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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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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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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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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Not Quite a Perfect Fit

[Prism, September-October, 1994]

It was November 1988, election day, and my husband was miserable. He'd been a Democrat, or further left, forever: in 1964, when his precinct went 12 to 1 for Goldwater, Gary was county chair of Teens for Johnson. He participated in teach-ins, marches, and rallies, and worked two simultaneous jobs in the old War on Poverty. We first met at a steelworkers' strike, and were married in the woods, flowers in my hair and a vegetarian spread on the reception table.

But over the years, as our commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ had grown, we had become increasingly persuaded that abortion was wrong. We had opposed so many forms of violence and injustice; eventually we had to admit that, no matter how difficult pregnancy made a woman's life, dismembering her child was a violent and unjust solution. The realization that 4500 children were dying every day forced this issue to the top of our list. No other social evil had such a bloody toll.

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Hotel Full of Cowboys

[World, October 15, 1994] 

We had gathered, about a hundred pro-family leaders, for a weekend conference in a Washington hotel. It was encouraging to see so many other fellow laborers assembled at one time; we filled a small dining room at lunchtime, and felt like the forward edge of a mighty army.

But as the day went on we began to be outnumbered by cowboys. Cowboys in the elevators, cowboys in the halls, cowboys sitting at tiny glass tables in the lounge. Two things about this seemed unusual:

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Cultvre Vulture

[World, October 1, 1994]

"What is culture?" asks Tom Weller in his funny 1987 book, Culture Made Stupid. "Not the same thing as culture, which a dish full of germs has...No, cvltvre is something nobler, loftier, finer, thicker with pompous adjectives."

If there were a Federal Bureau of Cvltvre, it would be the Smithsonian Institution, which sprawls between the Capital Building and the Washington Monument, paralyzing tourists with its bulk. Although there are fourteen museums in the Institution, its holdings are so vast that only 2% can be shown at once. Museums range from the wildly popular Air and Space (which draws 9 million visitors a year) to lesser-knowns like the Portrait and the Building (yes, a museum about buildings, currently showing a barn).

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Preaching in Times Square

[World, October 1, 1994] 

Sexist treatment is blatant on Broadway. Street hawkers hand women, not men, fliers advertising nail salons (with puzzling semi-English names like "Tanning Nail"). Men, on the other hand, get fliers advertising the "World's Hottest Dancers." The latter fliers suggest that a woman who hopes to attract men by investing in her fingernails has chosen one of the least likely sites of interest.

At the corner of 42nd street a slight, city-pale man is handing out pamphlets freely, without regard to gender.

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Is America "the greatest force for good"?

[World, September 17, 1994]

Tom Clancy is the novelist for patriots, and Pat Buchanan is one of his biggest fans. But one of Buchanan’s recent columns, devoted to praising Clancy’s work, had a line that pulled me up short: “[His characters] put duty, honor, country above all else. And in a Clancy novel there is no moral equivalence: The U.S.A. is the greatest force for good on the planet.”

I write this as the U.N. International Conference on Population and Development begins in Cairo. The U.S.A. is there, parading as the greatest force for abortion, birth control, and eugenic population management on the planet. Our immense wealth and power make us a force hard to withstand.

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Woodstock II: Regeneration Gap

[World, August 27, 1994]

1969—Gary Mathewes arrives at the Wood-stock festival with his streetwise, drug-dealing Greenwich Village girlfriend. "I don't remember buying a ticket, or anyone asking for a ticket," he says. "I don't remember much, except spending a lot of time lying on the ground."

1994—Father Gregory Mathewes-Green stands at an altar covered with gold brocade. "Holy things are for the holy," he intones. "One is holy," the people sing back, "One is Lord, Jesus Christ."

Twenty-five years after Woodstock, twenty years after he insisted on a vegetarian spread at his wedding reception,

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Twice Liberated: A Personal Journey Through Feminism

[Touchstone, Summer 1994]

When I joined the college newspaper as a shy freshman many years ago, the editor gave me my first assignment: “Find out what’s all this stuff about women’s lib.” I was baffled as to how to do that; reports of feminism (which was then usually called “women’s lib”) were just beginning to titillate the public, just beginning to show up in Johnny Carson jokes about “bra-burners.” Was it possible to dig up any local “libbers”? My editor had a suggestion: go to the Student Union and have them announce over the loudspeaker, “Anyone representing the women’s liberation movement, please come to the information desk.”

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