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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Thursday
Dec042008

Ask the Filmmaker: The Sensation of Sight

[Christianity Today Movies; December 2, 2008]

‘Perhaps Just Out of Our Minds’

Christian filmmaker Buzz McLaughlin tries to find a niche between secular movies and preachy ones—only to find it’s an elusive market.

***

In the independent film The Sensation of Sight, Oscar nominee David Strathairn plays an introspective English teacher who feels himself complicit in a tragedy, and then begins selling encyclopedias door-to-door to the locals. But his anxieties begin to consume him as various characters and dreamlike situations increase around him, ultimately pushing him toward an unexpected awakening.

It’s sort of a strange synopsis for a “Christian” movie—which it isn’t. The filmmakers behind Sight—which played 19 festivals worldwide, had a limited theatrical release earlier this summer, and is now available on DVD—are Christians, but they didn’t want to make a distinctively Christian movie.

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Thursday
Dec042008

The Voice Beneath the Altar

[from A Faith and Culture Devotional, Zondervan, 2008]

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?”( Revelation 6:9-10)

During the first centuries of Christianity, the church was battered within and without. Pseudo-Christians distorted the faith and misled the faithful, while the powerful Roman Empire persecuted Christians with torture and death. When local church members were able to gather the remains of their fellow-believers (often, this was forbidden), they lovingly interred these broken bodies beneath their altars, a reminder that the blessed departed are invisibly present to join us in worship. St. John writes that, in his vision, he heard the voice of the martyrs crying out from under the altar.

 

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Wednesday
Dec032008

Growing a Parish

[Ancient Faith Radio; December 3, 2008]

 

FMG: Today I am at St. Justin Martyr OCA Church in Jacksonville, Florida, just south of Jacksonville, in the area of Mandarin. My family has owned a small farm here since 1880 or so; it’s been in the family, or with the in-laws of the family, since then. I came down to visit my sister, Dorothy, who’s a member of this church, and to visit my mother, who’s in a nursing home here, and now I’m talking to one of my favorite priests, Fr. Ted Pisarchuk. “Ball of fire” is what they call him behind his back, because he’s always up to something. You especially have a love of missions. Were you the founding pastor of St. Justin Martyr?

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Thursday
Nov272008

The Liturgy of St. James

[Ancient Faith Radio; November 27, 2008]

FMG: I’m in a crowded and noisy banquet room here. This is the annual banquet for St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Orthodox Church in York, PA. I’m sitting here at the banquet table, we’ve just finished our… this was really a good meal. This was some kind of terrific filet mignon, sliced, a little garlic, almonds on the green beans, it was delicious. And in this little space we have between when they bring out the dessert- I love these banquets- I would like to talk to Fr. Elias Yelovich. What is the name of your parish, Father?

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Thursday
Nov202008

The Science of Music

[Ancient Faith Radio; November 20, 2008]

Frederica Mathewes-Green: I’m sitting in the kitchen with my son Steve and his wife Jocelyn and their baby Ruth Anne, who is crawling around on the floor. She has just learning how to walk, but it’s a lot faster if you go by crawling. She’s carrying an arrowroot cookie, and dropping it, and sitting on it, and picking it up again. And every once in a while she sees that there are fingers on my hands, and she grabs a finger and tries to lead it—because she wants to walk holding on to my hands. So I kind of have to hide my hands where she doesn’t see them. Isn’t that right, Ruthie?

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Wednesday
Nov192008

Why Converts to Orthodoxy are Obnoxious

[Beliefnet; November 19, 2008]

In 1993, over 15 years ago, I was chrismated and joined the Eastern Orthodox Church, but only lately has it dawned on me that I must have strained friendships over the years, due to my vocal enthusiasm for my adopted church. I can’t be the only one to have done this. Converts to Orthodoxy usually precede their decision with voluminous reading and research, so their friends must endure agitated lectures on church history, ancient heresies, and what words mean in Greek. Those friends benefit, no doubt, from this opportunity to practice patience and long-suffering. But why is our kind so characteristically obnoxious?

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Wednesday
Nov192008

The Saints and Me

[Orthodox Outlook; Fall 2008]

I wrote my most recent book, “The Lost Gospel of Mary: The Mother of Jesus in Three Ancient Texts,” about the Theotokos, and the main reason was that I felt like I didn’t understand her very well. I recognized that other Christians feel very warmly toward her, but I always felt kind of scared of her. She looked so fierce, in her icons. (I underwent some teasing in an all-girl school when I was young, and maybe that had something to do with it.) I could look at the icon of Christ and see that he looked equally tough, and yet I could understand why, and knew that he loved me. I wasn’t sure that the Virgin Mary did. I hoped that by looking into the way that the earliest Christians saw the Virgin, I would myself learn a healthier perspective.

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Saturday
Nov012008

Lettuce Pray

[Touchstone; November, 2008]

Just at the moment my first grandchild was placed in my arms, my cell phone rang — and it was Big Idea, Inc., the Veggie Tales company, asking my help in discerning whether to expand into different media. That’s always struck me as a curious synchronicity: my family tree was putting forth its newest branch, and there was the world of children’s entertainment, ready to follow them every day of their lives. But I handed off the child and took the phone call, and after some more conversation said yes to the invitation. They eventually said no to the project, but in the meantime I had the opportunity to observe a lot of talented people working at a high pitch of creativity.

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Thursday
Oct302008

Why CS Lewis is So Irritating! Part 2

[Ancient Faith Radio; October 30, 2008]

We’re back with another episode of “Why CS Lewis is So Irritating!”. And the reason that CS Lewis is so irritating, if you’re a writer, is that he already said everything. He could have left some stuff for me to come up with, but no, it’s all right there, and it’s beautiful, it’s elegant, it’s concise, it’s zing!, it’s just teriffic stuff. But he wasn’t very generous, he didn’t leave stuff over that I would eventually think of one day.

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Thursday
Oct232008

Why C. S. Lewis is So Irritating! Part 1

[Ancient Faith Radio, October 23, 2008]

Today’s podcast is going to be one that I expect will be a continuing topic here, “Why CS Lewis is just so irritating.”

Why CS Lewis *is* just so irritating is because, he already said everything. And he said it better than I’ll ever say it. I find when I read him that I’m simultaneously just delighted and thrilled because he’s just put it perfectly, and it’s such a wonderful, original thought, and it’s even a little deeper, and then I think, darn it, if I’d had enough time I could have come up with that! Curses! Foiled again! I just have to not read him, because I just get so frustrated, because he says everything, and he says it better and more concisely and more delightfully, easier to grasp, and all that. I think this is probably similar to the scientist who thinks, Darn it, if Einstein hadn’t said E=MC2, I would have thought of that! Just give me enough time!

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