Author Topic: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council  (Read 11986 times)

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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #135 on: July 09, 2016, 05:36:43 PM »
Are you asking me or our Lutheran friend?

I am responding specifically to his interesting statements, not to the letter by Mr. Cherniak.

I had the general 'you' that means 'one' in mind. It was a cautionary rhetorical question/suggestion rather than a request for information. The posts seemed to be drifting off into philosophical theology and forgetting that what's at stake here is living people and not abstract ideas.

But now I'm off to bed and will read your discussion in the morning before going off to church.

Ah. So you were addressing the whole thread.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Daedelus1138

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #136 on: July 09, 2016, 05:41:03 PM »
Yes... the emphasis on pastoral theology is important.  As somebody who appreciates Lutheran theology, I would say that is key.  How what we preach and minister effects the souls of individuals.
"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess."   - Martin Luther

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #137 on: July 09, 2016, 05:45:23 PM »
So they are not lost on the previous page, as I covet your answers ...

What is modernity? What is the reason it should be responded to (and earnestly) by the Church (or anyone else) and what does it mean so to respond? 

The Church of every age must become incarnate in culture, it cannot simply impose a model of life from the past, naïve to the realities of the present, and especially in a different land with a different kind of people.  To do otherwise is to have a kind of "zombie ecclesiology"- it may have a semblance of existence but no life.  We can find this in the earliest period of the Church, at the Council of Jerusalem.  Jewish Christians had to figure out how gentiles were to be accepted into the Church.  You can bet not everybody was happy about that, either.

Gay people are hurting.  Especially those that live under some influence of the Orthodox Church.  When two gay men in Orthodox Russia are jailed simply for displaying sympathy for victims of terror at an American embassy, something is very broken in the Christian soul there.

Quote
Do you see, or start to see, any of the problems with your own feat of theological imagination to which I and others replied above?

No, honestly I don't.  I have faith in God.  Despite our stubbornness, his will is ultimately done "on Earth as it is in heaven".

To be a Christian is to live at the foot of the Cross.  It means suffering for the sake of love.  It means struggle, it means anfechtung.  It is anything but easy, but it can be done by God's grace.

Curiouser and curiouser. But I break from your mesmerizing post to remind you that you have not answered any of my questions, and now I have more: What are realities? What are the different kinds of people that the Church supposedly encounters as it moves thru time? I think each question in this reply and my last to you ask about key assumptions in your stream of consciousness, and would have to be filled in somehow before replies of any substance could be made to you.

I see this sort of statement on behalf of the gay community as a plea for more theological imagination, not so much dictates on what that imagination must necessarily look like.  The Orthodox tradition has the resources to both be faithful and loving and to respond earnestly to modernity without simply becoming fundamentalist.

What is modernity? What is the reason it should be responded to (and earnestly) by the Church (or anyone else) and what does it mean so to respond?

What is theological imagination? What resources does Holy Tradition comprise that can be used toward it?

Do you see, or start to see, any of the problems with your own feat of theological imagination to which I and others replied above?
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #138 on: July 09, 2016, 06:10:35 PM »
Are you asking me or our Lutheran friend?

I am responding specifically to his interesting statements, not to the letter by Mr. Cherniak.

I had the general 'you' that means 'one' in mind. It was a cautionary rhetorical question/suggestion rather than a request for information. The posts seemed to be drifting off into philosophical theology and forgetting that what's at stake here is living people and not abstract ideas.

But now I'm off to bed and will read your discussion in the morning before going off to church.

Ah. So you were addressing the whole thread.

I think the basic pastoral stance should be something like this: Homosexual parishioners or converts should be welcomed and not treated differently from anyone else by the Church and (if it were possible) by individuals. Homosexual acts must be confessed and (if it were possible) avoided like any other sexual sin. The fact of homosexuality as a burden some have borne throughout the ages should be frankly admitted by the Church, and classed as only one of myriad examples of the human variance from perfection. Whenever significant numbers of individuals in the Church are shaming or slandering or abusing homosexuals, then an open pastoral rebuke should be forthcoming -- not mingled with theology or any sweeping positional statements, but simple rebuke of mistaken praxis and of sin. But I am in no position to pastor or comprehend pastoring, and so I'm sure no special light could be given to me on this subject.

I might add that, altho I am not at all sure how this would eventuate, the Church should have a way to recognize the special charism of the ascesis undergone by chaste and celibate homosexual Christians.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2016, 06:13:16 PM by Porter ODoran »
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Onesimus

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #139 on: July 09, 2016, 06:39:43 PM »
What is modernity? What is the reason it should be responded to (and earnestly) by the Church (or anyone else) and what does it mean so to respond? 

The Church of every age must become incarnate in culture, it cannot simply impose a model of life from the past, naïve to the realities of the present, and especially in a different land with a different kind of people.  To do otherwise is to have a kind of "zombie ecclesiology"- it may have a semblance of existence but no life.  We can find this in the earliest period of the Church, at the Council of Jerusalem.  Jewish Christians had to figure out how gentiles were to be accepted into the Church.  You can bet not everybody was happy about that, either.

Gay people are hurting.  Especially those that live under some influence of the Orthodox Church.  When two gay men in Orthodox Russia are jailed simply for displaying sympathy for victims of terror at an American embassy, something is very broken in the Christian soul there.

Quote
Do you see, or start to see, any of the problems with your own feat of theological imagination to which I and others replied above?

No, honestly I don't.  I have faith in God.  Despite our stubbornness, his will is ultimately done "on Earth as it is in heaven".

To be a Christian is to live at the foot of the Cross.  It means suffering for the sake of love.  It means struggle, it means anfechtung.  It is anything but easy, but it can be done by God's grace.

I'm doing "drive by's" here.   I attend an evangelical seminary with a particular emphasis on "cultural incarnation" theology.   It is not a simple subject.   One of the most important aspects is discerning between"culture" and philosophical ideologies which inform and mold a culture.   These are related but not the same.   Failing to discern this difference and approach it accodingly leads to the confusion many hold in this regard and unifies them.  'Modernity" as such, is not a culture.   It is a formulary intent on reforming culture along specific lines and in harmony with specific philosophical principles.  A culture may incorporate philosophical ideologies into its practices, but there is still a vast difference between forms of ideological notions and a how a culture inculcates it into itself.   The Church has always been incarnate in culture but always speaks as a profetic witness against harmful ideologies which take hold of culture.    The church incarnates, but is always a "sojourner" witnessing to the world.   It is not of the world.   It incarnates and draws upward, but does not bring ideology into its telos in order to become what philosophical ideologies currently captivating a culture demand of it.

Such a witness is revealed in the words of one such as  Saint Irenaeus;   "Such conduct a belongs not to those who heal, or give life: it is rather that of those bring on diseases; and much more true than these men shall the law be found, which pronounces everyone at accursed who sEnds the blind man asstray in the way.   For the apostles, who were commissioned to find out the wanderers, and to be for sight to those who saw not, and medicine to the weak, certainly did. It address them in accordance with their opinion at the time, but according to revealed truth.  For no persons of any kind would act properly, if they should advise Blind men, just about to fall over a precipice,  to continue their most dangerous path, as if it were the right one, it is the most don't want to go on in safety . What medical man, anxious to heal the sick person, would prescribe in accordance with the patient swim or what medical man, anxious to heal the sick person, would prescribe in accordance with patient's whims, not according to the requisite medicine, question Denmar and not according to the requisite medicine?  (Jesus did not)...  Reply to them in harmony with the opinion is questiners, but according to the doctrine leading to salvation, without hypocrisy or respect of person."
« Last Edit: July 09, 2016, 06:42:27 PM by Onesimus »

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #140 on: July 09, 2016, 07:38:35 PM »
If that was a drive by, it involved an extraordinary number of rounds.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline recent convert

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #141 on: July 09, 2016, 08:02:04 PM »
You are right there are practical and theological problems for the Orthodox Church,  I am not so naïve to think otherwise.   

I see this sort of statement on behalf of the gay community as a plea for more theological imagination, not so much dictates on what that imagination must necessarily look like.  The Orthodox tradition has the resources to both be faithful and loving and to respond earnestly to modernity without simply becoming fundamentalist.

If heterosexual carnality outside of marriage is adultery then no other form of carnal sex is even conceivable within the framework of the 10 commandments. Being single & heterosexual by nature, I am sinfully accountable for mental lust as much as physical lust. While I am thankful to have avoided inflicting my sinful passions on a woman, I still stand accountable before the Lord for even conceiving them. If I do not confess this (among other things)  before receiving the Eucharist then I am guilty  of grave sin (1st Corinthians 11:27).  Should I beg the church for a free pass on sin?   
« Last Edit: July 09, 2016, 08:05:43 PM by recent convert »
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #142 on: July 09, 2016, 08:06:18 PM »
I have never found "gender complementarity" persuasive in any argument about these matters in my recent past.  "Bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh" echoes other expressions in the OT that have to do with kinship, not necessarily gender complementarity.
without sex complemenarity, there is NO kinship. 

Oh really?  So people cannot adopt children and make them their own?
There is, for instance, no adoption in Jewish law.

Can you expand on the point I've marked in bold? I know an Orthodox Jewish couple who have two biological daughters and two adopted sons who have become Jewish through conversion. Are you claiming their boys have no status as their kin under Jewish law?
according to halakha, no. If the parents are Cohenim, the boys are not. Furthermore, since halakha now requires age of consent to convert, they aren't Jews either. So I've been told by the rabbis.
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #143 on: July 09, 2016, 08:07:42 PM »
the Church is made of men and women and are nevertheless the Bride of Christ.
not His husband. Perhaps you have revealed why homosexuals are among the most dogmatic opponents of women ordination.

Sorry to be so dense tonight, but I don't follow your logic in the part I've bolded at all. Can you explain in simple terms how you go from the Church being the Bride of Christ to homosexuals being among the most dogmatic opponents of women's ordination?

And if this is the reason homosexuals are among the most dogmatic opponents, what accounts for those heterosexuals who are dogmatically opposed to women's ordination?

Or were you just using your comment as an opportunity to gratuitously slam(?)/praise(?) homosexuals?
never.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #144 on: July 09, 2016, 08:09:31 PM »
You are right there are practical and theological problems for the Orthodox Church,  I am not so naïve to think otherwise.   

I see this sort of statement on behalf of the gay community as a plea for more theological imagination, not so much dictates on what that imagination must necessarily look like.  The Orthodox tradition has the resources to both be faithful and loving and to respond earnestly to modernity without simply becoming fundamentalist.

If heterosexual carnality outside of marriage is adultery then no other form of carnal sex is even conceivable within the framework of the 10 commandments. Being single & heterosexual by nature, I am sinfully accountable for mental lust as much as physical lust. While I am thankful to have avoided inflicting my sinful passions on a woman, I still stand accountable before the Lord for even conceiving them. If I do not confess this (among other things)  before receiving the Eucharist then I am guilty  of grave sin (1st Corinthians 11:27).  Should I beg the church for a free pass on sin?

I say, this is putting things rather strongly.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Onesimus

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #145 on: July 09, 2016, 08:23:01 PM »
If that was a drive by, it involved an extraordinary number of rounds.

I was a Marine.   We do "drive by's" differently.   

https://youtu.be/TYMXafe60LU

May God grant that these weapons be transformed to plowshares...

Offline recent convert

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #146 on: July 09, 2016, 08:36:42 PM »
You are right there are practical and theological problems for the Orthodox Church,  I am not so naïve to think otherwise.   

I see this sort of statement on behalf of the gay community as a plea for more theological imagination, not so much dictates on what that imagination must necessarily look like.  The Orthodox tradition has the resources to both be faithful and loving and to respond earnestly to modernity without simply becoming fundamentalist.

If heterosexual carnality outside of marriage is adultery then no other form of carnal sex is even conceivable within the framework of the 10 commandments. Being single & heterosexual by nature, I am sinfully accountable for mental lust as much as physical lust. While I am thankful to have avoided inflicting my sinful passions on a woman, I still stand accountable before the Lord for even conceiving them. If I do not confess this (among other things)  before receiving the Eucharist then I am guilty  of grave sin (1st Corinthians 11:27).  Should I beg the church for a free pass on sin?

I say, this is putting things rather strongly.


Is this not what it comes down to though?  Since I know the gravity of this am I not more accountable than a person engaged in physical adultery in a state of ignorance?
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #147 on: July 09, 2016, 08:44:40 PM »
You are right there are practical and theological problems for the Orthodox Church,  I am not so naïve to think otherwise.   

I see this sort of statement on behalf of the gay community as a plea for more theological imagination, not so much dictates on what that imagination must necessarily look like.  The Orthodox tradition has the resources to both be faithful and loving and to respond earnestly to modernity without simply becoming fundamentalist.

If heterosexual carnality outside of marriage is adultery then no other form of carnal sex is even conceivable within the framework of the 10 commandments. Being single & heterosexual by nature, I am sinfully accountable for mental lust as much as physical lust. While I am thankful to have avoided inflicting my sinful passions on a woman, I still stand accountable before the Lord for even conceiving them. If I do not confess this (among other things)  before receiving the Eucharist then I am guilty  of grave sin (1st Corinthians 11:27).  Should I beg the church for a free pass on sin?

I say, this is putting things rather strongly.


Is this not what it comes down to though?  Since I know the gravity of this am I not more accountable than a person engaged in physical adultery in a state of ignorance?

I'm assuming by "what it comes down to" you mean the purpose of the Church which is the purpose of Man and God. And I would say, no, this is not "what it comes down to." Mankind is complicated and loved by God, and perfection is impossible save by grace. For example, it is in keeping with God's plan that individuals attract each other and procreate -- and it is by grace amid the continual and imperfect interactions of individuals with others (and Another) that man is perfected -- so such events are not reducible to "mental" and "physical" "sins" ...
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline recent convert

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #148 on: July 09, 2016, 09:11:04 PM »
You are right there are practical and theological problems for the Orthodox Church,  I am not so naïve to think otherwise.   

I see this sort of statement on behalf of the gay community as a plea for more theological imagination, not so much dictates on what that imagination must necessarily look like.  The Orthodox tradition has the resources to both be faithful and loving and to respond earnestly to modernity without simply becoming fundamentalist.

If heterosexual carnality outside of marriage is adultery then no other form of carnal sex is even conceivable within the framework of the 10 commandments. Being single & heterosexual by nature, I am sinfully accountable for mental lust as much as physical lust. While I am thankful to have avoided inflicting my sinful passions on a woman, I still stand accountable before the Lord for even conceiving them. If I do not confess this (among other things)  before receiving the Eucharist then I am guilty  of grave sin (1st Corinthians 11:27).  Should I beg the church for a free pass on sin?

I say, this is putting things rather strongly.


Is this not what it comes down to though?  Since I know the gravity of this am I not more accountable than a person engaged in physical adultery in a state of ignorance?

I'm assuming by "what it comes down to" you mean the purpose of the Church which is the purpose of Man and God. And I would say, no, this is not "what it comes down to." Mankind is complicated and loved by God, and perfection is impossible save by grace. For example, it is in keeping with God's plan that individuals attract each other and procreate -- and it is by grace amid the continual and imperfect interactions of individuals with others (and Another) that man is perfected -- so such events are not reducible to "mental" and "physical" "sins" ...

Well I understand the Lord's admonition of adultery in Matthew 5 to be rather serious. Personally I do not understand everything you are saying but the commands of the Lord seem rather clear. It is not my place to judge others or lord it over another since I stand as guilty. I do think His forgiveness is vast in ways we cannot even comprehend (like He says in Matthew 12:30-32) which can only be by grace since we cannot achieve perfection within our fallen state.
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #149 on: July 09, 2016, 10:57:48 PM »
It is not a question of whether adultery is a serious moral error and misbehavior, but whether it is absolutely reducible to only that. Put radically, whether it is purely demonic. Since the key disagreement between the new Christian thought that promotes gay marriage and the traditional Christian thought might be over what all a legitimate and an illegitimate sexual union consist in. Plainly there is much that all such unions have in common, and arguments that ignore something this elementary are in danger of seeming desperate and unreliable.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Daedelus1138

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #150 on: July 10, 2016, 09:42:34 PM »
I'm doing "drive by's" here.   I attend an evangelical seminary with a particular emphasis on "cultural incarnation" theology.   It is not a simple subject.   One of the most important aspects is discerning between"culture" and philosophical ideologies which inform and mold a culture.   These are related but not the same. 

It sounds to me like you are pitting the Orthodox church against western culture and finding us largely unredeemable, furthermore you are saying that Christians in our culture that are motivated by compassion to reconsider historic teachings are motivated by worldly ideologies that are alien to your religion.  I find that highly problematic, for reasons I shall explain below. 

I guess this goes back to the question of ecclesiology.  God does not fit into a religion-sized box, neither does his grace.  It's telling that today's lectionary here in the west was on the Good Samaritan.   Christ picked a heretic to be his hero in the parable for a reason.  Ideology is precisely the problem- Christianity is not primarily ideology (it is proclamation in word and deed, especially to those that are oppressed or suffering in any way), and religion is no substitute for compassion.  That is the point of the Good Samaritan, the one that helps the neighbor is doing God's will, regardless of which hill he worships on.   He is Christ's mother, and sister, and brother.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2016, 09:55:49 PM by Daedelus1138 »
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Offline Onesimus

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #151 on: July 10, 2016, 09:54:42 PM »
None of what you just wrote had any connection to what I conveyed.

Offline Daedelus1138

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #152 on: July 10, 2016, 10:01:56 PM »
None of what you just wrote had any connection to what I conveyed.

It does if you consider the usual polemic, that western Christians who accept gays are somehow bowing to modernity, as opposed to the messy reality of trying to live out loving our neighbor in a very complicated world.

You are right though, there is a lot that is not particularly Christian in modernity.  But the acceptance of gays is not one of them as far as I'm concerned.  And this issue, at least in the west, seems to transcend theological perspectives.  There are conservative Pentecostals that accept gays, as well as a large minority of mainline Protestants that do not.
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Offline Onesimus

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #153 on: July 10, 2016, 10:11:15 PM »
What specifically do you mean by "acceptance of gays"?

 It helps to define our terms.   I might be inclined to agree with it if it's not a vague notion.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2016, 10:11:46 PM by Onesimus »

Offline Daedelus1138

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #154 on: July 11, 2016, 01:42:13 AM »
What specifically do you mean by "acceptance of gays"?

 It helps to define our terms.   I might be inclined to agree with it if it's not a vague notion.

I can't tell you exactly what it would mean, only what it looks like to me.

At the particular Lutheran church I go to, the pastor himself doesn't really approve of homosexual acts.  He comes from a background of sexual ethics that is hardly distinguishable from Eastern Orthodoxy.  But, he also understands that people disagree with him within his denomination, and he respects them, even if sometimes he feels they don't respect him.  He would not exclude an openly gay person from receiving the Lord's Supper, just for being openly gay and having a partner, because he knows many sincere Christians  do not have the same beliefs he does, and he doesn't consider it a primary matter of doctrine.  In fact you are free to disagree with the pastor on many things and he'll still respect you.   If they expressed reservations about their relationship's morality, he would probably advise them on the biblical case he saw against homosexual sex. Likewise, there are a few couples in his church (including me), that are not legally married but nonetheless live in comitted relationships due to financial problems.  We aren't excluded from the sacraments nor are our relationships demeaned.  The pastor says, nobody can demand you to be a martyr- in fact he would say he lacks the right as a fellow sinner to do that.

I'm not fully an expert on the Lutheran ethics honestly.   Lutheran theology is so different from Orthodoxy.  I just know its a breath of fresh air to be in a church where you don't feel like you have to earn your way to the sacraments through life-destroying demands or with agreeing with everything the priest says.   The ethic is  "because Christ has done X for you, you are free to do Y", and a lot less "a real Christian shall never do X".  Of course, I'm not fully Lutheran, not yet... I'm sort of half-orthodox still, but even that the pastor can accept and he's never told me, "you can't do that".

I think that's a good start as to what accepting gays would be.  Creating a space where everyone with goodwill on these matters can grow together in faith and love and be honest about who they are.   
« Last Edit: July 11, 2016, 02:02:07 AM by Daedelus1138 »
"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess."   - Martin Luther

Offline Onesimus

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #155 on: July 11, 2016, 02:28:23 AM »
I didn't realize how deeply involved you were in the ELCA.   

(Sarcasm and kidding alert). Perhaps what you're looking for would look like this?   http://www.herchurch.org

This is literally the ELCA church down the street from me.   I went to their "liturgy of the divine feminine" with an ELCA pastor and fellow seminarian to do a paper on their liturgy for seminary.  I have many conversation with ELCA candidates about their churches and their stances on various issues, and they are generally good conversations....as opposed to WELS or Missouri.

Having spent 37 years in Lutheran and Calvinist, and some "other" churches...I understand the draw to a certain sense of "human freedom" - but hope that in the end you will find this to be a curiosity.   

I appreciate the difficulty one must go through to understand a completely different Form of Christianity, and now I understand much better the basis for the tone of your posts. 

I suppose growing up in Orthodoxy must be different from what I've experienced....but I've not seen Orthodoxy reflect (except maybe on this message board)  what you are describing.   Perhaps I lucked out in a parish and priest.   



« Last Edit: July 11, 2016, 02:34:29 AM by Onesimus »

Offline Daedelus1138

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #156 on: July 11, 2016, 03:35:32 AM »
I didn't realize how deeply involved you were in the ELCA.   

(Sarcasm and kidding alert). Perhaps what you're looking for would look like this?   http://www.herchurch.org

This is literally the ELCA church down the street from me.   I went to their "liturgy of the divine feminine" with an ELCA pastor and fellow seminarian to do a paper on their liturgy for seminary.   

If all I had was Herchurch I would probably be trying desperately to hold on to some faith all by my lonesome.

I'm not making a rousing endorsement for mainline Lutheranism, merely that there are a lot of middle-of-the-road Christians there that seem to navigate the modern world without losing their Christianity altogether, and I think there is something to learn there.   Of course, if you think the Church should never be a mess in a messy world, maybe that will be an issue.   Wheat and tares and all that you know...

Quote
I have many conversation with ELCA candidates about their churches and their stances on various issues, and they are generally good conversations....as opposed to WELS or Missouri. 

The pastor was actually raised in the LCMS, which probably explains why he has as much commitment as he does to the Lutheran confessions, yet he isn't nearly as fundamentalist.

Quote
Having spent 37 years in Lutheran and Calvinist, and some "other" churches...I understand the draw to a certain sense of "human freedom"

I do not think the Lutheran and Reformed concept of freedom is exactly the same as Nietzsche or Sartre's.  It is more a positive freedom, not freedom in the negative sense.   

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #157 on: July 11, 2016, 05:47:56 AM »
I didn't realize how deeply involved you were in the ELCA.   

(Sarcasm and kidding alert). Perhaps what you're looking for would look like this?   http://www.herchurch.org

This is literally the ELCA church down the street from me.   I went to their "liturgy of the divine feminine" with an ELCA pastor and fellow seminarian to do a paper on their liturgy for seminary.  I have many conversation with ELCA candidates about their churches and their stances on various issues, and they are generally good conversations....as opposed to WELS or Missouri.

Having spent 37 years in Lutheran and Calvinist, and some "other" churches...I understand the draw to a certain sense of "human freedom" - but hope that in the end you will find this to be a curiosity.   

I appreciate the difficulty one must go through to understand a completely different Form of Christianity, and now I understand much better the basis for the tone of your posts. 

I suppose growing up in Orthodoxy must be different from what I've experienced....but I've not seen Orthodoxy reflect (except maybe on this message board)  what you are describing.   Perhaps I lucked out in a parish and priest.

Oneisimus, could you post a thread or PM me about herchurch?  Or provide me with a copy of your paper?  I would be very interested to read that.  By the way, I have had the opposite experience in terms of conversations with ELCA and LCMS, however, I was probably not asking the same questions.  I do not know any WELS chaps.  I love the current LCMS hymnal; it is the only in-print Protestant hymnal to contain portions of Orthodox litanies.

I'm doing "drive by's" here.   I attend an evangelical seminary with a particular emphasis on "cultural incarnation" theology.   It is not a simple subject.   One of the most important aspects is discerning between"culture" and philosophical ideologies which inform and mold a culture.   These are related but not the same. 

It sounds to me like you are pitting the Orthodox church against western culture and finding us largely unredeemable, furthermore you are saying that Christians in our culture that are motivated by compassion to reconsider historic teachings are motivated by worldly ideologies that are alien to your religion.  I find that highly problematic, for reasons I shall explain below. 

I guess this goes back to the question of ecclesiology.  God does not fit into a religion-sized box, neither does his grace.  It's telling that today's lectionary here in the west was on the Good Samaritan.   Christ picked a heretic to be his hero in the parable for a reason.  Ideology is precisely the problem- Christianity is not primarily ideology (it is proclamation in word and deed, especially to those that are oppressed or suffering in any way), and religion is no substitute for compassion.  That is the point of the Good Samaritan, the one that helps the neighbor is doing God's will, regardless of which hill he worships on.   He is Christ's mother, and sister, and brother.


Here you resort to the "God in a box" argument with a strange exegesis of the Good Samaritan parable.  Our Lord said that Parable after he and his disciples were refused hospitality by the Samaritans, because they were en rojte to Jerusalem.  The Samaritans were nor just a separate religion, theynwere a separate ethnic identity and a separate nation, which had fought wars with the Jews.  Because God commands us to baptize all the nations, He did not want His disciples to hate the Samaritans, so he quickly told a parable featuring a good Samaritan, to contrast with the wicked Samaritans who had refused them shelter.

God may not fit in a religion-sized box, but He has provided a religion-sized box for us to fit into, and it is our local Orthodox temple.   He has always provided one true religion, and this religion has always continually been distorted by Satan to create a multiplicity of false religions.  Before the Catholic Church, that is to say, Orthodox Christianity, became the established vehicle for communion with God, it was Second Temple Judaism as established by St. Ezra the Priest and St. Nehemiah the Prophet, of which St. Zechariah and St. Symeon were clergy.  Our Lord himself confirmed this; see His interactions with the Samaritan woman, where He makes a point of saying "Truth comes from the Jews," rejecting the Samaritan religion as false and heretical, but the Samaritan woman was saved through her faith in Christ, not her Samaritanism.

It is also greatly amusing that you anould choose the parable of the Good Samaritan to try to argue the Pietistic/Transcendentalist/Universalist cliche about the dangers of putting God in a box.  The Samaritans differed from the Jews in that they did not believe God was omnipresent; He did create all things, but in Samaritanism, God specifically dwells only at Mount Gerizim, and nowhere else.  When the Samaritan Temple was extant, the Sameitans presumed him to live in that box.   Although Samaritan theology has changed in the past 2,000 years due to a variety of influences, inclusing Islamic influence, the Samaritans still believe God to be uniquely present in Mount Gerizim, which is why most of them live either in a new community built for them atop it (after Nablus became unsafe for them, however, one of their main synagogues remains in the Palestinian village), or in a suburb of Tel Aviv that is not a great distance from Mount Gerizim.  Mount Gerizim amd the annual sacrifice of sheep at its summit in the ruins of their temple on Pascha reckoned according to their calendar (which differs from the Rabinnical Jewish and Karaite calendars) is central to their religious identity.

We, on the other hand, as Christians, do not put God in a box; God, if we agree, puts us in His box, the Church, a ship of souls crossing the perilous seas for the shores of salvation; and wherever two or three are gathered together in His name, there He is, among us, for Ne is everywhere present and fillest all things.

Do you believe St. Paul was a true Apostle?   Did our Lord lie when he said adulterers would not enter the kingdom of Heaven?  Did St. Paul lie in his apostle when he condemend specifically homosexual intercourse, in addition to, by implication, female priests and bishops?  Or was He simply not writing inspired scripture?  If not, how do you know, the Gospel?  The Gospels were written after the Pauline epistles and the four canonical Gospels were declared canonical and preserved by followers of St. Paul, many of them converts from Judaism and Samaritanism both.

The Gospel also comtains fairly dire warnings for heretics; theynare called wolves in sheep's clothing, unprofitable servants; "many will say to me Lord, Lord, and I know them not," and so on.  And then we have Galatians 1:8, 2 Thessalonians 2:15, and the dkre warning about adding or removing anything from the apostolic deposit of fait, the "box" if you will, in Revelations.
Axios and many years to you, Fr. Trenham!

Offline FinnJames

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #158 on: July 11, 2016, 07:38:29 AM »
for Ne is everywhere present and fillest all things.
Do you know something the rest of us don't?  ;)
(BTW, shouldn't it be 'filleth' rather than 'fillest'?)

Offline FinnJames

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #159 on: July 11, 2016, 07:47:28 AM »
Do you believe St. Paul was a true Apostle?   Did our Lord lie when he said adulterers would not enter the kingdom of Heaven?  Did St. Paul lie in his apostle when he condemend specifically homosexual intercourse, in addition to, by implication, female priests and bishops?  Or was He simply not writing inspired scripture?  If not, how do you know, the Gospel?  The Gospels were written after the Pauline epistles and the four canonical Gospels were declared canonical and preserved by followers of St. Paul, many of them converts from Judaism and Samaritanism both.

Perhaps I can ask wgw a question in return: Do you believe St. Paul was, like Jesus, one of the infallible persons of God? If you answer 'no', doesn't that open up the possibility that--like you and me--he may  have got it wrong occasionally.

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #160 on: July 11, 2016, 01:02:59 PM »
Perhaps I can ask wgw a question in return: Do you believe St. Paul was, like Jesus, one of the infallible persons of God? If you answer 'no', doesn't that open up the possibility that--like you and me--he may  have got it wrong occasionally.
There is dogma that he infallibly wrote Scripture. Doesn't mean that he was infallible all the time (cf. Rm 7, 2Co 11:17, 1Tm 1:15), but our house of cards starts to crumble if we start assuming biblical writers got wrong in matters of faith here and there.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2016, 01:04:55 PM by RaphaCam »
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Offline Daedelus1138

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #161 on: July 11, 2016, 01:11:51 PM »
Quote
There is dogma that he infallibly wrote Scripture. Doesn't mean that he was infallible all the time (cf. Rm 7, 2Co 11:17, 1Tm 1:15), but our house of cards starts to crumble if we start assuming biblical writers got wrong in matters of faith here and there.

It's more an issue of interpretation and application, at least in my mind, than infallibility. 
« Last Edit: July 11, 2016, 01:12:09 PM by Daedelus1138 »
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #162 on: July 11, 2016, 01:51:40 PM »
How?
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

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Offline wgw

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #163 on: July 11, 2016, 04:31:22 PM »
Do you believe St. Paul was a true Apostle?   Did our Lord lie when he said adulterers would not enter the kingdom of Heaven?  Did St. Paul lie in his apostle when he condemend specifically homosexual intercourse, in addition to, by implication, female priests and bishops?  Or was He simply not writing inspired scripture?  If not, how do you know, the Gospel?  The Gospels were written after the Pauline epistles and the four canonical Gospels were declared canonical and preserved by followers of St. Paul, many of them converts from Judaism and Samaritanism both.

Perhaps I can ask wgw a question in return: Do you believe St. Paul was, like Jesus, one of the infallible persons of God? If you answer 'no', doesn't that open up the possibility that--like you and me--he may  have got it wrong occasionally.

St. Paul was an Apostle of the Church, which is as a whole infallible; the Church, in accepting the epistles of St. Paul as canonical scripture, indeed, as the oldest canonical scripture, acted infallibly.  Holy Tradition is without error; we can on occasion argue what is and what is not a part of this tradition, for example, when discussing liturgics, but the consistent teaching of the Christian church, not just St. Paul, from the start, has been that homosexual activity is a sin.

Indeed, we worship a God who destroyed two cities for such perversion, and please, spare me the "hospitality" argument; wanting to homosexually rape two angels of male appearance goes rather beyond a mere lack of hospitality.  Almost no ancient cities were welcoming of strangers; God, therefore, being infinitely just, would not have reduced Sodom and Gomorrah to dust for that cause alone. 
Axios and many years to you, Fr. Trenham!

Offline FinnJames

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #164 on: July 11, 2016, 04:40:06 PM »
Indeed, we worship a God who destroyed two cities for such perversion, and please, spare me the "hospitality" argument; wanting to homosexually rape two angels of male appearance goes rather beyond a mere lack of hospitality.  Almost no ancient cities were welcoming of strangers; God, therefore, being infinitely just, would not have reduced Sodom and Gomorrah to dust for that cause alone.

Surprisingly enough, I agree with you on this point. It's the absolute infallibility of the Church and its Tradition I'm not so sure of.

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #165 on: July 11, 2016, 06:14:40 PM »
Just asking for information here since this isn't my area of expertise: Have any scholars discovered that these 'brotherhood' rituals were never open to married people? (That would suggest that Boswell was right.) Alternatively, have any scholars shown that these 'brotherhood' rituals were only open to married individuals or were available to everyone regardless of marital status? (That would suggest that Boswell was wrong to equate 'brotherhood' and marriage.)

How would that prove they were gay marriages? Please expand if you can.

I'm not arguing anything here. I'm just asking for information. Oddly enough, several of these rites have been translated into Finnish, but there is no information in the introductory notes about who exactly could take part in them when they were still being performed. It seems to me that the very strongest argument against Boswell would be that those who had undergone the marriage rite could also take part in the 'brotherhood' ritual. But I've never heard anyone give historical facts about who these 'brothers' were, only that the ritual was discontinued because (and it's not clear whether this was in the mind of the officiating priest or of the modern commentator) sex was/might be taking place in these relationships.

In a nutshell, what I'm thinking is that if marriage and 'brotherhood' were not mutually exclusive (so the same individual could take part in both), then they could not have been equivalent institutions. On the other hand, if marriage and 'brotherhood' were mutually exclusive (so that one could be either married or a 'brother' but not both) then 'brotherhood' would likely be a sort of 'separate but equal' bone the Church threw to homosexuals who didn't want to marry someone of the opposite sex. The analogy I'm tacitly making is with marriage and monastic life. As I understand it, one cannot at the same time be both married an a monk/nun, so the institutions are mutually exclusive but also equivalent forms of (sorry I don't know the right English word here) 'martyrdom'.

But you don't need to worry that I'm trying to storm the barricades and demand Church recognition of same-sex marriage. I don't care one way or the other. 

According to a close friend who has done extensive postgraduate study on Monasticism in the early centuries of the Church, the "brotherhood" rituals were a form of communal monasticism where the vows were taken to the brother(s), not to a monastery or place.  It was a means to allow people to live a monastic-style life (chaste, committed to prayer, not personally holding possessions) in the cities or other locations where (for one reason or another) they didn't have access to, or the inclination to start a, formal (and, technically, perpetual) monastery. 
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Offline augustin717

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #166 on: July 11, 2016, 06:27:10 PM »
Indeed, we worship a God who destroyed two cities for such perversion, and please, spare me the "hospitality" argument; wanting to homosexually rape two angels of male appearance goes rather beyond a mere lack of hospitality.  Almost no ancient cities were welcoming of strangers; God, therefore, being infinitely just, would not have reduced Sodom and Gomorrah to dust for that cause alone.

Surprisingly enough, I agree with you on this point. It's the absolute infallibility of the Church and its Tradition I'm not so sure of.
Lol he takes that tale literally .
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Offline Minnesotan

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #167 on: July 11, 2016, 06:27:15 PM »
Indeed, we worship a God who destroyed two cities for such perversion, and please, spare me the "hospitality" argument; wanting to homosexually rape two angels of male appearance goes rather beyond a mere lack of hospitality.  Almost no ancient cities were welcoming of strangers; God, therefore, being infinitely just, would not have reduced Sodom and Gomorrah to dust for that cause alone.

Surprisingly enough, I agree with you on this point. It's the absolute infallibility of the Church and its Tradition I'm not so sure of.

On top of that, why isn't heterosexual rape (as proposed by Lot) every bit as bad?
« Last Edit: July 11, 2016, 06:27:27 PM by Minnesotan »
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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #168 on: July 11, 2016, 07:17:33 PM »
Indeed, we worship a God who destroyed two cities for such perversion, and please, spare me the "hospitality" argument; wanting to homosexually rape two angels of male appearance goes rather beyond a mere lack of hospitality.  Almost no ancient cities were welcoming of strangers; God, therefore, being infinitely just, would not have reduced Sodom and Gomorrah to dust for that cause alone.

Surprisingly enough, I agree with you on this point. It's the absolute infallibility of the Church and its Tradition I'm not so sure of.

On top of that, why isn't heterosexual rape (as proposed by Lot) every bit as bad?

It is.  I guess it's just easier for morally superior individuals like yourself to fault people like Lot for not being master ethicists especially when you're looking at the situation with the 20/20 vision of Captain Hindsight.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2016, 07:17:58 PM by scamandrius »
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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #169 on: July 11, 2016, 08:46:49 PM »
Just asking for information here since this isn't my area of expertise: Have any scholars discovered that these 'brotherhood' rituals were never open to married people? (That would suggest that Boswell was right.) Alternatively, have any scholars shown that these 'brotherhood' rituals were only open to married individuals or were available to everyone regardless of marital status? (That would suggest that Boswell was wrong to equate 'brotherhood' and marriage.)

How would that prove they were gay marriages? Please expand if you can.

I'm not arguing anything here. I'm just asking for information. Oddly enough, several of these rites have been translated into Finnish, but there is no information in the introductory notes about who exactly could take part in them when they were still being performed. It seems to me that the very strongest argument against Boswell would be that those who had undergone the marriage rite could also take part in the 'brotherhood' ritual. But I've never heard anyone give historical facts about who these 'brothers' were, only that the ritual was discontinued because (and it's not clear whether this was in the mind of the officiating priest or of the modern commentator) sex was/might be taking place in these relationships.

In a nutshell, what I'm thinking is that if marriage and 'brotherhood' were not mutually exclusive (so the same individual could take part in both), then they could not have been equivalent institutions. On the other hand, if marriage and 'brotherhood' were mutually exclusive (so that one could be either married or a 'brother' but not both) then 'brotherhood' would likely be a sort of 'separate but equal' bone the Church threw to homosexuals who didn't want to marry someone of the opposite sex. The analogy I'm tacitly making is with marriage and monastic life. As I understand it, one cannot at the same time be both married an a monk/nun, so the institutions are mutually exclusive but also equivalent forms of (sorry I don't know the right English word here) 'martyrdom'.

But you don't need to worry that I'm trying to storm the barricades and demand Church recognition of same-sex marriage. I don't care one way or the other. 

According to a close friend who has done extensive postgraduate study on Monasticism in the early centuries of the Church, the "brotherhood" rituals were a form of communal monasticism where the vows were taken to the brother(s), not to a monastery or place.  It was a means to allow people to live a monastic-style life (chaste, committed to prayer, not personally holding possessions) in the cities or other locations where (for one reason or another) they didn't have access to, or the inclination to start a, formal (and, technically, perpetual) monastery.

Why don't you post more often?  You should. 

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #170 on: July 11, 2016, 09:32:54 PM »
Almost no ancient cities were welcoming of strangers ...

Gosh, sometimes I think "I wish I could read WGW's sources, they must be doozies; and then I think, "No. No I don't."
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Offline FinnJames

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #171 on: July 11, 2016, 11:08:27 PM »
According to a close friend who has done extensive postgraduate study on Monasticism in the early centuries of the Church, the "brotherhood" rituals were a form of communal monasticism where the vows were taken to the brother(s), not to a monastery or place.  It was a means to allow people to live a monastic-style life (chaste, committed to prayer, not personally holding possessions) in the cities or other locations where (for one reason or another) they didn't have access to, or the inclination to start a, formal (and, technically, perpetual) monastery.

Thanks for that information. Is it published anywhere? (If not, I hope you'll urge your friend to write something for a reputable journal.)

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #172 on: July 12, 2016, 01:01:20 AM »
Well, for one thing, by actually being present to them, caring for their basic needs, being their comfort for their emotional stress, etc.  If we show ourselves as violent bigots, our uncompromising views become an icon to bigotry, not to the love of Christ for which we stand, for which it should stand.

Maybe those Orthodox churches that are already doing this need to be more vocal about it.

Sure...I hope so as well.  But I also hope that this ideal behavior of our parishes should extend to all people with all types of sins, and hope that this stirs many to repentance, rather than the change of status quo.

I think this is the type of discussion that should be had.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline Onesimus

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Re: Gay Community Pens Open Letter to the Council
« Reply #173 on: July 14, 2016, 07:14:37 PM »

Oneisimus, could you post a thread or PM me about herchurch?  Or provide me with a copy of your paper?  I would be very interested to read that.  By the way, I have had the opposite experience in terms of conversations with ELCA and LCMS, however, I was probably not asking the same questions.  I do not know any WELS chaps.  I love the current LCMS hymnal; it is the only in-print Protestant hymnal to contain portions of Orthodox litanies.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,69444.msg1409226/topicseen.html#msg1409226

In respect to conversations with Lutherans...I'd say one has to go into it with really low expectations for the conversation and count a seed planted as a minor victory.   Having a friendly relationship which is inquisitive takes people off the defensive and I'm generally able to get them to see and admit things they would otherwise stridently defend.   

I'm typically not out to do anything other than plant very small seeds.   God grants the increase.