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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 Christian Apologetics (52)

Thursday
May182006

DaVinci Code

[National Review Online, May 18, 2006]

An ordinary man – a professor, say – gets caught in a deadly game of mystery and murder. He’s thrown together with a cool, attractive young woman who may be more than she seems. After many chases and escapes, the two wind up safe in each other’s arms.

Alfred Hitchcock gave us goosebumps with that theme and variations. Ron Howard’s “The DaVinci Code” turns similar material into a big yawn. What happened?

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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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Friday
Mar032006

Loving the Storm-Drenched

[Christianity Today, March 2006]

Selected for Best American Spiritual Writing, 2007

If you hang around with Christians, you find that the same topic keeps coming up in conversation: their worries about “the culture.” Christians talk about sex and violence in popular entertainment. They talk about bias in news reporting. They talk about how their views are ignored or misrepresented. “The culture” appears to be an aggressive challenge to “the church,” and Christians keep worrying over what to do about it.

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Tuesday
Nov292005

CS Lewis, the Reluctant Convert

[Beliefnet, November 29, 2005]

In later life, C. S. Lewis – “Jack” to friends and family – would say that it all began with a toy garden. He was seven years old when his older brother, “Warnie”, brought to their playroom a biscuit tin he had decorated with tiny twigs, moss and flowers. As Jack gazed at the miniature fairyland

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Saturday
Sep182004

More than a Feeling

[Beliefnet, September 17, 2004]

Last night found me yelling at the television once again over a panel discussion about “science and religion.” Both sides thought that rational processes can only take us so far in the journey to faith (agreed). After that, people turn to some other resource in order to connect with God (so far so good). What they use is their emotions.

Around my house, that’s when the sputtering starts. Only in the realm of religion is it assumed that every experience is a subjective experience, which means it’s an emotional projection—which means: Look, dear, a lunatic.

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Wednesday
Jul162003

What Heresy?

[Beliefnet, July 16, 2003]

I can't be the only Christian reading "Beyond Belief," Elaine Pagels' celebration of Gnostic theology and texts, and thinking, "What's so heretical about this?"

This best-selling book, and its accompanying train of reviews and author profiles, presents a familiar cast of characters. The Gnostics, developers of a variety of Christ-flavored spiritualities in the earliest centuries of the Christian era, are enthroned as noble seekers of enlightenment.

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Sunday
Sep162001

How Can God Permit Suffering?

[Beliefnet, September 16, 2001]

When it hits home, we reel back. Thoughts explode in confusion: I trusted God, where is he? If he's all-powerful, why didn't he stop it? Maybe he doesn't love us. Maybe he is punishing us. Maybe he is weak. Are we really so alone and endangered? Can we not trust him? Are we so terrifyingly alone?

Suffering on this scale is new to us. But it is not new to the weary human race, and countless men and women before us have tried to understand God's presence in times of horror.

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