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Offline GDan

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New to the forum
« on: June 24, 2011, 06:37:14 AM »
Hello, I saw one newbie post in the list that wasn't moved so i take it this is the place for new posters.

Some information about myself.
I was brought up with a religion of sorts, but my parents never went to mass. I can recall one time my mother went to confession, it was during a difficult time in their marriage. They're not 'practising' catholics but there were always a smack if i used the Lords name, i'm sure you get the picture.



I am gay and i came out to my parents when i was 18, two years ago, almost three now. I was instantly escorted from my room with a bag and some cash from my dad and told to "go and stay with my boyfriend", i didn't have one. They have not spoken to me since.



The reason i'm being open about this is because i never got to ask them questions about this, about religion, about identity and how it all makes sense. I'm hoping to ask my questions and make sense of their decision. I would never have thought to join a forum to do this but if i can come to some understanding about my parents, and how they see things then it might help as it's still distressing when all my friends go home and i can't. I wanted to be open about the nature of my questions from the start but i am not here to promote homosexuality in any way. I accept that religion regards me as a wicked person deserving of hell.



Thank you for your acceptance of my membership and if you have questions i'll try and answer them as well as i can.

NB: I will only be online Fridays as, i have two jobs and have to work like a dog to keep up with my rent. Which is something friends would be good to remember when they want to chat on the phone at 2am because they're awake!  ;)  :o  :P
« Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 07:02:33 AM by GDan »

Offline genesisone

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2011, 07:50:34 AM »
I accept that religion regards me as a wicked person deserving of hell.
First of all, welcome to the forum.

Now to the point you made: Before we Orthodox Christians receive Holy Communion we are expected to spend time in prayer as part of our preparation. One short part of those prayers reads:
Quote
Thou dost not desire, O Master, to destroy the works of thy hands or that they should perish, but willest that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth. Where I, although unworthy both of heaven and of earth and of this temporary life, even I, a wretched sinner who had given myself over to every evil desire, despair not of salvation, though I have been wholly subject so sin, a slave to passion, and have defiled thine image within me, who am thy creation and thy work; but trusting in thine infinite compassion, draw nigh unto thee.
I can't pray that prayer sincerely without feeling like you do, but I know that I'm not left having to be in that state.

It's obvious from the rest of your story that you have been badly hurt in many ways. I trust that you will find some healing as you explore the Orthodox faith.

One suggestion: don't be too detailed about your specific sins in a forum as public as this. Try to find a person in whom you can confide and receive help that will help your specific needs. Is there an Orthodox church nearby?

Do check in again next Friday!

Offline Poppy

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2011, 08:43:39 AM »

NB: I will only be online Fridays as, i have two jobs and have to work like a dog to keep up with my rent. Which is something friends would be good to remember when they want to chat on the phone at 2am because they're awake!  ;)  :o  :P

HEEEEYYY
I work!!! lolOl just that i live modestly where as you live in a rli nice flat in a rli nice part of Reading so stop whining!!! and you buy shoes like every other week almost!!!

I never knew your parents are Catholics.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2011, 09:01:53 AM »
I hope you enjoy your time here!
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Offline dcommini

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2011, 12:03:00 PM »
Welcome to the forum, and I hope that we will be able to answer some of your questions!
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Offline J.M.C

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2011, 03:35:58 PM »

Hello Dan and welcome to the forum.

I don't know how much the Orthodox faith's approach to sexuality will help you learn about your parents' reasons for rejecting you, but you never know. And whatever questions you ask, I'm sure you'll get plenty to chew over.
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Offline CBGardner

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2011, 04:02:08 PM »
Welcome to the board!!
May God enlighten your heart and ours as well.
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Offline biro

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2011, 04:05:35 PM »
Welcome aboard.  :)
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Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2011, 04:38:30 PM »
Welcome to the nut house forum!  ;D
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Offline KBN1

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2011, 05:19:41 PM »
I accept that religion regards me as a wicked person deserving of hell.

If that is true, it is true of us all.  Welcome to the forum.

Offline CBGardner

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2011, 05:31:43 PM »
I accept that religion regards me as a wicked person deserving of hell.

If that is true, it is true of us all.  Welcome to the forum.

Very good point KBN1  :)
Authentic zeal is not directed towards anything but union in Christ, or against anything but our own fallenness.

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Offline IsmiLiora

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2011, 05:36:32 PM »
I accept that religion regards me as a wicked person deserving of hell.

If that is true, it is true of us all.  Welcome to the forum.

Very good point KBN1  :)
Word. Welcome to the board, GDan! (I keep thinking "GDay when I see your screen name" ;) ) I hope you'll find some enlightenment and fellowship around this board, despite the craziness!
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Offline sainthieu

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2011, 07:18:44 PM »
I accept that religion regards me as a wicked person deserving of hell.

That may be true of other forms of Christianity, but not of Orthodoxy. The Orthodox Church is here to offer you healing.

You're not wicked, and neither are we. We're sinful, which is a different concept, which I won't go into here. We're all imperfect and need to control our sensual vices and set aside our self-idolatry---every single one of us. Welcome to the club, and welcome to the forum.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 07:20:28 PM by sainthieu »

Offline Antonis

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2011, 07:25:32 PM »
Welcome to the forum!  ;D
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Offline CBGardner

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2011, 11:36:40 PM »

Word.

I'm not sure why but I laughed at this for seriously 2 mins straight.
Authentic zeal is not directed towards anything but union in Christ, or against anything but our own fallenness.

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Offline Anastasios

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2011, 11:46:28 PM »
GDan,

Welcome to our forum.

While as an Orthodox Christian, I regard acting upon homosexual desires to be sinful, I would not have reacted the way your parents did.

Some Protestants make a big deal about a relationship with Jesus not being a "religion" but a "relationship."  While I generally scoff at such an assertion--which I believe is more of a marketing gimmick--I can say that in some sense, it is true, if we regard "religion" as merely a set of doctrines and practices with no real link to the Divine.  My faith in Christ makes me love others more, not hate them.  When I see people sin, I try to think about how I sin more than then, and how they might have gotten into the position they are in.  The fact that your parents had a "religion" but that religion has not had any discernible impact on their life suggests that it is moralism, and not true faith.  Orthodoxy is not moralism.

I am unfortunately not as active on the forum as I wish I could be, so I will have to let others follow up with you on your questions, but again, welcome.

Fr. Anastasios
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2011, 10:45:56 AM »
Welcome, and peace!
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Offline Hamartolos

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2011, 11:30:42 AM »
I really hope you find an entirely different world encountering Orthodox Christians.  It's very disheartening to hear stories such as yours; unfortunately I've heard many of them.  I must say you take an approach that is admirable.  You come to this forum open and not hostile towards all Christians because of a horrible experience. 

I'm not a psychiatrist or anything, but I've always thought/said that the people are who hateful towards anyone would be so anyway; even if there was no religion.  People (a minority of them) use religion as a vehicle of hate but I think they would be hateful anyway without it. 

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Offline Russell

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2011, 12:18:07 PM »
Welcome to the forums.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2011, 12:55:18 PM »
I'm not a psychiatrist or anything, but I've always thought/said that the people are who hateful towards anyone would be so anyway; even if there was no religion.  People (a minority of them) use religion as a vehicle of hate but I think they would be hateful anyway without it. 
I agree.
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Offline GDan

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2011, 06:05:12 AM »
I can not thank you enough for your warm welcomes, i am quite overwhelmed as i was not expecting any interest in me or the answers for which i am searching. I half expected to return and see just the one welcome. I am really pleased and have reason to have a little hope.

J.M.C and sainthieu, I had thought that the Orthodox and Catholic faiths were the same in many ways. Having said that, i do not have any real experience of Catholicism, apart from the guilt  ;)

sainthieu, healing is an unusual and intriguing concept for me to encounter from a person of faith. The usual is condemnation. I would like to come back to this another time if i may, when i have had a chance to familiarise myself with the forums.

Father Anastasios, i am deeply touched by your generous, thoughtful and insightful comments.

I have noticed you already have more than a few threads on the forum discussing the topic of homosexuality and that you have a moratorium on this topic, is this the current position? Not that i wish to debate or discuss homosexuality in general, i do not. My questions are more to do with understanding what it is that faith requires someone with my identity to do, in order to be acceptable, then seeing if that is possible for me, in order to regain the approval of my family. I don't want to screw that up, i think i will only get one chance and it is for this reason i have not yet crossed the physical line with any boyfriend i have dated. Partly fear that it would be a step too far for my father to cope with when the lines of communication reopen and partly guilt, which as you can imagine, doesn't help.

Peace and love
GDan

Offline wayseer

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2011, 06:45:44 AM »
Hello, I saw one newbie post in the list that wasn't moved so i take it this is the place for new posters.

Some information about myself.
I was brought up with a religion of sorts, but my parents never went to mass. I can recall one time my mother went to confession, it was during a difficult time in their marriage. They're not 'practising' catholics but there were always a smack if i used the Lords name, i'm sure you get the picture.



I am gay and i came out to my parents when i was 18, two years ago, almost three now. I was instantly escorted from my room with a bag and some cash from my dad and told to "go and stay with my boyfriend", i didn't have one. They have not spoken to me since.



The reason i'm being open about this is because i never got to ask them questions about this, about religion, about identity and how it all makes sense. I'm hoping to ask my questions and make sense of their decision. I would never have thought to join a forum to do this but if i can come to some understanding about my parents, and how they see things then it might help as it's still distressing when all my friends go home and i can't. I wanted to be open about the nature of my questions from the start but i am not here to promote homosexuality in any way. I accept that religion regards me as a wicked person deserving of hell.



Thank you for your acceptance of my membership and if you have questions i'll try and answer them as well as i can.

NB: I will only be online Fridays as, i have two jobs and have to work like a dog to keep up with my rent. Which is something friends would be good to remember when they want to chat on the phone at 2am because they're awake!  ;)  :o  :P

First, as already been made abundantly clear you are most welcome here.

I am only a recent arrival myself and if my experience is anything to go by then you will find you have engaged with a caring community.

I am going to leave the matter of homosexuality to one side for the moment and address the other issue - your parents.

Regardless of how you may feel you have experience a grand act of betrayal.  No child expects to be thrown out of their home - Yes, it was your parents home but it was also your home.

I cannot imagine the devastation you felt.  I truly do not know how I would have handled the situation.  Yet I gain a sense that you have handled this event with some maturity and integrity.  You have my abiding respect.

Regardless of your past you have walked into something which you may not fully appreciate for some time - Orthodoxy.  The reason is that you have been bought up in a Western society and a Western society loves loading up everyone with guilt.  Yes, Jesus died, but he also lives.  And it is the 'living' bit that forms the focus of Orthodox prayer and worship.  You have been made in the image of God and along with the rest of us, can look forward to a process whereby you 'may become a participant in the divine nature' - a process of deification - to be more Godlike.  This is no less than a communion with God.  

This is not to suggest that life will somehow magically become more pleasant.  Rather, it means we are more incline to value that process rather than the anger, the competitiveness, the meaningless of much of life.

In Peace, let us pray to the Lord.

  


« Last Edit: July 01, 2011, 06:47:59 AM by wayseer »
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Offline GDan

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #22 on: July 01, 2011, 07:19:47 AM »
Thank you for the welcome wayseer.

I think it is my father who would have experienced the betrayal as he would possibly see it that i knew the way things were, what was expected of me and still let him down. Not that i could help my predicament and i realise acutely the weight i placed on their shoulders, but from my point of view i could not think of anything else to do other than to be honest about who i was, who i am and while i did expect them not to encourage or support my decision, i did not expect the severity of what subsequently happened.

I think i should add, for clarity sake, that i am not here as a seeker of faith. I am and will remain Atheist, while respecting the nature of these forums, and feeling thankful for the generosity and tolerance of my presence here, as i look for a hopeful way forward in my current situation regarding my parents.

Peace and love
GDan

Offline Anastasios

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2011, 09:43:54 AM »
GDan,

Just a quick response as I am running out--the moratorium that was in place for some time was lifted. It was a temporary measure aimed at reigning in some very contentious infighting on the forum.

In Christ,
Fr. Anastasios
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Offline sainthieu

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #24 on: July 01, 2011, 11:20:02 AM »
Your father's reaction is as much about him as it is of you. Often, in close relationships, we lose sight of our boundaries and forget where we end and someone else begins. Thus, your homosexuality is affecting your father's sense of himself--not sexually, but existentially. Apparently your identity and his are very closely related in his mind: if you get cut, he bleeds. Once he realizes that you are an adult with your own responsibilities and cares, he may re-evaluate his position and come to his senses. You must try to forgive him. It will help heal both you and him.

For years, I had that kind of problem with my dad--from my side--and I discovered it was out  of a misplaced loyalty. I was the one who had boundary problems. I was healed the moment I realized that letting go of his problems and letting him lead a separate existence was not the same as rejecting him; that was a fantasy. I could say 'I love you, and I will never abandon you, but your life is separate from mine', and it's okay. That was the moment that freed me. People have certain illusions about love and loyalty that are often incorrect.

I will keep you in my prayers.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2011, 11:23:24 AM by sainthieu »

Offline Seraphim98

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #25 on: July 06, 2011, 03:47:58 AM »
Quote
    I have the suspicion that men today believe in God more than at any other time in human history. Men know the gospel, the teaching of the Church, and God's creation better than at any other time. They have a profound consciousness of His existence. Their atheism is not a real disbelief. It is rather an aversion toward somebody we know very well but whom we hate with all our heart, exactly as the demons do.

    We hate God, that is why we ignore Him, overlooking Him as if we did not see Him, and pretending to be atheists. In reality we consider Him our enemy par excellence. Our negation is our vengeance, our atheism is our revenge.  Kalamiros: River of Fire

Dear GDan,

 A lot of the atheism I've run into is of the above sort…that rooted in an aversion to "Someone" who is known but loathed. Given your description of your situation with your parents and upbringing I would not be surprised in your own views on God's being began in a similar context.

With respect to the question of homosexuality, Orthodoxy…at least as I've known it, while firm, is also nuanced in some interesting ways. One of the central concepts…experience in Orthodox theology is that of communion. We don't believe anything that exists, including God, exists absent communion. Love does not exist for its own ends or in the absence of the other. Thus God, being love, exists in the primordial communion of Holy Trinity. We regard communion as the very foundation of being. We are meant to live in communion with each other and with God. Our understanding of communion is pretty literal, we are meant to be one…inside each other, life flowing into life, yet without the loss of personhood, rather indeed having our personhood expressed and fulfilled in that communion.  This life of communion with each other and with God we call the Church.

Given then that we are creatures created for communion, the desire to know and be known by another in love is part of the very fabric of our being. Unfortunately for us, we are also fallen beings, and our God given desires are often twisted away from their appropriate means of fulfillment. For example, we all need to eat in order to live, yet how many of us have eaten far more than we need, even to the point of severely compromising our health.  Gluttony is a normal desire, a normal appetite gone awry. We call these misplaced, disordered desires "passions", and there are a range of them from anger to laziness to gluttony, to various disorderings of our sexual desires. Some of these things are learned behaviors, some are constitutional, some a bit of both, but that does not make them good and acceptable for all that.  The man given to overeating must struggle against it regardless how "natural" it is for him to eat too much, no matter how good he feels when he indulges his appetite. In the end, unless he learns restraint, he will by his passion destroy his body and undermine any relationship with others that depends upon his having a healthy weight.

Bearing this in mind lets look at the issue of same sex attraction both in what is right and what is disordered about it as a passion. It is right in that it desires a deep and abiding union with another man. It is disordered in that it seeks to fulfill that that desire sexually in the body.  Our bodies were not created for same sex fulfillment. They can be used in varying degrees in that way, and it can be pleasurable, but same sex bodily unions undercut, diminish, and work against the deeper communion we were created for…the communion that is the fruit of long intimacy, prayer, and joint ascetic labor.  Consider, the deeper desire when seeking or communicating with a long term partner.  Get past the biochemical sensations of arousal and copulation. What is your mutual nakedness if not an expression of the need to be completely known by another and to know them in turn, and to be safe in that mutual sharing of ones' unedited selves…to be lost, found, and accepted in the eyes of the other.  There is a joy to be sure in the experience of that…but it is tainted and diminished by sex.  The other's body becomes a tool for making us feel good for a few seconds…for a fleeting ecstasy of the body…an ecstasy than cannot fulfill itself in the creation of new life.

True communions lead to life.  Bodily unions between those of the same sex cannot.  But the unions of minds and hearts can lead to new life and to depths of intimacy far beyond any physical expression. If you read patristic literature, from time to time you will come across descriptions of these vast heart to heart intimacies that are known between two spiritual friends or between a spiritual father/mother and his spiritual child. Insofar that these types of communion in their fullness belong to man as he nears his healing they therefore consequently harder to attain than a variety of physical unions both legitimate or disordered.

One such friendship mentioned in Scripture is that of David and Jonathan, of who David says, his love is better than the love of women. Some would like to make this to be a sexualized relationship, but it was not…the fathers and saints who have known this sort of relationship themselves tell us plainly or show us through their lives.  It exists.

Orthodoxy recognizes that there are a variety of saving relationships we know in our lives…relationships that tend to heal us and draw us nearer to God, making us more like Him. We know that of priesthood, of marriage, and of monasticism, and we also have rite called brother making, adelphopoeisis. It is the sacramentalization of a deep and presumably spiritual friendship…a saving friendship. It is ancient and has been both celebrated and suppressed throughout the Church's history. That is because, as might well be imagined, by it's nature it is open to insincerity and abuse. Some have tried to use it as a kind "gay" marriage. At other times in other cultures and situations it was used as a mask for subversive political activities…some not so peaceful. But still at heart, it recognizes the desire, and the need for intimate friendships in our lives, and unites that desire to the communion of the life of the Church…and that consciousness remains in Orthodoxy to this day.

It still recognizes and sacramentalizes every saving relationship open to us, but it does not stint to warn us that if we would be healed in our passions that will take careful labor, prayer, and the development of a simple and innocent heart. And it does not  excuse a passion as desirable or call it healthy just because it is fashionable to do so.  In Orthodoxy you will find that same sex intimacy is honored, blessed even…but only in its proper sphere of heart and mind. Deep, fervent, joyful, abiding love is blessed, but the union of bodies between man and man or woman and woman is not.


Offline GDan

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #26 on: July 08, 2011, 07:13:39 AM »
Your father's reaction is as much about him as it is of you. Often, in close relationships, we lose sight of our boundaries and forget where we end and someone else begins. Thus, your homosexuality is affecting your father's sense of himself--not sexually, but existentially. Apparently your identity and his are very closely related in his mind: if you get cut, he bleeds. Once he realizes that you are an adult with your own responsibilities and cares, he may re-evaluate his position and come to his senses. You must try to forgive him. It will help heal both you and him.

For years, I had that kind of problem with my dad--from my side--and I discovered it was out of a misplaced loyalty. I was the one who had boundary problems. I was healed the moment I realized that letting go of his problems and letting him lead a separate existence was not the same as rejecting him; that was a fantasy. I could say 'I love you, and I will never abandon you, but your life is separate from mine', and it's okay. That was the moment that freed me. People have certain illusions about love and loyalty that are often incorrect.

I will keep you in my prayers.

sainthieu,

You are right about losing sight of our boundaries, i feel my father is experiencing this as a reflection on him. I have come to terms with his reaction enough not to harbour any ill feelings towards him or my mother. I would like to discuss what happened that day with both of them at some point, however i feel this is just a pipe dream. The most i can hope for is a reconciliation with some compromises, probably on my part alone. I need to be fully aware of what those might be, apart from the obvious, before i approach my parents with a request that we all get together to have a chat.

Peace and love,
GDan
« Last Edit: July 08, 2011, 07:14:31 AM by GDan »

Offline GDan

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #27 on: July 08, 2011, 07:45:44 AM »
Quote
    I have the suspicion that men today believe in God more than at any other time in human history. Men know the gospel, the teaching of the Church, and God's creation better than at any other time. They have a profound consciousness of His existence. Their atheism is not a real disbelief. It is rather an aversion toward somebody we know very well but whom we hate with all our heart, exactly as the demons do.

    We hate God, that is why we ignore Him, overlooking Him as if we did not see Him, and pretending to be atheists. In reality we consider Him our enemy par excellence. Our negation is our vengeance, our atheism is our revenge.  Kalamiros: River of Fire

Dear GDan,

 A lot of the atheism I've run into is of the above sort…that rooted in an aversion to "Someone" who is known but loathed. Given your description of your situation with your parents and upbringing I would not be surprised in your own views on God's being began in a similar context.

With respect to the question of homosexuality, Orthodoxy…at least as I've known it, while firm, is also nuanced in some interesting ways. One of the central concepts…experience in Orthodox theology is that of communion. We don't believe anything that exists, including God, exists absent communion. Love does not exist for its own ends or in the absence of the other. Thus God, being love, exists in the primordial communion of Holy Trinity. We regard communion as the very foundation of being. We are meant to live in communion with each other and with God. Our understanding of communion is pretty literal, we are meant to be one…inside each other, life flowing into life, yet without the loss of personhood, rather indeed having our personhood expressed and fulfilled in that communion.  This life of communion with each other and with God we call the Church.

Given then that we are creatures created for communion, the desire to know and be known by another in love is part of the very fabric of our being. Unfortunately for us, we are also fallen beings, and our God given desires are often twisted away from their appropriate means of fulfillment. For example, we all need to eat in order to live, yet how many of us have eaten far more than we need, even to the point of severely compromising our health.  Gluttony is a normal desire, a normal appetite gone awry. We call these misplaced, disordered desires "passions", and there are a range of them from anger to laziness to gluttony, to various disorderings of our sexual desires. Some of these things are learned behaviors, some are constitutional, some a bit of both, but that does not make them good and acceptable for all that.  The man given to overeating must struggle against it regardless how "natural" it is for him to eat too much, no matter how good he feels when he indulges his appetite. In the end, unless he learns restraint, he will by his passion destroy his body and undermine any relationship with others that depends upon his having a healthy weight.

Bearing this in mind lets look at the issue of same sex attraction both in what is right and what is disordered about it as a passion. It is right in that it desires a deep and abiding union with another man. It is disordered in that it seeks to fulfill that that desire sexually in the body.  Our bodies were not created for same sex fulfillment. They can be used in varying degrees in that way, and it can be pleasurable, but same sex bodily unions undercut, diminish, and work against the deeper communion we were created for…the communion that is the fruit of long intimacy, prayer, and joint ascetic labor.  Consider, the deeper desire when seeking or communicating with a long term partner.  Get past the biochemical sensations of arousal and copulation. What is your mutual nakedness if not an expression of the need to be completely known by another and to know them in turn, and to be safe in that mutual sharing of ones' unedited selves…to be lost, found, and accepted in the eyes of the other.  There is a joy to be sure in the experience of that…but it is tainted and diminished by sex.  The other's body becomes a tool for making us feel good for a few seconds…for a fleeting ecstasy of the body…an ecstasy than cannot fulfill itself in the creation of new life.

True communions lead to life.  Bodily unions between those of the same sex cannot.  But the unions of minds and hearts can lead to new life and to depths of intimacy far beyond any physical expression. If you read patristic literature, from time to time you will come across descriptions of these vast heart to heart intimacies that are known between two spiritual friends or between a spiritual father/mother and his spiritual child. Insofar that these types of communion in their fullness belong to man as he nears his healing they therefore consequently harder to attain than a variety of physical unions both legitimate or disordered.

One such friendship mentioned in Scripture is that of David and Jonathan, of who David says, his love is better than the love of women. Some would like to make this to be a sexualized relationship, but it was not…the fathers and saints who have known this sort of relationship themselves tell us plainly or show us through their lives.  It exists.

Orthodoxy recognizes that there are a variety of saving relationships we know in our lives…relationships that tend to heal us and draw us nearer to God, making us more like Him. We know that of priesthood, of marriage, and of monasticism, and we also have rite called brother making, adelphopoeisis. It is the sacramentalization of a deep and presumably spiritual friendship…a saving friendship. It is ancient and has been both celebrated and suppressed throughout the Church's history. That is because, as might well be imagined, by it's nature it is open to insincerity and abuse. Some have tried to use it as a kind "gay" marriage. At other times in other cultures and situations it was used as a mask for subversive political activities…some not so peaceful. But still at heart, it recognizes the desire, and the need for intimate friendships in our lives, and unites that desire to the communion of the life of the Church…and that consciousness remains in Orthodoxy to this day.

It still recognizes and sacramentalizes every saving relationship open to us, but it does not stint to warn us that if we would be healed in our passions that will take careful labor, prayer, and the development of a simple and innocent heart. And it does not excuse a passion as desirable or call it healthy just because it is fashionable to do so.  In Orthodoxy you will find that same sex intimacy is honored, blessed even…but only in its proper sphere of heart and mind. Deep, fervent, joyful, abiding love is blessed, but the union of bodies between man and man or woman and woman is not.



Thanks for your response Seraphim98,

I don't have a hatred for 'God', i sometimes wish i did, it might make this process a little easier for others as well as my parents. I simply don't believe in any deity or higher power any more than i believe that 'Nessie' exists somehow avoiding detection, in a loch in Scotland  ;)

Thank you for thoroughly explaining the Orthodox position for me. You realise, of course, that i cannot agree with some of the strong statement you have made, though i do appreciate your opinion and in another setting, i would definitely be up for a debate on the nature of homosexuality, forgive me for not engaging today, as my goal is how i can be reconciled with my parents and converting to Christianity is not possible for me however much i want my family back.

Peace and love,
GDan

Offline Seraphim98

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Re: New to the forum
« Reply #28 on: July 08, 2011, 12:12:38 PM »
Dear GDan,

Actually I'm still open on the question of Nessie.

As for your parents, thats a tough one. On the one side they have natural powerful motivations to take you back in…your being their son. On the other hand they have powerful emotional reasons not to namely your open homosexuality and what it represents to them. If their door opens again, in their mind, it won't be just you that walks in, but all the counter-cultural world that is attached to you by virtue of your sexuality. To use a regional frame of reference, image a proud southern family at the end of the civil war confronted by the news that one of their sons had been an active collaborator with…and worse, a soldier in the Union army.  Even though they would still have their natural love for him it would only deepen their feelings of outrage and betrayal towards him.  How could they sit at table with him and not see the enemy of all they held dear and true. The wound would be very deep.

The key problem is…to accept you back it means de facto accepting your beliefs and behaviors while ignoring their own. Or it means you abandoning your sexual orientation…at least its expression to conform to their principles. If they were people without strong convictions, that would be easier them…or if being home meant more to you than being gay, then there is possibility on that front.  Yet, I don't get the sense that either situation in the short term is tolerable for the other.

Though I would hope grounds could be found for reconciliation between you and your family, I think you must also steel yourself and make plans for the potentiality that they will not, at least in the short term.  Like it or not you've been thrust out on your own at a time in your life you may not be prepared to take care of yourself without assistance.  You'll have to develop a support network of some sort…maybe some types of student loans or grants to get you in school and a room of your own, and then a part time job to generate some income.

It's hard…beyond hard, I know…I've been homeless before…if it had not been for the kindness of friends until I could find work, it would have been inconceivably miserable. And some of those friends who helped me were gay or had been gay at one time in their life (one had married and had children). The sad statistics are that 25 percent or better of gay homeless youth turn to selling themselves just to live. That is not something I would hope for you or anyone, and if I knew you personally, I would not hesitate to open my home to you until you found your footing. The streets are just too mean.

I wish you well though and hope for reconciliation between you and your parents. And if you ever find the leisure to engage other aspects the question of God or sexuality in the context of the Orthodox faith, I would be happy to take you up on it. In the mean time, be safe, our prayers are with you (who knows, He who is more superexistential than Nessie might be listening).
« Last Edit: July 08, 2011, 12:15:35 PM by Seraphim98 »