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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 The Culture (92)

Monday
Sep071998

Gagging on Shiny, Happy People

[Christianity Today, September 7, 1998]

I flipped back the corners of the rugs, one after another. It was a clammy, rainy day, and these hand-knotted wool specimens from Iran, Pakistan, India, and China were giving off a fresh-from-the-sheep smell. I didn't know what I was doing; I'd never shopped for a rug before. But the one thing that struck me as I gazed at one gorgeous carpet after another was that they looked too perfect.

Then I peeled back one more layer and saw a rug that won my heart.

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Friday
Aug141998

Should You Design Your Own Religion?

[Utne Reader, August 1998]

One of the best pieces of spiritual advice I ever received was one I fortunately gained early, while still in college. It was that I should give up the project of assembling my own private faith out of the greatest hits of the ages. I encountered this idea while reading Ramakrishna, the nineteenth century Hindu mystic. He taught that it was important to respect the integrity of each great path, and said that, for example, when he wanted to explore Christianity he would take down his images of the Great Mother and substitute images of Jesus and Mary.

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Monday
Jul131998

Good Old Middle-Class Hypocrisy

[Christianity Today, July 13, 1998]

 
Pundits and commentators, who normally consider themselves more open-minded than the plodding masses, have been rocked by a discovery in the last six months: when it comes to a president's indiscretions, most people just don't care. "But you're supposed to be outraged,"

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Monday
May181998

I Didn't Mean to be Rude

[Christianity Today, May 18, 1998]

Twenty-four years ago this month I learned something specific. The specificity of what I learned is what makes it, to many, offensive.

 Twenty-four years ago a hitchiking jaunt around Europe brought me one afternoon to a church in Dublin.

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Monday
Mar241997

Beseiged in Albania

[Religion News Service, March 24, 1997] 

"Madness," writes the Rev. Luke Veronis, in one of his daily e‑mail messages from his beseiged apartment in Tirana, Albania. "It is as if the entire country has gone crazy. I want to think that things are slowly getting back to normal, but I am fooling myself."

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Thursday
Jan161997

The Subject Was Noses

[Books & Culture, January/February, 1997] 

One night after dinner, while Gary and the boys and I were still sitting around the kitchen table, Megan called from college. After the phone had been passed around and everyone had done some chatting, it came back to me. Megan hesitated, then said:

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Tuesday
Jan071997

Silence is Golden, Even at the Gas Pump

[Religion News Service, January 7, 1997]

In a north Florida city, just off the interstate, stands a gas station that at first appears routine. But as I came around last week to pump a tankful for my holiday trip home, I noticed a sign posted next to the credit‑card slot.

The wording was oddly formal. "We hope your fueling experience will be enhanced by Jacksonville's first FAST PAY television gas pumps."

 

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Tuesday
Dec241996

Too Much Togetherness

[Religion News Service, December 24, 1996] 

This season of togetherness pushes people together, and in the process they find sometimes that the fit isn't so easy. Family members who see each other once a year do so now, over the turkey or New Year's Day ham; co‑workers from other departments share cookies and a paper cup of soda (or something stronger) and try to make conversation. In this season more than ever we are being appraised and often find ourselves fretting about how to dress or behave to suit different occasions. It's a tense and giddy time, so full of fun that we're quite relieved when it's over.

 

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Tuesday
Sep031996

Shows the Famiily Can Watch

[Religion News Service, September 3, 1996] 

 A recent television awards ceremony sought to honor so‑called "family" shows; advertising for the program proclaimed that it would celebrate "shows the whole family can watch together." The tone was both defensive and opportunistic.

The show's producers read their demographics correctly: There are a lot of parents out there who are just plain peeved.

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Monday
Jul081996

Generation Why

[NPR, "All Things Considered," July 8, 1996]

When my daughter came home from college she announced she wants to paint something else on her car. It's already covered with daisies. Now she wants to add cartoon depictions of the Beatles, Yellow-Submarine style, on the doors. The tape rack inside is filled with Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and the Doors. "Everybody I like is dead," she says. Her brother David is a couple of years younger. His golden hair flows over his shoulders, and he's attempting by sheer force of willpower to generate a moustache and goatee. Wire-rim glasses complete the look. The other day I found him bent over his guitar, picking out the chords to Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone."

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