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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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Monday
Jul081996

Generation Why

[NPR, "All Things Considered," July 8, 1996]

When my daughter came home from college she announced she wants to paint something else on her car. It's already covered with daisies. Now she wants to add cartoon depictions of the Beatles, Yellow-Submarine style, on the doors. The tape rack inside is filled with Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and the Doors. "Everybody I like is dead," she says. Her brother David is a couple of years younger. His golden hair flows over his shoulders, and he's attempting by sheer force of willpower to generate a moustache and goatee. Wire-rim glasses complete the look. The other day I found him bent over his guitar, picking out the chords to Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone."

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Friday
Jun211996

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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Thursday
Jun061996

Everyday Faith

[NPR, "All Things Considered," June 6, 1996]

Michael's been gone about a month now, and we miss him. In a small church like ours, you need everybody. Now the choir's down to just one bass, and the other Sunday School teachers have to do double duty. At the same time we're happy for Michael, even proud. Our little church started just three years ago, and we're almost all converts--some from various denominations, some from no faith at all. Michael was one of the few who'd actually grown up Eastern Orthodox. When he announced he wanted to join Holy Cross Monastery in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain, we felt somehow honored.

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Tuesday
May281996

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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Tuesday
May141996

Crones and Starlets

[Religion News Service, May 14, 1996] 

My friend Carolyn's icon of Mary of Egypt is completed, and on Sunday it was leaning against the brass candlestick on the altar. It shows a wild woman, fierce, gray hair flying out around a weathered face, her bony arm raised aloft.

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Wednesday
May081996

Adoption and Abortion

[NPR, "All Things Considered," May 8, 1996]

 

On the issue of abortion, I’ve been around the block. At one point, I believed that abortion was necessary to set women free from the burden of unplanned pregnancy. But gradually I changed; I realized that abortion is at root an act of violence, killing children and violating women’s bodies--and their hearts. As such, I couldn’t accept it as a legitimate way of solving social problems. Unnecessary surgery that kills your own child is a cheap substitute for providing women with life-affirming alternatives.

 

 

But perhaps because I’d been on both sides of this issue, I still had sympathy for my pro-choice friends.

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Saturday
Apr201996

Howard Finster

 

Howard Finster’s fame has spread far beyond American shores. The day of this interview found a Japanese camera crew double-booked for the same time slot (“We’ve been planning this for months,” the only English-speaking crew member said, apologetically). This brings something else to Finster’s mind, and he asks the girl at the cash register when the people from a London magazine are coming. “They should put it on the TV news,” he observes. “They could make a little film of it.”

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Tuesday
Apr161996

Do Animals Respect Animal Rights?

[Religion News Service, April 16, 1996] 

The latest animal-rights action spreads beyond usual bounds: members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals plan to disrupt a sport-fishing tournament by throwing rocks in the water to warn the fish. (Presumably they hope not to hit any fish in the process.)

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Tuesday
Apr021996

Admiring What We Despise

[Religion News Service, April 2, 1996]

 
I think I see what the problem is. We admire Mother Teresa, and we despise Leona Helmsley.

This doesn't immediately look like a problem, nor does it look like news. Mother Teresa has earned worldwide admiration of a higher order than the admiration we give to athletes, entertainers or other clever folks.

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Sunday
Mar311996

The Women of Disney

[Books & Culture, March-April, 1996]

In the middle of my life’s journey I came to myself alone in a dark plastic poncho at the Haircuttery. It was a few days after my 43rd birthday, and I had not received a Cinderella watch packaged in a tiny clear-plastic glass slipper. For awhile there I received one every birthday, because I kept losing them. That was some years ago. At that time I intended to be a grownup lady one day, and wear a crown and a long fancy dress. Everything about me would get bigger, except my feet; these would get smaller and smaller until they were the same size as Cinderella’s, and I could wear her tiny shoes. I think I kept losing the watches in secret hope of collecting two shoes and making a pair. However, I kept losing the shoes too, so my plans were dashed. In the middle of my life’s journey I see in the big black-framed mirror a grownup lady getting an E-Z Kare haircut, wearing E-Z Kare clothes, which conceal an E-Z Kare figure. I had forgotten my plan to be Cinderella about now, and at this point it’s probably too much trouble.

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