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Fr. Robert Arida and homosexuality

primuspilus

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If there is another thread on this, someone point me in the direction of it. Thanks.

Read his views here: http://wonder.oca.org/2014/11/01/never-changing-gospel-ever-changing-culture/


I must say, that I find Fr. Arida's views on the Church and homosexuality pretty shocking. IMHO, its this kind of stuff that poisoned the well for the Episcopal Church to basically be nothing more than a church that worships "progressivism" instead of God.

It really makes me wonder if all the +Jonah and the lavender mafia stuff didnt have a sliver of truth to it......

PP
 

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Father Jacobse wrote a reply to that:

Fr. Robert Arida: Why Don’t You Become Episcopalian?

Whenever you hear generalized sentiments about how the dominant culture is changing and that “fundamentalism” prevents the Church from changing along with it, then you can be sure that competing values lurk close behind. Sooner or later those values appear. It’s as predictable as the beetle boring into dung.

Archpriest Robert M. Arida doesn’t disappoint.
http://www.aoiusa.org/blog/fr-robert-arida-why-dont-you-become-episcopalian/
 

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I encourage everyone to write/and or call Syosset and Fr Robert directly and let them know that you do not approve of this article at all and it is the hight of irresponsibility to post this on an official OCA website that is geared towards youth and young adults.

I encourage parents especially to write and call. I don't know what effects writing and calling will have. But we cannot be silent. Silence speaks consent, and in this case, people like Fr Robert will definitely be looking for silence as a response that will reinforce the preaching of his heresy.

 

TheTrisagion

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I spent 30 years of my life being shocked, horrified and reactionary to stupid things that people say.  Now, I just ignore them.

Unless it is JamesR. Then I laugh because it is usually funny.
 

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If the never changing Gospel who is Jesus Christ is to have a credible presence and role in our culture, then the Church can no longer ignore or condemn questions and issues that are presumed to contradict or challenge its living Tradition.
I wonder if anybody said this to those Christians that were martyred for refusing to sacrifice to Caesar.
 

Mor Ephrem

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I read Fr Arida's article (though not Fr Jacobse's), and I read the many comments below the article.  To be very honest, I found nothing disagreeable about Fr Arida's views and my impression, based both on the comments themselves and a familiarity with a number of the commenters) was that people are reading issues into the piece that aren't really there.    

What am I and readers like me (there may have been like two or three others out of the sixty or so commenters who felt as I did) missing?  
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
I read Fr Arida's article (though not Fr Jacobse's), and I read the many comments below the article.  To be very honest, I found nothing disagreeable about Fr Arida's views and my impression, based both on the comments themselves and a familiarity with a number of the commenters) was that people are reading issues into the piece that aren't really there.    

What am I and readers like me (there may have been like two or three others out of the sixty or so commenters who felt as I did) missing?  
The American cultural context where the text was written. Any text has meanings in itself and in dialogue with the cultural conversations of its time.

"We should treat heretics adequately" means entirely different things if said by Jesus or a Father of the 1st millenium, an Inquisitor or a 21st century liberal.
 

primuspilus

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Its the same stuff the Episcopalians were saying 50 years ago. We see how they turned out.

My issue with Fr. Arida's comments is not that the Church should take a softer view of homosexuality (its a sin just like any other) but he tries to beat around accepting their relationships as normal because that is where modern culture has gone.

Thats the issue I have.

Personally, I think that a priest that communes someone who has any other chronic sin (like lying, or lust) but not a homosexual is very, very wrong.

PP
 

scamandrius

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Why is this piece of garbage published in an official publication of the OCA?  That should raise concerns.
 

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What quotes from this do you guys find inappropriate?

Post them, so that we can move beyond this weird sewing circle thing we're doing right now.
 

Mor Ephrem

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NicholasMyra said:
What quotes from this do you guys find inappropriate?

Post them, so that we can move beyond this weird sewing circle thing we're doing right now.
Thanks for anticipating my question.  I read the whole thing and didn't really find anything objectionable, let alone pro-homosexuality and pro-everyotherbadthingpeoplethinkitpromotes. 
 

Fabio Leite

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Mor Ephrem said:
NicholasMyra said:
What quotes from this do you guys find inappropriate?

Post them, so that we can move beyond this weird sewing circle thing we're doing right now.
Thanks for anticipating my question.  I read the whole thing and didn't really find anything objectionable, let alone pro-homosexuality and pro-everyotherbadthingpeoplethinkitpromotes. 
Read the text in the context it was written: the current cultural war between conservatives and liberals in the US.

In that context, which is the concrete surrounding of the text, what do you think this means? Not what *you* read in it, not the internal cohesion of the text, but it's dialogue with the surrounding culture.

If the never changing Gospel who is Jesus Christ is to have a credible presence and role in our culture then the Church can no longer ignore or condemn questions and issues that are presumed to contradict or challenge its living Tradition. Among the most controversial of these issues are those related to human sexuality, the configuration of the family, the beginning and ending of human life, the economy and the care and utilization of the environment including the care, dignity and quality of all human life. If the unchanging Gospel is to be offered to the culture then the Church, in and through the Holy Spirit will have to expand the understanding of itself and the world it is called to save. That there are Orthodox Christians who misuse the never changing Christ to promote a particular political agenda and ideology or as license to verbally and physically assault those they perceive as immoral along with those who would question the status quo of the Church impose on the Church a “new and alien spirit.”
Who are "those they perceive as immoral" in the context of American cultural wars, who are "they" who perceive someone as immoral in that same context? Who is Fr. Arida taking a stand for and a stand against?
 

Mor Ephrem

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Fabio,

I'm not the first person to suggest to you that you view everything (except the Chalcedonian schism, oddly enough :p) through a political lens.  I don't, which is why I don't think it's self-evident that what Fr Arida is talking about is what you and others believe he's advocating.

When I read the piece last night, the context I perceived was "pastor", "person dealing with people on a regular basis", "person wanting to bring Christ into the lives, situations, and problems of people", etc.  What makes you conclude that context of what he wrote is "the current cultural war between conservatives and liberals in the US"?  Is it so just by virtue of his having written it in the US in 2014? 

Fabio Leite said:
In that context, which is the concrete surrounding of the text, what do you think this means? Not what *you* read in it, not the internal cohesion of the text, but it's dialogue with the surrounding culture.

If the never changing Gospel who is Jesus Christ is to have a credible presence and role in our culture then the Church can no longer ignore or condemn questions and issues that are presumed to contradict or challenge its living Tradition. Among the most controversial of these issues are those related to human sexuality, the configuration of the family, the beginning and ending of human life, the economy and the care and utilization of the environment including the care, dignity and quality of all human life. If the unchanging Gospel is to be offered to the culture then the Church, in and through the Holy Spirit will have to expand the understanding of itself and the world it is called to save. That there are Orthodox Christians who misuse the never changing Christ to promote a particular political agenda and ideology or as license to verbally and physically assault those they perceive as immoral along with those who would question the status quo of the Church impose on the Church a “new and alien spirit.”
Who are "those they perceive as immoral" in the context of American cultural wars, who are "they" who perceive someone as immoral in that same context? Who is Fr. Arida taking a stand for and a stand against?
"Not ignoring or condemning questions that are presumed to contradict or challenge" =/= "we must allow, bless, and promote same sex marriage, abortion, euthanasia, universal health care, and solar energy".  But that is the equation I think the culture warriors are making, and I think it says more about them than it does about what Fr Arida actually wrote.   
 

podkarpatska

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Mor Ephrem said:
I read Fr Arida's article (though not Fr Jacobse's), and I read the many comments below the article.  To be very honest, I found nothing disagreeable about Fr Arida's views and my impression, based both on the comments themselves and a familiarity with a number of the commenters) was that people are reading issues into the piece that aren't really there.    

What am I and readers like me (there may have been like two or three others out of the sixty or so commenters who felt as I did) missing?  
I agree with Mor. I got blasted on FB for asserting the same. I will say it again...the conservatism of Orthodoxy is not synonymous with that of the American cultural warrior conservatism. Homosexual marriage is NOT the boogeyman hiding behind every rock.



 

Fabio Leite

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Mor Ephrem said:
Is it so just by virtue of his having written it in the US in 2014?  
That is part of it. He has written in a religious context, where that same jargon and attitude has been used before in a similar cultural group (Episcopalians). Like Fr. Arida's text, it was still generic enough in its internal coherence although it did mean a specific political agenda in the external context. And it led precisely to identities that you deny. So in relation to the social context, in relation to precedents in a specific subset to which that text belongs, it means precisely that.

It's the equivalent of having several neighboring countries falling into dictatorships and then someone in your own country starts speaking about the need of a "firmer hand in government".

The great ally of all forms of subversions is the mentality that everything that appears, appears for the first time and it is unfair to expect similar results from similar causes.

As for Chalcedon, I do see it's political aspect and even the injustice of an empire against smaller political groups. I'm not a big fan of empires of any sort, even "Holy" Christian empires.

I just think that Divine Providence acted in it despite that and that sometimes people believe right even when they act wrong. When a Christian bishop subscribed burning a witch, supposing that she was really some kind of pagan priestess, he believed right, she believed wrong, but he was the one commiting the worst crime (unless she was really into human sacrifice).  Life is complex.

As for my politicizing of everything, I wish we lived in an era where we didn't have a group that did that, namely, liberals, progressives and branches of the left. I don't politicize everything, but to unpoliticize it, we have to denounce those who do, and then it becomes a "don't kill the messenger" kind of situation.
 

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I read the article. I don't see what the big deal is.  Maybe there is some sort of subliminal messaging that I'm not picking up on, but to me, it just seems like your standard The-Church-Is-Not-A-Fossil article.
 

Mor Ephrem

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Fabio Leite said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Is it so just by virtue of his having written it in the US in 2014?  
That is part of it. He has written in a religious context, where that same jargon and attitude has been used before in a similar cultural group (Episcopalians). Like Fr. Arida's text, it was still generic enough in its internal coherence although it did mean a specific political agenda in the external context. And it led precisely to identities that you deny. So in relation to the social context, in relation to precedents in a specific subset to which that text belongs, it means precisely that.
So basically, unless an American Orthodox priest calls for the systematic extermination of all homosexuals (e.g., by throwing them in ditches and machine gunning them to death like ISIS does with Christians), it is certainly the case that said American Orthodox priest wants to turn the Orthodox Church into another ECUSA.
 

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Could it be that the "new and alien spirit" that Fr. Florovsky spoke of is still very much alive, particularly in the priest who wrote one of these articles?

I won't say who. :p

EDIT: reworded so as not to suggest a larger picture.
 

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I found it noteworthy that he doesn't mention any of the Fathers at all, except in a vague "the Fathers" type of deal. Ss. Basil, John Chrysostom, Photios, John of Kronstadt, Seraphim of Sarov et al. have writings that could add to the discussion. Although I didn't see much in it about homosexuality, I think article a bunch of sophistic hot air. He lists no solutions to problems that he doesn't really define. Also the "ο νυμφος" icon kinda creeps me out.

Wish Isa were here to respond to this article. Hope he's well.

In Christ,
Andrew
 

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TheTrisagion said:
I read the article. I don't see what the big deal is.  Maybe there is some sort of subliminal messaging that I'm not picking up on, but to me, it just seems like your standard The-Church-Is-Not-A-Fossil article.
To a lot of that came from intellectual revisionist Protestant circles, Fr. Arida's points are awfully similar to the points raised by Protestant sectarians in the 1970s. And we know that was such a jolly contribution.  ;)

In Christ,
Andrew
 

Mor Ephrem

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Shlomlokh said:
I found it noteworthy that he doesn't mention any of the Fathers at all, except in a vague "the Fathers" type of deal. Ss. Basil, John Chrysostom, Photios, John of Kronstadt, Seraphim of Sarov et al. have writings that could add to the discussion. Although I didn't see much in it about homosexuality, I think article a bunch of sophistic hot air. He lists no solutions to problems that he doesn't really define.
This is a criticism I can accept and agree with to an extent, though I think it's unfair to criticise a priest for not mentioning "the Fathers" when many others talk about "the Fathers" and seem to forget "Christ".  

Also the "ο νυμφος" icon kinda creeps me out.
It is special...

Wish Isa were here to respond to this article. Hope he's well.
+1

I miss Isa.  Isan atha!  
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
Fabio Leite said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Is it so just by virtue of his having written it in the US in 2014?  
That is part of it. He has written in a religious context, where that same jargon and attitude has been used before in a similar cultural group (Episcopalians). Like Fr. Arida's text, it was still generic enough in its internal coherence although it did mean a specific political agenda in the external context. And it led precisely to identities that you deny. So in relation to the social context, in relation to precedents in a specific subset to which that text belongs, it means precisely that.

So basically, unless an American Orthodox priest calls for the systematic extermination of all homosexuals (e.g., by throwing them in ditches and machine gunning them to death like ISIS does with Christians), it is certainly the case that said American Orthodox priest wants to turn the Orthodox Church into another ECUSA.

Now that is a strawman, but one that proves my point.

Fr. Arida is using language that is perfectly identifiable with a cultural movement that exists in his time and age and that was used in other groups in that same society decades before, namely, one of progressive ideas that do want to enforce, among other things, the numbing down of the perception of active gay lifestyle as non-Christian.

You claim that despite the language identity identified by many, he is not writing in dialogue with contemporary cultural debates, yet, at that very moment you say that is a wrong intepretation, you accuse the critics of belonging to the opposite ground, thus confirming that the cultural context the article is inserted on is precisely the one the critics had first identified.
 

Mor Ephrem

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Fabio Leite said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Fabio Leite said:
Mor Ephrem said:
Is it so just by virtue of his having written it in the US in 2014?  
That is part of it. He has written in a religious context, where that same jargon and attitude has been used before in a similar cultural group (Episcopalians). Like Fr. Arida's text, it was still generic enough in its internal coherence although it did mean a specific political agenda in the external context. And it led precisely to identities that you deny. So in relation to the social context, in relation to precedents in a specific subset to which that text belongs, it means precisely that.

So basically, unless an American Orthodox priest calls for the systematic extermination of all homosexuals (e.g., by throwing them in ditches and machine gunning them to death like ISIS does with Christians), it is certainly the case that said American Orthodox priest wants to turn the Orthodox Church into another ECUSA.

Now that is a strawman, but one that proves my point.

Fr. Arida is using language that is perfectly identifiable with a cultural movement that exists in his time and age and that was used in other groups in that same society decades before, namely, one of progressive ideas that do want to enforce, among other things, the numbing down of the perception of active gay lifestyle as non-Christian.

You claim that despite the language identity identified by many, he is not writing in dialogue with contemporary cultural debates, yet, at that very moment you say that is a wrong intepretation, you accuse the critics of belonging to the opposite ground, thus confirming that the cultural context the article is inserted on is precisely the one the critics had first identified.
I didn't say he's "not writing in dialogue with contemporary cultural debates".  Fr Arida clearly has them in mind when one of the main points of the article is to try to reorient such discussions by directing them toward the gospel.  What I said is that it's not clear to me from reading his article that Fr Arida is advocating homosexuality, gay marriage, or any of the other things his critics claim he's most certainly advocating.  What I understand you to be saying is that, by virtue of writing in the US in 2014 and using language that others have used for nefarious purposes, he is definitely advocating for those things.  I don't accept this. 
 

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It sounds to me, from the quote posted, that he is saying we can't wuss out of coherent responses to these issues. And we do. I have seen arguments and rhetorical presentations from us which were so terrible, shameful and insipid that they could not have resulted merely from incompetence, but must have involved outright cowardice.
 

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I'm so confused right now. I don't see what is so offensive.  ???
 

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When are people going to learn God has rules and laws. One seeking salvation must conform to them not the other way around. Yes Jesus filled the laws in Christianity but that doesn't give out free passes to break them. Paul clearly spelled it out in the book of Romans.. why don't liberals jump in a lake somewhere
 

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Paisius said:
I'm so confused right now. I don't see what is so offensive.  ???
Metropolitan Tikhon has written a response which has replaced the original article.  I wish I had another chance to read the original.  I only had time to give it a quick once over at work.  I'm certainly not a proponent of Orthodoxy going the Anglican route, but I don't see conspiratorial communist imps behind every bush either and don't often trust the assessments of those who do, so in fairness I'd like to give the original another read.
 

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Paisius said:
I'm so confused right now. I don't see what is so offensive.  ???
Those who are familiar with Father Arida know that he has long advocated for the Church to rethink its stand on homosexual marriage. He is not just trying to understand those with same sex attraction and welcome them to the Church. He essentially argues that the Church has changed its understanding of divorce and slavery, so why not homosexual marriage? http://www.ocanews.org/news/AridaResponse7.1.11.html

For those of us from Protestant backgrounds who have witnessed this line of argument leading to outright acceptance of homosexuality in our denominations, Fr. Arida is threatening. While the Fathers of our Church often lived in highly promiscuous and immoral societies, they did not shy from condemning the sin of homosexuality. By contrast, Fr. Arida obfuscates.
 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
Paisius said:
I'm so confused right now. I don't see what is so offensive.  ???
Metropolitan Tikhon has written a response which has replaced the original article.  I wish I had another chance to read the original.  I only had time to give it a quick once over at work.  I'm certainly not a proponent of Orthodoxy going the Anglican route, but I don't see conspiratorial communist imp behind every bush either and don't often trust the assessments of those who do, so in fairness I'd like to give the original another read.
Did you find that response satisfactory and elucidating? I think some of the Orthodox priests who responded provided much greater clarity.
 

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Clemente said:
Paisius said:
I'm so confused right now. I don't see what is so offensive.  ???
Those who are familiar with Father Arida know that he has long advocated for the Church to rethink its stand on homosexual marriage. He is not just trying to understand those with same sex attraction and welcome them to the Church. He essentially argues that the Church has changed its understanding of divorce and slavery, so why not homosexual marriage? http://www.ocanews.org/news/AridaResponse7.1.11.html

For those of us from Protestant backgrounds who have witnessed this line of argument leading to outright acceptance of homosexuality in our denominations, Fr. Arida is threatening. While the Fathers of our Church often lived in highly promiscuous and immoral societies, they did not shy from condemning the sin of homosexuality. By contrast, Fr. Arida obfuscates.
exactly a threat wolves in sheepskin I tell you
 

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Clemente said:
Paisius said:
I'm so confused right now. I don't see what is so offensive.  ???
Those who are familiar with Father Arida know that he has long advocated for the Church to rethink its stand on homosexual marriage. He is not just trying to understand those with same sex attraction and welcome them to the Church. He essentially argues that the Church has changed its understanding of divorce and slavery, so why not homosexual marriage? http://www.ocanews.org/news/AridaResponse7.1.11.html

For those of us from Protestant backgrounds who have witnessed this line of argument leading to outright acceptance of homosexuality in our denominations, Fr. Arida is threatening. While the Fathers of our Church often lived in highly promiscuous and immoral societies, they did not shy from condemning the sin of homosexuality. By contrast, Fr. Arida obfuscates.
Now this article is disturbing.  I don't have the time or the temperament at the moment, but I don't agree with his assessment of the Church's historic stance on the issues of slavery or divorce either.
 

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Clemente said:
Antonious Nikolas said:
Paisius said:
I'm so confused right now. I don't see what is so offensive.  ???
Metropolitan Tikhon has written a response which has replaced the original article.  I wish I had another chance to read the original.  I only had time to give it a quick once over at work.  I'm certainly not a proponent of Orthodoxy going the Anglican route, but I don't see conspiratorial communist imp behind every bush either and don't often trust the assessments of those who do, so in fairness I'd like to give the original another read.
Did you find that response satisfactory and elucidating? I think some of the Orthodox priests who responded provided much greater clarity.
Satisfying and elucidating?  I don't know.  Like I said, I'd like to read the original again and then assess the response in relation to that.  I did like it that Vladyka took the opportunity to reaffirm the Church's traditional teaching on marriage though.
 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
Paisius said:
I'm so confused right now. I don't see what is so offensive.  ???
Metropolitan Tikhon has written a response which has replaced the original article.  I wish I had another chance to read the original.  I only had time to give it a quick once over at work.  I'm certainly not a proponent of Orthodoxy going the Anglican route, but I don't see conspiratorial communist imps behind every bush either and don't often trust the assessments of those who do, so in fairness I'd like to give the original another read.
His Eminence wrote:  In the “About” section of the Wonder Blog, a publication of the Department of Youth, Young Adults and Campus Ministries of the Orthodox Church in America, it is stated that the purpose of the blog is “… to spur discussion, both online and off, and provide material for those engaged in campus and young adult ministry” and “… help provide a ‘good defense’ for our faith, hope and love.” In spite of this stated purpose, many have questioned the article’s usefulness, requested to know the authority under which it was published and have even called for its removal.

I would think that anything that operates under the imprimatur of the OCA would be subject to great scrutiny. Someone dropped the ball on it.  At least the Metropolitan seems to think so.

I know that this article would not be the place to reprimand a priest, so I wonder if something to that effect is going on behind the scenes.
 

jewish voice

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I kinda feel bad for father Arida as seams he's gotten some strong back lash can't get much stronger than Met.Tikhon  Taking time out from his visit with his nephew after surgery to write a nice long statement pointing out the church's stance. I highly disagree with father Arida I  pray he sees his error on this matter and this doesn't push him from the church. I didn't like seeing some comments sounding that he should join up with another church in the comments below his article.
 

ZealousZeal

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I read the article and didn't in the least bit get from it what some people seem to have. This all seems like much ado about nothing.
 

jewish voice

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ZealousZeal said:
I read the article and didn't in the least bit get from it what some people seem to have. This all seems like much ado about nothing.
I think more than enough priest commented back on the issue and met Tikhon. To say was nothing is an understatement I'd think
 

Minnesotan

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Fabio Leite said:
As for my politicizing of everything, I wish we lived in an era where we didn't have a group that did that, namely, liberals, progressives and branches of the left. I don't politicize everything, but to unpoliticize it, we have to denounce those who do, and then it becomes a "don't kill the messenger" kind of situation.
It wasn't the liberals and progressives who came up with this.

Of course, you would probably claim that these people who are trying to rewrite the Bible aren't guilty of politicizing things, they're only trying to "defend" against those who do. It's only "politicizing" when it's done by people whose political views differ from your own. Got it.

I'm honestly surprised you're not an American. You (unlike me) would fit in perfectly well here in our political climate. Would you like to trade countries?
 

Opus118

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Antonious Nikolas said:
Paisius said:
I'm so confused right now. I don't see what is so offensive.  ???
Metropolitan Tikhon has written a response which has replaced the original article.  I wish I had another chance to read the original.  I only had time to give it a quick once over at work.  I'm certainly not a proponent of Orthodoxy going the Anglican route, but I don't see conspiratorial communist imps behind every bush either and don't often trust the assessments of those who do, so in fairness I'd like to give the original another read.
It is here:

http://holytrinityorthodox.org/articles_and_talks/Never%20Changing%20Gospel.pdf

This article by Maria McDowell is also worth a read:

http://womenintheology.org/2014/11/07/immoral-inhospitality/


 
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