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 (193)

Thursday
Apr122007

Loving a Child with Autism

[Beliefnet, April 13, 2007] 

Last summer we had a houseful at the beach, with our children and their spouses and the seven (soon to be nine) little grandchildren. The cousins don’t see each other much, so they splashed and ran and shouted, the wind tearing at their voices. But Adam, then four, stayed by himself. He moved along the edges of the dunes, circling the family like a silent satellite. Last year, Adam received a diagnosis of autism.

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Thursday
Apr052007

Rediscovering Mary

[National Review Online, April 5, 2007]

Interview about “The Lost Gospel of Mary” 

 Q. Frederica, you have a new book out about Mary. Have you discovered a new gospel? Where was it hiding?

A. I feel ambivalent about the title — kind of lurid, isn’t it! But my point was that there are many, many ancient Christian texts that are fully orthodox; it’s not only a matter of New Testament versus gnostics. Earlier generations of Christians read the same kind of supplemental and devotional works we do today: biographies, commentaries,

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Thursday
Feb012007

The Lost Gospel of Mary: Who Was She?

[excerpted from “The Lost Gospel of Mary,” Paraclete Press, 2007]

The Beloved Virgin Mary


Who was she?

It is hard to see Mary clearly, beneath the conflicting identities she has borne over the centuries. To one era she is the flower of femininity, and to another the champion of feminism; in one age she is the paragon of obedience, and in another the advocate of liberation. Some enthusiasts have been tempted to pile her status so high that it rivals that of her Son. Others, aware that excessive adulation can be dangerous, do their best to ignore her entirely.

Behind all that there is a woman nursing a baby. The child in her arms looks into her eyes. Years later he will look at her from the cross, through a haze of blood and sweat.

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Thursday
Feb012007

What's Wrong with "Spirituality"

[Gifted For Leadership, January 2007] 

I don’t like the category “spirituality.” It sounds so external. It sounds so optional. It isn’t a concept I find in the first millennium, or anywhere in Eastern Christianity. As far as I can tell, what people today mean by “spirituality” is what St. Paul meant by “life in Christ.”

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Sunday
Jan142007

Women's Ordination

[Beliefnet, Jan 10, 2007]

 
In recent decades, some Protestant denominations have undergone heavy fighting over the question of whether women should be ordained. A woman holding a worship service or preaching was once so rare that the 18th century English author, Samuel Johnson, could say: “a woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.”

This controversy hasn’t gained a high profile in the Orthodox Church, probably due to our way of approaching such issues: if the early church was in agreement on a matter, if that consensus continued unbroken over the centuries, then that seems to be the Holy Spirit’s leading. Jesus said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13).

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Wednesday
Jan102007

7 Big Questions

[Relevant; Jan/Feb 2007]

1. What trends in church and worship styles do you see? Are they positive or negative?

As an Eastern Orthodox Christian, I’m glad to see communities digging into the treasures of the ancient church, particularly in terms of seeking beauty. The less we try to make worship like an evening in the family room, the more we make it something directed beyond our familiar experience, bringing us to the God of beauty, awe, and mystery, the better — and my personal hunch is that this is more attractive to seekers, too.

 

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Monday
Jan082007

"Sign of the Cross" Foreword

[Foreword to The Sign of the Cross by Andreas Andreopoulos, Paraclete Press, 2007]

 
At my Orthodox church every Sunday I see families arrive at church and go up to the iconostasis, to greet the icon of the Lord. The parents stand before his searching gaze and make the sign of the cross fluidly: the right thumb and first two fingers together to recall the Trinity, and the last two fingers together and pressed down to the palm, to recall Christ’s two natures and his descent to the earth. They touch forehead, abdomen, right shoulder, left shoulder, then sweep the right hand to the floor with a deep bow. After making two of these “metanias,” they kiss Christ’s hand, then make one more sign of the Cross and a last bow.

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Thursday
Nov232006

Repose of Fr. George Calciu

Reverend Father Gheorghe Calciu-Dumitreasa Fallen Asleep in the Lord

Alexandria VA – The Reverend Father Gheorghe Calciu-Dumitreasa, parish priest of Holy Cross Church in Alexandria, Virginia, fell asleep in the Lord on Tuesday afternoon, 21 November 2006 following a short but difficult illness.

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Tuesday
Nov072006

Ted Haggard and Suffering

[First Things, November 7, 2006] 

I was in Denver for about a hundred minutes this weekend. I hadn’t planned it, but when I arrived at the airport Friday morning to begin my journey to Calgary, I was surprised to see that’s where I would change planes. The story about Ted Haggard had hit the news the night before, and I had been for some reason really moved by it. I walked through the Denver airport praying the Jesus Prayer for him: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on Ted.”

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Sunday
Oct012006

Open Season on Beauty

[Dallas Morning News, October 1, 2006] 

 “I didn’t like the part in the restaurant,” Hannah, my 6-year-old granddaughter, said. We were leaving a screening of Sony’s new animated feature, “Open Season,” and I was trying to remember any scene in a restaurant. When she said it was “too messy,” I realized that she meant an early scene where the movie’s lead characters, a suburban bear and a one-antlered deer, run loose in a mini-mart.

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