Fr Josiah Trenham in Tbilisi: Homofascists not Welcome

Iconodule

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ialmisry said:
Iconodule said:
Onesimus said:
What one sees as "productive or practical" is an excercisein subjectivity in most of these discussions.  It actually tends towards utilitarianism in practice for most who accept LGBTQ.
The Church already practices this "utilitarianism" in the face of contraception, premarital sex, divorce, and confessionally mixed marriages. All of these involve sin or a significant departure from the ideal; all of them are routinely accommodated in our churches.

FinnJames was kind enough to share his own experience here. He is in a civil marriage with another man. He waited until the relationship became a celibate one before entering the church, and was accepted, while still remaining in his relationship with the full knowledge of the clergy. I should note here that FinnJames is not advocating celibacy as a uniform requirement of gay couples, but this is one way of approaching it.

Unfortunately in some circles even this is not enough. I would urge everyone to read this blog post written by a formerly Orthodox woman in a (celibate) relationship with another woman. The whole blog is actually well worth reading.
And, then on August 27 or 28, I honestly don’t remember which, I read the words “the Orthodox Church cannot and will not condone or bless ‘same-sex unions’ of any degree.” That last phrase if huge: of any degree. And no matter how much others have tried to tell me that the statement in question is not talking about people in my situation, I can’t believe that. The other shoe finally dropped, and I couldn’t see a way to continue communing in good conscience. The conscience is a tricky thing. It belongs to us, and only we know what will give us comfort.
The Orthodox Church can only condone and bless different sex unions in one degree-marriage.
As we can see here, not quite true. And in this particular instance, we are talking about two people of the same sex in a celibate cohabitation. They are not asking that any rite be devised to bless their relationship- someone even suggested reviving the adelphopoeisis rite and they explained that this did not interest them. But the Antiochian ruling indicated to them that even this- a same-sex celibate cohabitation, no special blessing requested- would not be condoned.
 

Alveus Lacuna

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Iconodule said:
They are not asking that any rite be devised to bless their relationship- someone even suggested reviving the adelphopoeisis rite and they explained that this did not interest them. But the Antiochian ruling indicated to them that even this- a same-sex celibate cohabitation, no special blessing requested- would not be condoned.
I personally know a couple that followed this way based on Fr. Thomas Hopko's teaching with the blessing of their priest who agreed with the reasoning. The result was that they over time became sexually intimate, hid it, and then gradually became comfortable with it. Eventually they were 'living a lie', left Orthodoxy and were married in the local Episcopal church.

This line of thinking actually accelerated their intimacy to places it never went before, and ultimately resulted in them leaving the church. Not that it has to go that way, but my only experience with such an experiment was that it was a total failure.
 

ialmisry

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Iconodule said:
ialmisry said:
Iconodule said:
Onesimus said:
What one sees as "productive or practical" is an excercisein subjectivity in most of these discussions.  It actually tends towards utilitarianism in practice for most who accept LGBTQ.
The Church already practices this "utilitarianism" in the face of contraception, premarital sex, divorce, and confessionally mixed marriages. All of these involve sin or a significant departure from the ideal; all of them are routinely accommodated in our churches.

FinnJames was kind enough to share his own experience here. He is in a civil marriage with another man. He waited until the relationship became a celibate one before entering the church, and was accepted, while still remaining in his relationship with the full knowledge of the clergy. I should note here that FinnJames is not advocating celibacy as a uniform requirement of gay couples, but this is one way of approaching it.

Unfortunately in some circles even this is not enough. I would urge everyone to read this blog post written by a formerly Orthodox woman in a (celibate) relationship with another woman. The whole blog is actually well worth reading.
And, then on August 27 or 28, I honestly don’t remember which, I read the words “the Orthodox Church cannot and will not condone or bless ‘same-sex unions’ of any degree.” That last phrase if huge: of any degree. And no matter how much others have tried to tell me that the statement in question is not talking about people in my situation, I can’t believe that. The other shoe finally dropped, and I couldn’t see a way to continue communing in good conscience. The conscience is a tricky thing. It belongs to us, and only we know what will give us comfort.
The Orthodox Church can only condone and bless different sex unions in one degree-marriage.
As we can see here, not quite true.
you need to get a new prescription for the glasses. In the meantime, so you can see:
Iconodule said:
Amid current discussions on marriage, sexuality, etc, I've been reviewing the 2000 document of the Russian Orthodox Church, The Basis of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church, and these passages jumped out at me:

In the period of the Christianisation of the Roman Empire, marriage continued to be validated by civil registration. Consecrating matrimonial unions by prayer and blessing, the Church still recognised a common-law marriage as valid in cases where the church marriage was impossible and did not subject the spouses thus married to canonical prohibitions. Today the Russian Orthodox Church upholds the same practice. In doing so, she cannot approve and bless the matrimonial unions which, while being concluded in accordance with the existing law, violate the canonical prescriptions, such as a fourth and subsequent marriages, marriages in the inadmissible degrees of blood or spiritual affinity.

...

On December 28, 1998, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church regretted to state that «some spiritual fathers tend to declar common-law marriage invalid or demand that spouses, who have lived together for many years but were not married in church for this or that reason, should divorce… Some spiritual fathers do not allow persons who live in «unwed» marriage to communicate, identifying such a marriage with fornication». The decision adopted by the Synod points out that «while insisting on the necessity of church marriage, the Synod reminds pastors that the Orthodox Church also respects common-law marriage».

The common faith of spouses who are members of the body of Christ is an essential condition for truly Christian and church marriage. It is only the family that has one faith that can become «the church in the house» (Rom. 16:5; Phil. 1:2), in which husband and wife together with their children grow in spiritual perfection and knowledge of God. The lack of like-mindedness presents a serious threat to the integrity of a matrimonial union. That is why the Church considers it her duty to urge the faithful to marry «only in the Lord» (1 Cor. 7:39), that to marry only those who share their Christian convictions.

The above-mentioned resolution of the Holy Synod also speaks of the Church’s respect for «the marriage in which only one of the parties belongs to the Orthodox faith. For, according to St. Paul, «the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband» (1 Cor. 7:14)». The fathers of the Council in Trullo also referred to this scriptural text when recognised as valid the union between those who «up to this time being unbelievers and not yet numbered in the flock of the orthodox have contracted lawful marriage», if later one of the spouses embraced the faith. In the same canon, however, just as in other canonical decrees (IV Ecum. Council 14; Laodic. 10, 31), and works of early Christian authors and church fathers (Tertullian, St. Cyprian of Carthage, St. Theodoret and St. Augustine), it is prohibited to contract marriages with followers of other religious traditions.

In accordance with ancient canonical prescriptions, today, too, the Church does not sanctifies marriages contracted between the Orthodox and non-Christians, while recognising them as lawful and not regarding those who live in such a marriage as living in sinful co-habitation.
The Russian version is here.

If I'm reading this right, the document seems to say that, while the ROC will not bless marriages between Christians and non-Christians in a church ceremony, it still recognizes such marriages as valid and will not deny communion to the Orthodox partner. Can anyone else familiar with Russian or contemporary Russian church practice tell me if I'm reading this right?
Iconodule said:
And in this particular instance, we are talking about two people of the same sex in a celibate cohabitation. They are not asking that any rite be devised to bless their relationship- someone even suggested reviving the adelphopoeisis rite and they explained that this did not interest them. But the Antiochian ruling indicated to them that even this- a same-sex celibate cohabitation, no special blessing requested- would not be condoned.
nor would different sex celibate cohabitation be condoned. Living as brother and sister isn't going to get the ecclesiastical A-OK.

Plenty of women I know live together, and do not involve the Church in their domestic arrangements. Here, they claim a "calling" as a "Christian" "couple."
 

Iconodule

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Alveus Lacuna said:
Iconodule said:
They are not asking that any rite be devised to bless their relationship- someone even suggested reviving the adelphopoeisis rite and they explained that this did not interest them. But the Antiochian ruling indicated to them that even this- a same-sex celibate cohabitation, no special blessing requested- would not be condoned.
I personally know a couple that followed this way based on Fr. Thomas Hopko's teaching with the blessing of their priest who agreed with the reasoning. The result was that they over time became sexually intimate, hid it, and then gradually became comfortable with it. Eventually they were 'living a lie', left Orthodoxy and were married in the local Episcopal church.

This line of thinking actually accelerated their intimacy to places it never went before, and ultimately resulted in them leaving the church. Not that it has to go that way, but my only experience with such an experiment was that it was a total failure.
One point the bloggers make clear is that their approach will not work for everybody; they themselves opted for celibacy because they felt personally called to do it, not to satisfy a general moral injunction. They began it before they entered Orthodoxy and continue it since they left. They do not advocate it as a solution for all or even most LGBT Christians. 
 

Iconodule

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"Marriage" is expanded to include civil unions in the ROC document, so not sure what you hope to accomplish by your font antics.

ialmisry said:
nor would different sex celibate cohabitation be condoned. Living as brother and sister isn't going to get the ecclesiastical A-OK.
You mean, unless they do it in disguise, in which case they are canonized?

What do you mean "ecclesiastical A-OK"? Again, they are not looking for any kind of formal blessing.

Plenty of women I know live together, and do not involve the Church in their domestic arrangements. Here, they claim a "calling" as a "Christian" "couple."
In what way are they trying to "involve the Church"?
 

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Attacks on the ideal purposes of marriage:
  • Getting an education first
  • Poverty
  • Lack of community and sense of place
  • Lack of extended-family cohesion
  • Fragmented, indifferent parishes
  • Cultural confusion and malaise
  • Mental and emotional illness
  • Pride, cruelty, abuse
  • Absent fathers
  • Present but uninvolved fathers
  • Pernicious social environment
  • Divorce
  • Adultery
  • Quality of childhood education
  • Hostility or indifference between spouses
  • Lack of sex between spouses
  • Few or no offspring
  • Sexual degradation between spouses
  • Dishonesty
  • Disbelief in God
  • Lack of wholesome work
  • Polyamory
  • Homosexuality

I will let you put them in a numbered list in your minds, according to which have the greater impacts.
 

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The much-misunderstood "Brother making" ceremony was to provide a blessed way for people of the same gender to live a celibate life under the same roof.  It was essentially making a mini-monastery, only you were being pledged to your fraternal bond rather than to the place.  Without the ceremony, cohabitation with a non-relative would be looked on with suspicion (and the canons deal with both acts of impropriety and the appearance thereof).
 

Charles Martel

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minasoliman said:
Charles Martel said:
Homosexuality by it's very nature is anti-life, it's very act closes the door to life.
What do you mean by "anti-life"?  If you mean risking salvation and unity with the divine life, sure!  But if you mean not being able to reproduce, then I also have to disagree with your argument as a fallacy as well.  In that case, you inadvertently condemn celibacy in our traditions.
It's not about not being "able" to reproduce, most homosexuals are very well able to reproduce, just not with each other.. But it's the act of sodomy in and of itself that  is an affront to God. You are literally attacking God by committing this grevious sin by deliberately going against God's plan whereas the sexual act is supposed to open the door to life, it is supposed to lead to creation which is a gift from almighty God to man but when you engage in sexual  activities that can no way lead to life you are intentionally defying the will of God.

The act of sodomy is one of the worst possible sins you can commit, intentionally thrwarting God's plan for life. It's so grevious, that we consider it one of the four sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance. Right up there with murder of the innocents

Sodomy is sacrilege, sodomy is evil, sodomy leads to death of not only the body but of the soul.

God called it an abomination in the Old Testament and specifically destroyed two cities for it as well.

Let's stop playing games here and  stop sugar-coating it for what it is and please, spare us the whole  "evangelizing" thing to the LGBT community, they know damn well  that sodomy is strictly condmened in Christianity no matter how they try and spin it, there's no getting around that it is a sin and not compatible with the "alternative " lifestyle in any way whatsoever.

You can be a Christian or a sodomite, but you can't be both.
 

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Charles Martel said:
The act of sodomy is one of the worst possible sins you can commit, intentionally thrwarting God's plan for life. It's so grevious, that we consider it one of the four sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance. Right up there with murder of the innocents
<Popcorn>
 

Opus118

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Porter ODoran said:
Attacks on the ideal purposes of marriage:
  • Getting an education first
  • Poverty
  • Lack of community and sense of place
  • Lack of extended-family cohesion
  • Fragmented, indifferent parishes
  • Cultural confusion and malaise
  • Mental and emotional illness
  • Pride, cruelty, abuse
  • Absent fathers
  • Present but uninvolved fathers
  • Pernicious social environment
  • Divorce
  • Adultery
  • Quality of childhood education
  • Hostility or indifference between spouses
  • Lack of sex between spouses
  • Few or no offspring
  • Sexual degradation between spouses
  • Dishonesty
  • Disbelief in God
  • Lack of wholesome work
  • Polyamory
  • Homosexuality
I will let you put them in a numbered list in your minds, according to which have the greater impacts.
I have no idea for sorting these according to impact. This is a good starting list, but there are some items I cannot grasp at this moment. I would include  some opposite gender items that are more in play than what you have listed:
  • Absent mothers
  • Present but uninvolved mothers
 

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Porter ODoran said:
Attacks on the ideal purposes of marriage:
  • Getting an education first
  • Poverty
  • Lack of community and sense of place
  • Lack of extended-family cohesion
  • Fragmented, indifferent parishes
  • Cultural confusion and malaise
  • Mental and emotional illness
  • Pride, cruelty, abuse
  • Absent fathers
  • Present but uninvolved fathers
  • Pernicious social environment
  • Divorce
  • Adultery
  • Quality of childhood education
  • Hostility or indifference between spouses
  • Lack of sex between spouses
  • Few or no offspring
  • Sexual degradation between spouses
  • Dishonesty
  • Disbelief in God
  • Lack of wholesome work
  • Polyamory
  • Homosexuality

I will let you put them in a numbered list in your minds, according to which have the greater impacts.
Interesting list but you left out one: the radical LGBT political lobby, which is doing the following:
• Passing laws which threaten churches that preach against homosexuality.  https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/four-spanish-bishops-threatened-with-prosecution-for-criticizing-draconian
• Passing laws forcing Christian adoption agencies to place babies in same-sex families or close down.  https://www.osv.com/OSVNewsweekly/ByIssue/Article/TabId/735/ArtMID/13636/ArticleID/14666/Tough-times-for-Catholic-adoption-agencies.aspx
• Suing Christian churches that do not perform same-sex marriage, http://www.christianpost.com/news/church-of-england-to-be-sued-for-refusing-to-perform-same-sex-marriages-just-a-month-after-prime-minister-promised-protection-101487/
• Proposing laws that would prevent Christian schools from teaching traditional Christian sexual morality, http://www.opposesb1146.com/

And in the wake of the Obergefell v. Hodges decision in the US, the following is happening in America:
• The tax-exempt status of non-profit ministries and organizations is being attacked
• Parents increasingly have no say in what their children are taught about relationships and marriage in public schools. No notice in advance. No chance to opt out.
• Teachers in public schools who express support for traditional marriage may be fired
• Christian college accreditation is being attacked
• Government-backed student-loans at Christian colleges are in doubt
• Faith-based adoption agencies are bing forced out of business
• Christian business owners, wedding photographers, cake bakers, florists, etc, are being sued for discrimination if they turn down business for a same-sex ceremony
• Churches open up their buildings to outside groups are being sued if they turn down events such as a reception for a same-sex wedding
• Faith-based charities and relief organizations that get money from the government are threatened
• The freedom of Christian organizations to hire people who are in harmony with their beliefs is being legally challenged
• Members of the military who disagree with homosexuality are being threatened
• People who work for city and county governments who express support for traditional marriage may lose their jobs

Now, forgive me for my cynicism, but I suspect you posted your little list to seek to trivialise the threat to the family and to the Orthodox faith posed by the LGBT lobby, which, alas, was the subject that Father Trenham was invited to address.
 

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Charles Martel said:
minasoliman said:
Charles Martel said:
Homosexuality by it's very nature is anti-life, it's very act closes the door to life.
What do you mean by "anti-life"?  If you mean risking salvation and unity with the divine life, sure!  But if you mean not being able to reproduce, then I also have to disagree with your argument as a fallacy as well.  In that case, you inadvertently condemn celibacy in our traditions.
It's not about not being "able" to reproduce, most homosexuals are very well able to reproduce, just not with each other.. But it's the act of sodomy in and of itself that  is an affront to God. You are literally attacking God by committing this grevious sin by deliberately going against God's plan whereas the sexual act is supposed to open the door to life, it is supposed to lead to creation which is a gift from almighty God to man but when you engage in sexual  activities that can no way lead to life you are intentionally defying the will of God.

The act of sodomy is one of the worst possible sins you can commit, intentionally thrwarting God's plan for life. It's so grevious, that we consider it one of the four sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance. Right up there with murder of the innocents

Sodomy is sacrilege, sodomy is evil, sodomy leads to death of not only the body but of the soul.

God called it an abomination in the Old Testament and specifically destroyed two cities for it as well.

Let's stop playing games here and  stop sugar-coating it for what it is and please, spare us the whole  "evangelizing" thing to the LGBT community, they know damn well  that sodomy is strictly condmened in Christianity no matter how they try and spin it, there's no getting around that it is a sin and not compatible with the "alternative " lifestyle in any way whatsoever.

You can be a Christian or a sodomite, but you can't be both.
A voice crying in the wilderness. Be forewarned: the Pink Mafia is going to go ballistic.
 

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I just competed an exhaustive seminary course on the book of Ezekiel.  The prefigure not of Christ is astounding when really delved into.  His calling is our calling.  But our notions of "discourse" and of "practicality" overshadow our calling sometimes. 

May god forgive me for my own rebellion.

Then He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet that I may speak with you!” As He spoke to me the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet; and I heard Him speaking to me. Then He said to me, “Son of man, I am sending you to the sons of Israel, to a rebellious people who have rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day. “I am sending you to them who are stubborn and obstinate children, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ “As for them, whether they listen or not—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them. “And you, son of man, neither fear them nor fear their words, though thistles and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions; neither fear their words nor be dismayed at their presence, for they are a rebellious house. “But you shall speak My words to them whether they listen or not, for they are rebellious.

But I have sent you to them who should listen to you; yet the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, since they are not willing to listen to Me. Surely the whole house of Israel is stubborn and obstinate. “Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. “Like emery harder than flint I have made your forehead. Do not be afraid of them or be dismayed before them, though they are a rebellious house.” Moreover, He said to me, “Son of man, take into your heart all My words which I will speak to you and listen closely.  "Go to the exiles, to the sons of your people, and speak to them and tell them, whether they listen or not, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’”


Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me. “When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. “Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself. “Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I place an obstacle before him, he will die; since you have not warned him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. “However, if you have warned the righteous man that the righteous should not sin and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; and you have delivered yourself.”

As for you, son of man, they will put ropes on you and bind you with them so that you cannot go out among them. “Moreover, I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be mute and cannot be a man who rebukes them, for they are a rebellious house. “But when I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you will say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.[/quote]
 

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Clemente said:
minasoliman said:
Dear Clemente,

I've explained where I want to take this discussion.  You and I can continue to disagree on how to interpret Iconodule (I still don't see what you see), but for me, I am concerned with how to bring the gospel to LGBT people in more concrete practical ways.  I have also given my views in the beginning of this thread as to why I did not specifically appreciate Fr. Josiah's talk in Georgia.

Let's use an analogy.  Let's suppose you have some Jehovah's Witness (JW) folks that knock on your door.  You know your Bible and your theology really well to answer them.  Would you reach out to them and lovingly say how evil their organization is or would you try to lovingly demonstrate some of the flaws of their thinking and allow them to reach the conclusion of how evil their organization is?  Furthermore, how well known are you to the JW community?  Have you been involved very heavily in social activities, such as feeding the poor, visiting the sick, etc?  Or are we folks who live out our busy lives behind a computer screen and feel comfortable about saying what's wrong or right but having no sense of getting involved in the community and share that experience of what was done to effect some change?

My main issue is the stagnancy of repeating what we already know and believe, but not showing any practical outcome of that belief.  Rather than the back and forth in this thread earlier, I want to see the discussion move forward into something more productive.

God bless!
I understand that you and other posters here are ostensibly concerned with how to reach out to LGBT people. They represent about 3% of the population, so I question whether for many here that is a genuine concern for sharing the gospel  (if so, why not talk about other minority groups such as African Americans), or rather, it is just a politically-correct concern for appearing "tolerant" and not offending anybody (in which case, I think we should recognise that Christianity is always offensive, no matter how we couch it).

But why are you talking about how to evangelise our gay neighbours in this thread?

What you and some other posters here refuse to understand is that context matters, which is why your analogy about JWs falls flat. The subject of this thread was a conference on families in Georgia, not how to evangelise gays at our front doors. Father Trenham was asked to speak about a radical political group, the gay lobby, which is seeking to promulgate an offensive legislative agenda that threatens to circumscribe our freedom of religion. I and a few other posters have pointed this out several times here and have shown in detail how their agenda would curtail our religious liberty. We and Father Trenham are right to denounce that political agenda as "homofascist" because that is precisely what it is.

Context matters.

Would it be wrong to denounce KKK members as "racists" at a Congress on Racial Understanding because I might offend my racist neighbour whom I am trying to evangelise? Would it have been wrong to denounce the evils of Nazism for fear of offending my German neighbour? Was it wrong for Early Christians to denounce Diocletian and his supporters as evil for fear of offending their Roman neighbours? Can you not see that denouncing a radical group intending to impose evil on us through a political process does not preclude evangelising on a personal level those who may have something in common with that group?

There have been a number of truly offensive comments made in this thread about an outstanding and much-loved Orthodox priest who is in good standing with his bishop. He has hours and hours of broadcasts on AFR and Patristic Nectar.org and nobody has produced any evidence that Father Trenham has said anything that is not Orthodox. I find it sad that OC.net is being used for such calumny.
"Context matters".  This is why I was uncomfortable with Fr. Josiah's speech in Georgia, not because of the speech, but because of the place.  In the US, one can arguably speak out on the evils of the LGBT lobby without incurring violent repercussions to those same people.  I can't say the same in Georgia.  If he made the same speech in Uganda, it's even worse.

Sometimes even in the US, there might be a parish where a gay person is trying to figure out his life in repentance.  If I speak about the evils of the LGBT community, will I inadvertently ostracize this person? 

There is an example of a (former?) lesbian woman, Rosaria Butterfield, who upon having a relationship with a Methodist parish was able to repent and leave her past. As far as I am aware, that parish was never vociferous as Fr. Josiah.  Unless Fr. Josiah has people from the LGBT community he converted, it seems to me he's more of a political activist than a priest.

Using your analogy on Nazis, let's consider an actual example of a political activist in the past, Martin Luther King.  I have never listened to him bashing against the white man, but rather looking forward to resist injustice while maintaining a love for your enemy.  Now, here's the amazing thing.  He's the minority.  We are the majority as you admit.  How much more then should we desire to speak out against whatever laws may do while we also maintain the desire to save ALL of God's children!

My question is this concerning LGBT movements.  What has been affective to bring them to repentance?  I would like to find out real life stories of this.  Is Fr. Josiah actually bringing them to repentance, or does he only care about political issues?
 

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Clemente said:
Porter ODoran said:
Attacks on the ideal purposes of marriage:
  • Getting an education first
  • Poverty
  • Lack of community and sense of place
  • Lack of extended-family cohesion
  • Fragmented, indifferent parishes
  • Cultural confusion and malaise
  • Mental and emotional illness
  • Pride, cruelty, abuse
  • Absent fathers
  • Present but uninvolved fathers
  • Pernicious social environment
  • Divorce
  • Adultery
  • Quality of childhood education
  • Hostility or indifference between spouses
  • Lack of sex between spouses
  • Few or no offspring
  • Sexual degradation between spouses
  • Dishonesty
  • Disbelief in God
  • Lack of wholesome work
  • Polyamory
  • Homosexuality

I will let you put them in a numbered list in your minds, according to which have the greater impacts.
Interesting list but you left out one: the radical LGBT political lobby, which is doing the following:
• Passing laws which threaten churches that preach against homosexuality.  https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/four-spanish-bishops-threatened-with-prosecution-for-criticizing-draconian
• Passing laws forcing Christian adoption agencies to place babies in same-sex families or close down.  https://www.osv.com/OSVNewsweekly/ByIssue/Article/TabId/735/ArtMID/13636/ArticleID/14666/Tough-times-for-Catholic-adoption-agencies.aspx
• Suing Christian churches that do not perform same-sex marriage, http://www.christianpost.com/news/church-of-england-to-be-sued-for-refusing-to-perform-same-sex-marriages-just-a-month-after-prime-minister-promised-protection-101487/
• Proposing laws that would prevent Christian schools from teaching traditional Christian sexual morality, http://www.opposesb1146.com/

And in the wake of the Obergefell v. Hodges decision in the US, the following is happening in America:
• The tax-exempt status of non-profit ministries and organizations is being attacked
• Parents increasingly have no say in what their children are taught about relationships and marriage in public schools. No notice in advance. No chance to opt out.
• Teachers in public schools who express support for traditional marriage may be fired
• Christian college accreditation is being attacked
• Government-backed student-loans at Christian colleges are in doubt
• Faith-based adoption agencies are bing forced out of business
• Christian business owners, wedding photographers, cake bakers, florists, etc, are being sued for discrimination if they turn down business for a same-sex ceremony
• Churches open up their buildings to outside groups are being sued if they turn down events such as a reception for a same-sex wedding
• Faith-based charities and relief organizations that get money from the government are threatened
• The freedom of Christian organizations to hire people who are in harmony with their beliefs is being legally challenged
• Members of the military who disagree with homosexuality are being threatened
• People who work for city and county governments who express support for traditional marriage may lose their jobs

Now, forgive me for my cynicism, but I suspect you posted your little list to seek to trivialise the threat to the family and to the Orthodox faith posed by the LGBT lobby, which, alas, was the subject that Father Trenham was invited to address.
Everything I listed probably has some political component. For example, the teachers' unions, the entertainment lobby, the APA, the no-fault divorce crusade, and many more. Because homosexuals' political success is more recent and perhaps more surprising does not make it some special Elite Satanic Kingdom Corps or something. In short, everything is political.

To my mind, it's telling that you ignored a list almost each item of which represents unspeakable suffering for millions, especially children. What is sin if not the willful guilty misjudgment we choose because it serves us personally so well, or seems to. As you and I are not homosexuals, how tempting to indulge an obsession with the small population that are and thus excuse ourselves and hundreds of millions like us from scrutiny for our sins -- which, yes, sully the world and cry out to God for vengeance, as almost our entire way of life inflicts suffering on uncountable fellow human beings.

As for the "abomination" argument for homosexuality being a special class of cursedness or sin (I don't recall if this was your or Master Martel's argument) -- Scripture designate shellfish, raptors, bats and flying squirrels, insects, reptiles, silver or gold salvaged from idols, other religions, deformed cattle, self-justification, and the esteem of society to be (and I quote) abominations. Male-on-male sexual congress and child-sacrifice do indeed receive the same designation. In other words, a survey of Scripture should make it clear that there is nothing about the word "abomination" alone that marks an act as a particularly harmful or unforgivable one.
 

ialmisry

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Opus118 said:
Porter ODoran said:
Attacks on the ideal purposes of marriage:
  • Getting an education first
  • Poverty
  • Lack of community and sense of place
  • Lack of extended-family cohesion
  • Fragmented, indifferent parishes
  • Cultural confusion and malaise
  • Mental and emotional illness
  • Pride, cruelty, abuse
  • Absent fathers
  • Present but uninvolved fathers
  • Pernicious social environment
  • Divorce
  • Adultery
  • Quality of childhood education
  • Hostility or indifference between spouses
  • Lack of sex between spouses
  • Few or no offspring
  • Sexual degradation between spouses
  • Dishonesty
  • Disbelief in God
  • Lack of wholesome work
  • Polyamory
  • Homosexuality
I will let you put them in a numbered list in your minds, according to which have the greater impacts.
I have no idea for sorting these according to impact. This is a good starting list, but there are some items I cannot grasp at this moment. I would include  some opposite gender items that are more in play than what you have listed:
  • Absent mothers
  • Present but uninvolved mothers
  • Mothers who think whomever they are presently sleeping with is now dad
             
  • Mother's abusive boyfriends.
             
  • Mother's homicidal boyfriends.
 

ialmisry

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Iconodule said:
"Marriage" is expanded to include civil unions in the ROC document, so not sure what you hope to accomplish by your font antics.
Ah, so the problem lies behind the glasses. Try to read with understanding. It accomplishes much.
Iconodule said:
ialmisry said:
nor would different sex celibate cohabitation be condoned. Living as brother and sister isn't going to get the ecclesiastical A-OK.
You mean, unless they do it in disguise, in which case they are canonized?
That is living as brother and "brother"-a phrase that would, to the normal, makes no sense, as there is no question as to living like anything else.

Again, read with understanding. It accomplishes much.

Iconodule said:
What do you mean "ecclesiastical A-OK"? Again, they are not looking for any kind of formal blessing.
Then why the pouting?

Again, I know plenty of women (and men) who live together (women with women, and men with men, that is), and don't have to protest the Church to do so.
Iconodule said:
Plenty of women I know live together, and do not involve the Church in their domestic arrangements. Here, they claim a "calling" as a "Christian" "couple."
In what way are they trying to "involve the Church"?
Again, reading with understanding accomplishes much:
And, then on August 27 or 28, I honestly don’t remember which, I read the words “the Orthodox Church cannot and will not condone or bless ‘same-sex unions’ of any degree.” That last phrase if huge: of any degree. And no matter how much others have tried to tell me that the statement in question is not talking about people in my situation, I can’t believe that. The other shoe finally dropped, and I couldn’t see a way to continue communing in good conscience. The conscience is a tricky thing. It belongs to us, and only we know what will give us comfort.
 

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minasoliman said:
Clemente said:
minasoliman said:
Dear Clemente,

I've explained where I want to take this discussion.  You and I can continue to disagree on how to interpret Iconodule (I still don't see what you see), but for me, I am concerned with how to bring the gospel to LGBT people in more concrete practical ways.  I have also given my views in the beginning of this thread as to why I did not specifically appreciate Fr. Josiah's talk in Georgia.

Let's use an analogy.  Let's suppose you have some Jehovah's Witness (JW) folks that knock on your door.  You know your Bible and your theology really well to answer them.  Would you reach out to them and lovingly say how evil their organization is or would you try to lovingly demonstrate some of the flaws of their thinking and allow them to reach the conclusion of how evil their organization is?  Furthermore, how well known are you to the JW community?  Have you been involved very heavily in social activities, such as feeding the poor, visiting the sick, etc?  Or are we folks who live out our busy lives behind a computer screen and feel comfortable about saying what's wrong or right but having no sense of getting involved in the community and share that experience of what was done to effect some change?

My main issue is the stagnancy of repeating what we already know and believe, but not showing any practical outcome of that belief.  Rather than the back and forth in this thread earlier, I want to see the discussion move forward into something more productive.

God bless!
I understand that you and other posters here are ostensibly concerned with how to reach out to LGBT people. They represent about 3% of the population, so I question whether for many here that is a genuine concern for sharing the gospel  (if so, why not talk about other minority groups such as African Americans), or rather, it is just a politically-correct concern for appearing "tolerant" and not offending anybody (in which case, I think we should recognise that Christianity is always offensive, no matter how we couch it).

But why are you talking about how to evangelise our gay neighbours in this thread?

What you and some other posters here refuse to understand is that context matters, which is why your analogy about JWs falls flat. The subject of this thread was a conference on families in Georgia, not how to evangelise gays at our front doors. Father Trenham was asked to speak about a radical political group, the gay lobby, which is seeking to promulgate an offensive legislative agenda that threatens to circumscribe our freedom of religion. I and a few other posters have pointed this out several times here and have shown in detail how their agenda would curtail our religious liberty. We and Father Trenham are right to denounce that political agenda as "homofascist" because that is precisely what it is.

Context matters.

Would it be wrong to denounce KKK members as "racists" at a Congress on Racial Understanding because I might offend my racist neighbour whom I am trying to evangelise? Would it have been wrong to denounce the evils of Nazism for fear of offending my German neighbour? Was it wrong for Early Christians to denounce Diocletian and his supporters as evil for fear of offending their Roman neighbours? Can you not see that denouncing a radical group intending to impose evil on us through a political process does not preclude evangelising on a personal level those who may have something in common with that group?

There have been a number of truly offensive comments made in this thread about an outstanding and much-loved Orthodox priest who is in good standing with his bishop. He has hours and hours of broadcasts on AFR and Patristic Nectar.org and nobody has produced any evidence that Father Trenham has said anything that is not Orthodox. I find it sad that OC.net is being used for such calumny.
"Context matters".  This is why I was uncomfortable with Fr. Josiah's speech in Georgia, not because of the speech, but because of the place.  In the US, one can arguably speak out on the evils of the LGBT lobby without incurring violent repercussions to those same people.  I can't say the same in Georgia.  If he made the same speech in Uganda, it's even worse.

Sometimes even in the US, there might be a parish where a gay person is trying to figure out his life in repentance.  If I speak about the evils of the LGBT community, will I inadvertently ostracize this person? 

There is an example of a (former?) lesbian woman, Rosaria Butterfield, who upon having a relationship with a Methodist parish was able to repent and leave her past. As far as I am aware, that parish was never vociferous as Fr. Josiah.  Unless Fr. Josiah has people from the LGBT community he converted, it seems to me he's more of a political activist than a priest.

Using your analogy on Nazis, let's consider an actual example of a political activist in the past, Martin Luther King.  I have never listened to him bashing against the white man, but rather looking forward to resist injustice while maintaining a love for your enemy.  Now, here's the amazing thing.  He's the minority.  We are the majority as you admit.  How much more then should we desire to speak out against whatever laws may do while we also maintain the desire to save ALL of God's children!

My question is this concerning LGBT movements.  What has been affective to bring them to repentance?  I would like to find out real life stories of this.  Is Fr. Josiah actually bringing them to repentance, or does he only care about political issues?
Unfortunately, I am aware of no cases where an entire LGBT "movement" if we define it as a large, organized advocacy grouo, has been brought to repentance and conversion.  All conversions I have read about have been of one or two individuals.

By the way, if you view the video of Fr. Trenham addressing the same conference in 2015. he did not even address homosexuality, but he did address abortion, however, he did so within the context of a completely beautiful and Orthodox exposition on the reality of the incarnation, pointing out the awesome and charming reality of how had we grown up in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago we might well have played tag with God.

Also Fr. Trenham runs Patristic Nectar Publications, which distributes a fairly broad range of material mostly unrelated to homosexuality.
 

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I listened to Fr. Josiah's 2015 speech.  I could see how in other contexts he would have a lot of good things to say about other topics.  The problem, however, is a lot of this type of Orthodox theology is that it can seem overly romantic at times, leading to a totalizing worldview that lacks one of the key things I think is important in Christian ethics - vulnerability when faced with the other.  The need for vulnerability can only arise from a deep appreciation for repentance and humility, and sometimes I think the "religious" mindset works against this, because it creates a safe-haven of certainty beyond critique.  On a superficial level religion promises certainties, especially the modern take on religion as a "worldview" or metanarrative.  So threats to those certainties become existential threats.

I am surprised there is so much discussion about preaching against sin, and doing so focusing on the "correct" sins.  Preaching about sin risks alienating people, especially in a pluralistic world.  If you raise the barriers to even beginning to live a holy life (which IMO is all that is essential), nobody is going to bother because they will feel crushed before they even start.  You will have a church of self-justified religious people.  I don't see it as compatible with Jesus' message. 
 

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I'll try to answer the questions minasoliman poses but have put them in a different order than they appear in in his post.

minasoliman said:
My question is this concerning LGBT movements.  What has been affective to bring them to repentance? 
I'd say it's individuals, not movements, that come to repentance. So I think you need to consider how anyone comes to repentance. I would suggest that at least four things are required for repentance to occur:
1. The sinner needs to feel that his/her sin is not working for him/her anymore.
2. The sinner needs to want to change his/her behaviour.
3. The sinner needs to know that an alternative is possible.
4. Because coming to repentance is a long, slow process with many potential lapses, the sinner needs support from his/her church.

minasoliman said:
Sometimes even in the US, there might be a parish where a gay person is trying to figure out his life in repentance.  If I speak about the evils of the LGBT community, will I inadvertently ostracize this person? 
If you see evils in the LGBT community, I'd say you have to speak out about them--but you need to do so in love and choose your words carefully.

(Of course the flip side of this is that one has to be willing to listen when LGBT people point out the evils, or to use a milder term, failings they see in the church.)

minasoliman said:
Is Fr. Josiah actually bringing them to repentance, or does he only care about political issues?
It isn't for any of us to know what motivates Fr Trenham. But if I remember correctly, he has 10 children. I can say with certainty that if I had even one child, I would be tremendously concerned about what kind of world they were growing up in.
 
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