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 Humor (43)


Bible Misquotes

[NPR, "All Things Considered," October 6, 1997]

I was thumbing through a high-brow magazine the other day and came across an interesting essay on the virtue of Hope. But before I'd finished the first page I caught them in an embarassing blooper. The author stated that hope is ranked alongside faith and love in the 23rd psalm.

In case you didn't catch the faux pas, run through the 23rd psalm in your mind--you probably memorized it in kindergarten. Yes, "the Lord is my shepherd is there," and the part about the valley of the shadow of death, but there's no mention of faith, hope, and love. For that, you have to flip to the other end of the Bible, to St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. In his famous meditation on love in chapter 13, he writes, "So faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love." --Now, does it ring a bell?

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Clipboard Ladies, Forward March

[Books & Culture, September-October 1997]

I was an easy mark. As a comfy-dressed middle-aged lady in tennis shoes, ambling through the mall a little after noon, I clearly was not a lawyer in clickety heels on a tight lunchhour, not a harried mom with a chocolate-smeared toddler. As I rounded the bend by the fountain I walked right into a swarm of Clipboard Ladies, and was snared.

"Would you have a moment to answer a few questions?" asked one, zooming up to me with a perma-prest smile.

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Thrift Shop Treasures

[NPR, "All Things Considered," May 20, 1997]

I've walked a hundred miles in another woman's shoes, and I don' t even know her name. I've ironed her blouse, hemmed her skirt, and carried her handbag. She's not one person, but a composite of dozens, women of all ages and races and creed.

But there is one thing they all had in common: they were all mostly my size.

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[NPR, "All Things Considered," March 31, 1997]

I don't think I want personal advice from gas pumps. The other day, while standing at a self-serve pump, I heard the machine give a peremptory beep. I turned around and, in the tiny screen that usually offers specials on soft drinks, this message was reeling by:

"Each Day Silently Affirm That You Are The Type Of Person With Whom You Would Want To Spend The Rest Of Your Life. Each Day Silently Affirm That You Are The Type Of Person With Whom You Would Want To Spend The Rest Of Your Life. Each Day Silently Affirm..."

I was moved to some affirmations that weren't all that silent.

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Think of All You'd Miss if Your Reading Skills Weren't "Enhanced" by Age

[Smithsonian, February 1997]

Now that all three of my children are teenagers I've reached the age where, as they keep reminding me, I'm well on my way to being a geezer. Most signs of impending geezerhood involve diminishment: loss of hearing, memory, and I think there was another one. But one I didn't expect was the tricks the eye can play while reading. With increasing frequency I'm running across astounding things in headlines, billboards, and captions--only to find, on closer inspection, that it didn't say that at all.

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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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Who's That Idiot Next to the Potted Plant?

[Religion News Service, November 26, 1996]

Has this happened to you? You're watching some talk'n'politics TV show, a few people sitting around a table with a photo backdrop of the U.S. Capitol, and one of them is a total idiot.

You're thinking, "I can't believe what the one next to the potted plant is saying," and "Did you hear that? How'd she/he get on this show?" and "I could do better than that -- in fact, my labrador retriever could do better than that!"

Well, that would be me.

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Virtual Water Cooler

[NPR, "All Things Considered," July 12, 1996]

Someone somewhere is sitting in a car. She's just left the office and is trying to get home, but the traffic is backed into a snarl.The setting sun cuts through the windshield, steaming the car and wilting the collar of her blouse. It's been a long day, and tomorrow will be another, all summer, all winter, year after year.

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Mosh Pit Manners

[Recorded for NPR "All Things Considered," June 21, 1996; never aired]

Thirty years ago, I was sitting in a stadium screaming at the Beatles and throwing jelly beans. We’d heard that was George’s favorite, so we were doing our best to pelt him. I screamed at Herman's Hermits, too, freaked out with Frank Zappa, and then it was the Stones.

But it had been a long time since I'd been to a rock concert. Recently I piled my teenage kids and a couple of their friends into the station wagon and went to hear one of their favorite bands‑‑a band I've overheard enough to enjoy myself.

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Proof's in the Pancreas

[Religion News Service, May 28, 1996]

I found out the other day I have a pancreas. Not that I would have ever denied it; I know that the existence of such things is generally taken for granted, and one would disagree only at the risk of looking foolish. If the phone rang and it was a pollster inquiring about mine, I'd know the correct answer: "Yup, got it right here."

Where, exactly, I wouldn't be sure. In fact, that whole arrangement of complicated, slippery items on the dark inside of the torso is a mystery to me. I can't see them, so maybe they aren't there.


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