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  • #1674 Reply

    My name is Issa Shaker and I am an Orthodox Christian man from Palestine. I have been struggling with my homosexuality since my teenage years but given that I belong to an ultra religious family and a primitive society, I had to stay in a closet and often acted as homophobic myself so people around me would not suspect my homosexuality. I am married to a Dutch woman for “papers” and I feel a sense of guilt now. The older I got, the more I became aware of what I already am, and I want to ask all of you about your opinion regarding my issue. We all know what the Orthodox Bible says about this but what are other interpretations?

    #1675 Reply

    I have no theological training so hesitate to offer you advice. But as no one else has yet answered your post, I’ll offer you this:

    You don’t say in your post what your relationship with your wife is, whether she is aware of your situation or not. Even if you don’t feel able to offer her love in the traditional sense, you can give her the marital gifts of care, consideration and honesty.

    Turning to your feeling of guilt, prayer is always useful when one feels uneasy. Let me suggest a method which works for me, though it may not be taught by your spiritual advisors: Assume a calm attitude, setting anything troubling you aside so that you do not need to dwell on it. Then pray as you normally do, which may be reading the prayers you normally do from the prayer book and/or bringing your worries before God in your own words. After that—-and this is the crucial step—-don’t rush off into the tasks of your daily life but stay quietly, perhaps for an hour or so, not letting your mind dwell on anything or getting caught in ‘stories’ about what you have done or what you should have done or what you ought to do. Instead, leave your mind free to listen to God. If you do not receive his answer within the hour, do not despair. Simply go back to your daily routine and God’s answer will come to you within a day or two. When God’s answer does come, you will know it with certainty because the feeling of relief that overcomes you will be so powerful.

    I hope this, and knowing that others are praying for you, will be of some help.

    In closing, let me say that in my opinion it is a sad comment on the state of the Orthodox Church that so many who struggle with feelings related to homosexuality fear bringing their worries (and joys) to their priest and/or family.

    #1676 Reply

    Hi Khreesto!

    Please know that you are who you are and there is nothing you can change about who you love. After all, God looks at our hearts and not society. Most important is you have to be brave for yourself and accept yourself for who you truly are. I am also aware of the Orthodox interpretation on homosexuality but unfortunately, some people are not aware of human sexuality and think that love only has one manifestation (for instance, when they say only man and woman). Who are they to decide that? Love can be manifested regardless of gender or of what gender you like. I understand you feel guilty but in the long run, feeling guilty everyday will not be beneficial to you. When you accept yourself for who you really are, I think that you will be more at peace with yourself. Do not think or let other people dictate who you love because only your heart can do that, whether it be a man or a woman. I am a gay Christian and if God didn’t like LGBT people, then he certainly wouldnt be calling me to his church. I see this as a sign that God loves his gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, etc. children.

    Another important thing, look for the answer INSIDE yourself when you pray. Be patient with yourself, also very important. It’s the learning process that is useful in learning about ourselves in our spiritual life.

    #1743 Reply

    I cannot imagine what is must be like to live in a place such as Palestine and have same-sex attractions. So many of us in the United States have felt as if we were the only ones with such feelings while we were still closeted. As we came out, we came to see that the reality of this was quite different. I hope that is your experience too if and when you decide to come out.
    While i am not a priest, i am a psychologist. I am also a gay man. From both a personal and a professional standpoint, i think your only real choices are to deny who you are to yourself and continue to feel guilt and shame OR to accept who you are, live your life, and find that over time the guilt and shame lessens, then eventually becomes replaced with a sense of peace and love.
    God was with me through my entire process of self-acceptance. I trust that God will be with you too.

    #1764 Reply

    Ron’s advice is very good and I think this is what most of us have been through. When you accept yourself for who you are and who God created you to be, you can have peace in your heart instead of living in misery. Other people CANNOT tell you what gender you can love as well as how you can love. Ultimately, that is something that comes out of your heart. It’s frustrating because there are people who are adamant on misunderstanding us but as long as YOU know who you are, that’s all that matters. The only opinion of yourself that matters is your own. Do not live to get approval from others, especially in matters of sexual orientation. Homophobic people do not know what they are talking about because they speak of an experience totally unknown to them.

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