April 8, 2012

God’s LGBT Children in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Moldova is a newly released (2012) book written by an “Eastern Orthodox Bishop”. The book has the subtitle of “Homosexuality is not sinful, demonic, or a mental illness” and was self published by CreateSpace, and is now available in print from Amazon.com, (first link provided below), and also in Kindle eBook format (second link provided below).  The book, some 90 pages, is a collection of 28 shorter essays that answer the very basic, but seminal questions that lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered people and their families might have about sexuality, morality and ethics.

Although the book is primarily directed at Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Christians, it can easily find an audience for anyone struggling with issues of understanding who they are sexually, and how they fit into God’s plan for them. In the words of the author, the book is written “for any lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer or searching (LGBT) Orthodox Christian or person who has fallen away from faith…Although it is written from an Eastern Orthodox perspective, hopefully it will also have value to LGBT persons of all faiths including but not limited to Jews, Roman Catholics, and Ukrainian Greek Catholics or to those without faith living in Eastern Europe.”

The book is printed in Russian and English and will “resonate with Eastern European LGBT persons who are ‘out and proud’ out to a select few, and those who live lives of isolation and hopelessness.” The author, who remains anonymous, decided to publish the book in Russian as well as in English to reach the majority of those living in the former Soviet Union, who although having their own native languages, are probably also fluent in Russian. It is his desire that soon the book will be published in other languages. The work also carries a distressing but truthful disclaimer that “the views expressed here are personal.  They do not reflect the official position of any Orthodox Church.”  In my opinion, they should be adopted in total by every Orthodox jurisdiction throughout the world.

The author-bishop, who provides only minor hints as to which Orthodox jurisdiction in the diaspora he serves, obviously felt passionate enough about this subject to invest not only his own energy, time, and financial resources to publish the work, but also risk his status within his own diocese in particular, as well as the Orthodox community in general. In that there is nothing scandalous in the book other than simple, pastoral common sense and advice to those seeking the love of Christ – it is a travesty, yet understandable, that he remain anonymous. However, it does beg the question; how does an Orthodox layman “come out” and become comfortable with the way God created him/her, if the bishop is afraid of taking ownership of his own views and guidance? In the bishop’s own words “Church leadership must be better servants, more pastoral, and more prophetic.” I pray for the bishop to find the strength to be the open and identifiable voice for those in the Church who have been silenced. His words of compassion and responsiveness need not only to be heard loudly and clearly, but need to become the words of the Orthodox Church.

A simple quote from Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, sets the tone and direction of the entire tome.  “A spiritual creature, upon its appearance on earth, is given the power to say: I am and I love.” The bishop liberally uses quotes from Sacred Scripture as well as the words of Orthodox saints to point to the fact that “LGBT persons are a Creation of God” and reassures them that “God is within” them. “God’s spirit teaches that LGBT people are not abnormal, unnatural, or an abomination.” With clear, precise chapter titles in the form of questions, the bishop provides answers that will comfort those who are questioning their sexuality as well as God’s love for them.  The bishop acknowledges that Orthodox leaders have been less than supportive of LGBT people and in fact have created “division and confusion”.  He makes an appeal to both,  the leaders of the Church and LBGT faithful to come together so that they can “listen to one another and find common ground.”  My question is: who will start the dialogue?

Here is a selective list of some of the titles of the chapters from the book:

-Why am I different?                                                                                                                         -Should I feel ashamed?

-If it’s not a lifestyle choice can I pray away this burden?

-Will getting married to someone of the opposite sex make my same-sex attraction go away?

-Is it normal to be LGBT, how can so many people in society, religion and government be wrong?

-Religious leaders call me a sinner. Aren’t they God’s representatives?

-Am I rebelling against God’s natural order?

-How can I be lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender and still be a good Christian?

 

Perhaps the most powerful chapter is the last one “What must I always remember?” The words of the bishop need to be engraved upon the hearts, minds and souls of every LGBTQ person throughout the world.  They are too powerful and life sustaining to be reduced to a few sentences in this brief review. I only wish that I had the financial ability to supply a copy of this book to every LGBT person in traditional Orthodox countries as well as the “new world”.  This book helps LGBT people believe that they are, in the words of the bishop, “holy, beautiful and images of God” just the way they are.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Children-Ukraine-Russia-Belarus-Moldova/dp/1470088029/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1333311187&sr=8-2

http://www.amazon.com/Children-Ukraine-Belarus-Moldova-ebook/dp/B0079OX9YO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333311187&sr=8-1

 

  1. Rachel Said,

    I’m glad you reviewed this, I’ve been wondering for a while if it was any good 😀 I would very much like to buy a copy now.
    Thank you!

  2. andre Said,

    Rachel,
    Please let us know what you think of the work. Amazon.com – where the book is for sale- could also use a positive response. I am sure that the author would appreciate your review.

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