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Author Topic: dealing with homosexuality (follow up to the Springfield, MO pastor thread)  (Read 598 times) Average Rating: 0
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Timon
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« on: October 22, 2012, 09:58:10 AM »

I was going to ask this in the other thread, but I thought it may be better to start a new topic.

As Orthodox Christians, we are certainly called to love everyone.  Even homosexuals.  How do you guys balance being loving and compassionate to EVERYONE while still staying true to the teachings of the Church on this subject? It seems that sometimes people still look down on or judge homosexuals even when we all have our own sins to deal with.  Im just asking because I am curious as how you guys handle this. 
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« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2012, 10:57:08 AM »

In my favourite movie, Doctor Zhivago (1965), in the student dining room, Komarovsky points out to Pasha that as people get older they become more tolerant. Pasha - with unexpected wisdom - responds, "Perhaps it's because they have more to tolerate in themselves." Certainly as the years have gone by, it is in some ways easier to deal with matters such as homosexuality that become an open door to sinful behaviour. How much of that is due to my being an example of Pasha's observation or otherwise, I'll not comment right now.

I do have friends who admit to being homosexual and their lifestyles demonstrate that clearly. Almost certainly other people I know and whose company I enjoy simply haven't revealed that to me. So how do I deal with it? I can't say that I make a point of socializing with them on a regular basis, but when our paths cross, they know I'm glad to see them as much as I would anyone else. We talk about those things that I would talk about with anybody other than my closer friends and family: work, family, weather, etc. They know I don't approve of the lifestyle they have chosen (yes - one chooses the lifestyle; I know the debate on whether or not sexual identity is chosen - it really doesn't matter - it's the behaviours that matter and those are chosen) but my friendliness with them is not based on their sexual orientation or lifestyle but rather on things that we have in common. If I were to choose my friends based on their behaviour, I wouldn't have many friends. I suppose my thought pattern is something like, "Why should I cut myself off from someone just because I don't approve of his behaviour?"

Try going down the list of your friends. Do you approve of everything they stand for? Everything about their behaviour? Highly unlikely.

Just exactly what is it about homosexuals that we find so fascinating that we give them so much attention? Can't we pick a different sin once in a while to rant about, like cheating on taxes or overeating?

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« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2012, 11:36:13 AM »

I'm wondering if we are all that curious about it, or rather it is constantly being waived in our faces by the attention-starved media.

I think that the broader defeat of morality is more of what is behind the push to talk about homosexuality, and this defeat has brought with it more 'unintended consequences,' such as the consideration of polygamy and incest as 'legitimate.'

Here's an example of the breakdown: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/09/10/notebook-director-nick-cassavetes-says-incest-who-gives-damn/

The slippery slope we were told not to worry about is getting a fresh coat of lubricant...


In my favourite movie, Doctor Zhivago (1965), in the student dining room, Komarovsky points out to Pasha that as people get older they become more tolerant. Pasha - with unexpected wisdom - responds, "Perhaps it's because they have more to tolerate in themselves." Certainly as the years have gone by, it is in some ways easier to deal with matters such as homosexuality that become an open door to sinful behaviour. How much of that is due to my being an example of Pasha's observation or otherwise, I'll not comment right now.

I do have friends who admit to being homosexual and their lifestyles demonstrate that clearly. Almost certainly other people I know and whose company I enjoy simply haven't revealed that to me. So how do I deal with it? I can't say that I make a point of socializing with them on a regular basis, but when our paths cross, they know I'm glad to see them as much as I would anyone else. We talk about those things that I would talk about with anybody other than my closer friends and family: work, family, weather, etc. They know I don't approve of the lifestyle they have chosen (yes - one chooses the lifestyle; I know the debate on whether or not sexual identity is chosen - it really doesn't matter - it's the behaviours that matter and those are chosen) but my friendliness with them is not based on their sexual orientation or lifestyle but rather on things that we have in common. If I were to choose my friends based on their behaviour, I wouldn't have many friends. I suppose my thought pattern is something like, "Why should I cut myself off from someone just because I don't approve of his behaviour?"

Try going down the list of your friends. Do you approve of everything they stand for? Everything about their behaviour? Highly unlikely.

Just exactly what is it about homosexuals that we find so fascinating that we give them so much attention? Can't we pick a different sin once in a while to rant about, like cheating on taxes or overeating?


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« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2012, 11:41:13 AM »

I'm wondering if we are all that curious about it, or rather it is constantly being waived in our faces by the attention-starved media.

I think that the broader defeat of morality is more of what is behind the push to talk about homosexuality, and this defeat has brought with it more 'unintended consequences,' such as the consideration of polygamy and incest as 'legitimate.'

Here's an example of the breakdown: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/09/10/notebook-director-nick-cassavetes-says-incest-who-gives-damn/

The slippery slope we were told not to worry about is getting a fresh coat of lubricant...


In my favourite movie, Doctor Zhivago (1965), in the student dining room, Komarovsky points out to Pasha that as people get older they become more tolerant. Pasha - with unexpected wisdom - responds, "Perhaps it's because they have more to tolerate in themselves." Certainly as the years have gone by, it is in some ways easier to deal with matters such as homosexuality that become an open door to sinful behaviour. How much of that is due to my being an example of Pasha's observation or otherwise, I'll not comment right now.

I do have friends who admit to being homosexual and their lifestyles demonstrate that clearly. Almost certainly other people I know and whose company I enjoy simply haven't revealed that to me. So how do I deal with it? I can't say that I make a point of socializing with them on a regular basis, but when our paths cross, they know I'm glad to see them as much as I would anyone else. We talk about those things that I would talk about with anybody other than my closer friends and family: work, family, weather, etc. They know I don't approve of the lifestyle they have chosen (yes - one chooses the lifestyle; I know the debate on whether or not sexual identity is chosen - it really doesn't matter - it's the behaviours that matter and those are chosen) but my friendliness with them is not based on their sexual orientation or lifestyle but rather on things that we have in common. If I were to choose my friends based on their behaviour, I wouldn't have many friends. I suppose my thought pattern is something like, "Why should I cut myself off from someone just because I don't approve of his behaviour?"

Try going down the list of your friends. Do you approve of everything they stand for? Everything about their behaviour? Highly unlikely.

Just exactly what is it about homosexuals that we find so fascinating that we give them so much attention? Can't we pick a different sin once in a while to rant about, like cheating on taxes or overeating?


Well, you know, it's free-market economy that turned peasants into what they are now. Funny you don't like the result but love the mechanics. "Broader defeat of morality" has no meaning whatsoever. What morality? 
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 11:42:59 AM by augustin717 » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2012, 01:35:59 PM »

Gensisone makes great points, so I"ll just say I agree with that way of dealing with homosexual friends and family. Being from liberal California originally, I have plenty of gay friends and gay-positive friends, and we get along just fine. I don't hide my convictions from them, but neither do I treat them differently because they don't live by them in their own lives. They don't come to liturgy with me, either, y'know? (It'd be a bit of a drive...)

When a (heterosexual) friend from high school got married within a week of graduating high school to a man she had known for approximately a month, I did not attend that wedding. I thought the whole thing was stupid, frankly, and that she would regret it relatively soon (surprise, she's been divorced for a while now), so I did not feel that I could honestly tell her how happy I was for her, etc. (all the things you're supposed to say and mean at a friend's wedding). Of course, I did not say that to her, but the point is I'm not going to give my approval to things that I think are not good just because my friends think they are. Today far too many people think that if you're not supportive of everything they decide to do, then you hate them, and that's just ridiculous. Not to say that one is the same as the other, but I've had friends and family who have been seriously addicted to drugs, and that didn't make drugs acceptable, and I didn't support them in their decision to do them. Sometimes being a friend to a person is to love them despite their different and sometimes unacceptable (from your point of view) ways of life. In fact, I'd say that's most of what it is, but then I don't really have any Orthodox friends. It's a struggle, but it's totally worth it. I wouldn't give my non-Christian friends up for anything, even if some of them are gay, some of them are aggressive atheists, or whatever else. I think the best I can do to help them consider other viewpoints (e.g., that I can disagree with them and not hate them, so others can too) is not to directly minister to them (though that has happened a few times over the years, as a response to their own curiosity) so much as remind them of our already strong relationship and mutual respect and love. That's what I try to do with my gay friends, and all my other friends and family as well.
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« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2012, 01:48:09 PM »

I have a close friend who is homosexual and several other friends. I never made it my business to tell him or the others what I thought about it, or to tell them they are "sinning". I also didn't do that when one of my other close friends was sleeping around with girls after his girlfriend broke up with him.

If they ask, then speak the truth in love. Sexual sin is sexual sin whether it is committed by a heterosexual or homosexual. We also do not support homosexual marriage in our church because the union that occurs in marriage is only possible between one man and one woman. But don't tell them they are sinful just because they are attracted to people of the same sex.
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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2012, 01:54:41 PM »

I have a close friend who is homosexual and several other friends. I never made it my business to tell him or the others what I thought about it, or to tell them they are "sinning". I also didn't do that when one of my other close friends was sleeping around with girls after his girlfriend broke up with him.

If they ask, then speak the truth in love. Sexual sin is sexual sin whether it is committed by a heterosexual or homosexual. We also do not support homosexual marriage in our church because the union that occurs in marriage is only possible between one man and one woman. But don't tell them they are sinful just because they are attracted to people of the same sex.

This.
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« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2012, 02:00:55 PM »

Great points thus far.  

I wondered how we should feel about "civil liberties" as opposed to marriage. Personally, it doesnt bother me that much if gay couple have equal civil liberties. (hospital visitation rights, etc.)  But as Devin said, homosexual marriage cant happen within the Church.  I guess another way to think about it is that sacramental marriage within the Church is not the same thing as a "marriage" as its typically referred to in the West.  Technically a marriage outside of the Church is a legal contract and therefore doesnt really matter if its heterosexual or not. (if that makes sense...)

So technically, regardless of what legal decisions are made, should we really let it bother us too much especially considering the fact that we know the Orthodox Church will never allow it?  I may be wandering down a slippery slope, but these are just some thoughts ive had on this topic.
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« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2012, 02:01:05 PM »

I thought it interesting that many people have commented that there is an understanding between the gay/pro-gay and themselves.  At what point do you make known your view that homosexual sex is wrong? Do you wait until directly asked? Is it ever appropriate dodge the question with vagueness to avoid conflict?
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« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2012, 02:03:15 PM »

I wondered how we should feel about "civil liberties" as opposed to marriage. Personally, it doesnt bother me that much if gay couple have equal civil liberties.

This is where I am as well.  This question strikes right at the heart of a topic which interests me greatly . . . the relationship of the Church to civil society/government institutions.  I am a public school teacher and have a personal stake in this.
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« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2012, 02:51:42 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I'm wondering if we are all that curious about it, or rather it is constantly being waived in our faces by the attention-starved media.

I think that the broader defeat of morality is more of what is behind the push to talk about homosexuality, and this defeat has brought with it more 'unintended consequences,' such as the consideration of polygamy and incest as 'legitimate.'


With all due respect father, homosexuality is not thrown in our faces by the media, it is not a conspiracy it is reality. It is a part of our communities, they are folks at our jobs, at our schools, in our neighborhoods, in our families.  These are our friends, compatriots, and comrades in a very real sense.  It is not an us and them matter, is a a matter of ours, and we. 

To address the OP, I consider folks sexuality none of my business so long as folks aren't rude and make it my business.  I don't make a habit of walking around point out other peoples sins, even the obvious ones, and instead I constantly pray for God to help us all understand what is His will in these matters.  In the meantime, it is my obligation to love sinners, especially if they are already friends and family who I love to begin with  angel

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2012, 03:18:09 PM »

I thought it interesting that many people have commented that there is an understanding between the gay/pro-gay and themselves.  At what point do you make known your view that homosexual sex is wrong? Do you wait until directly asked? Is it ever appropriate dodge the question with vagueness to avoid conflict?
Interestingly at least two of the friends I referred to earlier were also members of my former Protestant church. When society at large became more open to accepting them, they "came out" and are now in what appears to be committed relationships - i.e. not with each other, but each with another. Strangely, I think it's partly the fact that I left that church as well - very different circumstances of course - and am now on a different sort of "dark side" that these two gay men seem to feel that we have something in common.

If they're comfortable with me, it's easy for me to be comfortable with them. One in particular is quite happy to hear me talk about my faith, though it is clear that he is not prepared to make changes in his life at this point. He's got a permanent spot on my prayer list  Smiley.
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« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2012, 03:25:12 PM »

With all due respect father, homosexuality is not thrown in our faces by the media, it is not a conspiracy it is reality. It is a part of our communities, they are folks at our jobs, at our schools, in our neighborhoods, in our families.  These are our friends, compatriots, and comrades in a very real sense.  It is not an us and them matter, is a a matter of ours, and we.

With likewise due respect, Habte, the question of the media's role in shaping public conception of this and other issues is something different than whether or not any one of us personally knows gay people. And in terms of media influence, it is something that the media outlets themselves sometimes even admit to. Conspiracy? Nah. It is reality, but it's the reality of how the media works to shape our opinions, rather than the reality of the demographics of this country. Pay very close attention to the Gallup poll linked in that story -- Americans believe that 25% of our country is homosexual!  Shocked Where do you think that idea came from? Is it because people on average have 25% of their family and friends who identify as gay? I don't think so.

For the majority of my life, I grew up 70 miles outside of the perceived "gay Mecca" that is San Francisco. I have been to the Castro district more than a few times in my life (as well as the Tenderloin, parts of the Mission, and other places I wouldn't have gone if the people I was with hadn't needed to go there for various reasons). So, recently, when a friend from church started talking about "all the gays in San Francisco", I felt the need to gently remind him that the vast majority of San Francisco is not gay. At first he did not believe me, and insisted, as is commonly (and wrongly) believed that 10% of the USA is gay, and that this percentage is concentrated in a few gay hotspots, of which San Francisco is the gayest example. When I told him that the United States is home to roughly 300 million people, so 10% would mean we have 30 million homosexuals in this country, and for San Francisco to be the "primary offender" then would mean that not only would EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE CITY have to be gay (including babies and children), but that the city would need to balloon to about 30 times its current size (~900,000 people) to accommodate all of these gays (if, again, it were really the case that San Francisco is primarily responsible for the sudden explosion of homosexuality in this country...), he thought about it for a minute, shrugged, and said "Oh...well, yeah, I guess you're right. I thought there were more than there are, and I've never actually been to San Francisco, anyway. That's just the reputation it has."

So all that stuff about who or what is part of our communities...yeah...that really cuts both ways, and it's really not helped by the phenomenon of "overhyping" (for lack of a better way to put it) everything and anything homosexual that is very much a real feature of certain media outlets in this country. I'm certainly not asking that homosexuals be demonized or anything like that, but the drive to homosexualize absolutely everything (e.g., TV is gayer than ever), to the point where it is not only overrepresented but actively promoted, is kind of hard to miss.
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« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2012, 03:44:58 PM »

I thought it interesting that many people have commented that there is an understanding between the gay/pro-gay and themselves.  At what point do you make known your view that homosexual sex is wrong? Do you wait until directly asked? Is it ever appropriate dodge the question with vagueness to avoid conflict?

Well, this really ties into my overall identity as a Christian. It's not like my convictions regarding the sinfulness of homosexual behavior is separate from that, just like my convictions regarding caring for the poor is not separate from that, my knowledge of my own sinfulness is not separate from that, etc. If I'm living right, or even just trying to, nothing is really separate from that, even if mistakenly I want it to be for the sake of avoiding conflict or whatever. And all of my friends who I am in regular contact with know that I am Christian (they don't know that I am Orthodox, because I haven't really seen them since being baptized and/or the subject hasn't come up; I think forcing discussion on such things would be a bad decision, since they're at best secular humanists, so it's enough to know that I'm religious without getting into what flavor, which probably wouldn't make sense to them).

As far as discussions around this issue, yes, we've had some. They take me to be a bit of a fuddy-duddy, I think, but that's about it. It seems it's more like "Jeremy is uptight/old fashioned", not "Jeremy hates me/my friends for doing X" (this is the same reaction they have to everything, though: They put on Lady Gaga or whatever and I excuse myself because I find her unenjoyable, and they roll their eyes: "Loosen up!" I'm plenty loose...this music just sucks. Tongue). But it's always in the context of about 20 years of friendship, and they know that I'm not sitting there judging them when I say that I don't agree with certain things, because if I really though they were so awful and hell-bound, why would I be around them? I don't stop them from talking about it or anything, so we've never really had any conflict. Really, it's no different than when they've asked me whether or not I believe Christmas is a holiday for non-believers, or any other question from which conflict might arise. I say my peace, they figure "well, that's what he believes", and we move on.
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« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2012, 03:59:18 PM »

The broader defeat of morality has to do with undermining the family unit, which has more to do with destructive social policies that enable the destruction, which the market then follows after.  Look, the market caters to the lifestyles that people desire.  It is inherently neutral, unless you think that people making their own choices is a bad idea.

For a fuller discussion, I think we would have to move this topic over to the 'Politics Forum.'  I don't want to violate forum rules.


Well, you know, it's free-market economy that turned peasants into what they are now. Funny you don't like the result but love the mechanics. "Broader defeat of morality" has no meaning whatsoever. What morality? 
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« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2012, 05:33:06 PM »

I thought it interesting that many people have commented that there is an understanding between the gay/pro-gay and themselves.  At what point do you make known your view that homosexual sex is wrong? Do you wait until directly asked? Is it ever appropriate dodge the question with vagueness to avoid conflict?

Well, this really ties into my overall identity as a Christian. It's not like my convictions regarding the sinfulness of homosexual behavior is separate from that, just like my convictions regarding caring for the poor is not separate from that, my knowledge of my own sinfulness is not separate from that, etc.

I understand this . . . I should have been clear that I am speaking from the perspective a Protestant who knows many Christians in my friendship/family circles who openly accept and celebrate practicing homosexuals in committed relationship. This is becoming increasingly common among Protestants, especially among Millennials.
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« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2012, 05:46:30 PM »

Okay. What exactly is your question, then? I'm not sure how/if your clarification impacts that.

Edit: Is it that you feel as though people take it for granted that you'll be pro-homosexual behavior because you're a Protestant, and want to know how to tell them that this isn't the case without making them angry? (Sorry; I'm trying to understand how my response could've been more helpful for you...it's kind of tough, since I'm not a millennial Protestant, so I don't know what goes into answering this question from that perspective.)
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« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2012, 05:51:25 PM »

The broader defeat of morality has to do with undermining the family unit, which has more to do with destructive social policies that enable the destruction, which the market then follows after.  Look, the market caters to the lifestyles that people desire.  It is inherently neutral, unless you think that people making their own choices is a bad idea.

For a fuller discussion, I think we would have to move this topic over to the 'Politics Forum.'  I don't want to violate forum rules.


Well, you know, it's free-market economy that turned peasants into what they are now. Funny you don't like the result but love the mechanics. "Broader defeat of morality" has no meaning whatsoever. What morality? 

What 'social policies'? You know why divorce happens? Because some people want to get divorced.

I see plenty of rambling about the state, this that and the other, but I see no one placing the blame on *the married people* who won't solve their problems.

When on Earth has the U.S. government made anybody get a divorce, unless they were found to be a bigamist?

But why talk about that, when we could have fun indulging our paranoia about The Guvmint?
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« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2012, 05:55:42 PM »

This is the millennialth time I've read or heard millennial today.

People need to give this a rest.

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« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2012, 06:09:42 PM »

Honestly, I'm not entirely sure what that is, but I have heard it before, so I figured it was some way of dividing up Protestants, as our friend here has used it.


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« Reply #20 on: October 22, 2012, 08:47:45 PM »

I was referring to Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation (Because they grew up around the year 2000). At this point I might as well withdraw myself from this thread because my own comments, questions deal with an awkward situation that stems largely from my own Christian experience and not that of the OP.  Most Protestants are of the view that homosexuality is a sin.
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« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2012, 10:30:37 PM »

I was going to ask this in the other thread, but I thought it may be better to start a new topic.

As Orthodox Christians, we are certainly called to love everyone.  Even homosexuals.  How do you guys balance being loving and compassionate to EVERYONE while still staying true to the teachings of the Church on this subject? It seems that sometimes people still look down on or judge homosexuals even when we all have our own sins to deal with.  Im just asking because I am curious as how you guys handle this. 

The trouble with this bunch is it goes against everything I know of as a man.  I don't want to judge, but its hard to be kind and compassionate when you can tell a guy is "looking at you".   It turns the guts in more ways than I am capable of counting.
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