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 (189)

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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Sunday
May072006

Da Vinci Code: "Yeah, Whatever"

[TheDaVinciDialogue.com, May 6, 2006] 

Editors titled this: "Yeah, Whatever. This is All About You-Know-Who."  

When the DaVinci Code hoopla is all said and done, it will still be Jesus that we’re talking about. It’s Jesus whose face on the cover sells a million magazines, whose name instills widespread awe. Even people despise Christians paradoxically admire their Lord. In discussions of religion nearly everything is up for grabs, yet on this one point there’s widespread agreement. Why do people instinctively admire Jesus?

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Tuesday
May022006

Poor Excuse

[Touchstone, May 2006]

What happens when Christians are attacked by the contemptuous secular world? Often we start talking about how much good Christians have done. I just encountered this response in a book aimed at non-believers, which builds to a chapter that presents a whole parade of do-gooders to vindicate the Christian faith. Everybody got their paragraph in the sun, from Mother Teresa to Basil the Great to the Liberation Theologians.

It’s a difficult problem in apologetics, I admit, how to win a hearing for Christianity today.

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Wednesday
Apr192006

The Cross of St. Dimas

[Beliefnet, April 19, 2006]

The Gospels don’t tell us much about the two thieves crucified with Jesus. Tradition calls the “Good Thief” Dimas or Dismas, while the “Bad Thief” is named Gestas. Dimas’ legend reveals a little more. As a young man he was the leader of a robber band in Egypt, and encountered the Holy Family during their sojourn after Jesus’ birth. He discerned something special about the Jewish family, we’re told, and ordered his men to spare them. Thirty years later he saw that child once again, nailed to a cross beside him.

 

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Thursday
Mar232006

Why We Need Hell

[Beliefnet: March 23, 2006] 

Hell has never been a fashionable destination, but it in recent years it's met a fate that even the most passé hotspots don't endure; people suspect it doesn't exist. Or, if it does exist, it attracts no customers; "we are permitted to hope that hell is empty" is how this is sometimes phrased. Even the most conservative Christians have a hard time putting a positive spin on a wrathful God who flings evildoers into flaming torment.

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