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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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Tuesday
Jun271995

Baby Katherine and Late-Term Abortion

[Religion News Service, June 27, 1995] 

Baby Katherine has it lucky. She’s dying.

When she was born three months ago, problems suspected during pregnancy were confirmed. Katherine has Trisomy 18, a tripling of the eighteenth chromosome. Down Syndrome, in comparison, triples the twenty‑first. But, unlike Down Syndrome children, few Trisomy 18 babies grow up; those that make it to birth live about two more months. Katherine is racing to double that allotment.

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Tuesday
Jun131995

Where is the Church for People with AIDS?

[Religion News Service, June 13, 1995]

 
Where is the church for people with AIDS?

Today the church is chugging up five flights of stairs in a downtown Baltimore nursing home. Gary Carr, sales manager for a Christian radio station and a member of First Baptist Church of Pimlico, first began visiting AIDS patients here in 1988.

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Sunday
May071995

War, Peace, and Bumper Stickers

[Religion News Service, May 7, 1995]

 

I can't get the bumper‑sticker out of my mind; it's stuck there like a wad of gum under a theater seat. "World Peace," read the message on the back of the Dodge, in faux‑childish crayon scrawl. It had a smiley‑face in the middle. No doubt the woman toting this sticker likes world peace, and wanted to suggest it as an option the rest of us had not yet considered.

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Saturday
Apr291995

Monster

[World, April 29, 1995]

"I recoiled so much from what I had done that it seemed to be not my choice at all. A mystery, I thought. A monster did it."

Michael Warner writes these words in the Village Voice (Jan. 31,  1995), in an article titled "Why Gay Men are Having Risky Sex." He is perplexed at the statistics: 30-38% of HIV-negative gay men admit they don't always use condoms.

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Tuesday
Apr251995

Smiling Conservatives

[Religion News Service, April 25, 1995}

Smile and the world doesn't always smile with you. When Verlyn Klinkenborg reports on a pro-life protest outside a Milwaukee abortion clinic (Harper's, January 1995), the first thing he tells us about the participants is:  "They were smiling.  'They smile all the time,' said a woman named Catey Doyle...in the room with me." Likewise, when Julie A. Wortman writes in The Witness about her reluctance to attend a meeting on evangelism, her first complaint is, "Most of the people I've encountered who enjoy talking about and doing evangelism have seemed unnaturally smiley and friendly." When liberals peer across the barricades, they don't only see their opponents thinking wrong thoughts. They see them smiling about it, which is even more unsettling.

 

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Saturday
Apr151995

The St. Peter Principle

[World, April 15, 1995] 

I had a narrow brush with the Peter Principle the other day. You may remember the book that appeared awhile back under that title; Laurence J. Peter's principle was that people tend to get promoted until they reach their level of incompetence. Do a good job and you get boosted up the ladder--until you reach the point that you can't do such a good job anymore. There you sit, gumming things up for the whole organization.

The phone call I received asked if I would consider being (don't laugh) press secretary for a national political campaign. This was flattering, but akin to putting the Flying Nun in charge of the Air Force.

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Saturday
Feb181995

Dignity, Always Dignity

[World, February 18, 1995]

When Oregon passed "Measure 16" last November, it became the first state in the nation to give doctors permission to prescribe poisonous drugs in order to kill dying patients. In fact, according to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Oregon is "the first jurisdiction in the world to legalize assisted suicide by popular vote." Oregon was a well-chosen test site; it has the lowest church attendance in the nation, and pro-euthanasia messages played on bias against pro-life Catholic leadership (it's been said that "Anti-Catholicism is the anti-Semitism of the elite class.") The lines don't split precisely between Christians and non-believers, however. Many Christians feel an innate revulsion for legalized killing of the sick, but some do not. A recent letter in our Mailbag column proclaimed, "Thank God for Dr. Kevorkian." It's human nature to feel panic at the thought of dying in misery, and to long to circumvent the possibility.

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Thursday
Feb161995

The Wiedros in Winter

[Unpublished, February 1995]

Long winter evenings have always challenged families; the Hagley Museum in Wilmington, Delaware recently hosted an afternoon of "19th century winter pastimes…once-popular parlor games challenging the mind or the memory." For some readers, early March will bring more snowstorms, and a list of old parlor games sounds appealing.

But who needs outmoded forms of entertainment, when you can keep jolly the Wiedro way? "The Wiedros" became our family alias when daughter Megan, attempting to enter the surname "Weirdo" on a computer questionaire at Disneyworld, logged something like "Wiedr O" instead. On our last Wiedro outing we visited museums in Delaware’s Brandywine Valley, then spent abed-and-breakfast evening, free from all electronic diversions. Here are the pastimes taht helped pass our time—some old familiars, some invented on the spot. The first is a guiding principle:

1. Drive it into the ground. Don’t let a promising topic go until it’s exhausted.

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Saturday
Feb041995

What Does Blood Tell?

 [World, February 4, 1995]

The handwritten letter was three pages long and dated "Savannah 24th May 1848." It was signed by my husband's great-great-great grandmother, Antoinette Girard.

It began dramatically. "Prompted by the desire to leave to my children some record of their ancestors, I try to write down as much as I can remember, but must request that no use whatever should be made of this paper as long as their father lives. He bound himself by a solemn promise never to reveal it."

 

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Saturday
Jan211995

Noisy, Empty Gestures

[World, January 21, 1995]

All through a long afternoon I had listened to true stories: women, strangers to me, pouring out intimate tales of love and loss. True stories are sometimes less strange than fiction; their outcomes can almost seem inevitable. This day, every story ended with an abortion.

The spring evening was fair and warm. After dinner I left the hotel for a long walk, thinking about the day's conversations. Then I noticed on one building a plaque reading "Planned Parenthood."

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