August 4, 2012

 

This website – orthodox and gay – has received many emails from gay people, mostly Orthodox, from all over the world.  They are grateful for the words of encouragement and feel blessed to have someone speaking openly, with a positive message, about being an Orthodox Christian and gay.  Every so often we receive some angry emails – usually containing Scriptural references to gay people being an abomination in the sight of God.

  (If they would only read the reflection on the website entitled “Choosing and Ignoring Scripture”.) However, the vast majority of people writing to us voice words of encouragement and gratitude.

Recently we received a very lengthy and condemning email from a woman named “Maria”. The email reminded me of book publishing in the Soviet era.  There was an unwritten law in Soviet publishing that no matter what the subject of a book was, the first paragraph, as well as the last paragraph of the book, had to be a glorification of Lenin and the Soviet state.  Even if you were writing about physics or French literature, or even World War II, which of course took place after Lenin died, you had to write a short panegyric for Lenin in gratitude for giving you the ability to study and write on the subject at hand.

This particular email began with a “deep need to understand where [I was] coming from” and ended with telling me that I am a “wonderful and beautiful person made in the image and likeness of God.” The body of the email told a different story – it lacked a desire to truly understand me and countless other gay Orthodox Christians. I would like to address the issues raised in the email because many people have the same faulty ideas, convictions and flawed beliefs about gay people that “Maria” does. Here are a few passages from her email, those in quotes, with my comments (my comments below are in bold):

“I am Orthodox and I must say that I am very upset that you would use the name of Holy Orthodoxy alongside homosexuality.”

I do not mean to upset you but I am also Orthodox and happen to be a homosexual along with probably some 3 million other Orthodox gay people, including bishops, priests, monks, nuns and laypeople. I know that because I have met and was pastured to gay Orthodox bishops, priests, monastics and laypeople, some of which were celibate and some were not.

“I must speak the truth out of love and protection of the faith”

No one protects the faith by hiding the truth.  God created gay people and created them out of love and to love.  Keeping this a secret does not protect the Orthodox faith – it hinders its growth.

“Do you have any idea how many seekers to the One True Faith you are turning away by exposing them to those kind of confusion. You could be keeping many souls from salvation”

I suppose that this last line means that I might even be the devil – because the Church believes that only the Anti-Christ and our own actions can keep us from salvation – not other humans.  To be sure, I am not trying to confuse anyone or turn people away from Holy Orthodoxy – some bishops, priests, parishes and members of the faithful are doing a fine job of that on their own by not living the message of love as found in the Holy Gospel.  This website has as one of its goals to “support and be a refuge for Orthodox Christians who are gay.” People seeking to come to Holy Orthodoxy might want to find a compassionate and merciful voice in support of gay people and the families and friends who love them.

“We are all called to turn away from this inherent nature that we were born with once and for all. None of us were given a free pass to continue living with our nature.”

All humans were created in the likeness and in the image of God. Most of those people were also created as heterosexuals.  For whatever reason, the merciful and all-powerful God chose to make some of His people homosexual.  Who can understand the mind and actions of God? Just as it might be within your God given calling to love and marry a man, so it is also within my nature, within my God given calling, to love and marry someone of the same gender.  

“Maria” ends her email by calling upon me to turn away from the “lies that Satan has entrapped” me in. Indeed, the evil one traps us in untruths. However, the following are not lies:

1) There is no lie in stating that God made every person in His image. 

2) None of us chose our sexual orientation, as it is God given.

3) Therefore, God created some people as gay and many of them are sincere Orthodox Christians,  who desire no more or less than to live honest lives.

  1. AnonPriest Said,

    hi;
    I can’t find the reflection “choosing and ignoring Scripture”. … could you perhaps email it to me?
    thanks!

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