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Author Topic: Homosexulaity and the Church--was part of Re: Interesting development in the OCA  (Read 18837 times) Average Rating: 0
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Irish Hermit
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« Reply #315 on: August 14, 2011, 10:30:01 PM »

Open letter to the Holy Synod from 15 college students and young adults

August 12, 2011 -- Martyr Anicetus of Nicomedia

To: Holy Synod of Bishops, Orthodox Church in America
From: 15 Orthodox college students and young adults
(Letter to follow in hard copy)

“Men and women with homosexual feelings and emotions are to be treated
with the understanding, acceptance, love, justice and mercy due to all
human beings.”
-- 1992 Synodal Affirmations On Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and the
Sanctity of Life, Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America

Your Beatitude, Your Eminence, Your Graces,

Though our Lord never condoned sin, He nonetheless ministered to the
most vulnerable and marginal, reserving His public condemnations for
those who victimized them. As Orthodox college students and young
adults, we are writing to express our grave concerns about the state of
public Orthodox discourse on a highly sensitive pastoral issue that
especially affects young people in our Church. In the wake of a string
of suicides by American students persecuted for their homosexuality -- a
tragic trend which has not left our Church untouched -- our consciences
do not permit us to ignore the language of revilement directed by some
in the Church towards gay people.

On public and easily accessible Internet postings, Orthodox clergymen --
including OCA priests -- repeat disgusting and discredited theories
about the etiology of same-sex attraction; liken gay people to “old
perverted men who love little boys”; tell Orthodox Christians that
homosexuality “should make our stomachs turn and make us vomit”; call
for “spiritual warfare” against those in the Church who advocate a more
restrained pastoral approach; and accuse those who speak up for gay
people of being “homosexual activists,” publicly expressing hope that
they will leave the Orthodox faith.

Words like this can inflict grave spiritual harm, as some of us know
from personal experience. Fortunately, many Orthodox Christians who
struggle to acknowledge, understand, and deal with homosexual feelings
are blessed to encounter wise priests and laypeople who do not resort to
abstract moral formulas but counsel them as individual persons. Such an
approach was endorsed, we believe, by the Holy Synod’s 1992
affirmations. This is why we find the recent adoption by some in the
Orthodox Church of overheated and destructive language from the current
secular “culture wars” to be a dangerous departure from Orthodox
pastoral tradition.

We disagree with those who favor rhetorical scapegoating of gay people
in order for the Church to be “relevant” in the face of recent social
and legal changes. It is certainly not our purpose to advocate for
“homosexual rights” (none of us has a “right” to salvation), to question
Orthodox doctrine, or to justify sinful behavior. Nevertheless, we
cannot accept that the only alternative is purging the Church of gay
people who, like the rest of us, are endeavoring to live the most godly
life they are able to under the guidance of a spiritual advisor. Many
for whom these issues are a daily reality are also integral members of
our parishes, and their absence would do injury to the Body of Christ.

Modern society is replete with harmful ideologies and practices,
including affirmations of debauchery and licentiousness as well as
vilifications of virginity, marriage, and monogamy. In order for the
Orthodox Church to be an effective voice calling the modern world to
repentance, should we not speak first with love and moderation, and be
willing to listen and learn as well as condemn? Absent this attitude, we
fear that many young people will simply stop paying attention to
Orthodox Christian moral witness at all.

Our faith compels us to undertake an earnest search for what is true and
right, under the guidance of our hierarchs, theologians, and pastors. We
implore you to help nurture a spirit of respectful, loving discourse
about this issue on the Internet and in our dioceses.

In Christ,

Philip Abrahamson
Fordham University

Hilary Baboukis
Columbia University

Joy Bartlett
Creston, British Columbia

Alexis Boyd
George Washington University

Maria Christodoulou
Washington, D.C.

Joseph Clarke
Yale University

Matthew Gates
Cornell University

Kyriaki Anna Green
Columbia University

Edward-Seraphim Lacarte
Creston, British Columbia

Kyra Powell
Ryerson University

Savannah Powell
Oregon State University

Natalie Sieglinde Stadnick
Duke University

Georgina Jones Suzuki
Boston University

Stephanie E. Wever
Drexel University

Nicholas Sivulka Wheeler
University of Toronto


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« Reply #316 on: August 14, 2011, 10:33:15 PM »

/\  The above appears to be a response to a very heavy discussion on Orthodox-Forum where some clergy, while faithfully expressing the moral teaching of the Church, have been perceived by others as rather harsh and insufficently pastoral.
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orthonorm
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« Reply #317 on: August 14, 2011, 10:33:35 PM »

Open letter to the Holy Synod from 15 college students and young adults

August 12, 2011 -- Martyr Anicetus of Nicomedia

To: Holy Synod of Bishops, Orthodox Church in America
From: 15 Orthodox college students and young adults
(Letter to follow in hard copy)

“Men and women with homosexual feelings and emotions are to be treated
with the understanding, acceptance, love, justice and mercy due to all
human beings.”
-- 1992 Synodal Affirmations On Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and the
Sanctity of Life, Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America

Your Beatitude, Your Eminence, Your Graces,

Though our Lord never condoned sin, He nonetheless ministered to the
most vulnerable and marginal, reserving His public condemnations for
those who victimized them. As Orthodox college students and young
adults, we are writing to express our grave concerns about the state of
public Orthodox discourse on a highly sensitive pastoral issue that
especially affects young people in our Church. In the wake of a string
of suicides by American students persecuted for their homosexuality -- a
tragic trend which has not left our Church untouched -- our consciences
do not permit us to ignore the language of revilement directed by some
in the Church towards gay people.

On public and easily accessible Internet postings, Orthodox clergymen --
including OCA priests -- repeat disgusting and discredited theories
about the etiology of same-sex attraction; liken gay people to “old
perverted men who love little boys”; tell Orthodox Christians that
homosexuality “should make our stomachs turn and make us vomit”; call
for “spiritual warfare” against those in the Church who advocate a more
restrained pastoral approach; and accuse those who speak up for gay
people of being “homosexual activists,” publicly expressing hope that
they will leave the Orthodox faith.

Words like this can inflict grave spiritual harm, as some of us know
from personal experience. Fortunately, many Orthodox Christians who
struggle to acknowledge, understand, and deal with homosexual feelings
are blessed to encounter wise priests and laypeople who do not resort to
abstract moral formulas but counsel them as individual persons. Such an
approach was endorsed, we believe, by the Holy Synod’s 1992
affirmations. This is why we find the recent adoption by some in the
Orthodox Church of overheated and destructive language from the current
secular “culture wars” to be a dangerous departure from Orthodox
pastoral tradition.

We disagree with those who favor rhetorical scapegoating of gay people
in order for the Church to be “relevant” in the face of recent social
and legal changes. It is certainly not our purpose to advocate for
“homosexual rights” (none of us has a “right” to salvation), to question
Orthodox doctrine, or to justify sinful behavior. Nevertheless, we
cannot accept that the only alternative is purging the Church of gay
people who, like the rest of us, are endeavoring to live the most godly
life they are able to under the guidance of a spiritual advisor. Many
for whom these issues are a daily reality are also integral members of
our parishes, and their absence would do injury to the Body of Christ.

Modern society is replete with harmful ideologies and practices,
including affirmations of debauchery and licentiousness as well as
vilifications of virginity, marriage, and monogamy. In order for the
Orthodox Church to be an effective voice calling the modern world to
repentance, should we not speak first with love and moderation, and be
willing to listen and learn as well as condemn? Absent this attitude, we
fear that many young people will simply stop paying attention to
Orthodox Christian moral witness at all.

Our faith compels us to undertake an earnest search for what is true and
right, under the guidance of our hierarchs, theologians, and pastors. We
implore you to help nurture a spirit of respectful, loving discourse
about this issue on the Internet and in our dioceses.

In Christ,

Philip Abrahamson
Fordham University

Hilary Baboukis
Columbia University

Joy Bartlett
Creston, British Columbia

Alexis Boyd
George Washington University

Maria Christodoulou
Washington, D.C.

Joseph Clarke
Yale University

Matthew Gates
Cornell University

Kyriaki Anna Green
Columbia University

Edward-Seraphim Lacarte
Creston, British Columbia

Kyra Powell
Ryerson University

Savannah Powell
Oregon State University

Natalie Sieglinde Stadnick
Duke University

Georgina Jones Suzuki
Boston University

Stephanie E. Wever
Drexel University

Nicholas Sivulka Wheeler
University of Toronto




Much to parse here. Thank you VERY much for this!
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« Reply #318 on: August 14, 2011, 10:34:05 PM »

I pm'ed it to Augustin, but God forgive me, I feel like I need to say it here. I'm sorry for my rudeness and insulting him in recent posts.
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« Reply #319 on: August 14, 2011, 10:34:44 PM »

/\  The above appears to be a response to a very heavy discussion on Orthodox-Forum where some clergy, while faithfully expressing the moral teaching of the Church, have been perceived by others as rather harsh and insufficently pastoral.

It's like they know us . . .
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« Reply #320 on: August 14, 2011, 10:41:25 PM »

I pm'ed it to Augustin, but God forgive me, I feel like I need to say it here. I'm sorry for my rudeness and insulting him in recent posts.

Hey, things get hot. We all boil down.

My post ain't directed at anyone in particular just the tone and lack of argument or the sort of argument.

I hope you didn't take my words as condemning you.

If anyone can take and give (un)deserved jabs, it is me.

I have much love, sincere, for most of the posters in this thread and enjoy their contributions 98% whether in agreement or not.

I just think this subject yanks folks' chains more than it ought. And the fallout is serious in the world outside nerdodoxy, which we all love, or we wouldn't be here. But some stuff has real and ACUTE consequences, when we boil persons down to mere theologics.

IOW, no hard feelings here.

And please forgive if I have caused you any unnecessary agita with my posts.
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« Reply #321 on: August 14, 2011, 10:43:21 PM »

/\  The above appears to be a response to a very heavy discussion on Orthodox-Forum where some clergy, while faithfully expressing the moral teaching of the Church, have been perceived by others as rather harsh and insufficently pastoral.
Is this letter published on the Web somewhere?
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« Reply #322 on: August 14, 2011, 10:47:32 PM »

/\  The above appears to be a response to a very heavy discussion on Orthodox-Forum where some clergy, while faithfully expressing the moral teaching of the Church, have been perceived by others as rather harsh and insufficently pastoral.
Is this letter published on the Web somewhere?

Bill Samsonoff placed it on Orthodox-Forum and OrthodoxNews two hours ago.  I daresay it will be placed on a website very soon.
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« Reply #323 on: August 14, 2011, 10:55:25 PM »

I pm'ed it to Augustin, but God forgive me, I feel like I need to say it here. I'm sorry for my rudeness and insulting him in recent posts.

Hey, things get hot. We all boil down.

My post ain't directed at anyone in particular just the tone and lack of argument or the sort of argument.

I hope you didn't take my words as condemning you.

If anyone can take and give (un)deserved jabs, it is me.

I have much love, sincere, for most of the posters in this thread and enjoy their contributions 98% whether in agreement or not.

I just think this subject yanks folks' chains more than it ought. And the fallout is serious in the world outside nerdodoxy, which we all love, or we wouldn't be here. But some stuff has real and ACUTE consequences, when we boil persons down to mere theologics.

IOW, no hard feelings here.

And please forgive if I have caused you any unnecessary agita with my posts.
I'm ok, thanks.  Smiley No hard feelings. This whole situation is making me loose my mind more than usual, and when I'm in such a state I tend to say things I'm not proud of. Not that that's an excuse.
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« Reply #324 on: August 14, 2011, 11:32:20 PM »

He is curt. Abrasive. And correct.

Well that settles that.


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« Reply #325 on: August 14, 2011, 11:39:09 PM »

He is curt. Abrasive. And correct.

Well that settles that.

Glad to finally bring an end to all of this. Please feel free to pass that quote along throughout your parish or anyone else you feel who needs to know.

Really, it is pithy enough that no context is required to understand the weight of its profundity.
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« Reply #326 on: August 14, 2011, 11:46:14 PM »

Can anyone use it, or is it limited to certain context?
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« Reply #327 on: August 14, 2011, 11:49:45 PM »

Can anyone use it, or is it limited to certain context?

It is the absolute refutation of any opposing argument.

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« Reply #328 on: August 14, 2011, 11:51:00 PM »

Or the "logic" of the A = B = C, thus A = C and whatever Scholastic conclusions follows from this "Western" non-phenomenological approach to harm done to real humans.

Of course a lot of people with convertitis say things like "that's Western", but I think most of us know better. I was seeking to boil Augustine's argument down to its basic substance, taking all the appeals to emotion and special pleading out of the equation.

(ad hominem Jim, since you didn't understand it without the fancy Latin).

This is attacking the outer trappings of the discussion (Latin terminology) instead of attacking the argument. Who cares if we use Latin words? The Fathers used Greek philiosophical terms to winnow out our theology, but we can't use Latin debate terms when we're debating? That is a red herring in this discussion.

He has raised numerous points which have merit and have yet to be addressed on the level of Christian charity.

His points have no merit because they seek only to make people happy and comfortable, which is not the point of Orthodox Christianity (though such people may be happy in Joel Osteen's community). He has offered no arguments as to why homosexual activity should be acceptable in the Church, except to say that some homosexuals want it, and appealing to emotion.

And for the 3rd or 4th time, a lot of homosexuals don't want the Church to accept homosexual activity, for their own sake. Why do the opinions of well-meaning-but-wrong heterosexuals have a greater value than the opinions of homosexuals themselves? What if the Church's acceptance would introduce a stumbling block for them? Does the Apostle not say to limit your own liberty for the sake of the weak?

I am concerned pastorally about homosexuals. I'm concerned about the ones who are entirely overlooked in this discussion, and most every discussion. I am worried about the lost sheep who are trying to find their shepherd, more so than the sheep who invited themselves over to the wolf's for dinner. I'm sorry if that sounds caustic, but in some ways we have to make value judgments and we have to help those who actually care, and dust off our feet for the rest. And if there's anything I've learned from the Fathers, it's that you show you care by doing—fail though you may, but then standing up and doing again. If we remove our standards, there is no more doing to be done.

Lest there be complaints that I'm setting up unfair standards for other people, let me say that I struggle with gluttony a great deal. Do I want the Church to start telling me to just eat whatever I want, stop fasting except for maybe Holy Week, and just do my own thing? No. Does such a "standard" help anybody actually overcome gluttony? No. The point of life is to overcome our sins and passions, so what good does it do to essentially erase the passions altogether?

And so I return to my friend, "N." How "loving" is it to lie to him, saying homosexual activity is not sinful, or maybe it is sinful but we'll let him do it because it's too hard for him not to? That is as charitable as telling children to play in the street because they really, really want to. We know that sexual activity outside marriage leads to spiritual death (all passions lead to death, but some more rapidly than others), so why would we tell people to do it? I'm sorry, but it makes no sense whatsoever.

I am going to stand down at this point. Because of the people I've met, the heart I have for their struggle against this particular passion, and the pain it has caused me to see others utterly destroy themselves in this passion, I don't feel I have anything more to say than I already have. I am not going to change my mind, and I pray the Church never changes hers, for the sake of all her children who are struggling to faithfully carry their very real crosses (deny their existence though we may).

The Church and her members should encourage us to help bear one another's burdens, not remove one another's burdens. The Church should not deny people the struggle—and hence the victory when they are overcome.
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« Reply #329 on: August 14, 2011, 11:55:32 PM »

Can anyone use it, or is it limited to certain context?

It is the absolute refutation of any opposing argument.



Indeed, there are a few curt and pithy words which are irrefutable.  "Love God or burn forever".
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« Reply #330 on: August 14, 2011, 11:57:35 PM »

Indeed, there are a few curt and pithy words which are irrefutable.  "Love God or burn forever".

If you don't mind, that's going in my signature line! 
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« Reply #331 on: August 15, 2011, 12:07:19 AM »

Can anyone use it, or is it limited to certain context?

It is the absolute refutation of any opposing argument.



Indeed, there are a few curt and pithy words which are irrefutable.  "Love God or burn forever".
"Reverse your stroke or go up in smoke."
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« Reply #332 on: August 15, 2011, 12:12:59 AM »

Orthonorm I'm sorry but that is not how discussions are lost... One wins a discussion by being RIGHT, not by refraining from insults, emotional outbursts, etc...

A calm, but nominalistic, lukewarm Orthodox is still wrong when his/her beliefs and statements contradict Orthodox teachings...

Your Orthodox if you agree to her doctrines, dogmas and teachings. If you depart from these, even if you were baptized, chrismated and receive the Eucharist, then you have still departed from Orthodoxy...

Just ask Arius... According to your formula, he won the argument at Nicaea because St Nicholas slapped him across the face... Yet the Orthodox Church says that while St Nicholas was wrong in striking him, it was righteous anger and Arius was still in the wrong.

As an online OC.net discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler Arius approaches 1.
The thing your observation misses is that Godwin's Law speaks only of irrelevant comparisons drawn only for their emotive value. Here, Devin makes a very relevant reference to the case of Arius, and you would dismiss it solely because it mentions the name of Arius.

Really? Please, go on.
Why do you not like the reference to Arius?

Quote
Godwin's law...is a humorous observation made by Mike Godwin in 1990 that has become an Internet adage.... The rule does not make any statement about whether any particular reference or comparison to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis might be appropriate, but only asserts that the likelihood of such a reference or comparison arising increases as the discussion progresses.

I have no opinion on the reference to Arius except to observe that his name was bound to pop up eventually.
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« Reply #333 on: August 15, 2011, 12:38:50 AM »

I don't think anyone on here ever called for any sort of mistreatment of homosexuals. At least when I refer to "homosexuals wanting to change our values", I realize that homosexuals within the church probably don't want the church to accept their state. I'm talking about those outside the church attempting to change the minds of those within the Church.

Look at the issue of abortion, there are many very misguided people in the church who believe it is permissible. Same for things like birth control, pre-marital sex, divorce, etc...

A study done in 2008:
http://www.hartfordinstitute.org/research/OrthChurchFullReport.pdf
Shows that only 1 in every 3 Orthodox Christians believe same-sex couples should have the rights of heterosexual couples.

On the marriage end, 40% of Orthodox said they believed you  could still be a good Orthodox Christian even if your marriage hasn't been approved.

It also shows some other interesting statistics as well...

My points aren't directed towards those who would label themselves as traditional, and who don't seek to cause the church to change her teachings. My points have always been directed to the small minority of those who see themselves as "liberal" and who would rather see the church accept things such as homosexuality, divorce, birth control, abortion, etc...

Like I said, it's a small minority, but its there. Its not just that small minority either, but we need to be able to tell the world (or the country) that we will not play the game of secularization and liberalization. If that means that we are labeled as evil bigots, then so be it. God knows the truth.

I would rather be in a church that is labeled by society and the media as a backwards closed-minded, bigoted body than in a church who lets a small minority completely change the values given to us by God himself.

I'm no bigot, I may not be perfect, but I'm not a bigot. I know it, and God knows it, I don't care if the world thinks so or not.
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« Reply #334 on: August 15, 2011, 01:13:22 AM »

Look at the issue of abortion, there are many very misguided people in the church who believe it is permissible. Same for things like birth control, pre-marital sex, divorce, etc...

A study done in 2008:
http://www.hartfordinstitute.org/research/OrthChurchFullReport.pdf
Shows that only 1 in every 3 Orthodox Christians believe same-sex couples should have the rights of heterosexual couples.

On the marriage end, 40% of Orthodox said they believed you  could still be a good Orthodox Christian even if your marriage hasn't been approved.

To Devin:
Most of these facts aren't surprising to me. I grew up in the church and many of my Orthodox friends in all the jurisdictions didn't have the benefit of hearing the Divine Liturgy in English so they have a very weak understanding of their own faith and theology.

This part below is not addressed to you Devin:

I am really shocked by the lack of charity given by those who are a native Orthodox Christians when speaking to those on this thread who are either inquirers, catechumens or recently converted. It is embarrassing but not unexpected. Wow!
My only thought to one in particular, is get used to what these new Orthodox Christians have to say. They will have an impact on Orthodoxy in America.

I just read recently in a Byzantine history book that annual Greek festivals were originally pagan in origin and were celebrated to honor one of the ancient gods. But were mainly done to promote free trade and commerce among various groups of people in Europe and the middle east. Once Christianity began to establish itself, Christians were at first warned by the clergy to avoid the festivals at all costs unless they absolutely had to do business at the them. Later on the festivals were Christianized, and were celebrated in honor of a saint but the same trade went on as usual. We see the ethnic festivals that many of our churches continue to celebrate as part of this long tradition. And just as the pagan culture influenced early Christianity, don't think for a minute that Evangelicals who convert won't have some sort of influence on Orthodoxy in America. They will just as the ancient Greeks influenced it. And all your abrasive words and insults will do nothing to stop the direction Orthodoxy in a America will take.
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« Reply #335 on: August 15, 2011, 12:06:03 PM »

^ They'll have to adjust-those coming from born-again/committed evangelical/southern baptist or even mainliners that left because of culture wars in their former churches-they will need to adjust to the "official hypocrisy" which has been the operating mode of most Orthodox Churches over the centuries. I mean if you do not get that there is no active  hunting of homosexuals or alcoholics or fornicators in a parish, and you take it upon yourself to spy on people and report to the priest etc, what you are doing is as foreign to Orthodoxy as a gay wedding, if you wish. So for the sake of the churches here staying Orthodox, I hope this sick behaviour I have personally witnessed does not become acceptable as some sort of 'positive evangelical impact on American Orthodoxy".
Let me say it again:
THE CHURCH DOES NOT MICRO_MANAGE OUR LIVES.
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« Reply #336 on: August 15, 2011, 12:29:34 PM »

^ They'll have to adjust-those coming from born-again/committed evangelical/southern baptist or even mainliners that left because of culture wars in their former churches-they will need to adjust to the "official hypocrisy" which has been the operating mode of most Orthodox Churches over the centuries. I mean if you do not get that there is no active  hunting of homosexuals or alcoholics or fornicators in a parish, and you take it upon yourself to spy on people and report to the priest etc, what you are doing is as foreign to Orthodoxy as a gay wedding, if you wish. So for the sake of the churches here staying Orthodox, I hope this sick behaviour I have personally witnessed does not become acceptable as some sort of 'positive evangelical impact on American Orthodoxy".
Let me say it again:
THE CHURCH DOES NOT MICRO_MANAGE OUR LIVES.
LOL.  Back in the Old Country, you have the neighbors to do that.

One thing I will give the Americans, they can mind their own business.
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« Reply #337 on: August 15, 2011, 12:32:35 PM »

^ They'll have to adjust-those coming from born-again/committed evangelical/southern baptist or even mainliners that left because of culture wars in their former churches-they will need to adjust to the "official hypocrisy" which has been the operating mode of most Orthodox Churches over the centuries. I mean if you do not get that there is no active  hunting of homosexuals or alcoholics or fornicators in a parish, and you take it upon yourself to spy on people and report to the priest etc, what you are doing is as foreign to Orthodoxy as a gay wedding, if you wish. So for the sake of the churches here staying Orthodox, I hope this sick behaviour I have personally witnessed does not become acceptable as some sort of 'positive evangelical impact on American Orthodoxy".
Let me say it again:
THE CHURCH DOES NOT MICRO_MANAGE OUR LIVES.
LOL.  Back in the Old Country, you have the neighbors to do that.

One thing I will give the Americans, they can mind their own business.
Not in church, apparently. In person I can give you more context to this.
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« Reply #338 on: August 15, 2011, 12:32:56 PM »

they will need to adjust to the "official hypocrisy" which has been the operating mode of most Orthodox Churches over the centuries.

This point should be included in every inquirer/catechumen class.
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« Reply #339 on: August 15, 2011, 12:38:00 PM »

^ They'll have to adjust-those coming from born-again/committed evangelical/southern baptist or even mainliners that left because of culture wars in their former churches-they will need to adjust to the "official hypocrisy" which has been the operating mode of most Orthodox Churches over the centuries. I mean if you do not get that there is no active  hunting of homosexuals or alcoholics or fornicators in a parish, and you take it upon yourself to spy on people and report to the priest etc, what you are doing is as foreign to Orthodoxy as a gay wedding, if you wish. So for the sake of the churches here staying Orthodox, I hope this sick behaviour I have personally witnessed does not become acceptable as some sort of 'positive evangelical impact on American Orthodoxy".
Let me say it again:
THE CHURCH DOES NOT MICRO_MANAGE OUR LIVES.

Of course she doesn't micro manage our lives. But she tells US how we can micro-manage OUR lives. It is our choice whether or not to follow the advice of God and his Saints. But if we choose not to, then why are we in the church? Because by that point, we are pretty much telling Christ that we don't need him and can do it on our own. (and THAT my friend, is the temptation Satan gave to Adam and Eve to cause our fall in the first place)

We absolutely need God, we absolutely need his Church. Without him, we are nothing, we have nothing. Like I said, sure, the church doesn't force us to live our lives in a certain way. But Christianity, Orthodoxy, is all about making yourself a slave to Christ. We are to enslave ourselves to Christ rather than to Satan and to the world. We still have our free will, but, with the help of Christ, we need to fight against our own will, and allow his will take over and become as one with our will.
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« Reply #340 on: August 15, 2011, 12:39:53 PM »

Devin,
I expected you to give me a Bible verse and an Elder Paphnutios' quote. I'm disappointed.
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« Reply #341 on: August 15, 2011, 12:47:08 PM »

There's a fine line between reproof, which we are encouraged to use against brothers who can bear it, and judgment, which we are forbidden to do at any time. Of course, if you yourself are a notorious sinner, you may not be willing to endure the well-meant reproof of another, in which case you'll accuse him, without justice, of "judging" you. Really, of course, you are only trying to justify yourself. On the other hand, you may "reprove" someone else for a real sin he is committing, but in reality you are ignoring your own, greater sins, in which case your reproof, although justified, will be a case of picking out the mote of your brother's eye, while ignoring the beam in your own eye. You will then be judged as harshly as you judged the other, but the penalty for you will be as great as your sins are great.

It's kind of like the advice they give you on airplanes, of what to do when the cabin is decompressed: secure the oxygen mask on your own face first, and only then help someone else. Christ wants us to save others, but first we have to save ourselves. Otherwise, we can drag them down with us. This is separate from the prohibition against judgment. That is simply to save us from ourselves: we will be judged as harshly as we judge others, so we must be careful whenever we use our "judgment" to reprove others. We must be careful about whether we are ourselves guilty of the sins we reprove in others, and we must be careful about whether our intention in reproving our brother is really to save our brother's soul, or to distract ourselves from examining our own consciences.

My impression of traditional Orthodox churches (ethnic, not convert) is that there is most certainly a great deal of mutual reproof and encouragement. Church members who live openly sinful lives, do not contribute to the Church financially or by volunteering their time and effort, show disrespect to clergy or elders, are not tolerated, although at the same time I notice how forgiving they are of prodigals who drift away from the Church but then return to pick up the struggle. This hyper-individualistic understanding of Church membership that augustin is advocating is not traditional; it is the product of modern, urban, youthful libertarianism. It's "hipster" Orthodoxy, the Orthodoxy that is all about rejecting conventional society, not because we want to join an authentic society, but because we just don't like anyone telling us what to do. I'm sorry, but if that's what you want, Orthodoxy is not for you.
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« Reply #342 on: August 15, 2011, 12:53:32 PM »

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My impression of traditional Orthodox churches (ethnic, not convert) is that there is most certainly a great deal of mutual reproof and encouragement. Church members who live openly sinful lives, do not contribute to the Church financially or by volunteering their time and effort, show disrespect to clergy or elders, are not tolerated. This hyper-individualistic understanding of Church membership that augustin is advocating is not traditional; it is the product of modern, urban, youthful libertarianism. It's "hipster" Orthodoxy, the Orthodoxy that is all about rejecting conventional society, not because we want to join an authentic society, but because we just don't like anyone telling us what to do. I'm sorry, but if that's what you want, Orthodoxy is not for you.
I come and lived and was born in  a place where Orthodoxy is the default religion and such; people gossip a lot but would never tell on you to the priest, as if it's their damn business if you commune worthily or not; they rarely commune though.
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« Reply #343 on: August 15, 2011, 12:54:13 PM »

Devin,
I expected you to give me a Bible verse and an Elder Paphnutios' quote. I'm disappointed.

Sorry to disappoint you...

But you must realize that we aren't all anchorites. In fact, being an anchorite, or a hermit, is something reserved for only a few people. The rest of us has to participate as a community, with one another, on our path(s) to salvation. It isn't a matter of just "me and God". That is actually a uniquely Protestant viewpoint that we as Orthodox have to deny vehemently. We go to Church to be a part of a community. We can't go to Liturgy and act like we are the only ones there.

Salvation is a process of actually breaking down the barriers between us and other people. We have built up walls around our souls and we have to break them down. God is constantly giving us grace, and if we allow our barriers to stay up, then we just keep his grace inside of us, and it is going to burn us up. But if we break down those barriers, we can project God's grace upon those around us, and we can help one another to break down our barriers. In this way, we become united to one another and to God.

Hell is not going to be God casting someone into torment for being "bad". Hell is going to be our own fault for cutting ourselves off from one another and from God. It is going to be the result of refusing to act as a community, and refusing to allow others into our heart, into our souls. It will be the result of forcing others to back away and refusing to share with them in God's grace.

God gave us our own free will. Our own will to choose which path we want to take. But our entrance into the Church is announcing to God that we are submitting to HIS will, and not our own. We are participating in salvation as a community, and we are supposed to help one another on that path. If we join the Church, and then sit in solitary confinement and tell God that we can do it on our own, then we are fools, and will reap our own destruction.
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« Reply #344 on: August 15, 2011, 12:59:11 PM »

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My impression of traditional Orthodox churches (ethnic, not convert) is that there is most certainly a great deal of mutual reproof and encouragement. Church members who live openly sinful lives, do not contribute to the Church financially or by volunteering their time and effort, show disrespect to clergy or elders, are not tolerated. This hyper-individualistic understanding of Church membership that augustin is advocating is not traditional; it is the product of modern, urban, youthful libertarianism. It's "hipster" Orthodoxy, the Orthodoxy that is all about rejecting conventional society, not because we want to join an authentic society, but because we just don't like anyone telling us what to do. I'm sorry, but if that's what you want, Orthodoxy is not for you.
I come and lived and was born in  a place where Orthodoxy is the default religion and such; people gossip a lot but would never tell on you to the priest, as if it's their damn business if you commune worthily or not; they rarely commune though.

It isn't just my business if I commune worthily or not. Sure, I might (God forbid!) eat and drink condemnation to myself. But it is the job of the Priest to make sure that communion is reserved only for those who are prepared for it, and to keep it away from those who aren't even in the Church. But Priests are human, and they aren't omnipotent, and if someone knows that a non-Orthodox is about to take communion, we have to tell him. Or, if someone is open and unrepentant in committing a sin, then, because we are a part of a community that participates together in salvation, we need to privately, out of love, inform the Priest of this and allow him to deal with the situation.
If a Priest is allowing non-Orthodox to receive communion, then he should be confronted about it. If he doesn't care, then you absolutely must take it to the Bishop. This isn't necessarily the same for people viewed as "unrepentant", but you should still speak to the Priest about it privately. If you have reason to believe that the Priest is knowingly giving communion to those who you know that he knows are unrepentant, I would speak with the Bishop.
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« Reply #345 on: August 15, 2011, 01:09:05 PM »

^ They'll have to adjust-those coming from born-again/committed evangelical/southern baptist or even mainliners that left because of culture wars in their former churches-they will need to adjust to the "official hypocrisy" which has been the operating mode of most Orthodox Churches over the centuries. I mean if you do not get that there is no active  hunting of homosexuals or alcoholics or fornicators in a parish, and you take it upon yourself to spy on people and report to the priest etc, what you are doing is as foreign to Orthodoxy as a gay wedding, if you wish. So for the sake of the churches here staying Orthodox, I hope this sick behaviour I have personally witnessed does not become acceptable as some sort of 'positive evangelical impact on American Orthodoxy".
Let me say it again:
THE CHURCH DOES NOT MICRO_MANAGE OUR LIVES.
LOL.  Back in the Old Country, you have the neighbors to do that.

One thing I will give the Americans, they can mind their own business.
Not in church, apparently. In person I can give you more context to this.
Do they gossip? Many do, but nothing that compares in the main with what I've seen amongst Europeans and Middle Easterners.

Way back before I had gone much in those parts, I worked with an Austrian Hungarian who said she would never live in Austria again.  I asked her why, as it obviously wasn't a third world country.  She cited that everyone thinks it their business your business, how you dress etc.

Like you, my ex had come and lived and was born in a place where Orthodoxy is the default religion and such. In fact, nearly the same place as yourself (Bucharest, but she spent a lot of time in Pitesti, actually Deagu to be exact). And she was constantly going on about everyone else's business, and yes, she did take it upon herself to notify a parish council (not our parish nor even jurisdiction: she happened to work with one fo the members) of seeing one of their priests at a party given by someone she thought was homosexual (we were at the same party, and we weren't homosexual.  Years later she was her second divorce lawyer).

but no, in the main, you are right.  She wouldn't tell the priest. that would be too constructive.

Btw, I gather from our conversations, that you would not call yourself "urban."  I am correct?
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« Reply #346 on: August 15, 2011, 01:20:47 PM »

Quote
My impression of traditional Orthodox churches (ethnic, not convert) is that there is most certainly a great deal of mutual reproof and encouragement. Church members who live openly sinful lives, do not contribute to the Church financially or by volunteering their time and effort, show disrespect to clergy or elders, are not tolerated. This hyper-individualistic understanding of Church membership that augustin is advocating is not traditional; it is the product of modern, urban, youthful libertarianism. It's "hipster" Orthodoxy, the Orthodoxy that is all about rejecting conventional society, not because we want to join an authentic society, but because we just don't like anyone telling us what to do. I'm sorry, but if that's what you want, Orthodoxy is not for you.
I come and lived and was born in  a place where Orthodoxy is the default religion and such; people gossip a lot but would never tell on you to the priest, as if it's their damn business if you commune worthily or not; they rarely commune though.


I see what you're saying. There's unwarranted prying into other people's lives, and then there's simple recognition of openly scandalous behavior. The Greeks I know don't make it their business to pry into other people's lives or frequency of communion, but they try to keep at least an outward conformity. This outward conformity is necessary for the weaker brethren who may be tempted to stray, as St Paul explains. Maybe that's what you meant by hypocrisy, but really to me it's about focusing on where reproof is necessary and where it's not.
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« Reply #347 on: August 15, 2011, 01:48:28 PM »

^ They'll have to adjust-those coming from born-again/committed evangelical/southern baptist or even mainliners that left because of culture wars in their former churches-they will need to adjust to the "official hypocrisy" which has been the operating mode of most Orthodox Churches over the centuries. I mean if you do not get that there is no active  hunting of homosexuals or alcoholics or fornicators in a parish, and you take it upon yourself to spy on people and report to the priest etc, what you are doing is as foreign to Orthodoxy as a gay wedding, if you wish. So for the sake of the churches here staying Orthodox, I hope this sick behaviour I have personally witnessed does not become acceptable as some sort of 'positive evangelical impact on American Orthodoxy".
Let me say it again:
THE CHURCH DOES NOT MICRO_MANAGE OUR LIVES.
I haven't witnessed any spying by former evangelicals (I know quite a few). Actually, most of ones I have met are kind and mind their own business.  They never overstep boundaries which is quite unlike my fellow Arab Orthodox friends who have no boundaries and feel they can use guilt and manipulation to coerce what they want out of you.

Anyway, none of the posters here have advocated spying. But they will have an influence and it won't be an old world influence (think AOI blog or Fr. Pat Reardon who was a former Anglican) because they aren't afraid to challenge the secular, relative mind-set of this country. And what you describe as "hypocrisy" is really just about sickness. We are all hypocrites and come to the hospital to get well.

Why don't ignore what you read here? You have made it quite clear you prefer a laissez-faire type of Orthodoxy. You can find that in most ethnic parishes.
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« Reply #348 on: August 15, 2011, 01:48:28 PM »

Quote
My impression of traditional Orthodox churches (ethnic, not convert) is that there is most certainly a great deal of mutual reproof and encouragement. Church members who live openly sinful lives, do not contribute to the Church financially or by volunteering their time and effort, show disrespect to clergy or elders, are not tolerated. This hyper-individualistic understanding of Church membership that augustin is advocating is not traditional; it is the product of modern, urban, youthful libertarianism. It's "hipster" Orthodoxy, the Orthodoxy that is all about rejecting conventional society, not because we want to join an authentic society, but because we just don't like anyone telling us what to do. I'm sorry, but if that's what you want, Orthodoxy is not for you.
I come and lived and was born in  a place where Orthodoxy is the default religion and such; people gossip a lot but would never tell on you to the priest, as if it's their damn business if you commune worthily or not; they rarely commune though.


I had a godson who had these temptations and blogged about them. Someone informed the priest. Godson got upset and left for, strangely, Judaism. Granted, he had/has many issues at work, but, yeah, we don't need informants. Sadly, I've experienced this sort of thing at least twice. I don't think informants do themselves any favors with the Almighty. Sort of goes against the patristic saying that if you see your brother sin, do not believe it.
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« Reply #349 on: August 15, 2011, 01:51:32 PM »

Quote
My impression of traditional Orthodox churches (ethnic, not convert) is that there is most certainly a great deal of mutual reproof and encouragement. Church members who live openly sinful lives, do not contribute to the Church financially or by volunteering their time and effort, show disrespect to clergy or elders, are not tolerated. This hyper-individualistic understanding of Church membership that augustin is advocating is not traditional; it is the product of modern, urban, youthful libertarianism. It's "hipster" Orthodoxy, the Orthodoxy that is all about rejecting conventional society, not because we want to join an authentic society, but because we just don't like anyone telling us what to do. I'm sorry, but if that's what you want, Orthodoxy is not for you.
I come and lived and was born in  a place where Orthodoxy is the default religion and such; people gossip a lot but would never tell on you to the priest, as if it's their damn business if you commune worthily or not; they rarely commune though.

It isn't just my business if I commune worthily or not. Sure, I might (God forbid!) eat and drink condemnation to myself. But it is the job of the Priest to make sure that communion is reserved only for those who are prepared for it, and to keep it away from those who aren't even in the Church. But Priests are human, and they aren't omnipotent, and if someone knows that a non-Orthodox is about to take communion, we have to tell him. Or, if someone is open and unrepentant in committing a sin, then, because we are a part of a community that participates together in salvation, we need to privately, out of love, inform the Priest of this and allow him to deal with the situation.
If a Priest is allowing non-Orthodox to receive communion, then he should be confronted about it. If he doesn't care, then you absolutely must take it to the Bishop. This isn't necessarily the same for people viewed as "unrepentant", but you should still speak to the Priest about it privately. If you have reason to believe that the Priest is knowingly giving communion to those who you know that he knows are unrepentant, I would speak with the Bishop.

And who is to say that a person is repentant or not? That is what confession is for--for the priest to witness to the penitent's repentance. If you cannot read the heart, you have no business questioning another's repentance.
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« Reply #350 on: August 15, 2011, 01:57:07 PM »

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Why don't ignore what you read here? You have made it quite clear you prefer a laissez-faire type of Orthodoxy. You can find that in most ethnic parishes.
Most of Orthodoxy is rather laissez-faire. thank God for that. If I wanted something more "serious/real/dedicated/pick your word" i would try one of the myriad Protestant  sects. Perhaps the seventh day adventists.
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« Reply #351 on: August 15, 2011, 01:59:33 PM »

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My impression of traditional Orthodox churches (ethnic, not convert) is that there is most certainly a great deal of mutual reproof and encouragement. Church members who live openly sinful lives, do not contribute to the Church financially or by volunteering their time and effort, show disrespect to clergy or elders, are not tolerated. This hyper-individualistic understanding of Church membership that augustin is advocating is not traditional; it is the product of modern, urban, youthful libertarianism. It's "hipster" Orthodoxy, the Orthodoxy that is all about rejecting conventional society, not because we want to join an authentic society, but because we just don't like anyone telling us what to do. I'm sorry, but if that's what you want, Orthodoxy is not for you.
I come and lived and was born in  a place where Orthodoxy is the default religion and such; people gossip a lot but would never tell on you to the priest, as if it's their damn business if you commune worthily or not; they rarely commune though.

It isn't just my business if I commune worthily or not. Sure, I might (God forbid!) eat and drink condemnation to myself. But it is the job of the Priest to make sure that communion is reserved only for those who are prepared for it, and to keep it away from those who aren't even in the Church. But Priests are human, and they aren't omnipotent, and if someone knows that a non-Orthodox is about to take communion, we have to tell him. Or, if someone is open and unrepentant in committing a sin, then, because we are a part of a community that participates together in salvation, we need to privately, out of love, inform the Priest of this and allow him to deal with the situation.
If a Priest is allowing non-Orthodox to receive communion, then he should be confronted about it. If he doesn't care, then you absolutely must take it to the Bishop. This isn't necessarily the same for people viewed as "unrepentant", but you should still speak to the Priest about it privately. If you have reason to believe that the Priest is knowingly giving communion to those who you know that he knows are unrepentant, I would speak with the Bishop.

And who is to say that a person is repentant or not? That is what confession is for--for the priest to witness to the penitent's repentance. If you cannot read the heart, you have no business questioning another's repentance.
Exactly. That's what i was wondering: why the heck trouble to go to confession when you can leave it to the morals enforcing squad to sort it out.
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« Reply #352 on: August 15, 2011, 02:00:26 PM »

"liken gay people to “old
perverted men who love little boys”; tell Orthodox Christians that
homosexuality “should make our stomachs turn and make us vomit”; call
for “spiritual warfare” against those in the Church who advocate a more
restrained pastoral approach; and accuse those who speak up for gay
people of being “homosexual activists,” publicly expressing hope that
they will leave the Orthodox faith.

-------

These priests and clergymen who say things like this are not at all "pastoral" to those who actually face these temptations. They care more about ideology than about souls. Their words might lead people to behave in a very unChristian or antiChristian manner toward their brethren and children with such temptations. While there is much perversion and sickening behavior with this temptation, I think there are much more effective ways to address the matter. It is especially heinous and a mark of spiritual malpractice to drive people away from the Church. Hot air invective (like mine here) is almost always counterproductive. What we know is effective is prayer, fasting, pain of heart, sacrificial love, humility, and holiness. This is the real spiritual weaponry in the real spiritual warfare. The rest is just a distraction sent by Satan.
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« Reply #353 on: August 15, 2011, 02:10:38 PM »

Or the "logic" of the A = B = C, thus A = C and whatever Scholastic conclusions follows from this "Western" non-phenomenological approach to harm done to real humans.

Of course a lot of people with convertitis say things like "that's Western", but I think most of us know better. I was seeking to boil Augustine's argument down to its basic substance, taking all the appeals to emotion and special pleading out of the equation.

Normally, you are seem to be able to understand posts of mine. But this is complete FAIL. Context much?

Yeah, take out lived experience. That makes sense. I "used" a big Western word too: phenomenology. I meant it in the late Husserlian and more Heideggerian sense. Yeah, I am "anti-Western". I am the guy here who believes the EO better get engaged with 20th Continental philosophy to throw off their overly (neo)Platonic view of ontology and worse yet: God. Thankfully they are.

You should know better. I've made my rather provocative thoughts on this clear. The EO "theology" needs some "real" revitalization and they only place that is going to happen is by catching up with real Western thinking; you can't dine on the vine of Plotinus forever.

But yes, you wan't to make abstractions outta things which affect real people. Theology > pastoral care for you.

That is too bad.

And really the law of the excluded middle? That is just bad "Western" and "Eastern" ontology turn epistemology and runs against Christian understanding of pretty much everything regarding identity.

Convertitis = ad hominem.

lulz @ this anyhow.

You are grapsing at straws here, including straw men.

Oh and I am going to PM about an icon.

I am complicated like that. So I hope no hard feelings. //:=)



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« Reply #354 on: August 15, 2011, 02:12:42 PM »

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Godwin's law...is a humorous observation made by Mike Godwin in 1990 that has become an Internet adage.... The rule does not make any statement about whether any particular reference or comparison to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis might be appropriate, but only asserts that the likelihood of such a reference or comparison arising increases as the discussion progresses.

I have no opinion on the reference to Arius except to observe that his name was bound to pop up eventually.

Don't worry most of us got the joke.
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« Reply #355 on: August 15, 2011, 02:13:47 PM »

I had a godson who had these temptations and blogged about them. Someone informed the priest. Godson got upset and left for, strangely, Judaism. Granted, he had/has many issues at work, but, yeah, we don't need informants. Sadly, I've experienced this sort of thing at least twice. I don't think informants do themselves any favors with the Almighty. Sort of goes against the patristic saying that if you see your brother sin, do not believe it.

Not just the Patristic - the Biblical also.  In the Biblical model of conflict resolution (which applies to "if someone sins against you"), steps 1 and 2 involve direct communication with the person (step 1: tell them directly; step 2: tell them again w/ 2 witnesses present), never speaking about them behind their backs.  Even if one considers the ancient practice of public confession (i.e. confession of the most serious sins in front of the entire community), you still have the person voluntarily going in front of the community, not being dragged up there because someone "outed" their sin (whatever sin this may be) in front of everyone.

In short: if you see your brother sin, don't believe it, but speak with them directly about it, not to others; if it requires a priest's attention, tell them to do it, don't do it for them (unless you think they're a risk for imminent danger to themselves or others).
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Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
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« Reply #356 on: August 15, 2011, 02:18:44 PM »

Quote
Why don't ignore what you read here? You have made it quite clear you prefer a laissez-faire type of Orthodoxy. You can find that in most ethnic parishes.
Most of Orthodoxy is rather laissez-faire. thank God for that. If I wanted something more "serious/real/dedicated/pick your word" i would try one of the myriad Protestant  sects. Perhaps the seventh day adventists.

JW is what you are looking for my friend. They are a real blast.
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« Reply #357 on: August 15, 2011, 02:21:56 PM »

"liken gay people to “old
perverted men who love little boys”; tell Orthodox Christians that
homosexuality “should make our stomachs turn and make us vomit”; call
for “spiritual warfare” against those in the Church who advocate a more
restrained pastoral approach; and accuse those who speak up for gay
people of being “homosexual activists,” publicly expressing hope that
they will leave the Orthodox faith.

-------

These priests and clergymen who say things like this are not at all "pastoral" to those who actually face these temptations. They care more about ideology than about souls. Their words might lead people to behave in a very unChristian or antiChristian manner toward their brethren and children with such temptations. While there is much perversion and sickening behavior with this temptation, I think there are much more effective ways to address the matter. It is especially heinous and a mark of spiritual malpractice to drive people away from the Church. Hot air invective (like mine here) is almost always counterproductive. What we know is effective is prayer, fasting, pain of heart, sacrificial love, humility, and holiness. This is the real spiritual weaponry in the real spiritual warfare. The rest is just a distraction sent by Satan.

Thank you.

And I am outta here.

I think I've spent enough time here to make my point.

And others fighting the good fight.

I have more important things to do, an advice column to work on.



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« Reply #358 on: August 15, 2011, 02:29:53 PM »

"liken gay people to “old
perverted men who love little boys”; tell Orthodox Christians that
homosexuality “should make our stomachs turn and make us vomit”; call
for “spiritual warfare” against those in the Church who advocate a more
restrained pastoral approach; and accuse those who speak up for gay
people of being “homosexual activists,” publicly expressing hope that
they will leave the Orthodox faith.

-------

These priests and clergymen who say things like this are not at all "pastoral" to those who actually face these temptations. They care more about ideology than about souls. Their words might lead people to behave in a very unChristian or antiChristian manner toward their brethren and children with such temptations. While there is much perversion and sickening behavior with this temptation, I think there are much more effective ways to address the matter. It is especially heinous and a mark of spiritual malpractice to drive people away from the Church. Hot air invective (like mine here) is almost always counterproductive. What we know is effective is prayer, fasting, pain of heart, sacrificial love, humility, and holiness. This is the real spiritual weaponry in the real spiritual warfare. The rest is just a distraction sent by Satan.

Thank you.

And I am outta here.

I think I've spent enough time here to make my point.

And others fighting the good fight.

I have more important things to do, an advice column to work on.

Beating a straw man, at least in this discussion, as I've NEVER called for behavior by Orthodox like is illustrated in the quote above.
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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
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« Reply #359 on: August 15, 2011, 03:08:52 PM »

Look at the issue of abortion, there are many very misguided people in the church who believe it is permissible. Same for things like birth control, pre-marital sex, divorce, etc...

A study done in 2008:
http://www.hartfordinstitute.org/research/OrthChurchFullReport.pdf
Shows that only 1 in every 3 Orthodox Christians believe same-sex couples should have the rights of heterosexual couples.

On the marriage end, 40% of Orthodox said they believed you  could still be a good Orthodox Christian even if your marriage hasn't been approved.

To Devin:
Most of these facts aren't surprising to me. I grew up in the church and many of my Orthodox friends in all the jurisdictions didn't have the benefit of hearing the Divine Liturgy in English so they have a very weak understanding of their own faith and theology.

This part below is not addressed to you Devin:

I am really shocked by the lack of charity given by those who are a native Orthodox Christians when speaking to those on this thread who are either inquirers, catechumens or recently converted. It is embarrassing but not unexpected. Wow!
My only thought to one in particular, is get used to what these new Orthodox Christians have to say. They will have an impact on Orthodoxy in America.

I just read recently in a Byzantine history book that annual Greek festivals were originally pagan in origin and were celebrated to honor one of the ancient gods. But were mainly done to promote free trade and commerce among various groups of people in Europe and the middle east. Once Christianity began to establish itself, Christians were at first warned by the clergy to avoid the festivals at all costs unless they absolutely had to do business at the them. Later on the festivals were Christianized, and were celebrated in honor of a saint but the same trade went on as usual. We see the ethnic festivals that many of our churches continue to celebrate as part of this long tradition. And just as the pagan culture influenced early Christianity, don't think for a minute that Evangelicals who convert won't have some sort of influence on Orthodoxy in America. They will just as the ancient Greeks influenced it. And all your abrasive words and insults will do nothing to stop the direction Orthodoxy in a America will take.

I agree with you. And, it is this reason more than any other that has pushed folks like me to push back against the cynical, half-baked Orthodoxy propounded by some folks.
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