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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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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[Unpublished, February 1995]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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Saturday
Jan071995

Radio Daze

[World, January 7, 1995]

Three, two, one, and I was on the air. With a crackle my phone line was patched in, and I heard a jovial voice saying, "Welcome, Frederica! So glad you could join us today!"

My host and all his audience heard: "Bark bark bark bark bark bark bark."

The mailman’s arrival at that moment had thrown Sparky into End of the World Alert mode. "I hear you have a dog," the host gamely went on. "Yes, now everybody knows," I agreed miserably.

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Monday
Jan021995

Pro-Life, Pro-Choice: Can We Talk?

[Sojourners, January 1995] 

For years I scoffed at the idea of violence outside abortion clinics. Sure, plenty of violence was going on inside the clinics--over 4,000 babies killed every day. But opponents of abortion are pro-life, I kept saying. We're in this because we oppose bloodshed. Occasionally I'd wince to hear that someone who was Not Clear on the Concept had harmed an empty building, an action that was wrong, risky, and stupid. But the notion that anyone would aim a gun at an abortionist's head and pull the trigger was ludicrous.

Then somebody did it.

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Saturday
Dec241994

Deconstructing the AAR

As late fall slides to winter, across the country Christians are winding up another year of living the religious life. Late fall, and across the country members of the American Academy of Religion are winding up another year of studying the religious life.

The distinction between living it and studying it may seem artificial; most Christians study scripture, as well as theology and devotional works. But the study based in faith is not like the study of religion per se. In the halls of academe, religion is just one more sociological phenomenon, to be appraised from a safe distance (after all, He may not be a tame lion). Not that all the members of the Academy are religious abstainers; there are mainliners, goddess-worshippers, Buddhists, and the odd evangelical or two. But the AAR meets in the ivory tower, not the church.

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Wednesday
Dec211994

Killing Abortionists: A Symposium

[First Things, December 1994] 

Paul Hill's thesis has sometimes been expanded into "the big what-if," the scenario often used to challenge pacifists. What if you had to defend your own children from a criminal? Wouldn't deadly force be justified then?

Anyone finds such a prospect deeply distressing. But the very impact of this image hinders us from realizing that shooting an abortionist fails the analogy in three important ways.

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Saturday
Nov261994

The Embodiment of Us

[World, November 26, 1994]

"Hey, you got stuff all over your car!" the boy called out.

He staffs the gatehouse at the retirement home where my son waits tables. The stuff I had all over my car was large white daisies with sun-yellow centers, carefully painted on by hand. Yes, it draws attention.

It's my daughter's car, I explain, but she hasn't learned to drive a stick-shift yet. While she tools around in my massive station wagon, I'm in her lumpy old sedan. When this car rolled off the assembly line ten years ago, Megan was in the first grade. It kept rolling for 114,000 miles until it crossed her path, and as soon as she caught it she scattered daisies all over its powdery dull-brown hide.

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Saturday
Oct291994

Born That Way

[World, October 29, 1994] 

An interview in the September 1994 Heterodoxy introduced us to a man the homosexual mainstream (or “Gaystream”) would prefer we didn’t meet: Leland Stevenson. Stevenson is a spokesman for the North American Man-Boy Love Association, which promotes sexual encounters between adults and adolescent boys.

This organization causes the Gaystream some awkward moments. When reporter Paul Mulshine phoned a representative of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the representative, Ms Kane, stated that her organization did not support NAMBLA. Then she added, apparently automatically, “We believe that people should not be denied their civil rights because of the sexual orientation with which they are born.”

 

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