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 Arts (28)



[Ancient Faith Radio; June 21, 2007]

Frederica: I’m sitting here on the sofa in the blue room in my house with my son Stephen, who has a red wristband on that says ‘Bonnaroo.’  Does it say ‘Bonnaroo 07’ or just ‘Bonnaroo?’ 2007.  And on the other sofa is Jocelyn, I think fast asleep.  Yeah, she’s fast asleep.  They’re exhausted because last night at this time they were just getting in the car to leave the Bonnaroo music festival and they had an 11-hour drive and have done laundry and a number of other things in between.  Steve, when was the first time you and Jocelyn went to Bonnaroo?

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Barbara Nicolosi on Hollywood for Christians

[Ancient Faith Radio; June 15, 2007]

Frederica: Here we are.  I’m at a beautiful outdoor café, what was the name of this place?  I’ve forgotten already.  Tree, something, Italiano, I think. [Laughs]  I’m looking around, I’m trying to see if there’s a sign.  Anyway, I’m in Malibu Village in Malibu, California on an overcast day.  It’s pleasantly cool; it’s just perfect here, as it so often is.  June gloom, I’m told.  I’m sitting here with my friend, Barbara Nicolosi, who is a screenwriter, who is a teacher of screenwriting and has a number of other talents and one of the things that frustrates her is Christians that think they’re going to write a screenplay and convert the world to Christianity with a script that is pretty unprofessional.  But let me let you speak for yourself; just start in anywhere.  Hit it, Barbara.  They can’t see you moving your hands and making faces; you’ve actually got to – [laughs]

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[Ancient Faith Radio; June 8, 2007]

This movie theater here: the Muvico 24, is just south of Baltimore and it’s such a hoot.  I don’t know too much about this company, this chain, Muvico theaters, but they build their theaters to have these grandiose themes, and this one is Egyptian temple, that’s the theme we have going on here.  As you approach this 24-auditorium theater, there are these huge columns with big capitols on top.  Everything looks like it’s destroyed, like it’s in ruins.  It all has cracks painted into it, Egyptian figures going around these columns.  I’m guessing there’s about 20 columns with black bases and then the sandstone rising up above that.  Huge multi-colored panels and snake heads and all kinds of crazy things. 

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Rublev's "Old Testament Trinity"

[The Cresset, April 2004]

The Psalmist writes, "Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness," words that fall on deaf ears in a culture that knows as little of beauty as of holiness. Look at new church construction. So many contemporary churches do not aim to be beautiful; they aim to be functional. This might still work out all right, if the designers truly thought the function of a church is worship, but too often the assumed function is communication with the people in attendance, either to teach, uplift, or entertain them. Contemporary worship spaces look more like education spaces or entertainment spaces than like sanctuaries. By contrast, picture a church constructed with an eye to beauty, designed to draw us into the presence of God. It is fitting that it be beautiful, because beauty opens our hearts.

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Bloody, to What End?

[Newsday, March 7, 2004]

"Were you there when they crucified my Lord?" asks the old Gospel hymn.

Mel Gibson's powerful film, "The Passion of the Christ," has brought many viewers "there," and I rejoice with those who say it deepened their faith. I can understand why this film moves them so much.

But I don't think they understand why a fellow-believer might prefer a different approach. It seems to them that any less-than-graphic portrayal is weak - "sanitized."

But is that the only way to see it? Here, for example, are two paintings made early in the 17th century. The one with the golden background represents the Eastern Christian tradition, and is by the iconographer Emmanuel Lambardos of Crete. The other, emblematic of Mel Gibson's Western tradition, is by the Dutch painter Hendrick ter Brugghen.

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The Meaning of Christ's Suffering

[Books & Culture, March-April 2004]

* Selected for Best Christian Writing 2006*


Most movies wait till after they're released to stir up controversy, but Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" has been preceded by nearly a year of fisticuffs. It provided an unusually rich opportunity for people who don't know what they're talking about to do just that. I'll continue that tradition by admitting that, as I write this, I still have not seen the film. I expect it will be good movie-making, a powerful example of the artistic possibilities of film. I hope it will stir up old faith in Christians, and break forth new faith in unbelievers.

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Profile: Matthew Luhn

[Today's Christian, July-August 2003]

He doesn't have a hookup to the Internet in his home. He doesn't have cable TV. "That's just inviting problems," he explains. He loves his parents and they're welcome to visit, but "we can't really have our son stay at my parents' house" because occasionally they don't watch their language. "Not in front of my child," he says. By the way, Christopher is three years old. "I pray my son will go the right way," says his gentle, worried dad.

Sound like a cave-dwelling Christian, hiding from the evil world? No, Matthew Luhn is a computer-whiz Christian

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Legion of Decency Pledge

[Beliefnet, December 15, 2000] 

The Legion of Decency pledge. That was what the priest called it, and then he asked us to stand up and recite it all together. It didn't seem like the kind of thing we usually did in church; it seemed more like school assembly, when we said the Pledge of Allegiance. But I stood between my dad and my younger sisters,

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Why I Won't See "The Exorcist"

[Beliefnet, September 25, 2000] 

With the re-release of the movie "The Exorcist," talk of scary things like demonic possession and spinning heads is in the air again. Though none of us could avoid having seen some of the film's images over the years, there are a few of us who have never sat through the film, and never intend to.

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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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