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
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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Tuesday
Mar191996

Selling Flowers by the Highway

[Religion News Service, March 19, 1996] 

 Six lanes go east and six go west, and they go and go; cars pause briefly for the row of stoplights swinging overhead, then plunge forward in a wave. In the midst of the highway is a narrow weedy strip of green, and standing on the strip are two men.

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Tuesday
Feb061996

Think Twice on Religion in Schools

[Religion News Service, February 6, 1996]

 
At the local public elementary school, Christian parents are struggling to get Easter into the pre-Spring break celebrations. Where kids' parties and programs in the past have celebrated daffodils and April showers, parents are urging the school to include depictions of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus.

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Tuesday
Jan231996

Safe-T-Man

[Religion News Service, January 23, 1996]

It’s not every day you get to see a photo of a woman folding a man up and pushing him into a suitcase. But there she is: standing outside a compact car, shoving an amiable-looking fellow in a rugby shirt into a carrying case.

Make that a “#4858944 Zippered Nylon Carrying Tote.” Yes, this is Safe-T-Man, the inflatable bodyguard, “a life-size, simulated male that appears to be 180 lbs. and 6 ft. tall.”

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Tuesday
Nov281995

Christmas Shopping Blues

[Religion News Service, November 28, 1995] 

Is everybody happy? I'm not sure. On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, Christiana Mall in Christiana, Delaware was crowded and bristling with festive decor, but the people waiting around the base of the fountain looked dazed and glum. The fountain was dry, so its circular field of brownish rocks sat idle,

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Saturday
Nov181995

Overthrown by Eros

[World, November 18, 1995]

As Morality in Media launched their eighth annual "White Ribbon Against Pornography" campaign, the New Yorker magazine helpfully provided a 22-page look inside the world of porn film production. Author Susan Faludi gave readers a sympathetic glimpse at the tough lot of a male porn star. No, really. In this business, the woman is the object of desire and the male is furniture, and pay follows accordingly. What's more, male actors regularly find themselves the unwilling cause of production delays, and reap as a result the irritation and scorn of their peers. Habitual apprehension creates more problems, and this career-destroying pressure eventually destroys every career. Has-beens shuffle into backstage work, or, if they're lucky, marry a female star who can support them.

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Friday
Nov171995

A Books & Culture Field Trip: The Baltimore Book Dump

[Books & Culture, November 1995]

When I was down to the Big City not long ago, my youthful friend Rod took me to his favorite bookstore-cafe. We sat on high stools at a small, sticky square of yellow wood, buffeted by alternative rock flowing from the excellent sound system. I chose, at Rod's suggestion, a designer beer that the menu described as "fruity and complex." Nearby, patrons lingered at blond-wood book racks, perusing the handsome volumes with impressive nonchalance. Diversity spread her amiable wings: elbowpatch-and-beret types mingled easily with Birkenstocker-backpackers en tout noir. So when Rod came up to Baltimore I took him to my favorite book source, across the street from the Friend General Store and Love Nest Package Liquors. The bulky one-story building fills nearly a city block; it is painted rosy beige with deeper-brown trim, and topped with romantic crenellations. The orange metal sign bolted to the wall reads "Baltimore Department of Finance, Bureau of Purchases, Warehouse #9." But those familiar with its charms eschew the formal title; we call it the Baltimore Book Dump.

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