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
Aug081995

HIV Testing of Newborns

[Religion News Service, August 8, 1995] 

A few years ago a small item appeared in the newspaper of the American Medical Association: some clinics in New York were secretly testing women for HIV, and refusing to give abortions to the ones they found positive. The motive: self-protection. One doctor said they were "unhappy about the risk. We're being splashed with amniotic fluid and blood, and it scares us." Another said he was afraid the staff would contract HIV through exposure to the patients' tears.

 

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Tuesday
Jul251995

Looking for Religious Truth in All the Wrong Places

[Religion News Service, July 25, 1995] 

It's as adorable as a kitten sitting on a teddy bear holding a balloon, licking a lollipop shaped like a rainbow that smells like violets and plays "Send in the Clowns." Make that a pink kitten.

Superlatives fail me. The latest porcelain doll catalog just arrived from the Ashton‑Drake Galleries, and just thumbing through it is enough to make my teeth hurt.

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Monday
Jul171995

Making It Up is Hard to Do

[Books & Culture, July 17, 1995]

Fiction is delicious, I discovered one day. I was about eight, sitting under the sycamore tree in the back yard and reading my mother’s childhood copy of Through the Looking Glass, while idly tearing off and eating the page corners. This old volume is before me now, and it is still full of pleasurable memories, visual, tactile, and even tasty.

The book includes both the Alice stories, with Alice in Wonderland first. The cover, loved to pieces, shows a full-color Alice plumper than Tenniel’s familiar version; she is floating down the rabbit hole in a pose of peaceful surrender, one hand on her breast, something like Saint Teresa in Ecstasy. Inside, the book is inscribed in black ink, “To Barbara from ‘Inkle Ferber,’ Christmas 1930.” I have no idea who these people are. (Perhaps my mother stole the volume from another little girl.) The pages are cream-colored, aging to brown at the edges; they are thick and invitingly chewy. The oversized print is charcoal-gray.

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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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