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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Saturday
Dec152001

Give Santa the Boot

[Beliefnet, December 15, 2001]

 

Close the damper, quick! If there's one thing your kids don't need this Christmas, it's Santa. The notion that someone, somewhere, has access to unlimited material goods, and can shower them around at will, would be hazardously intoxicating to just about anybody who believed it. (Picture it: your boss sends around a memo that the magic Lexus fairy will be visiting the office Christmas party with goodies for everyone.)

 

 

Yes, you can have Christmas without Santa. Yes, you should. Here are a few why's, followed by a few how's.

 

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Sunday
Dec092001

Understanding the Orthodox

[Catholic Digest, December 2001] 

Good Friday evening--time to head home for a lenten dinner and prepare for the glorious Easter weekend. But as you stop at a light you notice that something is going on at the church on the corner.

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Monday
Nov122001

Of Stem Cells & Starry Nights

[Again, December 2001]

You must think of something immense: a star standing still in the indigo sky, reigning like the sun. It casts back darkness and illuminates even the corners of the cattleyard, so that all that is humble, dirty and scuffed is revealed. The star waits. Three kings come into the pool of its light, and find there a greater King, greater than any blazing star.

Now you must think of something very small: in a cold, dark place there are miniature children suspended in frost, snow babies, unmoving and unbreathing.

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Monday
Oct082001

Why Did This Happen?

[Touchstone, October 2001]

On the day after the tragedy I drove through Washington, surprised to find it uncongested and tranquil. I drove past the battered Pentagon, where cars crept along the interstate at a few miles an hour as people craned their necks to see and comprehend our national wound. A few miles further, down among the suburban office towers, is a tiny old white clapboard church.

I stepped inside the cool interior, which was dimly lit and covered on walls and ceiling with paintings of Christ and the Apostles, of biblical figures and heroes from long ago. I took a seat to wait for my spiritual father and looked around. I saw faces of men and women who had known suffering, much more severe than what I had ever experienced, even as rocked as I felt just then. They stood serene around the walls, many holding symbols of victory.

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Thursday
Sep272001

Mark Pickup

[Citizen, October 2001]

Here’s the problem. The audience, a couple of hundred doctors and nurses, are clustered along conference tables and in rows of chairs all around the room, waiting for the next speaker. But he’s still a good twenty feet from the podium. Between him and that microphone, up on a raised dais, there’s a short flight of stairs. And that’s the problem.

 

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Thursday
Sep202001

Can Any Good Come Out of This?

[Beliefnet, September 20, 2001]


Here's a checklist for post 9-11: Rescue survivors. Comfort the bereaved. Execute strategic response. Revise security protocols. Repent.

That last one clangs like a cymbal in a flute solo. We're Americans; when slapped by suffering, we get practical. We move ahead soberly and briskly, confident with resolve. Introspection isn't our style. A call to repentance may even seem cruel, as if it implied that this disaster was our own making. When we can see hard-faced mugshots of killers on TV, we're not confused about who the bad guys are.

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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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Tuesday
Aug142001

My Journey to Orthodoxy

[Woman Alive, August 2001] 

 It is strange that I would be here. I look up toward the vaulted ceiling of our little stone church and see the drifting smoke of incense. Its fragrance mingles with the drowsy honey-scent of beeswax candles. Those tips of flame illuminate ancient faces on painted icons, faces that convey a serious and heroic faith. As my husband passes in the offertory procession, chanting intercessions,

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Tuesday
Aug142001

Three Bad Ideas for Women

Few book titles have had the sticking power of Richard Weaver’s “Ideas Have Consequences.” Even people who’ve never read it find the blunt title instantly compelling. Weaver’s thesis was that the ideas that we absorb about the world, about the way things are or should be, inevitably direct our actions. Though the book was published in 1948, before many current bizarre ideas had fully emerged, the thesis is an eternal one. It sets people to wondering which ideas were the seeds that sprouted our present mess, and which new ideas might be helping us out of it — or further in.

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Wednesday
Jul112001

Liberty, Death followup

[Beliefnet, July 11, 2001] 

 The discussion in the wake of my Fourth of July column has been invigorating, and it is moving to see the high pitch of idealism on every side. There are things I wish I'd said more clearly, and side-topics I wish I'd had room to address, but limited space demands selectivity.

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