acts420, if you anticipate so eagerly your entry into the Church, don't you think it better you learn and submit to the Church's wisdom than demand that the Church learn and submit to your folly?
Dear Peter, Christ is Risen!
Yes I do think it is better to learn and submit to the Church's wisdom. But submission to you and submission to the Church's wisdom are two very different things. I do submit to the Church, and I have never demanded that anyone, much less the Church, submit to me. I have only shared my opinions here.
It seems to me that you are implying I should follow the majority of those who decided to comment on this thread in order to follow the Church. But following the Church is not the same thing as following an anonymous bunch of people on an internet message board, even a message board that calls itself "orthodox Christian." Anyone can call anything orthodox Christian. I could call my dog an "orthodox Christian" dog if I wanted to. That doesn't mean my dog is "the Church."
You may even be arrogantly implying I should follow you in order to follow the Church! But following the Church is also not the same thing as following the moderators of "orthodox Christian" websites. In fact, if anything, the moderators of privately owned internet forums are the last people anyone should follow! The type of people that get attracted to positions of anonymous "authority" over privately owned websites are sometimes simply attracted to the feeling they get when they call others foolish and attempt to make others submit to them. Maybe it makes them feel powerful; power is like a drug in many ways, a very addictive one. But the reality is that such people have no authority whatsoever in the kingdom, and they are sometimes so blinded by their power that they think their own folly is wisdom. I should follow a bunch of random internet users before I follow such people!
Who I should actually follow is the actual Church, the real One. The actual Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, Church guides me through the Spirit, the holy Scriptures, the divine Liturgy, and the Church Fathers. I am obedient to my God first; I seek to obey his Spirit as I pray and search His Scriptures. I am obedient to my priest in the flesh, as he is to my Bishop, and I seek spiritual advice from him and all the Fathers. I attend the liturgy and learn from the services.
As far as I can tell, God has never taught me that masturbation is a sin. Likewise, the orthodox Church has never taught me that masturbation is a sin. So I don't tell others it is a sin. Although I value you as a human being in the image of God, I don't place two cents worth of value on what you "teach" me... especially you (given how you've treated me since I've known you).
"We must obey God rather than human beings! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead — whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him." (the Holy Apostles, from Acts chapter 5)