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
Oct061997

Free Love Didn't Come Cheap

[Christianity Today, October 6, 1997]

In the middle of the room there was a woodburning stove. The small iron door was open on this chilly day, and the red flames could be seen leaping within as if in time to music. For there was music, too, a marching song, and the little girls who circled the stove marched around it in time. The girls were not happy.

Each girl was holding in her arms her favorite doll. One by one, each girl marched up to the open door of the stove. One by one, each girl threw her doll into the "angry-looking flames."

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Wednesday
Oct011997

Clipboard Ladies, Forward March

[Books & Culture, September-October 1997]

I was an easy mark. As a comfy-dressed middle-aged lady in tennis shoes, ambling through the mall a little after noon, I clearly was not a lawyer in clickety heels on a tight lunchhour, not a harried mom with a chocolate-smeared toddler. As I rounded the bend by the fountain I walked right into a swarm of Clipboard Ladies, and was snared.

"Would you have a moment to answer a few questions?" asked one, zooming up to me with a perma-prest smile.

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Tuesday
Jul221997

Truth and Beauty

[NPR, "All Things Considered," June 24, 1998]

He was an Episcopal priest, but he was standing in an Eastern Orthodox church on this Saturday night and thinking about Truth. At the altar a gold-robed priest strode back and forth swinging incense, moving in and out the doors of the iconostasis according to rubrics that were as yet unfamiliar. Golden bells chimed against the censer, and the light was smoky and dim. Over to the left a small choir was singing in haunting harmony, voices twining in a capella simplicity. The Truth part was this: the ancient words of this vesperal service had been chanted for more than a millenium. Lex orandi, lex credendi; what people pray shapes what they believe. This was a church that had never, could never, apostatize.

She was his wife, and she was standing next to him thinking about her feet. They hurt.

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Saturday
Jun141997

Embarassment's Perpetual Blush

[Christianity Today, July 14, 1997]

* Selected for Best Spiritual Writing 1998 *

 As I saw my children swept up into the night sky I knew I had made a terrible mistake. I held the baby in my arms, but the two older ones--Megan, 7, and David, 4--were locked behind the bar of a ferris wheel in a shopping-center carnival. They had begged and clamored until I agreed to let them board the contraption but now, as they rose into the night, they panicked and began to scream. David's little legs were kicking as he skidded sideways on the slick metal seat. I saw how easily he could slip beneath the narrow bar and fall to the asphalt below.

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Friday
Jun131997

Why Humans Mate

[Adapted from Real Choices, Conciliar Press, 1997]

Glance around any room where people are gathered and a curious pattern emerges: they tend to be in pairs. At a church, a concert, a movie theater, a male head is usually near a female head of roughly the same age. Other creatures gather in herds or flocks, or peel off as solitary loners, but humans prefer the couple bond. They gravitate toward it naturally; it’s how they seem to want to go through life. Why?

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Tuesday
May201997

Thrift Shop Treasures

[NPR, "All Things Considered," May 20, 1997]

I've walked a hundred miles in another woman's shoes, and I don' t even know her name. I've ironed her blouse, hemmed her skirt, and carried her handbag. She's not one person, but a composite of dozens, women of all ages and races and creed.

But there is one thing they all had in common: they were all mostly my size.

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Monday
Apr071997

The Dilemmas of a Pro-Life Pastor

[Christianity Today, April 7, 1997]

In his darkened office Pastor Stan put his head in his hands. It had been a difficult phone call, and Marcia was beginning to cry when he hung up. The baby, in the background, was already crying. Usually, the baptism of a baby is a joyful part of the Sunday service, but this time Pastor Stan had said no. Marcia wasn't married, so he had told her it would be a private ceremony. To put her and her baby up in front of everybody, as if it were the same as any other family, just seemed wrong. The church would be practicing make-believe morality, looking the other way. It would mean pretending sin wasn't wrapped all around this situation.

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Monday
Mar311997

Platitudes

[NPR, "All Things Considered," March 31, 1997]

I don't think I want personal advice from gas pumps. The other day, while standing at a self-serve pump, I heard the machine give a peremptory beep. I turned around and, in the tiny screen that usually offers specials on soft drinks, this message was reeling by:

"Each Day Silently Affirm That You Are The Type Of Person With Whom You Would Want To Spend The Rest Of Your Life. Each Day Silently Affirm That You Are The Type Of Person With Whom You Would Want To Spend The Rest Of Your Life. Each Day Silently Affirm..."

I was moved to some affirmations that weren't all that silent.

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Monday
Mar241997

Beseiged in Albania

[Religion News Service, March 24, 1997] 

"Madness," writes the Rev. Luke Veronis, in one of his daily e‑mail messages from his beseiged apartment in Tirana, Albania. "It is as if the entire country has gone crazy. I want to think that things are slowly getting back to normal, but I am fooling myself."

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Tuesday
Mar041997

Lenten Sacrifice

[NPR, "All Things Considered," March 4, 1997]

Scattered among your friends and neighbors are those now living a shadow life: people observing Lent. For them Easter waits at the end of March, but preparing for Easter takes time; time for reflection, time for repentance and reordering a life. The Church counts backward seven weeks to allow this breathing space, and begins the season with Ash Wednesday.

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