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 The Culture (92)


Liberty, Death followup

[Beliefnet, July 11, 2001] 

 The discussion in the wake of my Fourth of July column has been invigorating, and it is moving to see the high pitch of idealism on every side. There are things I wish I'd said more clearly, and side-topics I wish I'd had room to address, but limited space demands selectivity.

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Liberty, Death, or Something Else?

[Beliefnet, July 4, 2001]

Give me liberty or give me death. Or give me something else. Staying alive, but under the rule of another nation? Yeah, that sounds all right, too.

Scandalous thoughts, especially this time of year. I’m a conservative Christian, born an American, born into the idea of faith intertwined with freedom. But I’ve been thinking over something I read recently. During the Jewish rebellion against Rome in the first century, religious leaders were the last to join the cause. They worked for peace and opposed revolution because, as one historian put it, “Roman rule presented no serious threat to Jewish religion.” In other words, overthrowing an oppressive government wasn’t a requisite of the faith.

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Marketing Narnia

[Beliefnet, June 20, 2001] 

 Just hours after the New York Times hit doorsteps on the first Sunday of this month, my e‑mailbox began to fill with distraught messages. "Sit down before you read this, in case you start crying," wrote one friend, and another muttered "Poor Lewis must be turning over in his grave."

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Run-over Pocketbook

[Beliefnet, February 2, 2001]

At dawn on the last day of the year, my husband and I were walking along a rural highway in South Carolina, following a trail of broken things. I had left my pocketbook on top of the car at a gas station late the previous night, something we didn’t realize till we got to my mother-in-law’s house about 45 minutes later.

It was too dark to search then, but all night I fretted. Had it fallen off right in the gas station lot, and was someone even now using my Visa card to order a vintage Corvette? Was some fan using the cell phone to leave long messages on Ricky Martin’s answering machine? How would I ever replace all those little plastic cards, when I couldn’t even remember what half of them were for? I pictured myself spending all afternoon at the DMV, glumly waiting to pose for a new license.

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Every Day is Casual Friday

[Christianity Today, July 10, 2000] 

I've been thinking lately about Mary Hartman's husband's hat.

You might remember the late-70's TV show, "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman." This Norman Lear satire of a soap opera showcased the strange citizens of the mythical town of Ferndale. Mary's husband Tom

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Get It?

[Christianity Today, May 22, 2000]

So one day this guy hears his doorbell ring and he goes to answer the door. He doesn't see anybody there, but looking down he sees a snail creeping along the welcome mat. He picks it up and tosses it far across the lawn.


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Perils of the Superman Cape

[Beliefnet, May 18, 2000]


Way back in 1969, my husband was one of the hundreds of thousands who went to Woodstock --the original one. He says all he remembers is "lying on the ground a lot."   



I didn't go; I was too young. But I listened diligently to the three-record set, and wished I had been there. It all sounded so heroic: Joan Baez's talk about draft resistance, Arlo Guthrie's celebration of drug smuggling, references to "the pigs" that conjured an Establishment bent on oppression.


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"The Book of Heaven"

[Los Angeles Times, May 13, 2000]

"The Book of Heaven," by Carol Zaleski and Philip Zaleski, Oxford University Press, 448 pages, $35.

Imagine there's a heaven. At the word, a pop-up tableau instantly unfolds and feathers from moulting wings drift into the air. Before a plywood set spray-painted gold, choir voices sing with determined cheer, like a power drill going through steel.

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Found Object: Big Cheese

[Crosswalk, January 24, 2000]

A few weeks after Christmas the mega-vast-o-giant-super-warehouse-store is nearly empty. A few shoppers linger in the dog food and vacuum cleaner aisles, looking diminutive as fairies. Whole acres of luggage and appliances are deserted, and the vacant cement floors are smooth and clean. I expect to see a tumbleweed roll by.

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My Spice Girl Moment

[Christianity Today, January 11, 1999]

When I was first approached about becoming a member of the Spice Girls, I was a little taken aback. My impression was that this troupe of British singers was salacious and provocative, one more example of the debasing of our culture.

"I'm embarassed to admit it, Mom," my 21-year-old daughter confessed, "but I actually liked the movie. It's harmless--a teenybopper thing, like for preteen girls. It's singing Barbies, and there's nothing dirty about it. It has that nutty English humor, kind of like the Beatles' Help!, so I actually ended up really enjoying it--I even watched it twice."

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