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Author Topic: Did the Church sanction gay marriage?  (Read 24533 times) Average Rating: 0
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Fr. George
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« Reply #180 on: September 11, 2009, 12:01:39 PM »

Agreed - if you mean this as an example, not a necessary sequence?

Not necessary - just "likely," and certainly more likely than if the child had human contact.

Sorry - I still don't quite understand. Are you saying that all psychological disorders are the result of lack of contact in childhood? Or are you just using the child who has been neglected as an example of social pressures affecting growth? I ask because parents often worry they have 'made' their child gay, and it seems a real shame that they feel responsible in that way.

The point wasn't about homosexuality at all!  The example was "if Child X is deprived of human contact, they are very likely to show the following symptoms in adulthood" - I didn't list "symptoms" because it was a general statement used as an example.  There are plenty of symptoms of lack of contact in children (symptoms which can gravely affect the adult psyche), but my point wasn't that homosexuality is or isn't one, I was making a general point about what Psychology can say about human behavior and probable outcomes.

Papist - I still don't understand what you're saying about anatomy. I repeat: as far as I know, the sexual acts of lesbians are a subset of the sexual acts between heterosexual couples. 

I know the RC Church is more explicit on the point than the Orthodox Church is, but sexual acts with sexual parts that aren't sex are not considered "good," but are rather considered a form of masturbation (whether it be self-inflicted, or assisted) - some priests will give this counsel in confession, some won't, but I have yet to find a source (amongst the few I've seen) that states otherwise.  So your point only further demonstrates that those who are against lesbian sex should equally chastise/castigate those heterosexual couples (or non-couples) who practice the same activity.
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« Reply #181 on: September 11, 2009, 12:10:13 PM »

Agreed - if you mean this as an example, not a necessary sequence?

Not necessary - just "likely," and certainly more likely than if the child had human contact.

Sorry - I still don't quite understand. Are you saying that all psychological disorders are the result of lack of contact in childhood? Or are you just using the child who has been neglected as an example of social pressures affecting growth? I ask because parents often worry they have 'made' their child gay, and it seems a real shame that they feel responsible in that way.

The point wasn't about homosexuality at all!  The example was "if Child X is deprived of human contact, they are very likely to show the following symptoms in adulthood" - I didn't list "symptoms" because it was a general statement used as an example.  There are plenty of symptoms of lack of contact in children (symptoms which can gravely affect the adult psyche), but my point wasn't that homosexuality is or isn't one, I was making a general point about what Psychology can say about human behavior and probable outcomes.

Papist - I still don't understand what you're saying about anatomy. I repeat: as far as I know, the sexual acts of lesbians are a subset of the sexual acts between heterosexual couples. 

I know the RC Church is more explicit on the point than the Orthodox Church is, but sexual acts with sexual parts that aren't sex are not considered "good," but are rather considered a form of masturbation (whether it be self-inflicted, or assisted) - some priests will give this counsel in confession, some won't, but I have yet to find a source (amongst the few I've seen) that states otherwise.  So your point only further demonstrates that those who are against lesbian sex should equally chastise/castigate those heterosexual couples (or non-couples) who practice the same activity.

I understand. Thanks for correcting me.
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« Reply #182 on: September 11, 2009, 12:16:07 PM »

I understand. Thanks for correcting me. 

It wasn't a reprimand!  Lighten up! Wink  I thought my context was clear, but apparently it wasn't (a situation which has befallen me quite a few times here on OC.net).
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« Reply #183 on: September 11, 2009, 12:23:03 PM »

I understand. Thanks for correcting me. 

It wasn't a reprimand!  Lighten up! Wink  I thought my context was clear, but apparently it wasn't (a situation which has befallen me quite a few times here on OC.net).

Duly lightened  Smiley
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« Reply #184 on: September 11, 2009, 12:44:01 PM »

I find this discussion interesting, because homosexuality is one of those things that is so obviously wrong, at least in my view. Yet others just don't see it that way.
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« Reply #185 on: September 11, 2009, 01:06:36 PM »

I find it very difficult to believe that an Orthodox priest in a Canonical Church would preach about homosexuality.I understand and I may be wrong that sermons should be based on the scriptural readings of the day.
I have heard clergy comment about the subject but never in a sermon in Church

I don't think I've ever heard a sermon on the matter, either.  Only articles and informal conversations.
Interesting but sad. 

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/samesexunions.aspx

It is the duty of the Church to direct Her children to obedience to the laws of the state when these do not conflict with the law of God. When the law of the state deviates from the way of righteousness appointed by God, the Church must call attention to the dangers such a departure presents. We are compelled to address our flocks concerning the nature of Holy Matrimony, otherwise known as marriage. "We must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29)
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« Reply #186 on: September 11, 2009, 01:13:03 PM »

I find it very difficult to believe that an Orthodox priest in a Canonical Church would preach about homosexuality.I understand and I may be wrong that sermons should be based on the scriptural readings of the day.
I have heard clergy comment about the subject but never in a sermon in Church

I don't think I've ever heard a sermon on the matter, either.  Only articles and informal conversations.
Interesting but sad. 

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/samesexunions.aspx

It is the duty of the Church to direct Her children to obedience to the laws of the state when these do not conflict with the law of God. When the law of the state deviates from the way of righteousness appointed by God, the Church must call attention to the dangers such a departure presents. We are compelled to address our flocks concerning the nature of Holy Matrimony, otherwise known as marriage. "We must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29)

Being who I am, I would be acting within my Church's laws if I wished to become a priest and direct the message of the Church. But if Orthodox priests have chosen not to sermonize on this topic, are you entitled to correct them?
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« Reply #187 on: September 11, 2009, 01:14:58 PM »


Agreed. But again, why is sex to be always extramarital for a certain category of people?


The problem is that you are trying to put men and women with homosexual inclinations into a different category. I don't think God sees us as gays and straights. Instead we are all just human. For all of us, it is licit to enjoy sexual relationships in the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony with a person of the opposite sex.

And what if you can't, because for you, it is exactly the same as for me to "enjoy" sexual relationships with you? We do not choose that. We cannot influence on that. It's really like the color of our eyes.

For all of us, it is illicit to engage in sexual activity with members of the same sex. God shows no partiality.
And once again, your arguement assumes your conclusion, that homosexuality and heterosexuality are equal in quality. Such is simply not supported by the Church, Science, nor Sociology.

Church - no. Science and sociology - prove?
Absolute homosexuality will make any society extinct in a generation.

That;s the best argument I've heard so far. Just allow homosexuality, and tomorrow all of us will be homosexuals, and the human race will end. Precisely.
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« Reply #188 on: September 11, 2009, 01:20:01 PM »

In fact, homosexuality is no more considered a mental illness by psychologists.

Why then is it forbidden for these people to marry whom they choose?

I am not against homosexual love - although risky as it might be. That's why a softer position in the Church might lead gays and lesbians to trust the parish priest, who would see when a couple can or cannot "survive" without sex, in a pure platonic love as it would be allowed in the Church.

But what "softer position" can it be if the Church keeps repeating that their sex is abnormal and forbidden?
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« Reply #189 on: September 11, 2009, 01:43:24 PM »

I find this discussion interesting, because homosexuality is one of those things that is so obviously wrong, at least in my view. Yet others just don't see it that way.

What is at stake is God’s authority, but here is novel teaching on a matter of large importance to human happiness and in clear opposition to His Word. We aren’t arguing about trivia. Paul is speaking in his authority as an apostle of Christ Jesus “What you have heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you” …(2 Tim 1.13,14). We can't cherry-pick, I'm afraid. These teachings and instructions are in black and white; we hear them loud and clear  and they don't need watering down. Sin is sin. I am the worst sinner, hence the constant need of God's mercy (I do not say this lightly, I struggle every day..) so, I am not pointing the finger at anyone. On a BBC 2 programme, I heard someone being interviewed and they were saying (regarding what is said in  Leviticus regarding homosexuality and other sexual conduct - in other words, I'm not singling out this particular sin) that if we were to apply that, we would still be stoning adulterers and not wearing clothes with mixed fibres. My sadness is not with that argument but the lack of a reasoned argument against it. For example, I'm sure most (if not all) here will spot immediately that adultery being a sin hasn't changed.

Here is some food thought..

If the letter to Galatians was published in Christianity Today (okay, I'm not a fan of "Christianity today", but..)

Dear Christianity Today:

In response to Paul D. Apostle’s article about the Galatian church in your January issue, I have to say how appalled I am by the unchristian tone of this hit piece. Why the negativity? Has he been to the Galatian church recently? I happen to know some of the people at that church, and they are the most loving, caring people I’ve ever met.

Phyllis Snodgrass; Ann Arbor, MI

————————————————————————

Dear Editor:

How arrogant of Mr. Apostle to think he has the right to judge these people and label them accursed. Isn’t that God’s job? Regardless of this circumcision issue, these Galatians believe in Jesus just as much as he does, and it is very Pharisaical to condemn them just because they differ on such a secondary issue. Personally, I don’t want a sharp instrument anywhere near my zipper, but that doesn’t give me the right to judge how someone else follows Christ. Can’t we just focus on our common commitment to Christ and furthering His kingdom, instead of tearing down fellow believers over petty doctrinal matters?

Ed Bilgeway; Tonganoxie, KS

————————————————————————–

Dear CT:

I’ve seen other dubious articles by Paul Apostle in the past, and frankly I’m surprised you felt that his recurrent criticisms of the Church deserved to be printed in your magazine. Mr. Apostle for many years now has had a penchant for thinking he has a right to “mark” certain Christian teachers who don’t agree with his biblical position. Certainly I commend him for desiring to stay faithful to God’s word, but I think he errs in being so dogmatic about his views to the point where he feels free to openly attack his brethren. His attitude makes it difficult to fully unify the Church, and gives credence to the opposition’s view that Christians are judgmental, arrogant people who never show God’s love.

Ken Groener; San Diego, CA

—————————————————————————-

To the Editors:

Paul Apostle says that he hopes the Galatian teachers will cut off their own privates? What kind of Christian attitude is that? Shame on him!

Martha Bobbitt; Boulder, CO

—————————————————————————-

Dear Christianity Today:

The fact that Paul Apostle brags about his public run-in with Peter Cephas, a well-respected leader and brother in Christ, exposes Mr. Apostle for the divisive figure that he has become in the Church today. His diatribe against the Galatian church is just more of the same misguided focus on an antiquated reliance on doctrine instead of love and tolerance. Just look how his hypercritical attitude has cast aspersions on homosexual believers and women elders! The real problem within the Church today is not the lack of doctrinal devotion, as Apostle seems to believe, but in our inability to be transformed by our individual journeys in the Spirit. Evidently, Apostle has failed to detach himself from his legalistic background as a Pharisee, and is unable to let go and experience the genuine love for Christ that is coming from the Galatians who strive to worship God in their own special way.

William Zenby; Richmond, VA

——————————————————————————

Kind Editors:

I happen to be a member of First Christian Church of Galatia, and I take issue with Mr. Apostle’s article. How can he criticize a ministry that has been so blessed by God? Our church has baptized many new members and has made huge in-roads in the Jewish community with our pragmatic view on circumcision. Such a “seeker-sensitive” approach has given the Jews the respect they deserve for being God’s chosen people for thousands of years. In addition, every Gentile in our midst has felt honored to engage in the many edifying rituals of the Hebrew heritage, including circumcision, without losing their passion for Jesus. My advice to Mr. Apostle is to stick to spreading the gospel message of Christ’s unconditional love, and quit criticizing what God is clearly blessing in other churches.

Miriam “Betty” Ben-Hur; Galatia, Turkey

——————————————————————————-

EDITOR’S NOTE: Christianity Today apologizes for our rash decision in publishing Paul Apostle’s exposé of the Galatian church. Had we known the extent in which our readership and advertisers would withdraw their financial support, we never would have printed such unpopular biblical truth. We regret any damage we may have caused in propagating the doctrines of Christ.
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« Reply #190 on: September 11, 2009, 01:51:43 PM »


On a BBC 2 programme, I heard someone being interviewed and they were saying (regarding what is said in  Leviticus regarding homosexuality and other sexual conduct) that if we were to apply that, we would still be stoning adulterers and not wearing clothes with mixed fibres. My sadness is not with that argument but the lack of a reasoned argument against it. For example, I'm sure most (if not all) here will spot immediately that adultery being a sin hasn't changed. It is only the punishment for it that has.


That is an excellent point.
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« Reply #191 on: September 11, 2009, 02:02:07 PM »

I find it very difficult to believe that an Orthodox priest in a Canonical Church would preach about homosexuality.I understand and I may be wrong that sermons should be based on the scriptural readings of the day.
I have heard clergy comment about the subject but never in a sermon in Church

I don't think I've ever heard a sermon on the matter, either.  Only articles and informal conversations.
Interesting but sad. 

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/samesexunions.aspx

"It is the duty of the Church to direct Her children to obedience to the laws of the state when these do not conflict with the law of God. When the law of the state deviates from the way of righteousness appointed by God, the Church must call attention to the dangers such a departure presents. We are compelled to address our flocks concerning the nature of Holy Matrimony, otherwise known as marriage. "We must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29)

Being who I am, I would be acting within my Church's laws if I wished to become a priest and direct the message of the Church. But if Orthodox priests have chosen not to sermonize on this topic, are you entitled to correct them?
The paragraph in my post comes directly from the the cited article.  I do not write edicts to the clergy of ROCOR.
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/samesexunions.aspx
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« Reply #192 on: September 11, 2009, 04:11:29 PM »


Agreed. But again, why is sex to be always extramarital for a certain category of people?


The problem is that you are trying to put men and women with homosexual inclinations into a different category. I don't think God sees us as gays and straights. Instead we are all just human. For all of us, it is licit to enjoy sexual relationships in the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony with a person of the opposite sex.

And what if you can't, because for you, it is exactly the same as for me to "enjoy" sexual relationships with you? We do not choose that. We cannot influence on that. It's really like the color of our eyes.

For all of us, it is illicit to engage in sexual activity with members of the same sex. God shows no partiality.
And once again, your arguement assumes your conclusion, that homosexuality and heterosexuality are equal in quality. Such is simply not supported by the Church, Science, nor Sociology.

Church - no. Science and sociology - prove?
Absolute homosexuality will make any society extinct in a generation.

That;s the best argument I've heard so far. Just allow homosexuality, and tomorrow all of us will be homosexuals, and the human race will end. Precisely.
This is like saying that in a fascist world, all would be fascists. C'mon...
Homosexual people of today never have sex in a heterosexual fashion, and it doesn't matter that they might be closeted or not. This proves your extremistic conclusions have nothing to do with Church rule. We live in a world where tobacco and alcohol are allowed: are we all smokers and alcoholists? We live in a world where pornography is everywhere: are we all "readers" of Playboy?
Also, I would remind you that THE ONLY NATURAL STATUS FOR MAN IS CELIBACY, AND NOT HETEROSEXUAL MARRIAGE, as Paul would say. Matrimony is given by necessity in order to have mankind survive and spread in the world.

In fact, homosexuality is no more considered a mental illness by psychologists.

Why then is it forbidden for these people to marry whom they choose?

I am not against homosexual love - although risky as it might be. That's why a softer position in the Church might lead gays and lesbians to trust the parish priest, who would see when a couple can or cannot "survive" without sex, in a pure platonic love as it would be allowed in the Church.

But what "softer position" can it be if the Church keeps repeating that their sex is abnormal and forbidden?


Not murdering gays, thowing stones at them, beating them or obliging them to become heterosexuals would be a good beginning. Here in Italy I have assisted in the last two months to the aggression of a gay couple; I know of a teenager that two years ago was led to suicide because of his homosexuality by his fellow students; and I also know (this time personally) of abuses conducted on gay and lesbian teens by their parents, incited by religion to "hate the sinners". The Church should condemn both sodomy and homophobia at the same time. The Church should not invite gays and lesbians to become straight, but to be in the only true vocation of man, which is celibacy. The Church should not judge those who want to become celibate priests or monks according to their sexual orientation, since they should all aspire to become eunuchs for God, completely asexual and impassible to lust, like angels on earth. The Church shouldn't press the governments to impose a Christian ethics, so that Christians could be free to respond to God's message and MERIT salvation by their faith and works, and not obeying to God's law only because it's also a civil law. I think these are the attitudes which destroy any attempt to call homosexuals back to the Church: the pure hatred of those who condemn the sinner, not the sin, and can't see how their hatred is even a most terrible and dangerous sin.
Quote
23 And thou Capharnaum, shalt thou be exalted up to heaven? thou shalt go down even unto hell. For if in Sodom had been wrought the miracles that have been wrought in thee, perhaps it had remained unto this day. 24 But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
Throw the miracle of love into the hands of gays and lesbians, and they'll become true Christians. By loving hatred, you become like Capharnaum, and your punishment will be worse then Sodom's. Gays and lesbians need this miracle: a loving Church, not a judgmental Church.

In Christ,  Alex
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« Reply #193 on: September 11, 2009, 04:56:58 PM »


That;s the best argument I've heard so far. Just allow homosexuality, and tomorrow all of us will be homosexuals, and the human race will end. Precisely.
This is like saying that in a fascist world, all would be fascists. C'mon...
Homosexual people of today never have sex in a heterosexual fashion, and it doesn't matter that they might be closeted or not. This proves your extremistic conclusions have nothing to do with Church rule. We live in a world where tobacco and alcohol are allowed: are we all smokers and alcoholists? We live in a world where pornography is everywhere: are we all "readers" of Playboy?
Also, I would remind you that THE ONLY NATURAL STATUS FOR MAN IS CELIBACY, AND NOT HETEROSEXUAL MARRIAGE, as Paul would say. Matrimony is given by necessity in order to have mankind survive and spread in the world.


]

Mate, I'm pretty sure he's kidding. Have you read the rest of his threads on this post? (Tho', to be fair, I thought the original post was also a joke)
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« Reply #194 on: September 11, 2009, 05:12:21 PM »


That;s the best argument I've heard so far. Just allow homosexuality, and tomorrow all of us will be homosexuals, and the human race will end. Precisely.
This is like saying that in a fascist world, all would be fascists. C'mon...
Homosexual people of today never have sex in a heterosexual fashion, and it doesn't matter that they might be closeted or not. This proves your extremistic conclusions have nothing to do with Church rule. We live in a world where tobacco and alcohol are allowed: are we all smokers and alcoholists? We live in a world where pornography is everywhere: are we all "readers" of Playboy?
Also, I would remind you that THE ONLY NATURAL STATUS FOR MAN IS CELIBACY, AND NOT HETEROSEXUAL MARRIAGE, as Paul would say. Matrimony is given by necessity in order to have mankind survive and spread in the world.


]

Mate, I'm pretty sure he's kidding. Have you read the rest of his threads on this post? (Tho', to be fair, I thought the original post was also a joke)

Of course I was. I was just teasing Isa. And I am sure he was not serious either. Smiley
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« Reply #195 on: September 11, 2009, 07:21:16 PM »

In a separate PM discussion with a friend, I made the following point.  I figured I'd post this here to see what y'all think:

"So, homosexual sex is wrong because it is non-vaginal?"

Homosexual sex is wrong because it's just that: with the same sex.

Everything in the creation account, be it in Genesis or in University, points to diversity: diversity of species, diversity of roles, diversity of actions; yet, all the creations accounts also point to unity: unity in the Food Chain, in the Biosphere, etc.  From the Orthodox POV this makes sense: God created a diversity since He is manifest as a diversity (Three persons), but a diversity which is united (One God).  It is the foundation of our theology: One God in Three Persons, a relationship of perfect love.

The creation of man, regardless of the debate about time-line or evolution, was a creation of a diverse unity: two genders, designed and implemented for different purposes, but which are united (and if you parse the verse in Genesis, human is 'male and female he created them').  It is an image of the Trinity which is also able to participate in the ministry of God, through assisting in the further creation of humanity.

With the establishment of humanity, other relationships were able to grow and flourish: relationships of love between members of a family, between people with similar interests, between people living in close proximity, between people who have endured life experiences together.  But each of these relationships, and each of the types of love, are unrepeatable: two people who live next to each other but have different jobs will not have the same friendship as two life-long co-workers, and the two life-long co-workers will not have the same friendship as two people who have been neighbors for many years.

It is, however, our fallen nature to aspire to types of relationships we cannot or should not have - to try and have something not designed for us: this is why strangers attempt physical intimacy (rape), or why people escalate relationships too quickly (date rape), why people attempt to have sex with different species, why people seek companionship, comfort and joy from substances, etc.  While relationships that are not perfect can still be good, they should not aspire to be what they were not designed to be.  The Church is against marriage of family of a close degree, not because of the genetic ramifications (and in this sense, the Church was ahead of the curve), but because it would be taking a natural and good relationship (family) and aspiring that it be something different (marriage).

This longing is not reserved merely for these relationships: what of those who, while married, are attracted physically to other people?  History has shown that polygamy or polyandry can actually be stable relationship models - but they violate the most basic image of the marriage: one woman, one man.  Yes, an allowance was made when humanity was far less numerous, but over time we began to incorporate the more perfect image of marriage and discarded that which was meant to be merely temporary.

So we come to the relationships between members of the same sex.  While attraction to the same sex can be natural for some, sexual activity between them violates the image of the diverse sexual relationship: one woman, one man.  It may be pleasurable for those involved, but so could polygamy, incest, etc.  In each case, extreme as they may or may not be, we have examples of a violation of the image of the perfect union in diversity.  The biological study reflects this: egg and sperm, different yet complementary, diverse yet united, triggering the chain reaction where "diverse" DNA (let's face it, human DNA across the spectrum is nearly 99% identical) becomes one genetic plan for a human being.

One problem with the idea that "because they have the attraction, and it is natural, they should be able to act upon it" (besides the hedonistic focus of that line of reasoning) is that it assumes that the only outlet for eros is physical.  And yet, we are able, and even called, to have an eros for Christ - with whom marital relationship in the physical sense is impossible!  We speak of a divine eros, and we affirm that one cannot get to agape (perfect love) or even perfect philanthropia (self-sacrificial love for mankind) without first having an eros (a deep and passionate love) for those around us.

I think the desire to consider a physical relationship with the same sex 'normal' affirms only the principle of immature humanity: the outlet for eros is in the body.  But in reality, the better outlet for eros is non-physical, because in that way it can be a better conduit for funneling one toward agape and philanthropia.  We even call married couples to this end: sex only gets you so far, but you are to develop a love even more greater than this - and ideally to have this same love for everyone around you.  Yes, married couples get the benefit of using sex as a jump-start to the process, but in some ways it actually holds them back from progressing, by making eros a love focused merely on one person, and not upon all.

I personally think this is why St. Paul prefers celibacy to marriage: because the path of celibacy forces one to channel their eros to humanity, and in turn use it to develop even more perfect love.

I know this has been a bit of a ramble, but I think it addresses from my POV your point.
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« Reply #196 on: September 11, 2009, 07:29:57 PM »

Quote

"So, homosexual sex is wrong because it is non-vaginal?"


Surely this sexism is unnecessary, even in quotation?
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« Reply #197 on: September 11, 2009, 07:31:47 PM »

Quote
"So, homosexual sex is wrong because it is non-vaginal?"

Surely this sexism is unnecessary, even in quotation?

This was my friend's attempt at summarizing my position on the matter.  It was the statement that lead to my response, which I then copied here.
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« Reply #198 on: September 13, 2009, 07:50:11 AM »


That;s the best argument I've heard so far. Just allow homosexuality, and tomorrow all of us will be homosexuals, and the human race will end. Precisely.
This is like saying that in a fascist world, all would be fascists. C'mon...
Homosexual people of today never have sex in a heterosexual fashion, and it doesn't matter that they might be closeted or not. This proves your extremistic conclusions have nothing to do with Church rule. We live in a world where tobacco and alcohol are allowed: are we all smokers and alcoholists? We live in a world where pornography is everywhere: are we all "readers" of Playboy?
Also, I would remind you that THE ONLY NATURAL STATUS FOR MAN IS CELIBACY, AND NOT HETEROSEXUAL MARRIAGE, as Paul would say. Matrimony is given by necessity in order to have mankind survive and spread in the world.


]

Mate, I'm pretty sure he's kidding. Have you read the rest of his threads on this post? (Tho', to be fair, I thought the original post was also a joke)

Of course I was. I was just teasing Isa. And I am sure he was not serious either. Smiley

Indeed, your last post seemed so strange to me... i couldn't get why you were so strongly change your opinion. Of course, my linguistic barrier made me blind in seeing your irony, sorry  Cry

In Christ,  Alex
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« Reply #199 on: September 13, 2009, 05:15:41 PM »

The New Martyr Pavel Florensky and same-sex unions

This web site gives a lengthy quote from Fr. Pavel's book  The Pillar and Ground of the Truth (Moscow 1914) translated by Fr. German Ciuba.

http://english.gay.ru/life/religion/FlorenskyonBrotherhoodRite.html

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« Reply #200 on: September 13, 2009, 05:23:32 PM »


On a BBC 2 programme, I heard someone being interviewed and they were saying (regarding what is said in  Leviticus regarding homosexuality and other sexual conduct) that if we were to apply that, we would still be stoning adulterers and not wearing clothes with mixed fibres. My sadness is not with that argument but the lack of a reasoned argument against it. For example, I'm sure most (if not all) here will spot immediately that adultery being a sin hasn't changed. It is only the punishment for it that has.


That is an excellent point.

What punishment?  Adultery is amply rewarded.  If you don't believe me, go hang around divorce court and you will see.
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« Reply #201 on: September 13, 2009, 06:05:20 PM »


On a BBC 2 programme, I heard someone being interviewed and they were saying (regarding what is said in  Leviticus regarding homosexuality and other sexual conduct) that if we were to apply that, we would still be stoning adulterers and not wearing clothes with mixed fibres. My sadness is not with that argument but the lack of a reasoned argument against it. For example, I'm sure most (if not all) here will spot immediately that adultery being a sin hasn't changed. It is only the punishment for it that has.


That is an excellent point.

What punishment?  Adultery is amply rewarded.  If you don't believe me, go hang around divorce court and you will see.

Well, I'd like to think there's some justice outside of law courts  Wink

Seriously - even secular commentators observe that there are kinds of behaviour that are damaging and carry their own built-in deterrents. I just don't think homosexuality is one of them.
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« Reply #202 on: September 14, 2009, 08:08:22 AM »

Dear Liz,
I think that homosexuality can have damaging effects. For example, AIDS is one of the main causes of death for homosexuals. AIDS is the illness par excellence for those who behave in a disordered sexuality. Also, from a spiritual point of view, we should avoid all practices which aren't useful because they can be detrimental for our bodies. Drinking wine, for example, is not evil "per se", but Orthodoxy encourages not to drink (except for the Eucharistic blood, and of course the some 100 days when it is allowed). St. Paul the Apostle wrote:

Quote
All things are lawful to me, but all things are not expedient. All things are lawful to me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meat for the belly, and the belly for the meats; but God shall destroy both it and them: but the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. Now God hath both raised up the Lord, and will raise us up also by his power. Know you not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? Or know you not, that he who is joined to a harlot, is made one body? For they shall be, saith he, two in one flesh. But he who is joined to the Lord, is one spirit. Fly fornication. Every sin that a man doth, is without the body; but he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body. Or know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own? For you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:15-20)
This passage of Paul is the most exhaustive in his understanding of human ethics with respect to the OT Law. A Christian, while not bound to "the Law", still lives accordingly to its moral contents, and to its purpose which is the glorification of the human body, a living temple of Christ. In fact st. John says literally in his prologue "And the Word became flesh, and set his tabernacle in us". Through the Holy Spirit we are also living tabernacles of God's presence, and as such we should live accordingly to Christ's example, as chaste and pure as him. Sex is thus lived in a sanctified dimension in its creative aim and in its nature of uniting two complementaries in one flesh, as established by His divine design for the distinction of the two genders.
That's why I don't approved homogenital sex but still I can understand the romantic love of gays and lesbians. The sexual conduct was a key element in Christian ethics since the beginnings. An example is the doubt of the early church that bishops could forgive in Christ's name the sins of heresy, murder and fornication. As you can see, fornication (in its widest sense of sexual misconduct) was thought of as unholy on the same level as homicides and apostasy!

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #203 on: September 14, 2009, 09:32:44 AM »

Dear Liz,
I think that homosexuality can have damaging effects. For example, AIDS is one of the main causes of death for homosexuals. AIDS is the illness par excellence for those who behave in a disordered sexuality.


This is not really true. HIV doesn't discriminate according to sexuality, and it is spreading fastest in the third world, where heterosexuals seem to be at least as likely to be affected as homosexuals, if not more so.

Edit: I should also point out that, as seems to be the case throughout this discussion, you seem to be thinking only of male homosexuals. It's harder to catch HIV through lesbian sex than through heterosexual sex.


Quote
Also, from a spiritual point of view, we should avoid all practices which aren't useful because they can be detrimental for our bodies. Drinking wine, for example, is not evil "per se", but Orthodoxy encourages not to drink (except for the Eucharistic blood, and of course the some 100 days when it is allowed). St. Paul the Apostle wrote:

Quote
All things are lawful to me, but all things are not expedient. All things are lawful to me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meat for the belly, and the belly for the meats; but God shall destroy both it and them: but the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. Now God hath both raised up the Lord, and will raise us up also by his power. Know you not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? Or know you not, that he who is joined to a harlot, is made one body? For they shall be, saith he, two in one flesh. But he who is joined to the Lord, is one spirit. Fly fornication. Every sin that a man doth, is without the body; but he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body. Or know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own? For you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:15-20)
This passage of Paul is the most exhaustive in his understanding of human ethics with respect to the OT Law. A Christian, while not bound to "the Law", still lives accordingly to its moral contents, and to its purpose which is the glorification of the human body, a living temple of Christ. In fact st. John says literally in his prologue "And the Word became flesh, and set his tabernacle in us". Through the Holy Spirit we are also living tabernacles of God's presence, and as such we should live accordingly to Christ's example, as chaste and pure as him. Sex is thus lived in a sanctified dimension in its creative aim and in its nature of uniting two complementaries in one flesh, as established by His divine design for the distinction of the two genders.
That's why I don't approved homogenital sex but still I can understand the romantic love of gays and lesbians. The sexual conduct was a key element in Christian ethics since the beginnings. An example is the doubt of the early church that bishops could forgive in Christ's name the sins of heresy, murder and fornication. As you can see, fornication (in its widest sense of sexual misconduct) was thought of as unholy on the same level as homicides and apostasy!

In Christ,   Alex

I don't take issue with the rest of your post, it's just that I don't personally agree with you.
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« Reply #204 on: September 14, 2009, 10:27:03 AM »

HIV is more rapidly spread through sexual misconduct, either heterosexual or homosexual. Having exclusively a monogamic heterosexual relationship gives a greater possibility not to get HIV (except in case of a wrong transfusion, of some drug-addictions and of a partner who was already affected by this illness). Of course I was speaking of male homosexuality. As for female homosexuality, I don't see any biological "punishment", so to say, so I can't give any answer to the previous post on the subject. Obviously you can't agree with me, but so doing you are in disagreement with the canons of the Orthodox Church. These canons are of divine origin, and so the Church can't just "pick and choose" which are good or bad: they are all equally God's laws, and it doesn't matter why God decided something, it's up to Him who knows Good and Evil to decide what is wealthy or not for our bodies and souls. Christ's model is the true reference, so sex is entirely useless from a spiritual point of view, and its permission is functional to the survival of the human race on Earth. The Church just can't, due to her constitution, change her mind on the subject "same sex intercourse" because it is encoded in her rules for the edification of the new man. The canons are just the corollary of the received Tradition in ethics and dogmas we received from the Apostles. This is not the case in your denomination (if I am correct, you must be Anglican, right?) because you put private interpretation of Scripture over Tradition. As you saw, most of us here are very comprehensive towards homosexuals, and especially I stated more then once that I have good gay and lesbian friends. They know what the attitude of my church is, but I'm not judgmental. The Church educates HER children in the Faith, and as I repeated, she has no authority over the non-Orthodox. I still don't know why God through His church stated that sodomy is wrong, I just know that it is from His revelation, and the inspired Word of God, the Holy Bible, is extremely clear on the subject. I hope you might understand our point and our need of fidelity towards our Church, which comes first then any other authority on Earth.

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #205 on: September 14, 2009, 10:47:33 AM »

HIV is more rapidly spread through sexual misconduct, either heterosexual or homosexual. Having exclusively a monogamic heterosexual relationship gives a greater possibility not to get HIV (except in case of a wrong transfusion, of some drug-addictions and of a partner who was already affected by this illness).

Thanks for re-phrasing. It may seem as if I'm quibbling over a minor point, but it can be horribly hurtful for someone who has contracted HIV through no fault of their own, if people continue to label it as a 'gay illness'. I'm aware that probably wasn't your intention, but it's so important I think we always need to be clear about how we talk about HIV.

Quote
Of course I was speaking of male homosexuality. As for female homosexuality, I don't see any biological "punishment", so to say, so I can't give any answer to the previous post on the subject. Obviously you can't agree with me, but so doing you are in disagreement with the canons of the Orthodox Church. These canons are of divine origin, and so the Church can't just "pick and choose" which are good or bad: they are all equally God's laws, and it doesn't matter why God decided something, it's up to Him who knows Good and Evil to decide what is wealthy or not for our bodies and souls. Christ's model is the true reference, so sex is entirely useless from a spiritual point of view, and its permission is functional to the survival of the human race on Earth. The Church just can't, due to her constitution, change her mind on the subject "same sex intercourse" because it is encoded in her rules for the edification of the new man. The canons are just the corollary of the received Tradition in ethics and dogmas we received from the Apostles. This is not the case in your denomination (if I am correct, you must be Anglican, right?) because you put private interpretation of Scripture over Tradition.


Yep, I'm Anglican. We don't really put private interpretation over Tradition - the Church as a whole has to hash out its position on central issues like this one, and the Church has made the decision that monogamous homosexual relationships can be blessed by a priest.

Quote
As you saw, most of us here are very comprehensive towards homosexuals, and especially I stated more then once that I have good gay and lesbian friends. They know what the attitude of my church is, but I'm not judgmental. The Church educates HER children in the Faith, and as I repeated, she has no authority over the non-Orthodox. I still don't know why God through His church stated that sodomy is wrong, I just know that it is from His revelation, and the inspired Word of God, the Holy Bible, is extremely clear on the subject. I hope you might understand our point and our need of fidelity towards our Church, which comes first then any other authority on Earth.


In Christ,   Alex

You don't need to explain that you've got gay friends, I do understand why you believe what you believe, and of course it doesn't necessarily mean you're judgemental or anything like that. I didn't think so at all.
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« Reply #206 on: September 14, 2009, 11:53:40 AM »

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Yep, I'm Anglican. We don't really put private interpretation over Tradition - the Church as a whole has to hash out its position on central issues like this one, and the Church has made the decision that monogamous homosexual relationships can be blessed by a priest.

This is an interesting point. I know it will get out of topic, but I'm interested, because I know that the Anglican Church "as a whole" doesn't mean that all of the Church celebrates gay unions. I mean, I know that the so-called High Church is not so open-minded and regards same sex unions as a sort of blasphemy, am I correct? In this case, how can the Anglican Church claim a "consent" in this case? And also, how can two so different and mutually exclusive parts of a whole keep in communion under the same hierarchy?

In Christ,     Alex

PS: thanks for your loving and comprehensive attitude towards me, sister!
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« Reply #207 on: September 14, 2009, 12:16:05 PM »

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Yep, I'm Anglican. We don't really put private interpretation over Tradition - the Church as a whole has to hash out its position on central issues like this one, and the Church has made the decision that monogamous homosexual relationships can be blessed by a priest.

This is an interesting point. I know it will get out of topic, but I'm interested, because I know that the Anglican Church "as a whole" doesn't mean that all of the Church celebrates gay unions. I mean, I know that the so-called High Church is not so open-minded and regards same sex unions as a sort of blasphemy, am I correct? In this case, how can the Anglican Church claim a "consent" in this case? And also, how can two so different and mutually exclusive parts of a whole keep in communion under the same hierarchy?

In Christ,     Alex

PS: thanks for your loving and comprehensive attitude towards me, sister!

Well, we're still talking about gay marriage in a Church - I reckon we're reasonably on topic. The mods will tell us if not!

Lots of people think that 'high' Anglicans will be more socially conservative. Actually, I've not found that to be the case, at least in the UK. Anglo-Catholics (who look similar to high Anglicans, just to confuse matters, but who are likely to do things like praying to Mary for intercession, which high Anglicans usually wouldn't) are different: they may be more conservative, I don't know. But yes - the Anglican Church isn't united on the issue at all. It's one of the really big difficulties we're facing. The big players are the liberal American churches, who led the way with openly gay vicars, and the Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, who is strongly and vocally opposed to homosexuality.

In my view - which isn't shared by everyone - Rowan Williams hasn't covered himself in glory during his time as Archbishop of Canterbury, and this is a really difficult issue for him. Basically, I get the impression that others have really led the way, saying, 'yes, we're going to have a gay bishop [Gene Robinson of New Hampshire]. Williams has made some rather wishy-washy statements on the issue. He's obviously trying to avoid a schism with the Nigerian churches and with others elsewhere, but the result is that there's not a very clear stance. Essentially, the Church at the moment will bless monogamous gay unions, and accepts openly gay clergy, but there are always ripples of dissent which may at some point cause this stance to change. I could wish it were otherwise, but there we go.

On the positive side, the Anglican Church is very, very, very practiced in allowing many different attitudes and strands of belief to co-exist, and in finding a way to see the good in all of them. When you ask about how we keep in communion, I will point out that the Church teaching on this is very open: in fact, we would invite an Orthodox, or a Catholic, or anyone who is a Christian communicant in their own Church, to commune with us. We don't believe that differences within Christian faith - however important they may be - are reason not to share in Communion.

(Hope that wasn't too muddled ... I'm not feeling too clear-headed atm)

Thanks for your interest, and your friendliness. Much appreciated  Smiley

God bless,

Liz
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« Reply #208 on: September 14, 2009, 12:23:14 PM »

I've just thought what might clarify the above. It's similar to the situation with women priests, but that situation is less complex, so it might give a better sense of how the Church functions.

Basically, the decision to allow the ordination of women priests is over and done: we have them, they're here, they've been preaching for a while, we can't really go back now. Same story with gay priests (though, obviously, you can't really be a 'closeted' woman and you can be a closeted homosexual - this is partly why the situation with homosexuality becomes complicated).

However, there are still quite a few people who remain in the Anglican Church, but who object to women priests. They're free to argue against women priests, and to attend a church with a male priest, but the fact remains that the decision has been taken and it's really out of their hands now. We don't throw them out of the Anglican Church because they disagree, of course: they just have to live with the fact that they don't agree with something that has been decided. That must be uncomfortable for them, but it's not a theological problem, since they Church has been openly dedicated to prioritizing inclusion since its early days. 

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« Reply #209 on: September 14, 2009, 02:23:52 PM »

I truly thank you with all of my heart for giving your alternative point of view as an Anglican, Liz. This also improves the meaning of this discussion: its the typical way the Orthodox Church functions that determines her attitudes towards any innovation, and this is the same since the beginnings of our ecclesiastical history. Evidently, you as Anglicans give more importance to communion in sacraments then to communion in the basic theological matters (even if, I imagine, some key doctrines some as the Trinity must be kept anyway integral...?). On the matter of homosexual priests, I must say I'd be fully comfortable with the idea of having celibate gay clergy. Afterall, if homosexuals can't be married in Orthodoxy, they are asked to stay celibate, and since celibate people just can't have a family on their own, and must resist all sexual temptations, it's evident that there's no real difference between an hetero- and an homosexual as a celibate priest, don't you think? I found it completely unworthy from the Roman Church, for example, to exclude from holy priesthood some people who are entirely worthy to become priests being male and celibate, only because of their latent (i.e. non-acted upon) sexual orientation, since even a heterosexual desire affects the purity of the priest in the same way.

In Christ,    Alex
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« Reply #210 on: September 14, 2009, 02:53:10 PM »

I truly thank you with all of my heart for giving your alternative point of view as an Anglican, Liz. This also improves the meaning of this discussion: its the typical way the Orthodox Church functions that determines her attitudes towards any innovation, and this is the same since the beginnings of our ecclesiastical history. Evidently, you as Anglicans give more importance to communion in sacraments then to communion in the basic theological matters

That's exactly it! You put it so much better than I did.


Quote
(even if, I imagine, some key doctrines some as the Trinity must be kept anyway integral...?).

Yes. I would argue that, if you don't recognize the Trinity, you're not Christian. Although I was extremely shocked the other day to meet a young man preparing for Anglican confirmation who seemed to think the doctrine was up for discussion! But yes ... there are some key doctrines that stay the same.

Quote
On the matter of homosexual priests, I must say I'd be fully comfortable with the idea of having celibate gay clergy. Afterall, if homosexuals can't be married in Orthodoxy, they are asked to stay celibate, and since celibate people just can't have a family on their own, and must resist all sexual temptations, it's evident that there's no real difference between an hetero- and an homosexual as a celibate priest, don't you think? I found it completely unworthy from the Roman Church, for example, to exclude from holy priesthood some people who are entirely worthy to become priests being male and celibate, only because of their latent (i.e. non-acted upon) sexual orientation, since even a heterosexual desire affects the purity of the priest in the same way.

In Christ,    Alex

Yes - I think this is a really important point. I've always thought that, if you are homosexual and really believe it is right for you to be celibate, something like the priesthood should be such a good way of channeling your energy in another direction and letting you be 'father' to a family in a different sense.
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