The Pharisees of Sodom

(Musical selection A 07 The Pink Room)

EP is focused on Orthodox theology with a special eye to the theology of Maximus the Confessor. As such it is devoted to questions of historical and philosophical theology. It could be about other things relative to Orthodox theology such as Biblical theology as a discipline, but since I am not trained as a Biblical theologian, in the academic sense of that term, I tend try to limit myself to areas in which I have some competence. This is also why I try to steer the blog away from whatever happens to be going in the world, whether politics or the wider culture. There are plenty of other venues for that. I have a niche and I like my niche very much.

But every so often something pops up in the culture that impinges upon Orthodox theology. Of course the on going cultural yelling match (we haven’t yet begun to have an argument) about “Gay” marriage has had a flare up with the recent North Carolina state constitutional amendment. This I would usually ignore on EP except for the fact that David J. Dunn, has written for the Huffington Post an article as an “Orthodox Lay theologian” defending “Gay marriage” or at least objecting to it being banned.

Dunn’s argument goes something like the following. The kingdom of God has little to say, and nothing condemnatory, about Gays or “Gay marriage.” The church is not the kingdom but where the kingdom “happens.” This amounts to the idea that the kingdom is where justice and peace are manifested. Sex is irrelevant for entrance into the kingdom and Jesus never mentions it relative to entry to the Kingdom. And Jesus never picks out political action on behalf of marriage. Further, kingdom politics isn’t about restricting rights of “goats” because entry into the kingdom is not about political restrictions. Jesus fulfills the kingdom because peace and justice that were promised are found in him and in order for that justice and peace to be manifested, Jesus needs to be where the powerless and voiceless are present. And while Jesus cared about what people did in their bedrooms he didn’t care that much. While homosexuality isn’t new, given Roman and Greek culture, the identity of a homosexual as such is a recent invention. Even the Talmud addresses it. But the biblical material amounts to very little addressing “same sex orientation.”  But thousands of passages deal with helping the poor, how we treat the stranger, the imprisoned and such. So, how often God says implies its relevant importance. The Bible then prioritizes justice for the poor and such things over opposition to “Gay” marriage.  Therefore, the moral significance of homosexual acts is low because the Bible doesn’t spend much time on it. Kingdom living requires biblical priorities and banning Gay “Marriage” is low on the list of Kingdom priorities. Consequently, Christians should expend more energy on top biblical priorities than on these lower priorities. Expending a disproportionate amount of energy on lower priorities is deficiently Christian.

Taking the argument as a whole, the first thing to notice is that it doesn’t represent Orthodox teaching on the subject, at least not in so far as any jurisdiction that I know of speaks on this topic and not as far as the history of the church is concerned. The church has always had an eye to protecting marriage in the polis, supporting strong civil penalties for homosexual behavior. Dunn’s argument as a whole and its conclusion is an anomaly or rather an innovation, which is probably the worst theological sin an Orthodox theologian can commit.

As for the individual arguments, many of them seem to rely on informal fallacies. They may have rhetorical value for those already disposed to believe an apologetic fiction, but they lack any significant truth preservation or turn on simply false premises.

Take the claim that the kingdom of God has a little to say about homosexuality or homosexual “marriage.” That is true, but somewhat misleading if by that is meant to imply that little or nothing bearing ultimate ethical normativity regarding homosexual activity is found in the Scriptures. That is simply false. Pre-Christian Jewish and Christian tradition both uniformly recognized the immorality of such acts. And there is a good reason why neither of them speak about homosexual “marriage” because no one was so twisted to suggest such a thing in antiquity. You can’t object to something that isn’t on the radar.  It is also misleading because there are a number of things that are biblically prohibited that the Bible doesn’t say much about. The Scriptures don’t say much about bestiality for example. They prescribe death for it in the OT. But it would be foolish to think that this paucity of references gave any ethical wiggle room for the minority of zoophiliacs in our society. The question isn’t how much the Bible says about a topic, but what the Bible does say and with what normative weight does it say it. Dunn’s remarks then mislead the reader into thinking that what the Bible says about homosexual activity is of little or no normative weight. It just isn’t so and he should know better.

In some sense sex is irrelevant to entrance into the kingdom of God, if by sex we mean being sexed. That is irrelevant as Paul notes in Galatians the third chapter, because all are baptized into Christ. But certainly sex in terms of ethical behavior is relevant to entrance into the kingdom. An unrepentant adulterer or fornicator can’t and won’t enter the kingdom. (1 Cor 6:9-10)  Such a thing is contrary to God’s justice and moral law. In this way Dunn’s remarks obfuscate the relevant issue. Can an unrepentant homosexual enter into the kingdom? Century upon century of Christian Fathers (and Jewish Rabbi’s) have uniformly said no, and yet Dunn seems to ignore this clear and unambiguous evidence. I know not why.

Dunn further notes that Jesus never speaks of sex as an entrance into the kingdom. That is true, but there are lots of things that Jesus said and did that are not recorded in scripture. Perhaps he wishes to endorse a distinctly Protestant thesis of Sola Scriptura but of course that isn’t open to him as an Orthodox Christian. It wouldn’t get him very far in any case because there is sufficient evidence that Jesus endorsed the moral law that He gave to Israel in the OT. If anything when Jesus speaks of the morality of the Law he ups the ante and perfects it bringing to the surface the true depth and profundity of the Law. What is more, Dunn’s reasoning here amounts to no more than an argument from silence. Two can play at that game. Jesus never once over turns or even hints at overturning the OT prohibitions on homosexual acts.

But I do not need to depend on an argument from silence. Jesus speaks of the evils that come out of the heart and gives the fairly classic Jewish taxonomy, which includes adultery and fornication. The latter here functions as a summary of all the different types of fornicating behavior prohibited in the Law, which of course includes OT prohibitions on homosexual acts. And this is one of the things that made the Jews such oddballs in the Roman world. Apart from believing there was only one God and the world had a beginning, they limited sexual activity to marriage, running against the grain of Roman social views which for example didn’t take sex with a slave or a prostitute as amounting to infidelity. In succession, Christianity continued to uphold this distinctly Jewish moral outlook (among others).

And while it is true that Jesus never advocates for political action regarding marriage, it is also true that Jesus didn’t have to. Such laws were already on the books, literally, as far as the Sheep of the House of Israel were concerned (not to mention the creation mandate which Jesus took to be normative even for gentiles. So here Dunn seems to miss the point. Evaluating Jesus’ moral teaching through the matrix of the current political taxonomies is anachronistic, so much so to make the “God is a Republican” crowd blush.

It is also true that the Apostles, when the gentiles were grafted in, expected them to follow basic Jewish morality with respect to sexuality. And this is carried over into society and law as Christianity becomes legalized and ascendant. This is manifested in various canons which also had the force of imperial law down through the centuries. To argue that this is beyond the pale of Jesus teaching is not open to Dunn, since Orthodoxy takes Jesus to be continuing his work throughout church history. If on the other hand, he isn’t representing Orthodox teaching in his articles then he doesn’t seem to bring anything special to the discussion.

It is open to him though to object that we no longer live in that kind of society and that much is true. But arguing as much, apart from being  merely descriptive, empties his remarks about Jesus not advocating political action for marriage of any argumentative content as well since Jesus didn’t live in our kind of society either with respect to that either. What is more, there is no law against people voting their particular morality into law anymore than there is a law prohibiting people from voting for candidates solely on the basis of their preference of the candidates skin pigmentation.  Consequently, Dunn’s argument will have to be, not that the NT is relatively mute on such electoral activities, but that it is immoral for voters to vote on such a moral basis. And on that ground, he will be occupying territory outside of Orthodox Christianity (let alone any other historically credible form.)

Further on, Dunn argues that “kingdom politics” isn’t about restricting rights of the goats because entry into the kingdom isn’t about political restrictions. Here Dunn seems to be equivocating. Does “kingdom politics” refer to what kind of worldly polis we should construct or does it refer to ecclesial existence? Certainly in the case of the latter, rights generally do not come into the picture at all since Jesus and the Apostles weren’t Lockians, Rawlsians or any other pet Enlightenment political concoction (that includes Marx). And certainly the goats get excluded form the kingdom in the NT and part of the criteria for their exclusion is sexual immorality, which is a stable theme in Acts as well as a good number of the Epistles.

What is more, if none of the above is to inform Christians as they vote, then it cannot function as a basis to inform them when they vote on other issues like poverty, welfare, and warfare by the very same token. (Either there is a principled wall of separation or there isn’t. And it would be helpful if social liberals would be either hot or cold rather than lukewarm on this score. My mother used stronger terms in cases like these but I’ll refrain for piety’s sake.) What then is the proposed ethical basis for a voter to make a decision on such matters, if not “kingdom politics” since it has been precluded? From whence does this politically correct morality come?

If on the other hand Dunn means the kind of polis we should live in, then he is saying that we should impose and codify biblical morality as law. And this will give the right wing social conservative everything he could ever want, which will include banning gay marriage along with no fault divorce and lots of other things. (It is not as if social conservatives were enthusiastic backers of no fault divorce.)

The only other route (for a Christian) that I can see is going back to a Lockian Natural Law basis upon which our national founders constructed our Constitution and other documents, which combined with Puritan anti-sacerdotalism is why we have “civil” marriages (apart from real practical needs).  But on that score “Gay marriage” fairs no better since marriage is a natural right and not a legal right and “Gay marriage” doesn’t exist in nature apart from the existence of the state. If it did, this wouldn’t be an issue, except in so far as laws banning it amounted to a form of Jim Crow by denying natural rights to citizens. If one wished to make a case for marriage being a legal right rather than a natural right, then the argument shifts to the state taking away our natural rights and transmuting them into legal rights, that is, privileges that the state grants to us. But it is difficult to see how if the state can do that with the natural right of marriage that it cannot also do that with any other natural right.

But assuming that marriage is a mere legal right, then the matter comes down not to equal protection issues, but to what benefit does the state derive from granting such a privilege? What interest does the state have in doing so? It isn’t because homosexuals will provide via the natural route future taxpayers, soldiers and such for the state and can’t do so to any significant degree by artificial means. If one were to argue that its legal basis is acceptance and tolerance, then we are back to grounding law in specific moral claims and those are moral claims I do not accept relative to acceptance and approval. (Toleration already exists).  This is why the President’s recent comments amount to a religious argument, to which I wonder, do advocates of “Gay marriage” have any argument that isn’t religious or ethical? I can’t see any.

And as a cautionary note, it is important to not push past toleration. When you mandate something, particularly against strongly held moral beliefs, you take away a good number of the pressure release valves available to the public in a democracy. When you corner people and take away their political options with respect to strongly held beliefs, you leave them few choices that don’t include forceful resistance. I am not advocating this, but just noting the way human nature is. Be careful what you wish for.

What is more, his argument bakes no bread with the non-Christians who voted for North Carolina ban or any other ban in any other state. What is he to say regarding say Orthodox Jews who voted for the ban? That they weren’t very Christian? Were they “obsessed with the nuclear family” as well? Such remarks applied to Jewish voters seem to smack of anti-Semitism and I am hard pressed to know why they seem anti-Semitic when we call the moral basis of opposition to “Gay marriage” Jewish but not when we call it Christian when the moral content (and historical sources) are the same. Such superciliousness seems to veil a latent anti-Semitism relative to Jewish morality. Since Jesus is a Jewish Messiah and Christianity is fundamentally Jewish, being anti-Semitic might be a problem.

As for Dunn on Jesus on justice and peace, he seems to inherit a more Marxist twist to understanding Jesus’ relation to the poor. Jesus isn’t hobnobbing with the poor because God specifically hates wealth. In fact there is plenty in the scriptures about God giving wealth as a sign of his pleasure and blessing. But of course with wealth comes responsibility to God and to your neighbor. Responsibility though isn’t code for a denial of private property a la Marxism or that Jesus is somehow always on the side of the poor simply because they lack means. This is why Jesus says in the Law,

“You shall not show partiality to a poor man in his dispute.” Ex 23:3

The main drive for upholding the cause of the poor in the Scriptures is that the poor are and have been treated unjustly, not because they are poor per se. Otherwise the biblical language about justice, as defined in terms of biblical law (not some vague notion of “social justice” which is usually code for some neo-Marxist view) would make no sense. God upholds the cause of the poor first because God is just and the poor have been treated unjustly and secondly, because we are all poor relative to the divine life because of sin.  Jesus isn’t always with the poor because they are poor but because they have been victims and Jesus upholds his justice. (Do we honestly think the tax collector Matthew was despised because he was poor?) He takes up their cause because it is his Law and justice that have been trampled. In other words, God is the first victim of the violation of His Law and God identifies with the victims because He is one also.

(If Dunn’s reading were right, we should ignore comparatively [and assumed] rich writers who like himself, with the Huffington Post and with their corporate backers have a significant voice, let alone the Gay rights movement.)

This is why Dunn’s insistence that Jesus is with the voiceless rings hollow. Biblically speaking being “voiceless” isn’t what matters. Being with the victims of injustice is what matters and Dunn seems to conflate these two. As far as the scriptures are concerned, some agents should be voiceless since they spew moral evil contrary to divine justice and peace. This is part of what divine judgment brings, namely silence to the unjust or in biblical terms, the wicked. God has the last word and they have to shut their mouths. (Ps 107:42) This is why Dunn’s position doesn’t amount to a biblical, Christian and therefore Jewish gloss on the Scriptures, but some other religion. The question isn’t, are homosexual advocates lacking in a voice (turn on the TV, they aren’t) and Jesus is therefore with them, but rather, is their behavior according to Jesus and his Apostles, just, that is moral and so their exclusion amounts to an injustice? Until Dunn answers that second question he can’t possibly be talking about anything Jesus has to say on this issue. Any Jesus he is talking about is some other Jesus. (2 Cor 11:3-4).

To argue from the supposed paucity of material in the Gospels regarding marriage and sexual ethics to the conclusion that Jesus “didn’t care that much” is fallacious. First, it doesn’t follow from the supposed fact that Jesus doesn’t say much that he doesn’t say anything normative and condemnatory. Second, we’d need to know what Jesus says. Dunn seems particularly mute here. Jesus not only upholds marriage as between a man and a woman from the divine intention in Creation (Matt 19:5ff) indicating that it is as a social norm  for Jews and gentiles also, but as noted before he condemns fornication of all types found in the Jewish Law.  The question isn’t, does Jesus say much about sexual ethics, but rather, does Jesus condemn fornication which includes homosexual behavior? Again, until Dunn has addressed that question he is not only misleading readers, but he isn’t talking about the teaching of Jesus. Furthermore, Jesus commissions his Apostles to teach in his name, with his power and by his Spirit. Last I checked, they prohibit homosexual activity along with all of their successors, the bishops, and do so indicating that such impenitent behavior excludes one from the kingdom.

Arguing in the other direction, while biblical attention given to sexual morality may be low in terms of how often it gets discussed, it is not that low of a priority. If we went Jeffersonian on the Bible with respect to sexual ethics, we’d have to cut out a fair amount of the biblical corpus. What is more, issues that can have a lower priority can move up the scale of priority when directly challenged or when something else that entails it is challenged. Such is the case with marriage. So sure, there isn’t a mountain of material about marriage and sexual ethics but then again, that is because no one in Israel is trying to pass off homosexual activity as morally commendable in terms of divine teaching either. If there had been, the prophets and Jesus who sent them and the apostles would have said quite a bit about it. You’d think somneone with a doctorate in theology would know how to, not to mention the need to, historically contextualize the biblical material.

And this is just the point Jesus made when he condemned the Pharisees for picking and choosing some parts of the Law to observe while neglecting others. Jesus teaches that they should have upheld the whole Law. (Matt 23:3) And this seems what Dunn and others are advocating that Christians do, namely pass over some parts of biblical morality (and teaching others to do likewise, pace Matt 5:19) while upholding others, which just so happen to be nothing more than the moral platitudes of Leftist political ideologies. Such a construction of an alternative and partial biblical view amounts to a form of idolatry. Such advocates amount to nothing more than the Pharisees of Sodom.

So goes Dunn’s main argument. He has some concluding remarks to the effect that banning “Gay marriage” in North Carolina came at too high a price with respect to sacrificing Christian witness. Really? Is there some mass number of people on the cusp of being Christian if only, golly gee, we’d approve of their immorality? I don’t think so. But even if we are talking about a few people, do they want a Christian witness or do they want the politically approved idol of the decade? I can’t see that the supposed Christian advocates for “Gay marriage” who deploy such paralogisms are really offering genuine Christianity, since they are ignoring what God sets up in creation and upholds through redemption all the way to the Last Judgment. Besides, it strikes me as particularly and personally unfair that their immorality gets approval on supposed Christian grounds, but if I were to go out and have pre-marital sex or sex with a prostitute, then I’d be in ecclesial and social hot water. Why do their desires get a pass and mine as a heterosexual male Darwiniangly disposed to spread my seed, don’t? This strikes me as special pleading. By contrast the biblical position, or rather Jesus’ position holds us all to account and requires us all to reign in our sinful desires rather than delude ourselves by recasting our wickedness as virtues with the politically appropriate platitudes.

He argues that we should spend more time on the things that do affect marriage namely the lack of time and other things. I am all for those things, but that doesn’t mean I should ignore the stripping away of Jewish and Christian moral content from the law and encase in law gross immorality, by which God judged even the Gentile nations. (Romans 1-2) Christians can walk and chew gum at the same time. It isn’t a question of either or, but of both.

So much of this and other sermonizing on the North Carolina vote seems to smack of political sour grapes. It now comes to a rather large majority of states that in some form or another ban “Gay marriage.” That is enough to set their children’s teeth on edge, if they could produce any.  (Ezek 18:2) But the political lesson here is that as Gandalf remarks, “men are not as weak as he supposed.” Despite the veritable propaganda campaign and pressure tactics, the public at large when given the chance, rejects such changes to the law.

(Musical Selection B  08 Cause for Alarm (A))

On a personal note, I am sure Mr. Dunn is a nice person and he has a lot of nice personal qualities. (I do not know him personally from Adam.) What he writes seems to have the flavor of, “banning Gay marriage is not nice.” I agree, it is not nice and neither was Jesus. Christianity isn’t about being nice (it is not about being a jerk either). Before I was a refugee of sorts from the Episcopal church, a good priest I knew wrote a piece for First Things, entitled, When Nice People Do Bad Theology. And this seems particularly appropriate here. Dunn seems nice enough, but the theology is bad.

Further, He should know better because he is in the main opposing the Orthodox Church’s teaching regarding such matters and every member, either explicitly or implicitly swears to uphold all the teachings and traditions of the Orthodox Church. It is one thing if someone’s crazy aunt is pro-choice, it is quite another for someone who is academically trained to take to a large public venue and openly teach contrary to the Church’s teaching. Such an option is not morally open to him. Initially I ignored such postings since they came with a disclaimer that his remarks did not represent the teaching of the Orthodox Church. That seemed to remove any real value from what he had to say. This article lacked that disclaimer. I do not know why. The salient point here is that Dunn is free to believe and practice whatever he likes and to write about it. But he is not free to openly speak against the teaching of the Church when he is under a moral and spiritual obligation to uphold its teachings as he explicitly or implicitly has so sworn. He should either conform his public statements to the teaching of the Church, keep quiet or go to some other body. Currently there is no shortage of religious bodies that favor his stance or stances close to it and it seems that he’d be far more at home within their halls than those of the Orthodox Church.

Part of the problem is that I doubt that Dunn and his comrades have ever been in a theologically liberal body and so do not really know first hand how such bodies end up.  Usually such persons have built into their head some idealized vision of what they think the church should be, which amounts to some inconsistent mediating position. They serve as “useful idiots” for the more consistent and open non-Christian radicals. These persons are supsrised to find that after twenty years of aiding these once sweet radicals, they have turned into wolves who then turn on their masters seeking to exclude them in turn. Once the radicals have sufficient power they don’t need the more moderate advocates any longer. As a young man in the Episcopal church I watched this happen slowly from the 1980′s onward, and I was young and powerless to do anything. I am not powerless now and neither are the other refugees who have found a home in Orthodoxy from similar places.

These refugees and the church’s more native faithful sons and daughters need to stand up and do their part by openly rebuking such persons (in love) with the truth of Orthodox teaching.  If clergy, you need to say something and teach openly, censure if necessary. The time to do such things is now and not later, when it may be too late for your particular parish, diocese or God forbid, your jurisdiction. Mr. Dunn and others need to know in no uncertain terms that such views are not acceptable and not to be tolerated. For those of us who are refugees, we know what it is like to have to fight these battles and we paid a heavy price. I am not paying it again, and I am surely not going to allow my children to have to pay it.

So Mr. Dunn, either conform to the Church’s teaching as a penitent sinner like the rest of us or go somewhere else to be a Pharisee of Sodom.

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130 Responses to The Pharisees of Sodom

  1. [...] to put into … »See All Of This Item By Clicking Here!« ☆ ☆ ☆ 3) The Pharisees of Sodomhttp://energeticprocession.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/the-pharisees-of-sodom/By Perry Robinson on [...]

  2. [...] Robinson has posted a really good read on Energetic Processions about Orthodoxy so-called homosexual [...]

  3. Cyril says:

    Perry, I shall skip the smoke blowing and get to one point, which you did repeatedly, though tacitly, make: while our kind, sweet, and precious Jesus is the law-giver who sent the angels to obliterate Sodom, Nathan to inform David that his sheep-stealing actions had capital consequences (odd how it was the sheep stealing and not the murdering of the shepherd that Nathan emphasized), and who lauded Phinehas for interrupting the private choice of the consenting adults in Numbers 25 is the law-giver, he is also more (as implied in that wonderful icon of the creation). He is the true humanity, and indeed, per St. Irenaeus, the first true human. Thus he is the image of what real human life is, not the twisted and disordered animalia of our present, sex-soaked society. If he needed not bread to live, but every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God, what does this say about our other, less-necessary passions?

  4. On the pragmatic side, I can’t say, regarding the idea that there are less future tax payers if gay marriage is legalized, if past generations were indeed more concerned about long term effects, but it seems that people now only care about instant gratification. So from an in the moment perspective, childless couples probably pay more taxes because both of them work, and if male, both get paid more (still?) and thus pay even more taxes with less deductions.

    Social Security was enacted before mass birth control, and has been compromised since with all the consequence-less options freely, and under Obama getting even more so, available today. So in that case, having more children is an arguement for future sustainability through public taxation. But with automation, are there enough jobs for all these future children to be able to pay all these taxes?

  5. [...] we cannot escape public policy. I briefly commented on policies that affect personal morality on Energetic Procession, but am now wanting to think through it a little more. When people talk about the Demographic [...]

  6. eric hyde says:

    Bravo, Perry. Great piece.

    I feel petty even making this observation, but the point about there being no history of gay marriage (the quote is: “there is a good reason why neither of them speak about homosexual “marriage” because no one was so twisted to suggest such a thing in antiquity), I’m curious if you read this article that was circulated on Facebook recently – http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/1367/gay_marriagenothing_new_under_the_sun.aspx

    It doesn’t change your argument one iota but it is an interesting piece as well.

  7. Eric,

    I am aware of the piece. That author seems to argue it existed but as nothing more than a paraody of marriage per se, which in general doesn’t touch my point. The exception proves the rule. It is no wonder why Gay Pride parades excel in parody. How ironic.

  8. Ad Orientem says:

    zoophiliacs

    I used to enjoy learning new words. But seriously… yuck.

    Otherwise this was an outstanding piece.

  9. John, if Ick isn’t sufficient in relation to homosexual activity, then it cannot be employed with others of a different fetish that the wider public finds icky. I know you get this, but others don’t. And yes, there are really such people. I just wish people would own the implications of their own views and be honest.

  10. “A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying, ‘You are mad, you are not like us.’”

  11. Perry, ever consider submitting this as a contrary commentary piece to them? Or if not them (and I wouldn’t blame you), any other like magazine/journal like First Things or something?

    Also, funny enough, the article you cited from First Things by Kenneth Hunter is the father of a colleague in the class above me at TAC. All the more relevant now as twenty years ago.

  12. As an “Orthodox” Lay Theologian Mr Dunn should be orthodox in his position. “Orthodox” as a name only applies to those of orthodox faith not to those who happen to received at some time into the Orthodox Church. This is a growing gripe of mine that the term Orthodox seems to be losing its meaning and is simply a name for a particular group defined by other means than its orthodoxy. There should not be an unorthodox Orthodox Theologian.

    I think that Mr Dunn could have used a couple of other avenues to defend or at least not oppose Gay marriages. One is that the Church cannot impose moral standards on the world and those it should not interfere in secular laws unless that law directly affects the faithful. This argument may be weak but at least it has some Orthodox grounding in Scripture about not judging those outside the Church and those may at least tailor the nature of an Orthodox response from condemnation of such a law to reasons why such a law would not benefit society or cause legal problems for the faithful.

    Another is that sexual activity outside marriage is against the teaching of Christ, so legalising gay marriage makes the sexual activity legitimate. Supporting gay marriages could be coupled with condemning sexual activity outside marriage, interpreting the condemnation of homosexual behaviour to fornication outside marriage. Then one would have to show why gay marriage is not marriage; that is not as a condemnation of the sexual activity as such but that two members of the same gender cannot marry. That is marriage can only be defined as between male and female as male and female. I think that child bearing is part of this but not sufficient as an explanation. I think that the only solid reason is a reason grounded in the Faith that of the mystery of Christ and the Church and this mystery is only realisable with the iconic forms of male and female. Only a union that realises this mystery is truly a marriage otherwise any other marriage is only illegitimately legalised fornication. Mr Dunn could argue that because this reason is one grounded in the Orthodox Faith then it cannot apply directly to laws of those outside the faith and so members of the Church should not oppose “gay marriage” legislation at a political level, although strictly condemn such in terms of the faithful.

  13. ignoramus says:

    I’m not going to advocate for gay marriage — personally, I don’t know that I care about it one way or the other as a political issue (recognizing gay marriage), but I am curious enough about some of the points you leave a (idiotic) comment. For the record, I don’t think homosexual marriage has any place in the church nor do I think the church’s position should be to push for people to commit to life-long decisions that it deems sinful.

    “marriage is a natural right and not a legal right and “Gay marriage” doesn’t exist in nature apart from the existence of the state.”

    What do you mean by “exist in nature”? I’m having a hard time seeing marriage as something that exists in nature outside of a religious social institution and/or the state, unless you define marriage as a heterosexual union. And if we go further down the “in nature” trail, primates and other animals have monogamous, homosexual pair bonds.

    “assuming that marriage is a mere legal right, then the matter comes down not to equal protection issues, but to what benefit does the state derive from granting such a privilege? What interest does the state have in doing so? It isn’t because homosexuals will provide via the natural route future taxpayers, soldiers and such for the state and can’t do so to any significant degree by artificial means.”

    1.) Why can’t it be the case that homosexual marriage is a mere legal right without impugning the natural right of heterosexual marriage? That is, why do we need to conflate a legal right and a natural right even if they’re legally identical?

    2.) While I think you’re generally right about procreation (except for surrogacy and fertilization), I can think of a number of potential benefits that the state might find attractive.

    a.) Adoption relieves a burden on the state and adoptions likely work out better in married households.

    b.) Property laws can be immensely tricky and individuals living together have far less protection than a married couple during a split or death. If you wanted to be Lockean about it, property is a natural right and individuals should have legal protection of those rights.

    c.) “When you mandate something, particularly against strongly held moral beliefs, you take away a good number of the pressure release valves available to the public in a democracy. When you corner people and take away their political options with respect to strongly held beliefs, you leave them few choices that don’t include forceful resistance.” I think this cuts both ways.

    d.) Given that they can’t procreate, homosexual couples are more likely to both be wage earners and will likely pay more income tax.

    e.) I would imagine that married people create a number of positive civic effects, much like purchasing a house, and extending “marriage” to homosexuals would follow suit. It likely reduces crime, cleans up neighborhoods, lowers disease transference, and so forth. All of that could have a significant net benefit to the state.

    “If one were to argue that its legal basis is acceptance and tolerance, then we are back to grounding law in specific moral claims and those are moral claims I do not accept relative to acceptance and approval.”

    For me, this says more about the current, munged moral story and the arbitrariness of law — which is why I don’t care one way or the other about the issue in the political arena.

    Anyway, please be gentle. Don’t tear me a new one. ;)

  14. David Richards says:

    Examining his blog, it appears that Dunn is ideologically to the Left on several issues. That sends up a red flag.

  15. The reins of the Church are not in the hands of culture-war refugees which is very good. Perhaps before telling Mr. Dunn to leave, the author of this might consider the same option.

  16. Croneliu, Why should I leave when I uphold the church’s teaching? Why should I leave when I do not openly oppse it and teach against it? that seems strange. And institutional apostasy in mainline denominations isn’t the ‘culture war” per se, is it?

    It seems your view boils down to those who deny the church’s teaching should stay and those who affirm it should leave. If that is not your position, please clarify.

  17. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Perry Robinson: “If clergy, you need to say something and teach openly, censure if necessary. The time to do such things is now and not later, when it may be too late for your particular parish, diocese or God forbid, your jurisdiction. Mr. Dunn and others need to know in no uncertain terms that such views are not acceptable and not to be tolerated. For those of us who are refugees, we know what it is like to have to fight these battles and we paid a heavy price. I am not paying it again, and I am surely not going to allow my children to have to pay it.”

    Hi Perry,

    (1) Should Mr. Dunn be censured/disciplined privately or publicly by Orthodox clergy?

    (2) If publicly, what’s a reasonably appropriate time to elapse before witnessing a timely disciplinary action against Mr. Dunn?

    Suppose the public disciplinary action occurs 5 years from today. Is that timely enough? What do you think is timely enough so that you believe that the Orthodox clergy is not tolerating such views?

  18. Ad Orientem says:

    IMHO I think one should be careful about speculating or discussing the discipline of others who are not subject to our authority. I am neither a bishop nor a priest with such responsibilities, for which I thank God. It is a terrible thing to have to judge others and should only be done in cases of great need and then only by by those with competence. I completely agree with Perry’s excellent post and think it is OK to reprove others who are causing scandal. But I would respectfully suggest that ecclesial sanctions are above the paygrade of most of us on this forum. Prayer might be a more appropriate response.

  19. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Perry Robinson: “If clergy, you need to say something and teach openly, censure if necessary. The time to do such things is now and not later, when it may be too late for your particular parish, diocese or God forbid, your jurisdiction. Mr. Dunn and others need to know in no uncertain terms that such views are not acceptable and not to be tolerated “

    Ad Orientem: “IMHO I think one should be careful about speculating or discussing the discipline of others who are not subject to our authority. … But I would respectfully suggest that ecclesial sanctions are above the paygrade of most of us on this forum.”

    I think Perry is both good and correct in recommending that Orthodox clergy to say something and teach openly, to censure Mr. Dunn and possibly others, if necessary, in a timely manner on this issue.

  20. Mr. Dunn does not pretend to be the official voice of the Church on the matter so i don’t see why the clergy should get involved, as clergy. What’s more troublesome is to see this sort of mentality where one can only express a personal opinion with approval from the hierarchy. It’s not how I saw Orthodoxy operate in well more established places. As if libertarian (or monarchist, or neocom)rhetoric, spewed by a number of orthodox individuals is official Church teaching. Of course it’s not, but the hierarchy doesn’t need to get involved for opinions expressed on blogs.
    This call for silencing an individual opinion is what annoyed me.

  21. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    David Richards: “Examining his blog, it appears that Dunn is ideologically to the Left on several issues. That sends up a red flag.”

    Yes. An excellent observation! Red flag indeed.

    I have often found that theological liberals are frequently driven to be theologically liberal by their political liberalism.

    In contrast, I have often found that theological conservatives are frequently driven to be political conservatives by their theologically conservative convictions.

  22. Another thing to consider-since mention is made of Dunn’s political opinions-is that not every Orthodox has the obsessions and phobias of “culture war refugees”. Most do not have that.

  23. Corneliu,

    Dunn and others do not need to pretend to be the official voice of the church to give people the impression through a national news paper that they are representing Orthodox Moral teachng when teaching direclty contrary to it.

    Second, he is representing his views not merely on a personal blog, which is one thing, but on a national newspaper. That is a different ball game altogether.

    Third, he isn’t expressing his personal opnion, He is expressing what he takes to be and what his readers take to be Orthodox teaching or at the very least what is permissable to believe in Orthodoxy. Neither of which are true.

    Fourth, these aren’t issues of the polis per se, but of moral theology, and form which Mr. Dunn seems to clearly dissent from the Church’s clear and infallible teaching on this matter. The morality of homosexual acts is not a prudential political matter and so your characterization founders on a mischaracterization of the matter.

    Fifth, sitting in my church listening to my bishop openly deny the resurrection in the resurrection sunday sermon and extol the virtues of homosexual persons does not make me a refugee of the culture war, but a refugee of an apostate body. Perhaps if you’d suffered at the hands of apostates you might not be so quick to dismiss my concerns.

    Much of what you write turns on or seems to, the attitude that what happened in ECUSA of PCUSA can’t happen in Orthodoxy. Church history teaches us otherwise. Second, as far as the wider culture goes, you seem to think we can just let the culture be whateverwhich way and everything in the Shire will remain the same. After a while, there won’t be a Shire either. In short, we’re next.

    Lastly, your response fails to engage anything I have written or really anything Dunn wrote either and so is fundamentally dismissive, which is why it really offers nothing substantial to discuss.

  24. TUAD,

    I would think privately would be preferable at first, but then again, Paul indicates that some should be publically rebuked. I would say it depends on the judgment of the authorities in his jurisdiction.

    As for your second question, wouldn’t that depend on A) canonical procedures and B) what those on the ground judge to be prudentially best?

    It is one thing for Joe Papadolopoulsianosis to say something silly at your local parish. It is another thing to go on to a national newspaper and do so. Take this thought experiment. Suppose Cardinal Kasper (or some other Cardinal or Catholic heriarch-take your pick) made remarks to the effect that the Orthodox teach that homosexual acts are morally permissible and that the Orthodox back SSM? What would be the appropriate time frame for a response and what kind of response do you think would be forthcoming from the Assembly of Bishops I wonder? Exactly.

  25. Ad Orientum,

    You are quite right to urge caution. But by the same token there is something to be said about doing too little, too late as well. I am all for fair trials, but for fair and speedy trials too. It is not as if the Church’s moral teaching is a state secret and he couldn’t have known it when he joined up. . If he or anyone else joins the church and takes a public voice even informally in the public square for the Church it is not as if he is ignorant of the Church’s moral teaching on this matter. I sat and watched in ECUSA as “cooler” heads urged restraint, dialog and “understanding.” Uhuh, look what happened. It was all a tactic to buy time until they got enough power to push out anyone who believed in Jesus Christ. It’s a Trojan Horse and nothing else. Either you get the cancer or the cancer gets you.

    More over, our Church has a long tradition of laity as occupiers of the general priesthood of the Church publically rebuking hierarchs and clergy and calling for censure (or usually far worse than what I am calling for.) What good is a sensus fidelium without sanctions?

    What is more, I am not the one aligning in a national venue the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ with Sodomites. The urging of restraint should be for Dunn. I am just a whistleblower. There’s a fox in the hen house.

  26. Bob says:

    Hi,

    On mature reflection, Gays must be MAD! To leave the position of liberal “connections”, with no strings attached & DEMAND the right to marry and all that it pertains to, is madness. Talk about BONDAGE; talk about PAIN; don’t these fools read the newspapers.

    No! I believe there is an unseen hand manipulating the situation & forcing Gays into marriage. This is pure homophobia & the stupid Gays can’t see it.

    It reminds me of the AIDS drug that was supposed to cure AIDS victims and which Gays demanded to be given. The sad fact was, the drug killed more AIDS victims than AIDS itself. It was their lifestyle of multiple sex partners, drugs, multiple STD infections & a lousy diet that lead to the body breaking down BUT Gays didn’t want to hear that & the Drug Companies didn’t either.

    THIS WILL BE PURE BONDAGE! THIS WILL BE PURE PAIN FOR THE BUGGERS.

    The Legal Parasites are counting the PINK dollars that will be coming their way soon. The “GAYNESS” will soon go out of being Gay, once the Marriage Laws are passed. Ha, ha, ha

  27. Codgitator says:

    Wonderful piece, Perry, thank you. I gave the Twitbook treatment.

    Pardon my being of topic, but I’d appreciate comments on this blog post, mainly so I can understand how it’s not just flagrant “sólo ecclesiae” (or “Greek Protestantism”) grist for the anti-Orthodox mill. http://www.orthodox-christianity.com/2012/06/what-is-an-ecumenical-council/

  28. Bob,

    Probably some sort of warped emotional co-dependence on the romantic notion of true love.

  29. Lastly, your response fails to engage anything I have written or really anything Dunn wrote either and so is fundamentally dismissive, which is why it really offers nothing substantial to discuss.
    ***********************************
    It wasn’t my intention to discuss the subject itself, just some thoughts on silencing others with the hierarchical fist, as it were.
    i leave the discussion of the subject proper to dimwits like Bob.

  30. Bob,

    Your rhetoric seems over the top and out of place. It certainly isn’t helpful in my judgment. If you can reformulate your remaks to make an argument, then fine. Otherwise, future comment slike the one above will be moderated without notice.

    Corneliu,

    By the same token calling Bob names isn’t particularly charitable either and is out of place. Please desist.

    As for your intention, I am not out to silence Dunn. He can say whatever he likes in our open society. But he is not free to say whatever he likes as a member of the church and as a member of the church on a national platform,

    Moreover, the Apostles (along with Jesus) were quite willing (and did so) to silence folk via excommunication, that is, with a heriarchical fist. So even with your non-engaging comments I can’t see how they amount to anything but a non-starter.

  31. Codgitator,

    However relevant that post is or however much you covet my remarks on it, it is off topic and I won’t be engaging it here. Please do not post any more links off topic. Thanks for your support.

  32. Perry, thanks for your patience, and I had zero desire to hijack the thread, I just didn’t know where else to ask. As for this post, again, it’s courageous, trenchant, and much needed, since hearing a harmony of Catholic and Orthodox teaching on the core of marriage can only work to the good in American public consciousness. Even so, I don’t think the link I asked about is entirely off-topic, since it does address the issue of how Orthodox churches should or should not politically engage the culture to legislate moral truth. So perhaps that facet of the article could be addressed, leaving any meta-issues aside for now. Best,

  33. IOW, what caught my eye was the bits about local disciplines ans canons. Moscow’s vigorous opposition to homosexual activism is well known. Perhaps Dunn such vigor is a disciplinary accident suitable for the Russian eparchy but out of place for the OCA, on the supposition that “the Church has no place in civil affairs”. I ask as a Catholic highly interested in the spread of libertarianism in American Catholicism. Perhaps Dunn is an instance of the same ‘libertinizing’ among Orthodox. The Vatican’s statement on granting marriage rights to homosexual unions is notoriously blunt not in its moral absolutism about sexual ethics but also about the impermissibility of giving (what I call) “schmarriage” a pass on libertarian grounds. It is the duty of every Catholic to oppose the schmarriage agenda, a duty which you note also holds for Orthodox. So I’m curious if there’s a similar document by a major Orthodox body that exhorts the faithful to social activism on behalf of moral truth.

  34. Lvka says:

    I can’t, for the LIFE of me, understand why God banned ALL homosexual relations… I find this particularly disturbing insofar as the lives of those who are thus for biological reasons is concerned… If He has mercy on the mentally-afflicted, who do the most deranged things, even killing innocent people, through no fault of their own, but because of their affliction, does He not extend His mercy to this subset of homosexuals as well ? If not, then why not? (Romans 9:15 does not really count as an answer here, inasmuch as it refers to an extension of mercy [towards undeserving pagans], and not to a restriction of grace). The God Who made man and woman, and knows how powerful the romantic attraction between them is, and who also knows that because of the fall some things don’t quite happen like planned (i.e., still-born children, congenital malformations, etc), does He have no mercy on those whose deviation is biological? If not, why not? Shouldn’t we all, like Moses in Exodus 32:32, intercede on their behalf, asking God to either extend His grace and mercy to them as well, or else altogether blot our names together with theirs from the book of life, for the sake of logic and non-hypocrisy ? For if we ourselves cannot let go of our own women, how can we expect them to do the equivalent? Each way I turn it, it just doesn’t make any sense…

  35. Lvka:

    What do you think chastity and celibacy are? Are they less virtuous if upheld by straight people? Or any more virtuous, for that matter? As Anthony Esolen noted, straight have always just needed grace and chastity to live without sex, yet gays are said to need “courage”. Why? As you yourself admit, homoerotic behavior is a deformation of human nature, just as alcoholism AMD blindness are. Why should the stat base laws on deformed exceptions to the rules (as if DUI laws were penned by drunks, or driving tests designed by the blind)? Moreover, why should God alter His image in us – Adam-Eve-Eden, Jesus-Church-Grace – by legitimizing the disordered behavior? Marriage is an “outlet” for heterosexual eroticism, so it’s not unbridled. It’s absurd to think God should give an equal “outlet” for actions He condemns, much as if we prayed some marriages could be given to double-X-chromosome violent offenders so they could channel their violence. None of us is allowed to marry whomever we want/love. We’re all equally stifled in that respect. It just happens gays dislike their marriage options, and in turn demand society rewrite its constitution to gratify their desire to marry as they desire.

  36. Lvka says:

    All I can say is this:

    x818.com/nevverimages/071511.jpg

    (A picture’s worth more than a thousand words, so…)

  37. Lvka says:

    Cogitator,

    Thank you for your observations, but they miss the mark for at least two reasons:

    Homosexuals CAN marry women AND have intimate relations with them (NO chastity or celibacy is “required” or “expected” of them). They can ALSO admire their wives, and -in a friendly and platonic way- love them… but they cannot love them in a romantic manner… which is nothing short of hell… and to compare their state with that of straight people is absurd, inasmuch in our case it’s a matter of “not YET”, and not a matter of “not EVER”… which are two wholly different things…

    I also wasn’t talking about “the state”, but about their redemption. (The only reason the state cares about marriage in the first place is because it provides offspring, creating new tax-paying citizens: in other words, for purely pragmatic and materialist purposes).

  38. Apropos “gay marriage”, these folk seem to “get it”.

    Monogamous gay husband with wife of ten years: http://m.gawker.com/5917022/im-a-gay-mormon-whos-been-happily-married-for-10-years

    Happily married “lesbian” and mother of six: http://www.lifesitenews.com/mobile/news/life-after-lesbianism

  39. Lvka,
    Attaching ones self to a person more than to the commandments of God is idolatry and not Christian. Straight people don’t have an automatic license to do that either, which is why fornication, adultery, incest, and pedophilia are also prohibited. There are other things that keep straight people from the person of their dreams too, like unrequited love, death, being wrong about them, etc. Good thing heavenly experiences don’t depend on it.

  40. Lvka says:

    Attaching ones self to a person more than to the commandments of God is idolatry, and not Christian

    And yet -for some mysterious reason- this same God does NOT test OUR devotion to Him by forcing us to choose between either a joining a convent, or entering a homosexual union… (Have you ever asked yourself “why” ? Furthermore, have you ever asked yourself what you would do, were you put in this position ?)

  41. Thinking on the matter it seems that while gay marriage is really a secular issue to a large degree and not subject to the standards of the Church in this context, giving gay couples legal recognition as a bonded couple is in effect giving them societal legitimisation. That is that such a relationship is generally accepted by society as legitimately something the same as marriage between a man and a woman.

    Although such a law may be passed by a simple majority of those elected to represent the wishes of the society, it nevertheless implies acceptance by society as a whole. Thus the legislation is not merely a legal matter divorced from morality and values, if such a law could genuinely be said to exist, it is dealing with a matter that for many in society is intimately linked with morality and values. This is where the problem lies with such legislation, and Mr Dunn defending it as such, and this is where there is a need for the Church to speak out. It needs to make it clear that society as a whole does not accept the legitimacy of gay marriage. Even though the Church cannot impose its values on those outside, its members are still members in the society and as such are affected by society’s laws and values. The reason why the Church opposes gay marriage is not necessary here, those of secular minds most likely wouldn’t understand the reason anyway, it is just that a significant portion of the society opposes the values implied by such legislation on grounds that are legitimate and important within their world view.There cannot be an absolute separation of Church and State because both deal with matters about how we live with each other and the State, its governing members in whole or portion, imposing their values on society is as much a breach of Church State separation as is the Church imposing its values. Where a significant portion of the population is orthodox, in at least this matter, Christian, or of other faiths that reject the legitimacy of gay marriage, then it is quite right that a law granting gay marriage legal recognition should be refused on the grounds of protest from this portion of society.

    This raises further issues about what should be considered a legitimate sufficiency of representative support to pass such a law. Surely this type of law must have a huge majority if not unanimous consensus. That is not until the whole of society is supportive of such legitimisation should it be permitted. While a significant portion of society, perhaps even 5%, then it will be the case that the majority impose their values on the minority. This then makes the minority in some manner aliens to the society due to their religious choice. The onus should be on those who wish to change such laws rather than on those maintaining the status quo except where a call is made regarding the legitimacy of a recently passed law that it was made without due consent of the members of society.

    Of course the system cannot be perfect should people continue to maintain different values and some will always feel alienated to some extent from the society in general due to religious values. Nevertheless, the debate should continue especially from Christians in the hope that we will all be of one mind. We may recognise and tolerate different opinions due to fallen human freedom but we should not allow that contrary opinions are to remain such as legitimate to society.

  42. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Perry Robinson: “Take this thought experiment. Suppose Cardinal Kasper (or some other Cardinal or Catholic heriarch-take your pick) made remarks to the effect that the Orthodox teach that homosexual acts are morally permissible and that the Orthodox back SSM? What would be the appropriate time frame for a response and what kind of response do you think would be forthcoming from the Assembly of Bishops I wonder? Exactly.”

    #1. It’s inconceivable.

    #2. If it did occur, I don’t know how fast the Assembly of Bishops moves. Talking takes a long time.

    #3. If it’s private response to Cardinal Kasper’s public remarks, do you think it would suffice? Compare that to Mr. Dunn’s public remarks. Would a private response by Orthodox clergy to Mr. Dunn’s public remarks defending SSM suffice?

    Let’s bear in mind what you wrote above in the post:

    Dunn’s argument as a whole and its conclusion is an anomaly or rather an innovation, which is probably the worst theological sin an Orthodox theologian can commit.

    How should the public expression of “the worst theological sin an Orthodox theologian can commit” be treated by the Orthodox clergy charged with administering and safeguarding one of the marks of a True Church: Loving Church Discipline?

  43. Ignoramous,

    If you do not think that the church should push for the church to recognize committments that are sinful, do you think the church should be indifferent to them?

    By exist in nature I mean two things. First it exists independent of any state or any state law and antecedent to them. I also mean via Locke and others an internal telos that is recognizable via its productive effects. Since homosexual unions produce nothing relative to procreation they cannot be part of the telos of given creatures.

    As for primates and other animals forming homosexual pair bonds, well that is highly contoversial. As in the case of some, do they merely form co-operative relations when there are insufficient number of females (or males) or are these bonds of affection and sex too? What makes them monogamous? EVen if they did, we aren’t primates or other species and such relations are sterile. They are also quite rare. More directly, we’d need an example with humans, not primates, but that is just what we do not have prior to the contemporary scene. So far as I know there are no species that form monogamous homosexual pair bonds. There are cases where there is shortage of females and males perform either co-operative relations or engage in sexual activity but these are not monogamous and cease when sufficient number of females become available. But I am not a biologist and I am not an anthropologist. I am just reporting as far as I know. In any case, even if such relations did exist, they would fall outside of natural law being sterile. In any case most Queer Theory that I have read argues very much against hmoosexuality being biological, so it isn’t just my reading of the data.

    If homosexual marriage were a mere legal right, then it could not be called marriage without implying legal equivalence. That is not “marriage equality” as far as its proponents are concerned. The same goes with rights relative to them. SSM would need to lack some rights that marriage had, otherwise the difference is just in name. If SSM is a mere expansion of the definition of marriage, then there is no way to say that it is a mere legal right while heterosexual marriage is a natural right.

    We do not need to conflate them exactly because they are not identical, and that is the problem now.

    Adoption might be beneficial if we ignore the moral issue and the general decline in marriage. Do we really believe that homosexuals will stay monogamous at a higher rate that heterosexuals? Second, would homosexual marriages amount to any significant degree of adoptions as opposed to adoptions of one homosexual adopting the biological child of another homosexual to which they are married? I can’t see that the data supports that they would provide any significant number of adoptions. This is especially true with say Catholic adoption services that shut down services when forced to comply. That creates a greater burden on the system and so makes things worse not better.

    I agree that cohabitators have fewer legal protetions, but isn’t that the point? Marriage is something important rather than glorified concubinage where we swap fluids and funds for a contingent period of time. Secondly, power of attorney and a host of other contracts can secure such property rights even now among heterosexual co-habitators. If people are too lazy to avail themselves of such contracts that isn’t a reason to encase their immorality in law. And I am familiar with the gripe that such contracts can be challenged inc ourt by blood family members, this is true for non-naturalized legal alien residents who are married and it is the case for spouses who have a will. Neither a will nor marriage is a sure guard against legal challenge anyway.

    While it is true that they are more likely to both be wage earners, why isn’t this true for heterosexual cohabitators who have no children and plan to be sterile? I can’t see any substantial difference between the two cases. Why provide “marriage” protection for one but not the other? But then, we are either transforming marriage into some legal right or we aren’t talking about marriage at all anymore, are we? I can’t see why the fact that they pay more taxes implies that they should pay less and have their living arrangements approved and encased in law. Besides, if they can’t produce more citizens then I can’t see a good reason to give them a tax break via marriage at all.

    As far as civil and economic effects, do you mean to imply that homosexual marriagees do not currently produce houses jointly? Secondly, given the small number of homosexuals (1.4%) and the even vastly smaller number who say they desire civil marriage for themselves we aren’t talking about any sizable increase in consumption. Some great romantic film about marriage is likely to produce deeper economic benefit by inducing hetersexual marriage and the resulting behaviors in any given year than this would. So I can’t see that there is any significant net benefit to the state,

    As for reducing crime and so forth, do you mean to imply that unmarried homosexuals make significant contributions to crime, bad neighborhoods and higher rates of disease (STD’s presumably)? If so, what evidence do we have that legalizing marriage for them reduces these to any sigificant degree? None that I can see. And secondly one of the major reasons why heterosexual marriage produces those effects is that people become responsible for children and providing for them. They start thinking of their kids and the future, rather than themselves.

    And lastly, if these rates (crime, economic decline, etc.) are significantly linked to homosexuals, then we seem to have a bigger problem with the homosexual population even though the Gay Rights advocates keep telling us we don’t (disease transferrence for example).

    Your indifference though I’d guess is rooted in the assumption that soceity in the long term would stay the same if we were to legalize it. But I am not convinced that this is so. Our society changes relatively quickly, even faster as the trasnfer of information increases and spreads out. As a kidin the 1970′s I watched the divorce generation happen. I watched it, as sure as I watched homes on my block going up for sale. That is how the kids knew who was getting divorced. Just look at the divorce rates for that decade. I knew empirically what such states showed analytically. That was all in the space of a few short years, less than a decade. So I simly do not buy the assumption that things will stay the same f we shange this one thing.

    Futher, politics doesn’t permit a vaccuum. It is not as if you can change this and not change anything else. School curriculum’s will change for starters. And those who dissent will be publically maligned, if not worse, including their children. What the anti-bullying campaign amounts to is, no bullying for their kids or kids who think like them, butplenty of bullying for ours.

  44. Fr. Patrick,

    I don’t take the argument that the church cannot impose moral standards on the world seriously for a few reasons. First, because it equivocates. The Church isn’t doing it, the electorate is. Second, the church seems just fine with doing so regarding murder, rape and abortion, along with a host of other thigns. Should we rescind our public opposition on those things too? For some things I agree that it would cause more harm (and end up producing more moral evil) to try and root out a fair number of activities. But we aren’t talking about taking away something that is already legal, but rather of changng the status quo. That’s a differnt ball game.

    Further, while Paul does say that he is not to judge those outside the church, we aren’t talking about giving ecclesiastical excommunication the force of law either. What is more, Scripture indicates that God judged the gentiles for such sexual immorality quite apart from the Law of Moses and this Paul clearly seems to uphold in Rom 1-2. If so, we aren’t imposing specific ecclesial requirements but what is known and by which men are held to account via general revelation. Added to this Paul says that the ruler is normatively equipped by God to punish vice and promote virtue, which is why he bears not the sword in vain. Consequently Paul would agree with a public law becuse he agrees with a public morality as a basis apart from ecclesial discipline, which is why that passage from Paul offers no help to legalizing what God judged apart from the Law.

    Secondly, legalizing it will not keep things as they are. The faithful will be further imposed upon to contravene their consciences in the public square. There is no political alteration of this magnitude that does’t put someone out in the cold. Things will not stay the same.

    As for your second reason I don’t think it washes. Here is why. Legalizing it would only make it legitimate if the creation account and nbatural revelation were also altered with the alteration of the law. Mere contractual law that runs contrary to natural revelation (or natural law for instance) lacks the force of law. This is why an unjust or immoral law is no law at all, a la MLK jr.

    I do not know and I do not understand why people think that their views cannot be put into law. I understand that this is something of a pluralist political assumption, but lots of people in plrualist democracies do not embrace pluralism. Are they not to vote at all? And what is more, the extent of pluralism is determined at bottom by the electorate. So arguing that distinctive Orthodox views cannot be put into law doesn’t wash. Distinctive views are put into law all the time. What is more, we aren’t arguing over Orthodox theological distinctives, unless Buddhism, Islam and Judaism are what we mean by Orthodoxy.

    What is more, Dunn isn’t arguing for indifference. He is arguing for legalizing it and that is something quite different than what his church has consistently done for two millenia.

  45. TUAD,

    IN this proposed case., I have no doubt, they’d move so fast as to make the Baklava spin.

    I think a private reponse at this stage is sufficient, if he ceases from making further statements on the national stage.

    When I spoke of Dunn’s theological sin, I meant it in terms of method and so academic theology. As far as bring a true theolgoians, I have no idea since I do not know his spiritual state nor he mine (which is a good thing going both ways) I do not presume to make those kinds of judgments.

    Despite what people may think about me, like I am some kind of heartless bastard, I am all for such discipline being done gently, in private and such, unless things get worse.

    My main concern here is with the wider body rather than the individual because I doubt the individual will change, but rather take on a self righteous position of persecution for their conscience rather than stop and think about the conditions of their entrance into the church and just being plain old honest about it.

  46. ignoramus says:

    Perry,

    I don’t think the church should be quiet about its moral qualms with the world and neither should its practitioners. That said, I also don’t think that the legalization of gay marriage would really change much in terms of individual or societal moral behavior. Again, I’m not really advocating for homosexual marriage (or poly-amorous marriage or man-bear-pig marriage).

    The primates bit was just related to how far “in nature” extended. To say the least, I’ve now seen enough “Curious George” to know that “George is a monkey and he can do things that we can’t do.” While I do think the homosexual behavior in other animals has decently documented (to my eyes, anyway), it isn’t pertinent now that you cleared up “in nature” for me.

    “If homosexual marriage were a mere legal right, then it could not be called marriage without implying legal equivalence. That is not “marriage equality” as far as its proponents are concerned. The same goes with rights relative to them. SSM would need to lack some rights that marriage had, otherwise the difference is just in name. If SSM is a mere expansion of the definition of marriage, then there is no way to say that it is a mere legal right while heterosexual marriage is a natural right.”

    I’m pretty sure I’m missing something here. It seems to me that you’re saying that if I we make SSM legally equivalent to marriage, that it wouldn’t be enough for the proponents of SSM. And that, therefore, SSM needs to lack something that marriage has. To me, it’s all about legal equivalence and I don’t see why proponents of SSM would want a lack of something. So, I don’t see why expanding a positive law in such a way would either infringe on the natural right of marriage or expand the natural right of marriage to SSM.

    To be fair, I did just rattle those off the top of my head. Honestly, you could’ve asked nearly any question and I’d have to back down. ;) But I will say that, generally, I think the state could probably justify those things. For instance, dual wage earners sometimes need to file separately anyway to avoid tax penalties that come from filing jointly. I have seen studies that suggest homosexual adoptions don’t fare as well as heterosexual adoptions. I’m also fine with the “common sense” idea that people that commit to a relationship will be less likely to create the social ills that folks that don’t commit will — I’m even more encouraged by the “common sense” approach since it makes me feel right without having to do any work ;). However, I think you’re probably right about enough of your rebuttal there to make me want to concede the points rather than research the answers. Really, just the mention of heterosexual divorce rates undoes the majority of what I just mentioned (because, sadly, my no-research approach leads me to believe that homosexual divorce would happen at a similar rate).

    “Your indifference though I’d guess is rooted in the assumption that soceity (sic) in the long term would stay the same if we were to legalize it.”

    There’s probably some truth to that. I could see it being generational as well. Stigmatizing homosexuality went out of style some time in the 90s while I was in middle- or high-school and that likely had some formative impact on me (as did all of the pluralism thrown my way). I could see my apathy coming from a sense of “this battle has really already been lost”. But I’m not so naive as to think that society will stay the same. I’m probably naive in thinking it will move in big waves.

    But I think that I mostly just don’t care about it because, legally, it doesn’t seem that marriage means all that much. Minus the ease of legally doing particular things (getting healthcare for dependents, for example) and some potential tax benefit, it’s just a sheet of paper (if it’s even that anymore and not just a file some someone’s server). Outside of the church, I think marriage is a broken concept. So, except for concerns about consent, the idea of legalizing polygamy doesn’t bother me. Even if you think it’s just someone’s excuse for an adulterous lifestyle, they were probably going to live that way anyway.

  47. Fr. Maximus says:

    I think Perry is right when he says that approbation of homosexuality can creep into the Church: in fact, it already has. While the numbers of lavender clergy have not reached the proportions that exist in the Catholic church, those of us in clergy circles have a good idea of the high numbers of homosexual archimandrites and bishops that exist the Church of Greece and especially the Fanar. Even the more conservative jurisdictions are not immune: I was recently scandalized to learn that ROCOR has a bishop in France who has a civil union with his deacon. The Synod, which should know better, allows them to serve and retain their posts, even though the two of them were also convicted of felony in a French court. This is in some ways worse than the more prevalent immorality in the Greek church because it is an open case.

    The first step in making a heresy or immorality part of the belief system of a church is to fill the ranks of the church with people who practice it or are indifferent to it. Unfortunately, the situation in the Orthodox Church is only getting worse in this regard. If we are not careful, the Orthodox church will be taken over by bishops like Bp. Lazar Puhalo, who openly advocates homosexuality, and people who try to justify Orthodox homosexuality on the basis of the ceremony of adelphopoiia.

    I should also point out that the penalty for homosexuality in Byzantium was DEATH for both the active and passive partners. I am not aware of any objection from the part of the Church to this legislation.

  48. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Perry Robinson: “More over, our Church has a long tradition of laity as occupiers of the general priesthood of the Church publically rebuking hierarchs and clergy and calling for censure (or usually far worse than what I am calling for.) What good is a sensus fidelium without sanctions?

    What is more, I am not the one aligning in a national venue the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ with Sodomites. The urging of restraint should be for Dunn. I am just a whistleblower. There’s a fox in the hen house.”

    Given this long tradition of laity as occupiers of the general priesthood of the Church and the calling for censure, is it permissible for someone like you to write a letter to the hierarchs and asking for canonical discipline to be administered to Mr. Dunn for his public expressions which blatantly contradict Orthodox Church teaching?

  49. Lvka says:

    The first step in making a heresy or immorality part of the belief system of a church is to fill the ranks of the church with people who practice it or are indifferent to it.

    No. And for two simple reasons:

    Because the humble Orthodox people -numbering over two hundred million- are not only viscerally repulsed by the idea (their nominalism notwithstading), but also have a different understanding of the faith than either Catholics, Anglicans, or Protestants. (No pope, or king, or bible-expert can undo the faith of their fathers and forefathers).

    This being said, can someone please offer me one sane reason why people whose physical attraction to the same sex is biological are supposed to spend eternity in hell ? Thank you.
    _____________________________________________________

    Unfortunately, the situation in the Orthodox Church is only getting worse in this regard. If we are not careful, the Orthodox church will be taken over by bishops like Bp. Lazar Puhalo, who openly advocates homosexuality, and people who try to justify Orthodox homosexuality on the basis of the ceremony of adelphopoiia

    Luther had a saying: “Is this my Church, or Your Church ? Good night, my God”. And then he went to bed. (Matthew 16:18; Acts 5:38-39).

  50. Lvka,

    I think the teaching of Jesus on the immorality of fornication is sufficient as I sketched above. If you do not think that it is sufficient, please point out why you think it isn’t.

    And second, there is no scientific demonstration on the books from biological factors acting causally to same sex attraction, so I think you are assuming facts not in evidence.

  51. Fr. Maximus says:

    Luka,

    Nobody is immune. People are being bombarded by homosexual propaganda every day. Just because we are Orthodox doesn’t mean it can’t happen to us. How many heresies – including ones relating to morality – have started out within the Church? A lot. If we put our head in the sand and claim invulnerability we just increase the likelihood that it will happen. Besides, the vast majority of that 200 million wear their Orthodoxy very lightly, which increases their susceptibility to propaganda, even if at the moment they are not in favor of homosexuality.

    The problem with homosexuality, as with all passions, is not the impulse but the acceptance of the impulse. We all have passions such as gluttony, lust (in its various forms), anger, and so on, for which there may or may not be a genetic or biological predisposition. But whether there is or is not, we must all fight our passions. And that is where we will be judged. The problem with the SSM is that it states that what is perverse is natural (and therefore good) and that therefore we should indulge our passions.

  52. Lvka says:

    As I wrote in my previous comments on this post, I can’t understand WHY God would not extend His mercy to those that are biologically afflicted by this condition…

    Why I think that there are people whose homosexuality is due to biological factors ? Because there are too many of them whose same-sex-attraction is neither conjectural, nor psychological in nature. By conjectural I mean the kind of homosexuality that happens when the sexes are seggregated from each other, as in prisons, the army, boarding schools, sailors on a ship, etc. And by freudian or psychological I mean the homosexuality that is determined by family or rape. By “family” I mean that the child lacks the warm, natural affection of the parent that is of the same sex as itself, and tries to find it later in life in people of the same sex, who act thus as a substitute-parent. And by “rape” I mean that the child was either sexually-corrupted by a member of the same sex, and thus becomes gay later in life by forming an inclination to homosexuality because of what happened to him/her, OR that it was raped by a member of the opposite sex, and becomes gay by forming a repulsion towards relations with members of the opposite sex because of what happened to him/her.

    But elimination is not the only way… For instance, we know from biology that the fat inside a man’s body deposits itself primarily on the thighs and the belly (hence why only obese men have ‘tities’), whereas in the case of women it’s on the thighs and breasts, thus giving their bodies the proverbial “8″-shaped form… Well, many lesbians have fat-deposits in the same areas as men, with big thighs and bellies, and very small breasts… so obviously, there has to be a physical or biological reason for that. Likewise, we know that a certain part of the brain is smaller in the case of women, and much larger in the case of men. And -unsurprisingly enough- the proportion of that particular region of the brain is reversed in the case of many trans-sexuals. There are probaly many other such examples of physical irregularities in the case of LGBT people, but these two come to mind.

  53. Lvka says:

    Those 200 million are viscerally against it not because of religious dogma (for which they couldn’t care less), but because of the laws of nature…

    And I didn’t say that we’re immune, just that the Church will survive, in the sense that -even if almost all will succumb- there will always be a remnant…

  54. Lvka says:

    The trouble that I have with the second half of your answer, Father Maximus, is that it reduces homosexuality to lust: which simply isn’t the case. There are deeply-commited homosexual couples, whose partners are devoted to one another… and who -(un)surprisingly enough- don’t get AIDS (because the two aren’t sleeping-around). Lesbians don’t get AIDS either (for purely-physical reasons alone). They are also known for being monogamous (as women tend to be so more than men). The reason I’m writing this is because the topics of AIDS and sexual depravity were raised earlier in the discussion. It was mentioned, for instance, that the latter was wide-spread amongst male homosexuals, while forgetting to mention that males -as a group-, and regardless of sexual orientation, are far more ‘polygamous’ than women, who tend towards monogamy, also regardless of sexual orientation. To my knowledge, this is called a double standard, or a half-truth… and such things are the enemies of logical thinking.

  55. Lvka says:

    It was also mentioned that one redeeming feature of normal sexuality was its ability to procreate (thus engendering altruism [a divine energy] in the parents’ hearts)… but what was not said was that many same-sex couples desire to adopt children, and do not see their imminent sterility as a reason to celebrate and be merry… not to mention that alms-giving -and other forms of altruism- are not exactly restricted to ‘straight’ persons… hence my continuos bewilderment…

    (Of course, someone might say that the majority of gay people do not present the characteristics of those that I speak of… but I think I made it very clear early on that I’m only concerned about some [ or a certain sub-group of ] homosexuals, and not all of them).

  56. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Lvka,

    You seem to be endorsing Mr. Dunn’s arguments in the Huffington Post. Maybe with a bit more qualification, but it seems that you agree with the essence of his argument. Is that not so?

    If so, and given that Perry has called for disciplinary action for Mr. Dunn, the only reason why you might not or should not receive any is because you’re not doing it on a large-scale stage as Mr. Dunn.

  57. Fr. Maximus says:

    Luka,

    Firstly, I did not reduce homosexuality to lust – I simply pointed out that it is a passion. There are other passions besides lust. Secondly, what is the difference between homosexuality and close, same-sex friendship? Is it not some variety of lust? If the sexual element is taken out of homosexuality, it is no longer homosexual, but simply an intense friendship.

  58. Lvka says:

    Not unless you’re willing to confuse sexual intercourse with eros or romantic love — or at least take the former to include the latter… which is obviously not the case, regardless of one’s orientation…

    Our friendships with people of the same gender are not romantic in nature… nor do celibate gay lovers have the same feelings for one another as we have for our friends… or at least I hope not, LOL! :-)

    but simply an intense friendship.

    Yeah… a very, very, very, very “close” and “intense” “friendship”… :-) All of this would be so funny, were it not so hopelessly dark and tragic…

  59. Lvka says:

    Truth that Unites and Divides,

    What do you find MORE disturbing ? The fact that I say what I say, OR the fact that a great number of people will probably spend eternity in Hell for something that they’re not really responsible for ? To tell you the truth, Truth, for me the two are somewhat at a tie… what’s your opinion ?

  60. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Lvka, no terrible offense intended, but my opinion is that your question is a bit silly.

  61. Lvka,
    You seem to be implying that being in love with and attracted to another person is the chief end of man, his telos as it were, and to be denied that is unbearable hell. And further, that if one is attracted to the wrong person, it is uncontrollable, and therefore unfairly punished by God, if the moralists are correct.

    I will ironically quote the wcf and say that is not the chief end of man, but that “glorifying God and enjoying him forever” is instead. If a relationship compromises that, better to pluck out your eye, as it were, however painful that may be. This is how St Ephraim describes inordinate attraction in prayers before sleep,

    “or have seen the attraction of someone and been wounded by it in my heart… have mercy, my Lord and Creator, on me Thy wretched and unworthy servant, and absolve and forgive and deliver me in Thy goodness and love for men, so that, lustful, sinful and wretched as I am, I may lie down and sleep and rest in peace. And I shall worship, praise and glorify Thy most honourable Name, with the Father and His only-begotten Son, now and ever, and for all ages. Amen.”

  62. Lvka says:

    Truth,

    how so ?
    _____________________________________________________

    Emma,

    to suffer from unrequited love until you finally find the right person is one thing… to NEVER be able to love and be loved is quite another…

    And yes, eros is one of the chief ends of man, so much so that the Bible itself speaks of it in terms of being physically extracted from one’s side ( near the heart ), and then becoming physically one again… as if to fill up a psychological void whose presence is so strong and powerful that it’s almost physical… [ True, there are also those who have the power to become eunuchs for the kingdom of God... but they are few in number ].
    _____________________________________________________

    Perhaps I should repeat here what I already wrote above:

    WHY does God ask the impossible of them, but not of us ?

    And HOW would the vast majority of straight people respond were God to ask of them the same sacrifice ?
    _____________________________________________________

    Perhaps I should’ve been even clearer: God’s commandments have a purpose, they’re not ‘magical’…

    For instance: Becoming a homewrecker will bring spiritual suffering when one realizes the ugliness of his deed. Depravity destroys one not only physically (STDs), but also mentally (clinical depression is the dead end of all obsessive behaviour).

    Likewise, for a straight person to engage in things that repulse his heart and mind is one thing… but how does this apply to those that I’m talking about, whose very bodies show signs of both maleness and feminity, as I explained in an earlier comment ?

  63. So the difference to you is that a hetero home wrecker can get over it and find another more appropriate object of their affection, while the homosexual can’t?

    If homosexuality is a sin, which I’m not sure you’ve acknowledged, then to me it is a nurtured addiction, which places them as having sinful cravings just like an alcoholic, obsessive eater, or a person who wants lots of partners, even if it goes no further than fantasy. You seem to feel a lot more sorry for a monogamous homosexual than any of these while I bet they can point to an abusive past and irregular hormones too. This is what makes sin such a deep rooted thing to struggle against. Sometimes we don’t get to pick our poison.

  64. I will ironically quote the wcf and say that is not the chief end of man, but that “glorifying God and enjoying him forever” is instead.
    %%%%%%%%%
    Are you quoting St. John Calvin ?

  65. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Lvka: “What do you find MORE disturbing ? The fact that I say what I say, OR the fact that a great number of people will probably spend eternity in Hell for something that they’re not really responsible for ? To tell you the truth, Truth, for me the two are somewhat at a tie… what’s your opinion ?”

    Me: “Lvka, no terrible offense intended, but my opinion is that your question is a bit silly.”

    Lvka: “how so ?”

    For starters, does Eastern Orthodox doctrine affirm this “the fact that a great number of people will probably spend eternity in Hell for something that they’re not really responsible for”?

  66. Corneliu,
    With poetic license. )
    But I have wondered if that phrase can be Orthodox. Seems so except for the method of doing so.

  67. Lvka says:

    Emma,

    1. A regular guy like me can at least hope to ultimately find the right girl for him… A nice little lesbian, on the other hand, can’t.

    2. You seem to treat all homo-sexuality as “over-sexuality”, by comparing it with over-eating, over-drinking, over-`sexing`, etc. . But this is not the case. Not all homo-sexuals are `over-sexuals`. By this I mean people who –after falling into the depths of all possible and impossible depravities with the oppostite sex, thus becoming bored of normal/lame/average sex– start then to go after the same sex, usually starting with boys or young men -because their bodies still present some feminine features- and then move on to full-grown men…

    3. If something is psychological in nature, being the result of trauma (“abusive past”), then it can disappear when dealing with the trauma and healing it… as is the case of those who became homosexuals for the psychological reasons I offered in one of my LONG comments above… But if the reason is biological, it’s not the same thing… and apparently it’s not a question of hormonal imbalance either -unfortunately!- otherwise the solution to all this tragedy would be simple (hormonal therapy).

  68. Lcka,

    1. I thought that was what you meant. Which leads to 2. I wouldn’t say “over” but sinful, or missing the mark. With activities of daily living, like eating and drinking, the lines are a little harder to find because we have to eat to live. monastics show us that you can live without sex. You are right that heterosexuals have an out if they “can’t” be celebate. The rest of your point is obscured by the depraved chain of events you describe. Your example is presented as being of one who is not “over sexed”, if that’s not what you meant, then you didn’t give a more acceptable example, which I suppose would be of someone who waited till they found the right person. The fact that people can wait and not be permiscuous means that it is possible and virtuous to be celebate. Maybe those born eunuchs have no desire, but there are those who are by choice. Still, a hetero can be chaste, and even though they think they are made to be married, that may not find the right person, then they are in the same case of those with ssa who stay chaste against their biology or marry an opposite gendered person for the sake of permissability, a family, and companionship. But your descriptions sound much more erotically driven, as if it’s an immovable force. Since I married I can’t completely put myself in the place of a driven person with no outlet. But I still think with discipline such a person could have a reasonably happy life in a prescribed way. I think too much weight is given to feelings and bodily drives – but it’s easier to say that at almost 46.
    Re:3, I don’t really care if it’s nature, nurture, biological, or psychological. Nothing has been proven either way, but fighting temptation is the same no matter what the cause. And hormones do contribute to where fat is deposited among other variables involved. The Fathers say that learning to fast helps you control your other bodily desires. See The Conferences.
    And you still aren’t acknowledging that the Bible calls it a sin. If it’s a more difficult sin, then greater the reward for overcoming it. And the more they need the Church to help them. But I don’t think it is greater than the other temptations I listed. I’m tired of the preferential pity party.

  69. Lvka says:

    True, I can’t conceive a happy adult life devoid of romance. Seems so mind-harrowingly, heart-wrenchingly empty, and just plain soul-less.

  70. I have heard several monastics say that God provides consolations to make up for it.

  71. Dad says:

    Interesting that the link to Mr. Dunn is to a blog post where he appears to be walking back some of his earlier pronouncements, or at least provide some contextual cover for them. All of his argument strikes me, however, as good reason for those who fancy themselves as “lay theologians” (I’m not particularly clear what that means other than someone who has received a degree in an academic field and so means he has the wisdom to pontificate that those without the piece of paper do not) should actually practice some ascetical humility and learn to keep silent when having issues with the positions the Church has taken. I don’t see that he is practicing any kind of “intellectual humility” – but rather a kind of reverse intellectual snobbery – “see, I at least, know that I do NOT know (even though the Church has declared) so I will not speak authoritatively on a subject.” Hogwash. This is little different than the kind “Christian” who tells you all your faults and is then offended when you are hurt and says “I was only speaking out of love”. True humility is SILENT. If a convert has issues with Icons, or relics, or the Theotokos, it is not humility to present an iconoclastic position and speak of ignorance or humility. It is humility to follow the teachings of the Church, keep silent, and believe that the Saints that have gone before really DO know more than you do. And rather than defend behavior the Church has spoken consistently against, true humility might be leery of one’s own sentimentality and recognize that all humans, regardless of their sins, have a capacity for compassion which hopefully will ultimately draw them to true, deep and lasting repentance – as long as someone doesn’t undercut the Grace of God working in them and approve them in their sins.

  72. Dad says:

    “True, I can’t conceive a happy adult life devoid of romance. Seems so mind-harrowingly, heart-wrenchingly empty, and just plain soul-less.”

    Which demonstrates the extent to which Victorian era romance and modern advertising define modern existence. The very essence of Orthodoxy is that these passions are ultimately to be fixed on God – that all the passions are given us, used rightly, to seek our salvation in Christ. It is clear that this conversation is far more about Lvka than it is about homosexuals or homosexuality in general. BTW, I would also just like to observe that SSA is not the sin, but acting on it is. Saying it is biological is no more an out than those who may have a genetic propensity to anger – it is still sin to given in to that anger and the path to salvation for such a one is learning to overcome that passion find meekness and gentleness in Christ.

  73. Lvka says:

    It is clear that this conversation is far more about Lvka than it is about homosexuals or homosexuality in general.

    It’s that obvious, huh ? ;-)

    P.S.: I doubt the Romanian fairy-tales about Prince Charming and the young princess that my granny told me before beddy-bye when I was just a little todler have anything to with either Victorian values or modern marketing…

  74. Lvka says:

    Truth,

    the difference between myself and Mr. Dunn or +Lazar Puhalo is the same as that between a question mark and an exclamation point… a very nagging and outright irritating question mark, but a question mark nonetheless…

  75. Dad says:

    “I doubt the Romanian fairy-tales about Prince Charming and the young princess that my granny told me before beddy-bye when I was just a little todler have anything to with either Victorian values or modern marketing…” Seriously? I think they have an awful lot to do with them. I think you might want to take a more critical look at what is influencing your wants and desires.

    Is the aim of this life achieving some kind of romantic ideal or is it learning to please God and live whole heartedly for Him? If you (the general “you”) don’t believe it is the latter, then you might at least be honest with yourself and recognize you are NOT Orthodox, or any other “Christian” for that matter.

  76. Is the aim of this life achieving some kind of romantic ideal or is it learning to please God and live whole heartedly for Him? If you (the general “you”) don’t believe it is the latter, then you might at least be honest with yourself and recognize you are NOT Orthodox, or any other “Christian” for that matter.@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
    I’m not talking about homosexuality here, but in general, positions like yours are not common among the Orthodox both Lvka and I have known, in way more settled environments than North America. What are you gonna say next? that we need to “receive Jesus as a personal Savior”?

  77. Lvka says:

    you might at least be honest with yourself and recognize you are NOT Orthodox, or any other “Christian” for that matter.

    Perhaps not.

    But if romantic love is capable of bringing its heterosexual ‘victims’ into deeply purified and utterly transcendent states of mind, whose power surpasses parental love, and are very similar to engodment (inasmuch as both are kenotic and devoid of lust), why couldn’t the same be true of the specific kind of homosexual couples that I’m talking about ? How could the SAME kind of love have such totally opposite effects ? (It just puzzles my mind, that’s all… and I’m still unable to find any convincing solution to this problem…)

    I think you might want to take a more critical look at what is influencing your wants and desires.

    The God Who -in the beginning- made man and woman of one flesh, and meant them to become one flesh once again.

  78. Lvka says:

    Dad,

    the kind of devotion that you’re talking about leads to engodment proper, and is not meant for everyone… Marriage also leads to (lesser forms of) engodment (as the Church teaches, and as has been described above). Take Peter and Paul, for instance, whose Feast Day is soon approaching: one was married, and one was not, but both saw the Lord in Glory. Eros has a transfiguring power to it… I just wonder IF and WHY it couldn’t or wouldn’t work for devoted same-sex couples, whose orientation is caused by factors beyond their control.

  79. I believe the last queen of Romania was Queen Victoria’s granddaughter. And Romania may up the U.S. in romanticism.

    Lyvka, the ecstatic relationship btwn husband and wife is a typology for the relationship btwn Christ and his Church. It will pass away in heaven for something greater. Monastics get more of a taste of the ultimate experience in this present life. Getting the type of ecstasy you are talking about illicitly will lead to death, no matter how pleasurable it may seem at the time. This was the lie that lead to the fall. “Don’t listen to God, he’s depriving you of his own ecperiences. Don’t trust him.” and sorrow and death ensued.

  80. Lvka says:

    What I’m talking about is a form of engodment. Engodment can’t lead to death inasmuch as God is life immortal.

  81. Oh. Good luck with that.

  82. Perry,

    While I agree that a ruler is to promote virtue and to punish vice thus pointing to a common understanding of morality among humanity, I don’t think that we can expect them to do so nor can we judge them for failing to do so even though God may judge them so. I believe that this includes issues of morality such as fornication and honesty and not only ecclesiastical matters. I think that St Paul is being wider than you present in what we cannot judge if one looks at the context of the text and it is not only about ecclesiastical discipline but “natural law” also.

    Nevertheless, I agree that this is not a reason for the Church not to speak out. I think that the Church needs to speak out for the Gospel, the truth of Christ, which is the way of life applicable to all. However, I don’t think that the Church should speak in judgement nor from an assumption that the world accepts even natural law, which many jurists do not, but to show the falsehood of the worldly actions/laws in terms of self-consistency, such as claiming to respect homosexuals as a “minority” group and in doing so disrespecting orthodox Christians as another minority, and by presenting a better worldview from within which to understand and to regulate life.

    I agreed that Mr Dunn is not arguing for indifference and in trying to argue that Christ does not care that much about homosexuality and that on this ground we should not forbid, or even support, SSM he is not presenting the Orthodox Tradition. He speaks both contrary to Orthodox morality and he is effectively muzzling the proclamation of the Gospel to the world by at least giving the impression that the Gospel is only relevant to Christians because that is their choice of relative truth.

  83. Dad says:

    Lyvka, tell me exactly what factors are entirely within any of our control? If nothing else, can you not accept the revelation contained in the Holy Scriptures? Can you not the teaching of the Church for 2000 years? Must you assume that “modernity” is correct and proper and the Church must bend to it rather than we being the ones who should bend to the teaching of the Church? How about the words of our Lord? “From the beginning God created them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;”

    And Cornelius, I’m curious, if “way more settled” means the lands that just recently experienced two generations of atheistic rule or those that have seen numerous and various schisms among their ranks or those where attendance at divine services is about 5% of the population? Is that what is meant by “settled”?

    Lord have mercy!

  84. Lvka says:

    The God that created them man and woman also created them to be drawn to each other: it was all part of a package. But creation was afflicted by the Fall. For instance: the Church condemns those who castrate themselves for deluded spiritual reasons… as well as those who mutilate their bodies… but it does not condemn those whose castration or amputation is due to either medical reasons, disfiguring accidents, or genetical malformations. ( I just don’t understand how the various parts of our faith fit together ). And my innitial question was: is there any lenience from God towards those whose homosexuality is biological in nature ?

  85. Lvka says:

    Sexuality is not within our control, that was my point. ( I can’t just decide to like boys, for instance – and I’d really hate it if I were to be forced or coerced to “give up” on girls… It’s insane and inhuman).

  86. Dad says:

    Lvka – actually, studies show that sexuality is, to a great extent, within our control. Individuals subjected to increasingly perverted and distorted sexual material are gradually desensitized and will seek out ever increasing perversions. As for homosexuality being a biological condition, I must have missed the scientific study on that. Could you point it out?

    However, even granting that for some it might be, again I ask about those genetically predisposed to anger – it is a “biological” condition, so what are they to do? Acquire the grace of God through ascetic struggle and so overcome their “biology”. The Fathers’ teaching on the Fall and Ancestral Sin tell us that ALL of human “biology” is twisted by the fall, so that is the same path we must all take.

    BTW, something to think about regarding how various parts of the faith fit together – it is not about externals, but about the inner man, the heart.

  87. Lvka says:

    If it’s not about externals (such as the body), but about the inner man, the heart, why would -for instance- MY little “lesbian” heart be moved towards holiness by nurturing true love for a certain girl, but that of an actual lesbian be moved towards damnation and destruction by the very same thing ? What if God were to snap His fingers and turn me into a woman tomorrow ? Would that affect the purity of my true love for a woman ? If so, then HOW exactly ? (Do you see now what I’m not able to understand here ?)

  88. Lvka says:

    ( I also don’t see how you can compare anger with true love ).

  89. Cyril says:

    Lvka, what if I am just some ugly SOB? God made me this way, but I love women, and am not a monk, what am I to do? What if all I can be is an emotionally undisturbed Lars: is the ‘real girl’ an option if God has left me no others? Do I get to cultivate that relationship? Granted, it ain’t what God had in the garden, but I fail to see how it is any less sinful or unnatural than what you are arguing for (and when it comes down to it, isn’t it really “what one argues for” instead of what Holy Church teaches that is at stake?) Romance is a modern construct. Granted not as modern as homosexual (the word was created in 1896), but I don’t need romance to attain the kingdom of God, and no one needs to be married to either. In the kingdom we will be like the angels. Finally, marriage is derivative: it is patterned after Christ and the church, not the other way round. If I develop feelings for the same sex, which enough studies have already shown, as Dad points out, can happen to anyone (depravity is an escalating state), then I better ask what is more important: what will a man give in exchange for his soul. Further, were God to turn you into a woman, are you saying that sex is accidental to personhood? You need to check your Nicaean Orthodoxy if that is what you think.

  90. Lvka says:

    Romance is a modern construct.

    So the Old Testament was written in modern times ?

    And Moses, Jacob, and Samuel’s father are modern characters ?

  91. Lvka says:

    …and so was Solomon, who wrote the Song of Songs, right ?

  92. Lvka, “why would -for instance- MY little “lesbian” heart be moved towards holiness by nurturing true love for a certain girl,”
    1. The word nurturing is an active verb that you would choose to do or not to do. You can control it.
    2. The kind of romantic intimacy you are talking about is reserved for marriage. If marriage is not possible, either through the prohibitions listed like those against homosexuality, adultery, fornication, or incest, or through unrequited love or other practical obstacles, then that girl is not yours to devote yourself to in that way. The idea of courtly love where a person holds a “faithful” torch for someone they can’t have is an innovative construct that will waste your emotions, time, energy, and your true purpose in life.

    As far as castration goes, you are right that it was wrong for Origen, for example, to physically castrate himself, and the Church condemned it. Plucking out our eye is an inner discipline of learning to focus on Christ instead of lust.

  93. Cyril says:

    Lvka, quid nomen? I’m not talking about affection, nor charity, nor eros. If you don’t think him too much the Troglodyte, go read C. S. Lewis’s The Allegory of Love.

  94. The Song of Solomon is not meant for common use. It has been recommended that young people should not read it. I think it takes presumption to think that we can understand it properly. Same with Revelations. They use imagery to speak of things beyond explanation. They point to something else, not our fallen experiences and common understanding.

  95. Lvka says:

    Emma,

    I can “control” the person, but NOT the sex of the person. (I can’t just decide to all-of-a-sudden nurture such feelings for boys, for example).

  96. Dad says:

    Lykva, neither Moses, Jacob nor Solomon are “modern constructs”, but your interpretation of them are. As soon as you can present a teaching of a Church Father than coincides with your views, please let us know.

    As for “comparing anger with ‘true love’”, the very assertion begs the question. Your use of “true love” strikes me as very much like Princess Bride romanticism. Define what you mean by “true love” and then, perhaps, we could discuss it. What we WERE discussing was whether sexual attraction in general, and homosexual attraction in particular, was controllable and subject to “choice” and if they were “biological”, by which I construed you to me that people are born with specific sexual orientations. I suggest that they are not, but even if they are, it does not fall outside the pale of God’s expectations that we crucify our “natural” desires – else what does “self-control” really mean? That it is difficult to do so in a culture that idolizes sexual activity is understood, but perhaps no more difficult than asking those with the predilection to over eat to control their appetite for food (since you don’t like the anger analogy).

  97. Lvka et al.

    Surely all love is fulfilled in God where we have the attraction of divine eros. Even the intensity of love of husband and wife pales with the intensity of love of God in the Saints. Does this love involve the passions of the flesh? By no means. The passions of the flesh are given for procreation but are not to be confused with love, even eros. In the coming age were are to love God and each other with greater depth than possible in marriage relationships now but without physical passion and sexuality. Thus, attraction to the same sex can indicate that we are to love all beyond the love of husband and wife relationships and that true love in not only found in such relationships. But the male and female union is a mystery to show the union of God and man through Christ and the Church. Only in this manner can children be properly born that is of God through the Church, so that even our natural birth models the divine birth through the Church. Male and male and female and female “marriage” relations, apart from the physical incapacity to reproduce, do not provide the true form of our salvation that is the union of God and man and so they fail to enable the “partners” to ascend to God in theosis. They incorrectly manifest the true relationship of God and man and thus God cannot become incarnate and present within such a relationship.

  98. Lvka says:

    Dad,

    true love is what a Dad feels for a Mom. :-)

    ( If the above answer was not clear enough, then I’m afraid the only alternative is Morpheus’ apophatic approach: “Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is: You have to see it for yourself.” )

    Jacob was deeply saddened to find out he married the wrong sister. And the one he did marry was sad her whole life for having been wed to a husband who did not desire her. As for Moses, see Genesis 3:16.

    Renouncing romantic love can only be compared to fasting your entire life… “not over-eating” doesn’t even come close… and -quite frankly- neither does what I just said…

  99. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Lvka,

    Do you believe that you’re a homosexual? Do you regard yourself as a homosexual?

  100. Lvka says:

    [ same-sex unions ] fail to enable the “partners” to ascend to God in theosis. They incorrectly manifest the true relationship of God and man and thus God cannot become incarnate and present within such a relationship.

    Christ the Bride-Groom; the Church/soul as a Bride.

    Nevertheless, I have to ask you an apparently-silly question: are you sure ? ( There are many devoted same-sex couples out there, some of them quite ‘famous’… What’s the exact impediment that prevents them from achieving various degrees of holiness or theosis ? Could you perhaps elaborate more clearly on this ?)

  101. Lvka says:

    Truth,

    I’m a raging lesbian trapped inside a man’s body. :-) So yes, I can identify with them… and the fact that I’ve suffered so much in my life from unrequited romantic love also adds to the ‘equation’.

  102. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Lvka,

    Are you a heterosexual who identifies with homosexuals? Or are you a homosexual? Which?

  103. “I can “control” the person, but NOT the sex of the person. (I can’t just decide to all-of-a-sudden nurture such feelings for boys, for example).”

    I have more faith that such can be done. Everything ever made has a certain attraction that can be cultivated and idolized. But it may not feel as natural. Like choosing to pray instead of eat.

    “Jacob was deeply saddened to find out he married the wrong sister. And the one he did marry was sad her whole life for having been wed to a husband who did not desire her. As for Moses, see Genesis 3:16.”

    Good example. So what was she supposed to do, something immoral like killing Rachel or committing adultery with someone else? She had to live with the sadness. Sometimes God delivers us from sad situations, like David delivered Abigail, but some people have to learn to suffer. Some interpret carrying your cross to be this way.

    Lazarus lived his whole life in a deprived state, watching happy people pass him by. But he was comforted in Abraham’s bosom, unlike the rich man.

    St. Silouan is a good example of someone who’s thorn in the flesh was lust, which caused him much suffering. “Keep your mind in hell, but do not despair.”

  104. Theosis is a divine human relationship that encompasses the whole of man body and soul. Thus, it has a physical aspect and so works with form. Also, all our relationships in all parts of our life are reflective of our relationship to God. Marriage is a particular form of the mystery where the relationship of man and woman becomes the reality of Christ and the Church manifest through the icons of man and woman. Same sex couples do not have the dual icons of Christ and Church but Christ and Christ or Church and Church, or in another way, God and God and man and man. God does not deify us through a relationship with Himself alone and neither are we deified through relationships with ourselves alone. The correct iconic form is important otherwise we deny the true incarnation of God in man. Also become one flesh with Christ which does not require both to be incarnate Sons of God, man to man, neither is the union of flesh merely between men apart from the incarnate Son of God, woman to woman.

    The are same sex relationships that lead to theosis and these are found in monasteries. These relationships are neither restricted to one-to-one relationships neither are they sexual that the union in the flesh is shifted to its true location in the eucharist. Formal ordination/appointment helps to define the various forms and the relationship is one with a defined obedience structure with the Abbot or Abbess. Parent child relationships are also deifying. Those living in relationships without obedience are not in deifying relationships. The Church hierarchy is the primary relationship structure for theosis, and all need to be within this structure which aids even those not otherwise in appropriate relationship structures. Formalising a relationship that is not one of theosis is a distortion of the Gospel and effectively a denial of our need to unite to God through Christ and that our life is really the life of God manifest in us.

  105. Lvka says:

    Truth,

    Yes. No. The first.

  106. Lvka says:

    Father,

    Couldn’t it be argued that -inasmuch as homosexuals embody features of both maleness and feminity (possessing the “body” of one sex, but having the brain-centers associated with sexuality modeled like those of the opposite gender)- the typology employed in your argument does not apply so strictly to them as it does to us ? [ Perry, for instance, went on and on about "logoi" and "teloi", but did take the time to reflect upon what happens when the exact same person simultaneously exhibits features of two conflicting or opposite 'logoi"/"teloi" ].

  107. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Lvka,

    How God judges and deals with unrepentant homosexual behavior done by unrepentant homosexuals, what is that to you?

    How the Orthodox Church judges and deals with unrepentant homosexual behavior done by unrepentant homosexuals, and how the Orthodox Church judges and deals with pro-homosexual teaching that homosexual behavior is NOT sin, what is that to you?

    Can you not joyfully obey and submit to God and/or the Orthodox Church?

  108. Lvka says:

    “Joyfully” ? “JOYFULLY” !? :-|

    I’m GLAD almost all homos and lesbos are goin’ straight to hell in a handbasket for the sin of inheriting a flawed body, and for lacking the power to do that which neither myself, nor almost any other straight person, would be either willing or able to do, were I/we in their place… Yeah, my heart just LEAPS for JOY ! :-| I’m ECSTATIC!

  109. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Q: “Can you not joyfully obey and submit to God and/or the Orthodox Church?”

    Lvka, your sarcasm indicates that your answer is “No.”

  110. Lvka says:

    Y U no like my happy-clappy mood, Truth ? :-)

  111. Lvka,

    The matter is more based on the form of the gender that is whether one has a male or female body rather than other aspects. Granted that there are rare examples of bodies that are neither male nor female but this does not affect the principle as such as perhaps prevents it being taken too far in another direction to separate male and female completely into different human natures.

    What them and us? We are all human and require salvation through union with God manifest in the iconic relationships. Most people find a monogamous relationship unworkable but we cannot therefore openly permit polygamy nor multiple divorce and remarriages. The iconic form is one Christ with one Church for eternity. Distort this and one distorts our salvation.

    By the way, God is merciful to all and if someone has homosexual leanings that seem to be inherent from childhood, “inheriting a flawed body” as you put it, then God will judge them in this context. This does not mean that they can act on the desire but they are not condemned for the tendency in itself, unless they have deliberately cultivated this tendency. It is not the temptation nor the desire that is condemned but acting on it, allowing it to master oneself and most importantly failing to struggle to repent in desire to obey God even if one does fall often. We all lack the power to repent from the weaknesses of our created nature. We need the grace of God and He can help a homosexual to repent if He commands that this is so. He requires our synergy but to argue about not judging because we lack power is a denial of the Gospel; no-one can save themselves of their own power and perhaps God permits such struggles to remind us of this. That they start from a weaker position does not infringe their salvation because it is the movement towards holiness that counts not how far one reaches only the path because the path is infinite in extent and even the greatest saint has only just begun to ascend until they die completely to themselves and allow God to be all in all.

  112. And Cornelius, I’m curious, if “way more settled” means the lands that just recently experienced two generations of atheistic rule or those that have seen numerous and various schisms among their ranks or those where attendance at divine services is about 5% of the population? Is that what is meant by “settled”?

    Lord have mercy!
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
    Yeah, more like where Orthodoxy is the default/presumed religion.

  113. Lvka says:

    The iconic relationship that Saint Paul was talking about is one of self-sacrifice and obedience. The husband’s self-sacrifice for the well-being of his family is rewarded by the wife’s through her obedience to him [ just as Christ's sacrifice for the Church was followed by the Church's obedience to Him as her one Lord and Savior ]; as well as the other way around: the wife’s obedience to her husband is rewarded through his self-sacrifice for her. I don’t wanna sound like Satan here (“Hath God really said…?”), but I’m afraid I have to ask: WHY can’t such devotion, obedience, and self-sacrifice in the case of a same-sex couple mirror the relationship between Christ and the Church that Saint Paul was talking about ? I don’t get it. (What’s the “catch” ?)

  114. Lvka, it is not about devotion, obedience and self-sacrifice as of themselves alone; the difference form of the bodies being male and female is also essential to this relationship. This affirms the incarnation of Christ who takes on a specific form as an paintable male body with its unique features. Devotion, obedience and self-sacrifice are not physical traits of the body and can be found angels. Male and female form is a bodily difference and this difference is what enables the distinction of the icons in a tangible manner within which the body takes part.

  115. Lvka says:

    …and the mind does not matter ? Our thoughts and feelings, the very things that make us human and distinguish us from animals, do they get NO say in the matter ? Or is the brain not part of the body ?

    As far as the concept of incarnation is concerned, is marriage not supposed to be the incarnation of romantic love ? If so, then why advocate loveless marriages or coerced celibacy, especially since the latter was knowingly and purposefully not imposed on us ?

  116. Lvka,

    You seem to be thinking of things in terms of this world with human love as an end in itself. Our goal is participating in the life of God and the love of God that encompasses and transcends all other love. This is the love that we must seek and that God restricts some forms of human love is to lead us to loving Him and finding His love. If we seek this love we will find it and we will not need human love, although we encompass it also and give it or rather give God’s love through ourselves. Your thinking only holds true if this world and its relationships are ends in themselves and the goal of our life. They are not and so God restricts them and permits them to fail to turn us away from seeking these things in themselves to seeking Him.

  117. Lvka says:

    This human love, albeit by NO means the ultimate end, is nevertheless such a much-needed and much-helpful stepping stone for many… Eros can be transfigured, but if there’s no romance to work with, what is there to transfigure ? Nothing! The only other way is through child-likeness, but that one is so hard that only a few (monks) find it. And besides, both of them are temporary, not to mention that they happen either extremely rarely [ if one is really, really lucky ] or only once-in-a-lifetime. And the mental sacrifice needed to enter into either one is abnormally painful and excruciating. Makes Sisif’s repetitive and painful toil look like child-play. And yet, in order for someone to fall into neither depravity [ for the celibate ] nor despair [ for those in a romance-less marriage ], one needs such things on a frequent, reliable, and repetitive basis… which is pretty much like expecting every day to be a Sunday, or every Sunday to be a full-blown Easter, or every movie to be a masterpiece, and every book to be a Bible… Yet, not even normal people can experience them on such a basis, and the overwhelming majority NEVER do… they DIE before they do… Unless we’re talking about Saints here, and we’re NOT: we’re just talking about a bunch of AVERAGE people who happen to be gay… and which, unless they’re born with some super-duper-mega-hyper-extra sanctity-enabling gene to compensate for their innately-distorted sexuality, will simply not “get there”. It’s all just so dark and disturbing, each way one looks at it…

  118. Lvka says:

    I just don’t see it working for real/average people in real life, that’s all. :-|

  119. Lvka,

    God’s life is real life. We all need God’s grace to live real life; exceptional as well as average people, what ever average means. This fallen life is temporary and distorted. God will help those seeking to live a real life from any starting point in this distorted world. Our real life is in a way liturgical with forms and roles and perhaps slightly “artificial” and formalised but this is to manifest and conform our life to that of God to a transfigured life in Him. Marriage is a formalised arrangement with which many cannot abide with yet we do not remove it for casual partnerships, the liturgy is rather ritualised for some and unegalitarian with the presbyter up front doing the greater part yet we do not abandon it from protestant like youth festivals which draw in many. Why because in this formalised rite man meets God and comes to deification. I hope though that the difficulties of the multitude don’t reflect the Lord’s teaching that many are called but few are chosen.

  120. ioannis says:

    What exactly is human love and how it could make someone disregard the instict of self preservation and sacrifice her/his life for another man?

  121. Lvka says:

    The Protestant approach to worship leaves you hollow and empty. Casual relationships leave one hollow and empty. Denying oneself true love leaves one hollow and empty.

  122. Lyvka, if Orthodox services don’t leave you hollow and empty, what do you need romance for? A monastic gets fed at least twice a day through services, more in his cell developing continuous prayer. That is how we stay full as God intended and why there are so many saint stories of married people becoming monastics after their children are grown. Everyone is called to be a saint, take up their cross and deny themselves. One can also sacrifice themselves in relationship by not leading, aiding, or abetting another person into sin. Sin makes one hollowest and emptiest.

  123. Lvka says:

    If water quenches your thirst, why do you need air for ?

  124. It’s hard to find common ground if you find monasticism an aberration and homosexuality permissible. I think it’s the opposite.

  125. Lvka says:

    I don’t find monasticism to be an aberration. It’s just that only a few can actually do it. Which is a non-issue, since the Orthodox Church doesn’t force homosexuals to become monks or stay celibate… The only problem is that many people, myself included, simply could never marry someone they don’t love romantically… Not to mention that loving someone without being able to fulfill that love is daily pain, which -more often than not- becomes utterly unbearable… And so the Kafkian tragedy begins…

  126. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Lvka,

    Are you filled with the Joy and Love of Christ as a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church?

  127. Lvka says:

    Would this answer your question ? :-)

    I’d say I find a great deal of comfort (joy is too exagerated, since I’m melancholic by nature) in loving-kindness, and in trying to avoid spiritual impurity on a mental as well as physical level (key word here being ‘trying’). I don’t really love God, inasmuch as there are certain things that I couldn’t give up for Him, were He to ask me to (like He did with Abraham; or like He does with homosexuals). I just couldn’t.. :-|

  128. Lvka says:

    Actually, I’ve been blogging almost daily during Lent and Advent for more than a couple of years now about my inability to live up to the full implications of my supposed monotheism:

    eastern-orthodox-apologetics.blogspot.com/2011/07/what-those-on-left-side-will-say-to.html

    eastern-orthodox-apologetics.blogspot.com/2011/03/our-one-true-god.html

    eastern-orthodox-apologetics.blogspot.com/2011/03/whats-holding-you-back.html

    eastern-orthodox-apologetics.blogspot.com/2012/05/random-stuff-that-prevents-my-mind-from.html

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