It seems clear to me that in this life we'll always be sinners. Even in people that seem to be saintly, have wonderworking powers, one can find things that seem to be off, or in error.
This is true. But Christ desires us to change and become holy. This theme is present throughout the New Testament.
Based on what you've said, you seem to be suffering from Martin Luther's perspective. That is, sin with boldness so we can experience true forgiveness. That is not Orthodoxy. We do not destroy ourselves, banking on forgiveness. That is to slap Christ in the face, who died to free us, while we enslave ourselves again and again.
Our failures do not justify us to go on failing. "God loves us exactly as we are, and loves us way too much to let us stay that way."
I'm not certain myself that "union with God" is why God created humanity, and thus the purpose of human life. I think perhaps God created human beings just because that's what God does- create. And perhaps God became man for no other reason than we'ld be free, not free to be slaves to rules, but free from fear and oppression. Mystical union is something that will happen as a consequence of that, not something we strive for but something that happens to us by living in the reality of the Incarnation.
But either way, union is the ultimate end. This is a matter of emphasis.
At this point in my life I am not focused on being holy. I'm trying to learn to forgive and get along with my family and my situation in life, which is not easy at all. Holiness is too lofty for me. If i really love people i have to forgo the idea of me being holy and just focus on improving myself as best as i can, without being harsh on myself or other people. I will leave judgement up to God, and i hope you would be gracious enough to do the same.
You are focusing on being holy, whether you know it or not. Treating others well is part of that journey.
I am not judging you, I am simply telling you what the Orthodox Church has taught since Pentecost. God wants us to live, and He tells us how to do so. We can accept it or reject it. But if we reject it, we can't expect to live. If a cancer patient doesn't take his treatment, he will die, it's just a fact. And we sinners will die if we do not take our spiritual treatment.
There's truth in that, I am not wholeheartedly rejecting the teachings iin that manner. But this idea sounds nice in practice but i know some gay Christians still struggling with this issue, and they would very much like to "let go and let God" and it doesn't happen. They feel alienation and rejection from other Christians, for one, which certainly doesn't help.
In my experience, those who feel alienated are those who have made homosexuality their identity. When we identify ourselves with our sins, it becomes very difficult to live in a Church whose teachings on morality are crystal-clear. But if we identify our sins as brokenness, it is very easy to deal with.
I don't think a loving gay relationship is automaticly destructive.
The Church says otherwise. Just because two men can get "married" and live happy lives together doesn't mean they aren't destroying themselves. (Worldly happiness is not an indicator of our spiritual state, that is largely a Calvinist concept.)
Its true we could all i guess go off and try to become a St. Seraphim or a St. Mary and please the hierarchy of the Church rather than live an openly gay life, but when you force people to do that, tell them "do this or go to hell", the message so many gay Christians get, you get pain and estrangement.
But the Church is not some arbitrary power structure. It is the Body of Christ, led by the Holy Spirit. The Church isn't there to step on us, it's there to give our salvation a framework. The bishops and priests exist to help us to be saved.
Our goal is not to please the hierarchy. Our goal is to prepare ourselves for the reality that someday we will step into God's presence. We can't be prepared for that if we are doing everything our own way, because we are not in this alone.
I feel deep down this is not how Jesus Christ would treat a gay prson, having known several gay people know in the past few years, and comming to realize that many religious people and groups intentionally avoid dealing with them as human persons with the same needs and issues as other people (if you do not I applaud you, but honestly before engaging this issue in myself, I realized i had simply avoided taking the lives of gays and lesbians seriously, and was even in denial with myself about my own same-sex attractions).
Really? He was pretty harsh to the Woman at the Well. She was living a life full of sexual sin, and Jesus called her to repentance. Jesus' love is based on doing what is right for us, not in making us comfortable in our sin.
To be honest i'm leaning towards the branch theory... and i'm pretty sure most Orthodox would reject that, i'm not sure what Bishop Kallistos Ware would think of that even, and he seems closest to that point of view. In that case then yes, it may well be about "which Church is right for me". As an Episcopalian friend said, it isn't ultimately about what is true, its about who you can make the journey with.
I'm sorry, but that's just silly. It sounds like Pontius Pilate, "What is truth?" It's not about "my truth", it's about "Truth." The Truth is a Person, Jesus Christ, and we can only come to Him in the context of the Church He established.
A truth that cannot be lived will do me or you no good.
It can be with God's help. But not if you give up before even trying.
i would rather look to the seven ecumenical councils to figure out "what is the Church", rather than basing th Church's identy on the "correct inteprretation of Scriptures"
That's fine. What Church held the Seven Ecumenical Councils? It wasn't the Anglicans, that's for sure.
Christ also promised that his yoke is light.
His yoke is light, but not when we fight endlessly to take it off.
Well, Jesus suffering was redemptive, is our suffering redemptive too in the same degree? Are we adding to the works of Christ?
I didn't say that. Our works do not add to Christ's, but we do have to cooperate with Him.
Is it evil to look up to the sufferings of Christ and say "I can't do that". I don't think so.
It's only human. But Christ promised we would be able to do it, with His help.
Sometimes that's humility.
Refusing to let God change us is actually pride, not humility. Humility is saying "I am broken, Lord help me."
For this Christ deserves our love and worship, but to reduce our salvation to some legalistic formula of do's and dont's is a distortion of that.
I don't usually recommend this, but I think you are struggling to understand how Orthodoxy can have rules but not be legalistic. So, I really want you to read this essay. It will help you understand this concept:http://www.orthodoxpress.org/parish/river_of_fire.htm
Why would there be a disconnect metaphysically with the spiritual world? Do the rules change that much? Do things that help with human and animal flourishing suddenly change. Is God not sovereign over this world, or does he just let things happen agaist his will- is he arbitrary and lets the physical work work one way then says "gotcha" when it comes to spiritual matters? Then he's not really good, if his laws have nothing to do with the way the world actually works. Either way, things don't look so good for both a rational worldview and somebody that clings to this idea that same-sex attraction is unnatural. Either way, i have faith in God, beyond the idols created by religioous ideology, I do not believe God is actually bad, thoughtless, uncaring or arbitrary. So I figure that the understanding of sexuality is probably incomplete and needs further analysis.
The world is fallen. This was not God's intention, but in our freedom He allowed it. So God now had to save us. He sent Christ, who has taught us the way back to the perfection we had in the Garden. God does not create people gay; they are gay because the natural world has been corrupted by sin. He allows gay people to be born, just like the blind man in the Gospel, so His power can be displayed by those who fight againt their tendencies.
Our ideology is not an idol. That is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, Who lives in the Church and guides Her into all truth, as Christ promised He would.