object: Body

[Crosswalk, January 2000] 

Here we are. Over the doorstep and into a dazzling new millennium, fraught with magnificence and fear, and perhaps with consequence -- hard to tell at this point. At any rate, we feel pretty dazzled and quite self-important. We’re alive *now*! What an achievement! What did we win?

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Sunday
Jan092000

Chasing Amy

[Christianity Today, January 2000]  

Amy Tracy prepared to die.

She had linked her arms through those of fellow pro-choice activists as they surrounded a van stopped outside an abortion clinic. Inside the van were women in the second trimester of pregnancy

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Wednesday
Dec221999

God as Suffering Parent

[Beliefnet, December 22, 1999]
 
* Selected for Best Christian Writing 2000 *
 
On a cold day in December a mother gave birth to a baby boy. Seventeen years later he sat in her kitchen with a towel around his neck while she trimmed his hair. When a boy reaches a certain age he doesn't like his mother to touch him any more. This is as close as she's likely to get, circling him, nipping behind his pink ears with scissors.

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Monday
Oct251999

Time Out

[Christianity Today, October 25, 1999]

My daughter gave me a round clock for my birthday. It has a round white dial like a full moon, dashed with tapering black hands. Black Roman numerals swing around the circumference of the disk and at the bottom stand serenely on their heads. Each snap of the second hand is accompanied by a tick.

I haven't had a round clock for a long time. Megan told me this was for my desk, so I put it at the back, just under the window. It joins three square clocks already in residence: one on the far edge facing the sofa, one on top of the computer monitor, and a tiny one in a corner of the monitor screen. When I sit at my desk I am relentlessly aware of what time it is. These three square clocks, with their segmented black numerals, flash time that looks impressively specific. However, they habitually disagree with each other, reminding me that specific is not the same as accurate. Right now I have my choice of 12:31, 12:32, or 12:33. Make that 12:34.

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Monday
Sep131999

From Agnostic to Christian


A little church on Sunday morning is a negligible thing. It may be the meekest, and least conspicuous, thing in America. Someone zipping between Baltimore's airport and beltway might pass this one, a little stone church drowsing like a hen at the corner of Maple and Camp Meade Road. At dawn all is silent, except for the click every thirty seconds as the oblivious traffic light rotates through its cycle. The building's bell tower out of proportion, too large and squat and short to match. Other than that, there's nothing much to catch the eye.

In a few hours heaven will strike earth like lightning on this spot. The worshipers in this little building will be swept into a divine worship that proceeds eternally, grand with seraphim and incense and God enthroned, "high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple" (Isaiah 6:1). The foundations of that temple shake with the voice of angels calling "Holy" to each other, and we will be there, lifting fallible voices in the refrain, an outpost of eternity.

If this is true, it is the most astonishing thing that will happen in our city today.

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Monday
May241999

Men Need Church, Too

[Christianity Today, May 24, 1999]

Next time you're in church, count the number of adult heads and divide by the number of pairs of pantyhose. If the pantyhose contingent makes up more than half the total, there's a word for your church: typical.

"Every sociologist, and indeed every observer, who has looked at the question has found that women are more religious than men," writes Leon Podles in his book, "The Church Impotent." (Ouch; the stentorian title makes me wince. Once inside, however, it's reasonable and well-written.) Podles cites a deluge of statistics: in 1986 church growth expert Lyle Schaller observed 60% female to 40% male churchgoers, a split which has widened since. Jesuit theologian Patrick Arnold says he's found a female-to-male ratio ranging from 2:1 to 7:1, and "some liberal Presbyterian or Methodist congregations are practically bereft of men." Even in churches that have an all-male ordained leadership, the inner circle of laity that actually runs things is likely to be mostly female.

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Monday
Mar011999

Could We Survive Persecution?

[Christianity Today, March 1, 1999]

A few decades ago a small paperback appeared titled "Tortured for Christ," by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand. In it Wurmbrand described his experiences of persecution behind the Iron Curtain. He pled with Americans to remember Russian believers suffering for their faith, invisible behind the fog of disinformation.

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