Will the Church ever listen?

February 27, 2012

Will the Church ever listen?  Letter from students to the bishops.   

In August 2011 a very brave and sincere group of 15 Orthodox college students wrote an open letter to the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America.  (Link to complete letter below) The letter was written to “express our grave concerns about the state of public Orthodox discourse on a highly sensitive pastoral issue that especially affects young people in our Church.”  The students accuse some Orthodox in repeating disgusting and discredited theories about the etiology of same-sex attraction, using words that “make us vomit.” The letter is written as plea to the bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, although it could and should be directed to every Orthodox bishop in the world – canonical and “uncanonical” to take action.


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Dueling theologians! Dueling Graces?

February 12, 2012


Precious little has been published about homosexuality by Orthodox theologians in recent decades in comparison to volumes written by Roman Catholic and the various Protestant denominations.  What has been written by Orthodox bishops, priests and laymen has been overwhelmingly negative in tone, attitude and direction.  Most of what has been written, even by “modern theologians” of the Church has continued to rely on antiquated and often faulty  interpretations of Scripture and Canon Law and perhaps most egregiously has been authored as if no advances in science, medicine or psychology have been made since the seventh Ecumenical Council in the eighth century.   


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Praying For The Wrong Person

January 27, 2012


The congregation that I was privileged to serve had many families of mixed religious marriages. This is common for most Orthodox Churches in the United States where we are very much a minority religion.  This is also very common among Ukrainians since a large number of Ukrainians, and the majority in America, are Ukrainian Catholics.  Four hundred plus years after the Union of Brest, which split the Church in Ukraine and created the Ukrainian Catholic Church, there are numerous religiously mixed families.


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Choosing a Spouse

A few years ago I read the following story in a Ukrainian satirical magazine.  A father believes that it is time for his son to marry.  He begins to name several young women from the village who are single and suitable wives for his son.  Andrew begins to reject each one with a different excuse – one is too tall, the other is too fat, and the third is too “well known” in the village.  The father starts to name several young women from neighboring villages – all quite acceptable in the father’s eyes as future wives for his son. Once again Andrew finds a reason why each of the women is unacceptable – including the excuse that one had teeth that were too big!  In his frustration the father implores his son” is there not anyone in all of Ukraine that you are interested in marrying?” Well, there is one person, Andrew says delicately.  Finally, the father says, “who is it?” Peter, from the next village, Andrew says.  Peter?  His father screams with great indignation and anger, Peter?  “Marry Peter? Never, he is a Russian!”


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Choosing and Ignoring Scripture

When I was looking for a web designer to create Orthodoxandgay.com, I answered an ad from someone who was just starting his business. He was offering a special rate for non-profits and community based organizations. We had just started to talk over the phone about the design I might be interested in when he asked “so, what will the website be about?”  I barely got the words “Christian and gay” out of my mouth, when he immediately retorted that he would not work on such a site.  When I asked him why, he snapped, “homosexuality is a sin, read your Bible.” I said I was sorry that he felt that way and hoped that he was not having a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch while wearing a polyester shirt. (Both are things forbidden by the Bible).


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He had AIDS you know

“He had AIDS, you know.” I heard this from the funeral director as soon as I came into the funeral home to conduct the memorial service.  Of course, I knew that.  I had visited this man numerous times in the hospital, listened to his confessions, and brought him the Holy Eucharist. During those visits, we spoke at length about his illness, his misgivings, his love/hate relationship with the Orthodox Church and we spoke about his funeral.


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Because, I could not live like that anymore

November 20, 2011


“Because, I could not live like that anymore.”  Myron told me this about his life. He was from Ukraine, eastern Ukraine, from the city of Poltava.  He was in Florida working as a room cleaner in a hotel that I was staying at for a conference.  He was here illegally.


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Homosexuality is so evil that even the devil does not want it

November 6, 2011


“Homosexuality is so evil that even the devil does not want it.”  These words were spoken by an Orthodox priest, educated in Australia, serving in Greece and given as “pastoral” advice to a younger man who was struggling with what he was feeling – love for another man.  This is the face of true evil – a priest, ordained by the Holy Spirit, called to spread the good news of the Gospel, the good news of love and forgiveness, telling an anxious young man that he is worse than the devil.


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I fell in love with the Orthodox Church

October 24, 2011


I fell in love with the Orthodox Church when I was around 8 years old. As a family, we did not go to church very often. The child of a mixed marriage – mixed religiously and ethnically, the great distance from our home to an “acceptable” Orthodox Church – one of the right ethnic variety for my father – and a father who worked many hours – all added up to infrequent church attendance. I did not understand any of the divine services – but I knew what I loved – the sights, the sounds, the smells and the tastes. The beauty of the church drew me in


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