Fr Josiah Trenham in Tbilisi: Homofascists not Welcome

ialmisry

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They're not OK in science either
A Victory for Science over Scientific Propaganda: A New Report on Sexuality and Gender
http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2016/09/17802/
 

ialmisry

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Iconodule said:
I speak for myself. But the Russian Orthodox Church, the largest local church in Eastern Orthodoxy, has already declared the Church to have been wrong on another matter (contraception).
Could you provide said declaration?
 

ialmisry

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FatherGiryus said:
You all know where this is going...




LOL. Does that come from the time when they said that the doll was saying some homosexual saying?
 

ialmisry

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FatherGiryus said:
NicholasMyra said:
TheTrisagion said:
It's kinda crazy to me that he felt the need to spell out all the different kinds of sodomy and rates them.
Well, someone did. Not necessarily the attributed author, especially in the case of John the Faster.

Pseudo-John has some real winner canons, including:

"A boy who has been ruined in front of any man cannot come into holy orders. For although on account of his immature age he did not sin himself, yet his vessel was rent and became useless in connection with sacred services. If, however, he received the ejaculation between his thighs, after being suitably penanced he shall not be barred from preferment to holy orders."
As I have said elsewhere, 'homosexuality' isn't an Orthodox concept.  St. John's canons are proof of that.  Look at the differences in penances that he suggests:

CANON VIII
Anyone having committed masturbation is penalized forty days,
during which he must keep himself alive by xerophagy and must do
one hundred metanies every day.

CANON IX
As for intercourse of men with one another, such as practicing
double masturbation, it received the stated penance of up to eighty
days.

CANON XI
But for women as well, if any of them has allowed herself to be
kissed and felt by man, without, however, being ravished by him, let
her receive the penalty provided for masturbation.

CANON XII
Upon every Monk or layman that has committed fornication we
impose exclusion from Communion for two years, provided he
consents to submit to xerophogy after the ninth hour and to do two
hundred and fifty metanies; but if he neglects to do so, let him fulfill
the whole term fixed by the Fathers.


Here, a woman in a make-out session receives more punishment than homosexual 'double masturbation.'  This goes against the modern narrative of sexuality being bandied about.  Until people get a firmer grasp of the subject, I think that the discuss will only devolve more and more.

Theses canons made sense at the time of their writing, but we can't see how they are interconnected now because our thinking has changed so much.  Trying to say that our modern view of sexuality is normative to the Church is patently ludicrous. 
The view of sexuality from the monastery is also at play here-it seems that these canons (whoever wrote them) survived only in monastic settings, and St. Nicodemus (or was it the Old Calendarist editor?) had to apologetically express his astonishment that they-unlike the other canons of the Fathers (including the problematic Pope Theophilus of Alexandria)-received no Ecumenical sanction.
 

ialmisry

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NicholasMyra said:
FatherGiryus said:
NicholasMyra said:
FatherGiryus said:
Theses canons made sense at the time of their writing, but we can't see how they are interconnected now because our thinking has changed so much.  Trying to say that our modern view of sexuality is normative to the Church is patently ludicrous. 
Fr. good thing we aren't faced with a dilemma where modernism and the fashionably-stoic canons of pseudo-john are our only options.
I'm not sure people could even tell what the dilemma would be.
Well modernism is a slippery and vague term, after all.
well, it is a slippery and vague thing, so...
 

ialmisry

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FatherGiryus said:
hecma925 said:
I have lost all respect for you, Father.

Just kidding.  Is the offer to try home-cured meat still on the table?
There's club for that.  I especially like the hate mail I occasionally get:

Yesterday I listened to your lecture.  Two things struck me:

1. Your flippant and jokey manner.  This was highly distracting.  Please leave the funny voices for car time or shower time when you are alone and are not giving a serious lecture on death.  But you yourself said you did not wish to give a serious theological talk about death.  How shameful. Death is serious.  Death is theological.  You as a minister owe it to your hearers to give them the serious truths of the Bible. Instead you come off as a Patton Oswald wannabe...


That was from a guy who signs his emails as 'Emperor.'  I annoyed an Emperor.  Well, if I'm going to be disrespected, it is best to come from a higher class of people like royals.

Yes, PM me if you are going to be in the area.
LOL. At work (college) the push for "preferred pronoun" is full underway. My preferred pronoun is "Your Majesty."
 

FatherGiryus

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ialmisry said:
FatherGiryus said:
hecma925 said:
I have lost all respect for you, Father.

Just kidding.  Is the offer to try home-cured meat still on the table?
There's club for that.  I especially like the hate mail I occasionally get:

Yesterday I listened to your lecture.  Two things struck me:

1. Your flippant and jokey manner.  This was highly distracting.  Please leave the funny voices for car time or shower time when you are alone and are not giving a serious lecture on death.  But you yourself said you did not wish to give a serious theological talk about death.  How shameful. Death is serious.  Death is theological.  You as a minister owe it to your hearers to give them the serious truths of the Bible. Instead you come off as a Patton Oswald wannabe...


That was from a guy who signs his emails as 'Emperor.'  I annoyed an Emperor.  Well, if I'm going to be disrespected, it is best to come from a higher class of people like royals.

Yes, PM me if you are going to be in the area.
LOL. At work (college) the push for "preferred pronoun" is full underway. My preferred pronoun is "Your Majesty."
Can you opt for 'No Pronouns'?

It seems to me George to be the most fun.  Pronouns exclude, you Isa knows.  Identify with all humanity, while affirming your Isa's uniqueness.
 

Elisha

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FatherGiryus said:
NicholasMyra said:
TheTrisagion said:
It's kinda crazy to me that he felt the need to spell out all the different kinds of sodomy and rates them.
Well, someone did. Not necessarily the attributed author, especially in the case of John the Faster.

Pseudo-John has some real winner canons, including:

"A boy who has been ruined in front of any man cannot come into holy orders. For although on account of his immature age he did not sin himself, yet his vessel was rent and became useless in connection with sacred services. If, however, he received the ejaculation between his thighs, after being suitably penanced he shall not be barred from preferment to holy orders."
As I have said elsewhere, 'homosexuality' isn't an Orthodox concept.  St. John's canons are proof of that.  Look at the differences in penances that he suggests:

CANON VIII
Anyone having committed masturbation is penalized forty days,
during which he must keep himself alive by xerophagy and must do
one hundred metanies every day.

CANON IX
As for intercourse of men with one another, such as practicing
double masturbation, it received the stated penance of up to eighty
days.

CANON XI
But for women as well, if any of them has allowed herself to be
kissed and felt by man, without, however, being ravished by him, let
her receive the penalty provided for masturbation.

CANON XII
Upon every Monk or layman that has committed fornication we
impose exclusion from Communion for two years, provided he
consents to submit to xerophogy after the ninth hour and to do two
hundred and fifty metanies; but if he neglects to do so, let him fulfill
the whole term fixed by the Fathers.


Here, a woman in a make-out session receives more punishment than homosexual 'double masturbation.'  This goes against the modern narrative of sexuality being bandied about.  Until people get a firmer grasp of the subject, I think that the discuss will only devolve more and more.

Theses canons made sense at the time of their writing, but we can't see how they are interconnected now because our thinking has changed so much.  Trying to say that our modern view of sexuality is normative to the Church is patently ludicrous. 
Huh?  Are you reading that right?  I see that a woman gets the same 40 days as male solo masturbation.

Alveus Lacuna said:
FatherGiryus said:
Here, a woman in a make-out session receives more punishment than homosexual 'double masturbation.'
Am I that bad at math? It looks like she get 40 days for make out and feel-up, but double gay masturbation gets 80 days?
+1
 

Elisha

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FatherGiryus said:
hecma925 said:
I have lost all respect for you, Father.

Just kidding.  Is the offer to try home-cured meat still on the table?
There's club for that.  I especially like the hate mail I occasionally get:

Yesterday I listened to your lecture.  Two things struck me:

1. Your flippant and jokey manner.  This was highly distracting.  Please leave the funny voices for car time or shower time when you are alone and are not giving a serious lecture on death.  But you yourself said you did not wish to give a serious theological talk about death.  How shameful. Death is serious.  Death is theological.  You as a minister owe it to your hearers to give them the serious truths of the Bible. Instead you come off as a Patton Oswald wannabe...


That was from a guy who signs his emails as 'Emperor.'  I annoyed an Emperor.  Well, if I'm going to be disrespected, it is best to come from a higher class of people like royals.

Yes, PM me if you are going to be in the area.
You lecture at a college/university?  Where/what?  Do tell (via PM if you prefer)!
 

FatherGiryus

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Elisha said:
FatherGiryus said:
NicholasMyra said:
TheTrisagion said:
It's kinda crazy to me that he felt the need to spell out all the different kinds of sodomy and rates them.
Well, someone did. Not necessarily the attributed author, especially in the case of John the Faster.

Pseudo-John has some real winner canons, including:

"A boy who has been ruined in front of any man cannot come into holy orders. For although on account of his immature age he did not sin himself, yet his vessel was rent and became useless in connection with sacred services. If, however, he received the ejaculation between his thighs, after being suitably penanced he shall not be barred from preferment to holy orders."
As I have said elsewhere, 'homosexuality' isn't an Orthodox concept.  St. John's canons are proof of that.  Look at the differences in penances that he suggests:

CANON VIII
Anyone having committed masturbation is penalized forty days,
during which he must keep himself alive by xerophagy and must do
one hundred metanies every day.

CANON IX
As for intercourse of men with one another, such as practicing
double masturbation, it received the stated penance of up to eighty
days.

CANON XI
But for women as well, if any of them has allowed herself to be
kissed and felt by man, without, however, being ravished by him, let
her receive the penalty provided for masturbation.

CANON XII
Upon every Monk or layman that has committed fornication we
impose exclusion from Communion for two years, provided he
consents to submit to xerophogy after the ninth hour and to do two
hundred and fifty metanies; but if he neglects to do so, let him fulfill
the whole term fixed by the Fathers.


Here, a woman in a make-out session receives more punishment than homosexual 'double masturbation.'  This goes against the modern narrative of sexuality being bandied about.  Until people get a firmer grasp of the subject, I think that the discuss will only devolve more and more.

Theses canons made sense at the time of their writing, but we can't see how they are interconnected now because our thinking has changed so much.  Trying to say that our modern view of sexuality is normative to the Church is patently ludicrous. 
Huh?  Are you reading that right?  I see that a woman gets the same 40 days as male solo masturbation.

Alveus Lacuna said:
FatherGiryus said:
Here, a woman in a make-out session receives more punishment than homosexual 'double masturbation.'
Am I that bad at math? It looks like she get 40 days for make out and feel-up, but double gay masturbation gets 80 days?
+1
Ooops, my bad.  I was looking at another canon (St. John has quite a few) when I typed that comment.

However, it does provide some insight: 'homosexuality' does not enter into the fray here.  In fact, the activities are well within the same level of response (i.e. not years versus days).  No hysterics about men doing things to each other, as if it is part of an overall spectrum rather than a separate disorder (as homosexuality by both sides is now styled).
 

Iconodule

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Onesimus said:
[quote author=FatherGiryus]

Trying to say that our modern view of sexuality is normative to the Church is patently ludicrous. 


Now this, depending on how one looks at it, I think is true.    But I'm not sure it is helpful in teasing out the whole picture. 

What were the intended goals of the canons?  Were they not to give people weak in faith and subject to deep seeded cultural sins and customs a framework from which to develop a catechetical compliment to repentance, not dissimilar to the orthopraxy of liturgy or the bodily ascesis of fasting, prayer, etc.?    What was the objective goal of directing the flow of people's consciousness other than to establish a set of pattern by which people would learn how to reorient their relationships and attitude away from sexual nihilism and all its associated aberrancies? 

The effect of these canons were the establishment of the family unit and sexuality as we know it modernity by channeling Christian behavior towards their telos in Christ.  The fact is that the modern notions of sexuality and homosexuality are a product of these very canons being ingrained into the consciousness of the Christian world...and the fact that they've always remained imperfect, does not mean they were not sanctifying for people, culture, etc.

The departure from relying on those canons and their strict implementation is, in my estimation, a result of the ubiquitous understanding of them as valued parts of identity in the church over time which had seeped into the fabric of Christian culture...and this was exactly the goal of the canons for a still pagan culture intent on sexual nihilism, objectification and violation of other human persons "against nature." (not nature as in mother nature - but nature as in logikos = i.e. conforming to the image of likeness of Christ.)  The fact that Iconodule points out is essentially correct; that we don't implement these anymore cause they don't apply to our modern context.  But he has this backwards.  They are becoming more relevant to us as we begin to recognize how much we don't live a truly Christian life and how much we are being conformed to the likeness of the world and becoming slaves to its modern trends and passions.  We are beginning to need these external catechetical practices in order to reign in our passions and help us become attentive to the Spirit.  What we are seeing in modernity is essentially a popular re-embrace of the kinds of sexual nihilism of the pagan world, complete with same sex-marriages (which they had).  As we slide back into paganism we probably need the canons just as the culture emerging from paganism did.    Times do change for the Church and it does need to adapt, but in precisely the opposite direction Iconodule proposes.  Our regression is not an indication that the canons are no longer helpful, but that they may have more value than we understand in transforming the lives of the spiritually immature.

I completely get your point, but this is essentially a statement offered that is "a mile wide and an inch deep" without giving any food for thought.  It seems that in the context of this ongoing discussion it could read uncritically to continue to push a certain desired outcome; i.e. the legitimization of sodomy.

Perhaps the canons do need to be rewritten for a new age...but they ought not be rewritten to embrace sodomy.    Perhaps they need to be rewritten to reign us back in and remind of us of who we are to be.
[/quote]

I don't think you are aware of the full picture of "who we are to be" in the mind of the Fathers, and particularly in their treatment of sexual questions.

First question: Why is there sex? Because of man's disobedience, he is no longer able to reproduce in the angelic, asexual manner, but must rather procreate in the manner proper to irrational beasts. Only in prevision of this did God divide man into male and female and implant this impulse to procreate which, in the words of Saint Gregory Palamas, "is not subject to our minds, which God has appointed to govern us, and is not entirely without sin." Saint Gregory of Nyssa infers that Adam and Eve were originally intended to be sexless, as in the resurrection there is no marriage. This might seem to some like a rather strained reading of the Genesis narrative, though it does conform pretty well with Platonic cosmology. In any case, in the view of these fathers (including also Chrysostom, Maximus, and John Damascene) sex is not essential to human nature; it was alien to Adam and Eve before their fall, will be alien to our resurrected bodies, and therefore can only be regarded as an accidental attribute in the interim. Which pretty much answers the next question:

What is sex for? It's for procreation. That's it. In his Centuries on Love, Saint Maximus says, "In relation to women, for example, sexual intercourse, rightly used, has as its purpose the begetting of children. He, therefore, who seeks in it only sensual pleasure uses it wrongly, for he reckons as good what is not good. When such a man has intercourse with a woman, he misuses her." Married couples should come together to make babies, and spend the rest of their time like monks/ angels. Saint John Chrysostom notably also stresses the importance of reinforcing/ strengthening the bond between man and wife, but this is not something separate from the procreative function.

What is fornication? Any sexual act or thought without the purpose of begetting children misses the mark- this is a consistent position of the ancient Church. The sin of fornication is understood to extend so far as to include having "impure thoughts" about one's own wife. And it wasn't enough for a couple to restrict themselves to procreative acts on non-fasting, non-feast days- the wrong position, the wrong attitude, the wrong place, could render one guilty of the sin of Sodom. And- sorry Mor- but that Rachel Weisz thread? Everyone participating in it, and possibly even looking at it, is guilty of fornication. By such deeds, we succumb to our animalistic urges, implanted as a result of the Fall, and unworthy of our true calling. The fact that any of us talk about these matters on a public forum says a lot about how far away we are from this aspect of the patristic worldview.

Needless to say, in such a worldview, contraception is out of question, which is why I am continually bringing up the Russian Orthodox Church's official allowance for it (and other jurisdictions, such as the OCA, have followed suit). This represents a big shift in the Christian view of sexuality, something the Roman Catholics recognize, though even with their strident anti-contraceptive stance, they too have hammered a significant gap in the edifice by advocating "natural family planning." Pleasure and procreation are now quite separated as purposes for intercourse, even if the latter is still upheld as the prominent end of marriage.

We can bring up any number of convincing reasons why this change was made- pastoral, biological, historical- but nevertheless the fact remains that acts considered damnable fornication throughout the history of the Church are now considered acceptable (with, of course, appropriate consultation with your spiritual father). We could also point to the absence of strict separation of the sexes in many churches, loosening standards of dress, significantly changed attitudes toward dating, premarital (and marital) sex, menstruation etc. Something big happened here, and it's not just about contraception, and not even just about sex. This is a churchwide revision of a traditional teaching and a traditional anthropology. Those who maintain a fiery intransigence on homosexuality while ignoring or  condoning these other changes are fooling themselves if they think they are protecting the traditional Christian sexual ideals. The special, overriding horror of one particular brand of fornication over all the others is something not shared by the Fathers. It is an expression of modernity, something none of us can escape, and we are all alike strangers to the cosmology of Byzantium and medieval Rus'.

My point is not to say, "We're all sinners, so sin is okay" or "There's no such thing as sin anymore." But if we're going to relax some parts and not others, there needs to be some coherent, articulated reason for it, with careful consideration both of tradition and contemporary situations. Acting like nothing has really changed won't accomplish that. A Church that strains out the gnat of homosexuality and swallows the camel of porneia isn't accomplishing that.
 

Daedelus1138

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Iconodule said:
First question: Why is there sex? Because of man's disobedience, he is no longer able to reproduce in the angelic, asexual manner, but must rather procreate in the manner proper to irrational beasts. 
This is actually a disturbing thought. The Bible is pretty clear before the fall, God created man and woman as separate sexes and said it was good.  But then, the world the Fathers was steeped in was full of the Greek denigration of the human body.  I believe what is being presented is an incorrect view of transcendence.

It seems to me the Stoic ethic has other problems too, prizing reason as the mark of the divine image.  But this is incorrect.  The divine image is not something we have by virtue of reason, it is something we are by virtue of being human.  Not all human beings have reason in equal degree, but they have the divine image  equally.

What is fornication? Any sexual act or thought without the purpose of begetting children misses the mark- this is a consistent position of the ancient Church. The sin of fornication is understood to extend so far as to include having "impure thoughts" about one's own wife.
That reminds me of the ever-scrupulous Ned Flanders from the Simpsons "You gotta help me reverend, I think I'm coveting my own wife!" 
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
Clemente said:
I won't repost this thread. I encourage readers to review for themselves. You have provided a lot of support and have continually given Iconodule the benefit of the doubt, whilst criticising harshly Father Trenham.
You can't quote it because it doesn't exist.  I have not harshly criticised Fr Josiah in this thread.  I barely criticised him at all. 

Amongst other jewels in this thread:
I will say that I see a difference between someone who knows the traditional teaching of the Church and struggles with it in light of some personal experiences and someone who is actively working to change Church teaching and practice because they believe it is false as it exists.  I understand Iconodule to be the former."
No, Mor, it was the latter. You had a 50/50 and you chose wrong. Every time.
Where did Iconodule say he was actively working to change Church teaching and practice?  In fact, he has said "I've changed my mind about this once, so perhaps I could change it again. I don't find the present arguments to be especially persuasive, however."  That's someone you can reach out to, someone you can work with, someone you can win over to the side of Orthodox teaching on homosexuality, because that's someone who is willing to listen.  Your problem is that you don't have anything to offer.

I don't expect an apology from you calling me a liar, since I think you are good with bullying, but poor with admitting you were wrong.
You were lying about my words and my beliefs.  I've challenged you on it before and you've come up with nothing. 

Clemente said:
I encourage readers to review for themselves.
Liar. LIAR. LIAR! 

You must be, what, 14 years old? You need to give the keyboard back to Mother Mor.

"You can't quote it because it doesn't exist. I have not harshly criticised Fr Josiah in this thread.  I barely criticised him at all."

I know you like to bully some of your fan boys here on OC.net, but I cannot see the point of responding to some of your points, since your responses rely heavily on the fallacy of a distinction without a difference. I can quote heavily for all to see your criticism of Father Trenham and anyone doubting can just re-read this thread. Its "existence" does not depend on whether it is harsh or not, so stop with your silly, fallacious denials.

Liar. LIAR. LIAR!

You have consistently shown bias in this thread. You have "hearted" prurient jokes about Father Trenham, an Orthodox priest in good standing. Meanwhile, a poster who longs for a change in Church teaching on homosexuality gets praised as "awesome".

And, whilst paying fealty to the inchoate OC.net statement about homosexuality, you seem to invite debate about it and provide tepid justification. "Scripture doesn't seem to hold a [positive] view about homosexuality" but hey, maybe we don't understand Scripture well enough, eh?

Liar. LIAR. LIAR!

But wait. Iconodule is not "actively working to change Church teaching and practice".

This is a laughable distinction without a difference, again. If I want the Church to change its view on homosexuality and I spend pages and pages on the most popular Orthodox website in the world explaining why that makes sense--why, it's just like contraception, you know--I am actively working to change Church teaching and practice.

Now, I know you like to shout "Liar. LIAR. LIAR!" when anybody here even questions the sagacity of the mighty Mor (as you love to think of yourself, "Mor is always the best"). You may discount me as a liar--your perception of me matters very little. However, if I am a just a bad poster, you have a bad fact in this thread:

A number of posters, such as Charles Martel, have shared the same perception about your bias. So, by your logic, there are a lot of liars here (basically anybody who disagrees with you). So you are either a magnet for liars, or perhaps the perception that we have of you is true.

I agree with almost nothing that you have written in this thread. But perhaps my greatest disagreement with you is that this thread is somehow edifying to God. You have given a platform to Orthodox posters to express their heterodoxy. You have provided the most flaccid, disengenuous justification for this: "That's someone you can reach out to, someone you can work with, someone you can win over to the side of Orthodox teaching on homosexuality, because that's someone who is willing to listen."

Is that what you have achieved? Do you really think that this thread has served to win over the pro-gay side to Orthodox teaching on homosexuality?

That is laughable, and you know it. You have "enabled" the Pink Mafia to spread its heterodoxy by giving them pages and pages of "safe space" to express their heterodoxy. Well done!

Can you point to even one formerly pro-gay poster, who as a result of this thread, is now won "over to the side of Orthodox teaching on homosexuality"? Just one? Anyone?

Of course you cannot. Because what is more important to you than promoting "Orthodox teaching on homosexuality" is promoting OC.net. Page views, baby!

If I am wrong, I would happily apologise and rejoice that a prodigal son has returned. Unlike you, I am not afraid to admit I am wrong in the face of contrary evidence.

PS. I love that you quote me in your sig line.  I pray that many Orthodox here will spend time listening to AFR and visiting other parishes rather than viewing threads like this in the surreal bubble that is OC.net. Please, please, don't ever remove that quote! It is a badge of honour.
 

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Iconodule said:
Onesimus said:
[quote author=FatherGiryus]

Trying to say that our modern view of sexuality is normative to the Church is patently ludicrous. 


Now this, depending on how one looks at it, I think is true.    But I'm not sure it is helpful in teasing out the whole picture. 

What were the intended goals of the canons?  Were they not to give people weak in faith and subject to deep seeded cultural sins and customs a framework from which to develop a catechetical compliment to repentance, not dissimilar to the orthopraxy of liturgy or the bodily ascesis of fasting, prayer, etc.?    What was the objective goal of directing the flow of people's consciousness other than to establish a set of pattern by which people would learn how to reorient their relationships and attitude away from sexual nihilism and all its associated aberrancies? 

The effect of these canons were the establishment of the family unit and sexuality as we know it modernity by channeling Christian behavior towards their telos in Christ.  The fact is that the modern notions of sexuality and homosexuality are a product of these very canons being ingrained into the consciousness of the Christian world...and the fact that they've always remained imperfect, does not mean they were not sanctifying for people, culture, etc.

The departure from relying on those canons and their strict implementation is, in my estimation, a result of the ubiquitous understanding of them as valued parts of identity in the church over time which had seeped into the fabric of Christian culture...and this was exactly the goal of the canons for a still pagan culture intent on sexual nihilism, objectification and violation of other human persons "against nature." (not nature as in mother nature - but nature as in logikos = i.e. conforming to the image of likeness of Christ.)  The fact that Iconodule points out is essentially correct; that we don't implement these anymore cause they don't apply to our modern context.  But he has this backwards.  They are becoming more relevant to us as we begin to recognize how much we don't live a truly Christian life and how much we are being conformed to the likeness of the world and becoming slaves to its modern trends and passions.  We are beginning to need these external catechetical practices in order to reign in our passions and help us become attentive to the Spirit.  What we are seeing in modernity is essentially a popular re-embrace of the kinds of sexual nihilism of the pagan world, complete with same sex-marriages (which they had).  As we slide back into paganism we probably need the canons just as the culture emerging from paganism did.    Times do change for the Church and it does need to adapt, but in precisely the opposite direction Iconodule proposes.  Our regression is not an indication that the canons are no longer helpful, but that they may have more value than we understand in transforming the lives of the spiritually immature.

I completely get your point, but this is essentially a statement offered that is "a mile wide and an inch deep" without giving any food for thought.  It seems that in the context of this ongoing discussion it could read uncritically to continue to push a certain desired outcome; i.e. the legitimization of sodomy.

Perhaps the canons do need to be rewritten for a new age...but they ought not be rewritten to embrace sodomy.    Perhaps they need to be rewritten to reign us back in and remind of us of who we are to be.
I don't think you are aware of the full picture of "who we are to be" in the mind of the Fathers, and particularly in their treatment of sexual questions.

First question: Why is there sex? Because of man's disobedience, he is no longer able to reproduce in the angelic, asexual manner, but must rather procreate in the manner proper to irrational beasts. Only in prevision of this did God divide man into male and female and implant this impulse to procreate which, in the words of Saint Gregory Palamas, "is not subject to our minds, which God has appointed to govern us, and is not entirely without sin." Saint Gregory of Nyssa infers that Adam and Eve were originally intended to be sexless, as in the resurrection there is no marriage. This might seem to some like a rather strained reading of the Genesis narrative, though it does conform pretty well with Platonic cosmology. In any case, in the view of these fathers (including also Chrysostom, Maximus, and John Damascene) sex is not essential to human nature; it was alien to Adam and Eve before their fall, will be alien to our resurrected bodies, and therefore can only be regarded as an accidental attribute in the interim. Which pretty much answers the next question:

What is sex for? It's for procreation. That's it. In his Centuries on Love, Saint Maximus says, "In relation to women, for example, sexual intercourse, rightly used, has as its purpose the begetting of children. He, therefore, who seeks in it only sensual pleasure uses it wrongly, for he reckons as good what is not good. When such a man has intercourse with a woman, he misuses her." Married couples should come together to make babies, and spend the rest of their time like monks/ angels. Saint John Chrysostom notably also stresses the importance of reinforcing/ strengthening the bond between man and wife, but this is not something separate from the procreative function.

What is fornication? Any sexual act or thought without the purpose of begetting children misses the mark- this is a consistent position of the ancient Church. The sin of fornication is understood to extend so far as to include having "impure thoughts" about one's own wife. And it wasn't enough for a couple to restrict themselves to procreative acts on non-fasting, non-feast days- the wrong position, the wrong attitude, the wrong place, could render one guilty of the sin of Sodom. And- sorry Mor- but that Rachel Weisz thread? Everyone participating in it, and possibly even looking at it, is guilty of fornication. By such deeds, we succumb to our animalistic urges, implanted as a result of the Fall, and unworthy of our true calling. The fact that any of us talk about these matters on a public forum says a lot about how far away we are from this aspect of the patristic worldview.

Needless to say, in such a worldview, contraception is out of question, which is why I am continually bringing up the Russian Orthodox Church's official allowance for it (and other jurisdictions, such as the OCA, have followed suit). This represents a big shift in the Christian view of sexuality, something the Roman Catholics recognize, though even with their strident anti-contraceptive stance, they too have hammered a significant gap in the edifice by advocating "natural family planning." Pleasure and procreation are now quite separated as purposes for intercourse, even if the latter is still upheld as the prominent end of marriage.

We can bring up any number of convincing reasons why this change was made- pastoral, biological, historical- but nevertheless the fact remains that acts considered damnable fornication throughout the history of the Church are now considered acceptable (with, of course, appropriate consultation with your spiritual father). We could also point to the absence of strict separation of the sexes in many churches, loosening standards of dress, significantly changed attitudes toward dating, premarital (and marital) sex, menstruation etc. Something big happened here, and it's not just about contraception, and not even just about sex. This is a churchwide revision of a traditional teaching and a traditional anthropology. Those who maintain a fiery intransigence on homosexuality while ignoring or  condoning these other changes are fooling themselves if they think they are protecting the traditional Christian sexual ideals. The special, overriding horror of one particular brand of fornication over all the others is something not shared by the Fathers. It is an expression of modernity, something none of us can escape, and we are all alike strangers to the cosmology of Byzantium and medieval Rus'.

My point is not to say, "We're all sinners, so sin is okay" or "There's no such thing as sin anymore." But if we're going to relax some parts and not others, there needs to be some coherent, articulated reason for it, with careful consideration both of tradition and contemporary situations. Acting like nothing has really changed won't accomplish that. A Church that strains out the gnat of homosexuality and swallows the camel of porneia isn't accomplishing that.
[/quote]

Note that arsenokoetia is a form of porneia, and both are proscribed by name in the New Testament; what is more, Fr. Trenham has expressly condemned birth control, as I mentioned previously.  The fact that the Russian church and other jurisdictions may allow it is obviously an immediate problem which must be addressed. 

However, it must be stressed in the ancient canons the penalties for arsenokoetia, whether performed between married men and women or between two men, were much more severe than those for fornication.  Indeed, if a boy was the passive victim of arsenokoetia, he was deemed to have been "ruined" and was thus canonically disqualified from the priesthood, under the canons of St. John the Faster.

I don"t advocate these canons for enforcement today, by the way, as much more oikonomia is needed, but these canons do provide a roadmap for understanding how the ancient church judged the relative seriousness of each particular sin, and modern confessors I believe should continue to rely on them for assesing the spiritual damage individual Christians have inflicted on themselves through specific sins, even if they should no longer neccessarily apply the same medicines (because someone instructed to engage in xerophagia and refrain from communion for seven years, the ancient penance for arsenokoetia, might fall into despair and just leave the Church for a mainline Protestant church or another religion altogether, or kill themselves, owing to the stresses of contemporary society).

I also believe the Russian and Serbian churches need to get tougher about abortion.  And again, Fr. Trenham has attacked abortion and birth control with at least as much, if not more vigour, then he has spent on this particular issue, calling it "the culture of death" and "the death industry," which is at least as incendiary as "homofascist."
 

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Daedelus1138 said:
Iconodule said:
First question: Why is there sex? Because of man's disobedience, he is no longer able to reproduce in the angelic, asexual manner, but must rather procreate in the manner proper to irrational beasts. 
This is actually a disturbing thought. The Bible is pretty clear before the fall, God created man and woman as separate sexes and said it was good.  But then, the world the Fathers was steeped in was full of the Greek denigration of the human body.  I believe what is being presented is an incorrect view of transcendence.

It seems to me the Stoic ethic has other problems too, prizing reason as the mark of the divine image.  But this is incorrect.  The divine image is not something we have by virtue of reason, it is something we are by virtue of being human.  Not all human beings have reason in equal degree, but they have the divine image  equally.

What is fornication? Any sexual act or thought without the purpose of begetting children misses the mark- this is a consistent position of the ancient Church. The sin of fornication is understood to extend so far as to include having "impure thoughts" about one's own wife.
That reminds me of the ever-scrupulous Ned Flanders from the Simpsons "You gotta help me reverend, I think I'm coveting my own wife!"
Good Lord! A Daedalus post I fully agree with.
 

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Clemente said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Clemente said:
I won't repost this thread. I encourage readers to review for themselves. You have provided a lot of support and have continually given Iconodule the benefit of the doubt, whilst criticising harshly Father Trenham.
You can't quote it because it doesn't exist.  I have not harshly criticised Fr Josiah in this thread.  I barely criticised him at all. 

Amongst other jewels in this thread:
I will say that I see a difference between someone who knows the traditional teaching of the Church and struggles with it in light of some personal experiences and someone who is actively working to change Church teaching and practice because they believe it is false as it exists.  I understand Iconodule to be the former."
No, Mor, it was the latter. You had a 50/50 and you chose wrong. Every time.
Where did Iconodule say he was actively working to change Church teaching and practice?  In fact, he has said "I've changed my mind about this once, so perhaps I could change it again. I don't find the present arguments to be especially persuasive, however."  That's someone you can reach out to, someone you can work with, someone you can win over to the side of Orthodox teaching on homosexuality, because that's someone who is willing to listen.  Your problem is that you don't have anything to offer.

I don't expect an apology from you calling me a liar, since I think you are good with bullying, but poor with admitting you were wrong.
You were lying about my words and my beliefs.  I've challenged you on it before and you've come up with nothing. 

Clemente said:
I encourage readers to review for themselves.
Liar. LIAR. LIAR! 

You must be, what, 14 years old? You need to give the keyboard back to Mother Mor.

"You can't quote it because it doesn't exist. I have not harshly criticised Fr Josiah in this thread.  I barely criticised him at all."

I know you like to bully some of your fan boys here on OC.net, but I cannot see the point of responding to some of your points, since your responses rely heavily on the fallacy of a distinction without a difference. I can quote heavily for all to see your criticism of Father Trenham and anyone doubting can just re-read this thread. Its "existence" does not depend on whether it is harsh or not, so stop with your silly, fallacious denials.

Liar. LIAR. LIAR!

You have consistently shown bias in this thread. You have "hearted" prurient jokes about Father Trenham, an Orthodox priest in good standing. Meanwhile, a poster who longs for a change in Church teaching on homosexuality gets praised as "awesome".

And, whilst paying fealty to the inchoate OC.net statement about homosexuality, you seem to invite debate about it and provide tepid justification. "Scripture doesn't seem to hold a [positive] view about homosexuality" but hey, maybe we don't understand Scripture well enough, eh?

Liar. LIAR. LIAR!

But wait. Iconodule is not "actively working to change Church teaching and practice".

This is a laughable distinction without a difference, again. If I want the Church to change its view on homosexuality and I spend pages and pages on the most popular Orthodox website in the world explaining why that makes sense--why, it's just like contraception, you know--I am actively working to change Church teaching and practice.

Now, I know you like to shout "Liar. LIAR. LIAR!" when anybody here even questions the sagacity of the mighty Mor (as you love to think of yourself, "Mor is always the best"). You may discount me as a liar--your perception of me matters very little. However, if I am a just a bad poster, you have a bad fact in this thread:

A number of posters, such as Charles Martel, have shared the same perception about your bias. So, by your logic, there are a lot of liars here (basically anybody who disagrees with you). So you are either a magnet for liars, or perhaps the perception that we have of you is true.

I agree with almost nothing that you have written in this thread. But perhaps my greatest disagreement with you is that this thread is somehow edifying to God. You have given a platform to Orthodox posters to express their heterodoxy. You have provided the most flaccid, disengenuous justification for this: "That's someone you can reach out to, someone you can work with, someone you can win over to the side of Orthodox teaching on homosexuality, because that's someone who is willing to listen."

Is that what you have achieved? Do you really think that this thread has served to win over the pro-gay side to Orthodox teaching on homosexuality?

That is laughable, and you know it. You have "enabled" the Pink Mafia to spread its heterodoxy by giving them pages and pages of "safe space" to express their heterodoxy. Well done!

Can you point to even one formerly pro-gay poster, who as a result of this thread, is now won "over to the side of Orthodox teaching on homosexuality"? Just one? Anyone?

Of course you cannot. Because what is more important to you than promoting "Orthodox teaching on homosexuality" is promoting OC.net. Page views, baby!

If I am wrong, I would happily apologise and rejoice that a prodigal son has returned. Unlike you, I am not afraid to admit I am wrong in the face of contrary evidence.

PS. I love that you quote me in your sig line.  I pray that many Orthodox here will spend time listening to AFR and visiting other parishes rather than viewing threads like this in the surreal bubble that is OC.net. Please, please, don't ever remove that quote! It is a badge of honour.
♥
 

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Iconodule said:
Onesimus said:
To each his own I guess.
ialmisry said:
sinjinsmythe said:
sex=bad in Orthodoxy, unless it is done for procreation which makes it less bad but it is still not good.  And that is it REALLY better if we all would just stay single and follow the angelic path. That is more virtuous and not as bestial as marriage can be.  Singleness can be such a blessing to all. Why can't God just form people out of sand??? Why do we have to do all the dirty work? After all, it is dirty work according to some holy fathers.  By the way, you should be like us single folk who don't think about sex and instead think about how to please our God.
sinjinsmythe said:
Did I say that one should just have sex for the sake of having sex? No, I did not imply that. Rather, I was only repeating the many lectures on great the life of celibacy is. I like it and I think it is good. It is much more difficult to live in celibacy because everyone around you is carnally minded and always thinking about marriage and children and sex.  And if you are not a part of the married persons club at church, you are kind of weird and a pariah.  Frankly, I think sex is gross and probably highly overrated. :-X  Why soil yourself with some daughter of Eve when you can live like the angels? If this offends, there are some fathers who viewed women with suspicion just as there are holy fathers that take a strong stance against sexual activity. Third, I know we are made from dirt. But why must we do the dirty work? Doing the dirty work can lead one to a life in hell as well as in heaven. Why can't God just make us out of sand and let us concentrate on worshipping him instead of copulating like a bunch of rabbits? Here is another thing, in the resurrection, there will be no marriage, no child rearing, no birth of children, so why in the here now do we do something that is totally different from what God intends? I am looking for arguments other than because 'man is fallen.'
Came across this thread on a google search on Noonan. Anyone know what happened to sinjin?

Interesting ::) summary of thought.
LOL.
He answered, "Have you not read that He Who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."
 

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^Good answer.  How some of the Fathers think there was some kind of different way of multiplying before the fall is beyond me.
 

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I'm with you. It's nuts. And yet... Who are you and I to know better about this than Sts Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, Maximus the Confessor, John Damascene, Gregory Palamas, etc. ? And when we question this we are really questioning the entire patristic way of thinking about sex.
 

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Onesimus said:
[quote author=FatherGiryus]

Trying to say that our modern view of sexuality is normative to the Church is patently ludicrous. 


Now this, depending on how one looks at it, I think is true.    But I'm not sure it is helpful in teasing out the whole picture. 

What were the intended goals of the canons?  Were they not to give people weak in faith and subject to deep seeded cultural sins and customs a framework from which to develop a catechetical compliment to repentance, not dissimilar to the orthopraxy of liturgy or the bodily ascesis of fasting, prayer, etc.?    What was the objective goal of directing the flow of people's consciousness other than to establish a set of pattern by which people would learn how to reorient their relationships and attitude away from sexual nihilism and all its associated aberrancies? 

The effect of these canons were the establishment of the family unit and sexuality as we know it modernity by channeling Christian behavior towards their telos in Christ.  The fact is that the modern notions of sexuality and homosexuality are a product of these very canons being ingrained into the consciousness of the Christian world...and the fact that they've always remained imperfect, does not mean they were not sanctifying for people, culture, etc.

The departure from relying on those canons and their strict implementation is, in my estimation, a result of the ubiquitous understanding of them as valued parts of identity in the church over time which had seeped into the fabric of Christian culture...and this was exactly the goal of the canons for a still pagan culture intent on sexual nihilism, objectification and violation of other human persons "against nature." (not nature as in mother nature - but nature as in logikos = i.e. conforming to the image of likeness of Christ.)  The fact that Iconodule points out is essentially correct; that we don't implement these anymore cause they don't apply to our modern context.  But he has this backwards.  They are becoming more relevant to us as we begin to recognize how much we don't live a truly Christian life and how much we are being conformed to the likeness of the world and becoming slaves to its modern trends and passions.  We are beginning to need these external catechetical practices in order to reign in our passions and help us become attentive to the Spirit.  What we are seeing in modernity is essentially a popular re-embrace of the kinds of sexual nihilism of the pagan world, complete with same sex-marriages (which they had).  As we slide back into paganism we probably need the canons just as the culture emerging from paganism did.    Times do change for the Church and it does need to adapt, but in precisely the opposite direction Iconodule proposes.  Our regression is not an indication that the canons are no longer helpful, but that they may have more value than we understand in transforming the lives of the spiritually immature.

I completely get your point, but this is essentially a statement offered that is "a mile wide and an inch deep" without giving any food for thought.  It seems that in the context of this ongoing discussion it could read uncritically to continue to push a certain desired outcome; i.e. the legitimization of sodomy.

Perhaps the canons do need to be rewritten for a new age...but they ought not be rewritten to embrace sodomy.    Perhaps they need to be rewritten to reign us back in and remind of us of who we are to be.
[/quote]

Wow. This is bold. Last night as I read it, I thought, Is he really daring to say this? But I think I like it.
 

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Some of the material I'm referring to is here, btw, for anyone curious: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,26032.msg411397.html#msg411397
 

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Iconodule said:
I don't think you are aware of the full picture of "who we are to be" in the mind of the Fathers, and particularly in their treatment of sexual questions.

First question: Why is there sex? Because of man's disobedience, he is no longer able to reproduce in the angelic, asexual manner, but must rather procreate in the manner proper to irrational beasts. Only in prevision of this did God divide man into male and female and implant this impulse to procreate which, in the words of Saint Gregory Palamas, "is not subject to our minds, which God has appointed to govern us, and is not entirely without sin." Saint Gregory of Nyssa infers that Adam and Eve were originally intended to be sexless, as in the resurrection there is no marriage. This might seem to some like a rather strained reading of the Genesis narrative, though it does conform pretty well with Platonic cosmology. In any case, in the view of these fathers (including also Chrysostom, Maximus, and John Damascene) sex is not essential to human nature; it was alien to Adam and Eve before their fall, will be alien to our resurrected bodies, and therefore can only be regarded as an accidental attribute in the interim. Which pretty much answers the next question:

What is sex for? It's for procreation. That's it. In his Centuries on Love, Saint Maximus says, "In relation to women, for example, sexual intercourse, rightly used, has as its purpose the begetting of children. He, therefore, who seeks in it only sensual pleasure uses it wrongly, for he reckons as good what is not good. When such a man has intercourse with a woman, he misuses her." Married couples should come together to make babies, and spend the rest of their time like monks/ angels. Saint John Chrysostom notably also stresses the importance of reinforcing/ strengthening the bond between man and wife, but this is not something separate from the procreative function.

What is fornication? Any sexual act or thought without the purpose of begetting children misses the mark- this is a consistent position of the ancient Church. The sin of fornication is understood to extend so far as to include having "impure thoughts" about one's own wife. And it wasn't enough for a couple to restrict themselves to procreative acts on non-fasting, non-feast days- the wrong position, the wrong attitude, the wrong place, could render one guilty of the sin of Sodom. And- sorry Mor- but that Rachel Weisz thread? Everyone participating in it, and possibly even looking at it, is guilty of fornication. By such deeds, we succumb to our animalistic urges, implanted as a result of the Fall, and unworthy of our true calling. The fact that any of us talk about these matters on a public forum says a lot about how far away we are from this aspect of the patristic worldview.

Needless to say, in such a worldview, contraception is out of question, which is why I am continually bringing up the Russian Orthodox Church's official allowance for it (and other jurisdictions, such as the OCA, have followed suit). This represents a big shift in the Christian view of sexuality, something the Roman Catholics recognize, though even with their strident anti-contraceptive stance, they too have hammered a significant gap in the edifice by advocating "natural family planning." Pleasure and procreation are now quite separated as purposes for intercourse, even if the latter is still upheld as the prominent end of marriage.

We can bring up any number of convincing reasons why this change was made- pastoral, biological, historical- but nevertheless the fact remains that acts considered damnable fornication throughout the history of the Church are now considered acceptable (with, of course, appropriate consultation with your spiritual father). We could also point to the absence of strict separation of the sexes in many churches, loosening standards of dress, significantly changed attitudes toward dating, premarital (and marital) sex, menstruation etc. Something big happened here, and it's not just about contraception, and not even just about sex. This is a churchwide revision of a traditional teaching and a traditional anthropology. Those who maintain a fiery intransigence on homosexuality while ignoring or  condoning these other changes are fooling themselves if they think they are protecting the traditional Christian sexual ideals. The special, overriding horror of one particular brand of fornication over all the others is something not shared by the Fathers. It is an expression of modernity, something none of us can escape, and we are all alike strangers to the cosmology of Byzantium and medieval Rus'.

My point is not to say, "We're all sinners, so sin is okay" or "There's no such thing as sin anymore." But if we're going to relax some parts and not others, there needs to be some coherent, articulated reason for it, with careful consideration both of tradition and contemporary situations. Acting like nothing has really changed won't accomplish that. A Church that strains out the gnat of homosexuality and swallows the camel of porneia isn't accomplishing that.
This an unsympathetic and tendentious summary of tradition. Even someone who hasn't read a thing from the Fathers would be able to tell your post is full of assumptions and elides much. For example, the leaps from a quote to your much broader paraphrase of the quote right after. Or the way you characterize one Father, and then lump several others with him in a next, oblique sentence without offering additional evidence or characterization.

Overall, a post with some interesting facts and a whole heap of smear-job.
 

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Porter ODoran said:
Iconodule said:
I don't think you are aware of the full picture of "who we are to be" in the mind of the Fathers, and particularly in their treatment of sexual questions.

First question: Why is there sex? Because of man's disobedience, he is no longer able to reproduce in the angelic, asexual manner, but must rather procreate in the manner proper to irrational beasts. Only in prevision of this did God divide man into male and female and implant this impulse to procreate which, in the words of Saint Gregory Palamas, "is not subject to our minds, which God has appointed to govern us, and is not entirely without sin." Saint Gregory of Nyssa infers that Adam and Eve were originally intended to be sexless, as in the resurrection there is no marriage. This might seem to some like a rather strained reading of the Genesis narrative, though it does conform pretty well with Platonic cosmology. In any case, in the view of these fathers (including also Chrysostom, Maximus, and John Damascene) sex is not essential to human nature; it was alien to Adam and Eve before their fall, will be alien to our resurrected bodies, and therefore can only be regarded as an accidental attribute in the interim. Which pretty much answers the next question:

What is sex for? It's for procreation. That's it. In his Centuries on Love, Saint Maximus says, "In relation to women, for example, sexual intercourse, rightly used, has as its purpose the begetting of children. He, therefore, who seeks in it only sensual pleasure uses it wrongly, for he reckons as good what is not good. When such a man has intercourse with a woman, he misuses her." Married couples should come together to make babies, and spend the rest of their time like monks/ angels. Saint John Chrysostom notably also stresses the importance of reinforcing/ strengthening the bond between man and wife, but this is not something separate from the procreative function.

What is fornication? Any sexual act or thought without the purpose of begetting children misses the mark- this is a consistent position of the ancient Church. The sin of fornication is understood to extend so far as to include having "impure thoughts" about one's own wife. And it wasn't enough for a couple to restrict themselves to procreative acts on non-fasting, non-feast days- the wrong position, the wrong attitude, the wrong place, could render one guilty of the sin of Sodom. And- sorry Mor- but that Rachel Weisz thread? Everyone participating in it, and possibly even looking at it, is guilty of fornication. By such deeds, we succumb to our animalistic urges, implanted as a result of the Fall, and unworthy of our true calling. The fact that any of us talk about these matters on a public forum says a lot about how far away we are from this aspect of the patristic worldview.

Needless to say, in such a worldview, contraception is out of question, which is why I am continually bringing up the Russian Orthodox Church's official allowance for it (and other jurisdictions, such as the OCA, have followed suit). This represents a big shift in the Christian view of sexuality, something the Roman Catholics recognize, though even with their strident anti-contraceptive stance, they too have hammered a significant gap in the edifice by advocating "natural family planning." Pleasure and procreation are now quite separated as purposes for intercourse, even if the latter is still upheld as the prominent end of marriage.

We can bring up any number of convincing reasons why this change was made- pastoral, biological, historical- but nevertheless the fact remains that acts considered damnable fornication throughout the history of the Church are now considered acceptable (with, of course, appropriate consultation with your spiritual father). We could also point to the absence of strict separation of the sexes in many churches, loosening standards of dress, significantly changed attitudes toward dating, premarital (and marital) sex, menstruation etc. Something big happened here, and it's not just about contraception, and not even just about sex. This is a churchwide revision of a traditional teaching and a traditional anthropology. Those who maintain a fiery intransigence on homosexuality while ignoring or  condoning these other changes are fooling themselves if they think they are protecting the traditional Christian sexual ideals. The special, overriding horror of one particular brand of fornication over all the others is something not shared by the Fathers. It is an expression of modernity, something none of us can escape, and we are all alike strangers to the cosmology of Byzantium and medieval Rus'.

My point is not to say, "We're all sinners, so sin is okay" or "There's no such thing as sin anymore." But if we're going to relax some parts and not others, there needs to be some coherent, articulated reason for it, with careful consideration both of tradition and contemporary situations. Acting like nothing has really changed won't accomplish that. A Church that strains out the gnat of homosexuality and swallows the camel of porneia isn't accomplishing that.
This an unsympathetic and tendentious summary of tradition. Even someone who hasn't read a thing from the Fathers would be able to tell your post is full of assumptions and elides much. For example, the leaps from a quote to your much broader paraphrase of the quote right after. Or the way you characterize one Father, and then lump several others with him in a next, oblique sentence without offering additional evidence or characterization.

Overall, a post with some interesting facts and a whole heap of smear-job.
See above.
 

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Iconodule said:
I'm with you. It's nuts. And yet... Who are you and I to know better about this than Sts Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, Maximus the Confessor, John Damascene, Gregory Palamas, etc. ? And when we question this we are really questioning the entire patristic way of thinking about sex.
Your post glanced at a few of these men (actually, mostly just Maximus in enough amount to be material) -- and yet here you are, eager to have all its conclusions assumed as some kind of exhaustively-proven premise. Restrain that eager mind, as Sherlock Holmes said, and also that hand patting yourself on the back.
 

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Porter ODoran said:
Iconodule said:
I'm with you. It's nuts. And yet... Who are you and I to know better about this than Sts Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, Maximus the Confessor, John Damascene, Gregory Palamas, etc. ? And when we question this we are really questioning the entire patristic way of thinking about sex.
Your post glanced at a few of these men (actually, mostly just Maximus in enough amount to be material) -- and yet here you are, eager to have all its conclusions assumed as some kind of exhaustively-proven premise. Restrain that eager mind, as Sherlock Holmes said, and also that hand patting yourself on the back.
See above. And everyone read this: https://www.amazon.com/Society-World-Orthodox-Slavs-900-1700/dp/0801483042
 

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Daedelus1138 said:
Iconodule said:
First question: Why is there sex? Because of man's disobedience, he is no longer able to reproduce in the angelic, asexual manner, but must rather procreate in the manner proper to irrational beasts. 
This is actually a disturbing thought. The Bible is pretty clear before the fall, God created man and woman as separate sexes and said it was good.  But then, the world the Fathers was steeped in was full of the Greek denigration of the human body.  I believe what is being presented is an incorrect view of transcendence.

It seems to me the Stoic ethic has other problems too, prizing reason as the mark of the divine image.  But this is incorrect.  The divine image is not something we have by virtue of reason, it is something we are by virtue of being human.  Not all human beings have reason in equal degree, but they have the divine image  equally.

What is fornication? Any sexual act or thought without the purpose of begetting children misses the mark- this is a consistent position of the ancient Church. The sin of fornication is understood to extend so far as to include having "impure thoughts" about one's own wife.
That reminds me of the ever-scrupulous Ned Flanders from the Simpsons "You gotta help me reverend, I think I'm coveting my own wife!"
Now this is rich. Is there another civilization so renowned for its admiration of the physical human being?

 

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Iconodule said:
I'm with you. It's nuts. And yet... Who are you and I to know better about this than Sts Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, Maximus the Confessor, John Damascene, Gregory Palamas, etc. ? And when we question this we are really questioning the entire patristic way of thinking about sex.
There is a Romanian writer Damian Stanoiu  , he used to be a monk and most of his books deal with monks; he had a hilarious passage in one of his books where a simple minded monk beset by thoughts of fornication is trying to solve the puzzle of prelapsarian human reproduction; I don't have the passage at hand but the conclusion was that humans would have multiplied just like mushrooms after rain.
 

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Iconodule said:
Some of the material I'm referring to is here, btw, for anyone curious: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,26032.msg411397.html#msg411397
This one too http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,26032.msg411718.html#msg411718
 

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augustin717 said:
Iconodule said:
I'm with you. It's nuts. And yet... Who are you and I to know better about this than Sts Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, Maximus the Confessor, John Damascene, Gregory Palamas, etc. ? And when we question this we are really questioning the entire patristic way of thinking about sex.
There is a Romanian writer Damian Stanoiu  , he used to be a monk and most of his books deal with monks; he had a hilarious passage in one of his books where a simple minded monk beset by thoughts of fornication is trying to solve the puzzle of prelapsarian human reproduction; I don't have the passage at hand but the conclusion was that humans would have multiplied just like mushrooms after rain.
Heh. Reminds me of this fabulous hoax https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenin_was_a_mushroom
 

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Iconodule said:
Porter ODoran said:
Iconodule said:
I'm with you. It's nuts. And yet... Who are you and I to know better about this than Sts Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, Maximus the Confessor, John Damascene, Gregory Palamas, etc. ? And when we question this we are really questioning the entire patristic way of thinking about sex.
Your post glanced at a few of these men (actually, mostly just Maximus in enough amount to be material) -- and yet here you are, eager to have all its conclusions assumed as some kind of exhaustively-proven premise. Restrain that eager mind, as Sherlock Holmes said, and also that hand patting yourself on the back.
See above. And everyone read this: https://www.amazon.com/Society-World-Orthodox-Slavs-900-1700/dp/0801483042
So now your citation is Medieval Slavic societies? Desperate.

By the way, of course there are plenty of secondary and tertiary texts that can be found denigrating the Fathers or Christianity. My public library is full of them, including a tome-length "proof" that Jesus Christ was a misapprehension and misspelling of Julius Caesar (who evidently had a secret life as a sage known only to his cult).
 

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Porter ODoran said:
Iconodule said:
Porter ODoran said:
Iconodule said:
I'm with you. It's nuts. And yet... Who are you and I to know better about this than Sts Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, Maximus the Confessor, John Damascene, Gregory Palamas, etc. ? And when we question this we are really questioning the entire patristic way of thinking about sex.
Your post glanced at a few of these men (actually, mostly just Maximus in enough amount to be material) -- and yet here you are, eager to have all its conclusions assumed as some kind of exhaustively-proven premise. Restrain that eager mind, as Sherlock Holmes said, and also that hand patting yourself on the back.
See above. And everyone read this: https://www.amazon.com/Society-World-Orthodox-Slavs-900-1700/dp/0801483042
So now your citation is Medieval Slavic societies? Desperate.

By the way, of course there are plenty of secondary and tertiary texts that can be found denigrating the Fathers or Christianity. My public library is full of them, including a tome-length "proof" that Jesus Christ was a misapprehension and misspelling of Julius Caesar (who evidently had a secret life as a sage known only to his cult).
It's telling that you consider what I've said to be denigration. To which I say for the third time, see above.
 

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Or, if you'd rather read it from Fr Josiah Trenham: http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles5/TrenhamSexuality.php

http://www.holycrossyakima.org/orthodoxPdfs/BOOKLET%20ON%20CONTRACEPTION%20St.%20John%20Chrysostom.pdf
 

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I can't speak for every orthodox society obviously although my hunch is a have somehow more informed instincts having experienced one natively. When it comes to sex  advice  -but not only-the crazy stuff that comes  from elders , priests etc rarely gets translated into English . So Englush speaking orthodoxy is insulated from the nuttier bits.

 

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Porter ODoran said:
Daedelus1138 said:
Iconodule said:
First question: Why is there sex? Because of man's disobedience, he is no longer able to reproduce in the angelic, asexual manner, but must rather procreate in the manner proper to irrational beasts. 
This is actually a disturbing thought. The Bible is pretty clear before the fall, God created man and woman as separate sexes and said it was good.  But then, the world the Fathers was steeped in was full of the Greek denigration of the human body.  I believe what is being presented is an incorrect view of transcendence.

It seems to me the Stoic ethic has other problems too, prizing reason as the mark of the divine image.  But this is incorrect.  The divine image is not something we have by virtue of reason, it is something we are by virtue of being human.  Not all human beings have reason in equal degree, but they have the divine image  equally.

What is fornication? Any sexual act or thought without the purpose of begetting children misses the mark- this is a consistent position of the ancient Church. The sin of fornication is understood to extend so far as to include having "impure thoughts" about one's own wife.
That reminds me of the ever-scrupulous Ned Flanders from the Simpsons "You gotta help me reverend, I think I'm coveting my own wife!"
Now this is rich. Is there another civilization so renowned for its admiration of the physical human being?

The Neoplatonism, Cynicism and Neo-Pythagoreanism of the early centuries AD were quite a way away from the culture that created that art.
 

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The Epicurean and Peripatetic schools were just as popular (was there even a Cynic "school" or just lore?). At any rate, Daedalus could have been specific, and to see "Greek" (without qualification) and "hatred of the human" (my words) in the same clause is always going to look jarringly incongruous.
 

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Iconodule is writing within a particular Internet forum medium. His summaries and examples do not purport to be exhaustive sourced proofs of his conclusions. Rather, they appeal to our educated sense of correctness and bid us investigate further. The context, non-polemical tone and intellectual humility of his posts are sufficient for conveying this.
 
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