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Fr. Robert Arida and homosexuality

ZealousZeal

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jewish voice said:
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
I don't think it's nothing that Metropolitan Tikhon responded, although I do think it's somewhat silly that he apparently felt he had to. I think that the original article said nothing worth the fuss it's caused.
 

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I asked a priest friend, himself a convert and writer for some advice. I'll share it. I think he says what Metropolitan Tikhon said but more succinctly and with bluntness:

"The author digresses away from orthodoxy as much as the wing bats on the right (eg Fathers Jacobse and Hodges). For him to quote Father Florovsky's warning about "a new and alien spirit" to support an accomodation of homosexuality was -- if not cynical -- was merely clever in a philistine manner.
Pox on both sides -- the left is as nauseating as the right, if not more so. "Only in Trinity are love and work, belief and thought, prayer and life, the same." "

Amen.
 

jewish voice

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ZealousZeal said:
jewish voice said:
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
I don't think it's nothing that Metropolitan Tikhon responded, although I do think it's somewhat silly that he apparently felt he had to. I think that the original article said nothing worth the fuss it's caused.
we will have to agree to disagree on this issue.
 

Mor Ephrem

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podkarpatska said:
For him to quote Father Florovsky's warning about "a new and alien spirit" to support an accomodation of homosexuality was -- if not cynical -- was merely clever in a philistine manner.
I didn't even get that out of the article. 
 

podkarpatska

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Mor Ephrem said:
podkarpatska said:
For him to quote Father Florovsky's warning about "a new and alien spirit" to support an accomodation of homosexuality was -- if not cynical -- was merely clever in a philistine manner.
I didn't even get that out of the article. 
I should have just referenced the bolded part!
 

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I suppose that most of the objection to the article would come from those who know the author well enough to see a subversive message based on his views.  For my part, I do not know the author or anything about him, so to me the article is the usual four pages of relatively worthless gobblygook that I read from most modern clergy, Orthodox and Protestant.  The feel that I got from the article was "the world is changing, so we have to look at the world as it is and not as it was".  Um, yeh, ok, so what?  We are told that Jesus Christ (who is God) is the same today, yesterday, and forever more.  So, the answer to immorality really should not change, even if the form that immorality takes changes.  The Ten Commandments are really quite simple, and they have not changed in the 4000 years or so since they were handed down to us.

If the article was written by a conservative priest, I would simply take it as "the way that immorality is being fed to us is changing.  We may need to change how we look at this so that we can react to it with the unchanging Gospel that is relevant.  If the main issue 50 years ago was adultery, but today it is homosexuality, the response of the Church is the same; sex is moral only within the context of the marriage of one man to one woman.  The sin may take a different form, but the truth of what is moral has not changed.

On the other hand, if the article was written by a liberal priest, the arguments made by those opposing the said article also make sense - and I won't waste the time to repeat them here.  The article is rather mealy mouthed and obscure, which is not uncommon in todays politically correct environment where good, old fashioned polemics are looked down upon by the emotionally fragile that cannot handle them.  I did not see anything to be impressed with in the article, nor did I see anything to be particularly upset about.
 

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Thanks Opus and Pellegrino for the links.  I've had a chance to read all of the pertinent material now, and I have to agree with Punch.  Fr. Robert Arida's Never Changing Gospel article still seems to me - on second reading - fairly innocuous.  It only becomes what Fr. Johannes Jacobse and some in this thread contend it is if the reader presumes (or knows?) that Fr. Robert has a particular agenda to push.  I'm not familiar enough with Fr. Robert's corpus to ascertain if this is the case, but his other article linked to here (the Same Sex Marriage article) seems to be in the same vein as Never Changing Gospel.  That is to say, it is (as Mor Ephrem contends) chiefly pastoral.  I do have some problems with this second article in that it seems to imply that the Church "evolved" on certain issues (slavery and multiple marriages) and thus might "evolve" on this one.  I emphatically disagree with that implication.  I'm willing to go along with Fr. Robert's overtly stated contention that the Church consistently regarded slavery and multiple marriages as regrettable consequences of the fall and concessions to our weakness and dealt with them pastorally within the context of the times, but that's as far as I'm willing to go.  The idea that Orthodoxy might "evolve" on certain issues (such as a female priesthood or the recognition of same sex unions) is untenable and dangerous.

Fr. Robert's articles are valuable chiefly for their pastoral dimension.  He asks a valid question:

If the Church is going to respond to the legalization of same sex marriage/union it seems that it should begin by considering how to minister to those same sex couples who being legally married come with their children and knock on the doors of our parishes seeking Christ. Do we ignore them? Do we, prima facie, turn them away? Do we, under the rubric of repentance, encourage them to divorce and dismantle their family? Or, do we offer tem, as we offer anyone desiring Christ, pastoral care, love and a spiritual home?
This reminds me of the Coptic Church's dilemma when it encountered polygamous societies in Sub-Saharan Africa some 30 years ago who wished to enter into the Church.  The Church could not recognize such unions, but neither could it create destitute "widows and orphans" by destroying them.  What was it to do?  In the end, the bishop decided that while the adults in such families could not participate in the Holy Mysteries or be formally received into the Church, they could participate in all other aspects of the Church's social life and not be shunned or ostracized.  More importantly, the children of such families were baptized, raised to be strictly monogamous, and polygamy has now been stamped out in those families that have now been Coptic Orthodox for three generations.

Maria Gwyn McDowell's article was thoughtful and well-considered, and she also made a number of valid points about the pastoral nature of the issue, but I think that certain elements of her article are far more "revolutionary" and "progressive" than anything Fr. Robert has ever even hinted at.  I don't think that we should be afraid to discuss anything, but we should always be ready to give an answer to those who seek to introduce innovations into the life of the Church.
 

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Antonious Nikolas said:
Thanks Opus and Pellegrino for the links.  I've had a chance to read all of the pertinent material now, and I have to agree with Punch.  Fr. Robert Arida's Never Changing Gospel article still seems to me - on second reading - fairly innocuous.  It only becomes what Fr. Johannes Jacobse and some in this thread contend it is if the reader presumes (or knows?) that Fr. Robert has a particular agenda to push.  I'm not familiar enough with Fr. Robert's corpus to ascertain if this is the case, but his other article linked to here (the Same Sex Marriage article) seems to be in the same vein as Never Changing Gospel.  That is to say, it is (as Mor Ephrem contends) chiefly pastoral.  I do have some problems with this second article in that it seems to imply that the Church "evolved" on certain issues (slavery and multiple marriages) and thus might "evolve" on this one.  I emphatically disagree with that implication.  I'm willing to go along with Fr. Robert's overtly stated contention that the Church consistently regarded slavery and multiple marriages as regrettable consequences of the fall and concessions to our weakness and dealt with them pastorally within the context of the times, but that's as far as I'm willing to go.  The idea that Orthodoxy might "evolve" on certain issues (such as a female priesthood or the recognition of same sex unions) is untenable and dangerous.

Fr. Robert's articles are valuable chiefly for their pastoral dimension.  He asks a valid question:

If the Church is going to respond to the legalization of same sex marriage/union it seems that it should begin by considering how to minister to those same sex couples who being legally married come with their children and knock on the doors of our parishes seeking Christ. Do we ignore them? Do we, prima facie, turn them away? Do we, under the rubric of repentance, encourage them to divorce and dismantle their family? Or, do we offer tem, as we offer anyone desiring Christ, pastoral care, love and a spiritual home?
This reminds me of the Coptic Church's dilemma when it encountered polygamous societies in Sub-Saharan Africa some 30 years ago who wished to enter into the Church.  The Church could not recognize such unions, but neither could it create destitute "widows and orphans" by destroying them.  What was it to do?  In the end, the bishop decided that while the adults in such families could not participate in the Holy Mysteries or be formally received into the Church, they could participate in all other aspects of the Church's social life and not be shunned or ostracized.  More importantly, the children of such families were baptized, raised to be strictly monogamous, and polygamy has now been stamped out in those families that have now been Coptic Orthodox for three generations.

Maria Gwyn McDowell's article was thoughtful and well-considered, and she also made a number of valid points about the pastoral nature of the issue, but I think that certain elements of her article are far more "revolutionary" and "progressive" than anything Fr. Robert has ever even hinted at.  I don't think that we should be afraid to discuss anything, but we should always be ready to give an answer to those who seek to introduce innovations into the life of the Church.
Yes, Dr. McDowell has her own agenda that I would probably not agree with but she made some points that I do agree with. My concern is the driving away people from the Church by overtly political people like Fr. Johannes Jacobse. I do not know if the responding priests are part of a clique and I am not going to go through past writings of Fr. Jacobse and comments to find out (the nausea factor is not worth it). Asking Ialmisry's opinion about this is like asking Andre Gromyko's opinion of Leonid Brezhnev.  He may surprise me, but from I my vague recollections of his comments to Fr. Jacobse's posts years ago do not lead me in that direction.

I would also like to suggest that the removal of the innocuous post by Fr. Arida has more to do with the comments than the post itself.
 

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New response to this today.

http://orthodoxhouston.blogspot.com/2014/11/statement-on-comments-of-fr-robert.html

It is also contrary to our Tradition to write about matters of faith or piety in ways that are intentionally ambiguous – this is rather the approach of liberal Protestantism.
Some have pointed out that the original essay was careful not to directly contradict Church teaching, but that it wasn't clear what was meant. I think this helps explain the position of alarm that some have to this lack of clarity.

We are all the more concerned that members of Fr. Robert Arida’s parish who identify themselves as homosexuals, report that though they make no secret of their ongoing homosexual relationships, they are freely communed. One such person, wrote, on an open Facebook group (named oxymoronically “Pro-Gay Orthodox Christians”):  “I am gay... I was married to my husband in a civil ceremony in 2005. When I began attending Holy Trinity later that year I was completely up front with the priest. My husband, Martin, began attending liturgies regularly about two years ago. He was chrismated Holy Saturday earlier this year. Our relationship is not a secret; I have had no negative interactions with either clergy or laity in this parish. Martin and I are not the only gay people in the parish, though after Martin became Orthodox, we are the only Orthodox gay *couple* as far as I know. I don't think this constitutes "don't ask don't tell." More like "ask or tell whatever you like... we don't care." Just saying.”2
https://www.facebook.com/groups/20917659986/permalink/10150437152724987/

I'm not sure I see tinfoil hats on the people see this as at least some cause for concern



Fr. Robert Arida’s recent and past statements on the issue of homosexuality are a scandal to the faithful. They also present those who are sincerely struggling against homosexual temptations with additional temptations, and misdirection. As a pan Orthodox organization, we are also concerned that such blatant disregard for the Scriptures and the Tradition of the Church present further obstacles to Orthodox unity in America. We can only unite around a common fidelity to the authentic faith and piety of our Tradition. If we are not united in that, then authentic unity is impossible.
  These seem to me like to two most critical issues at stake
 

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Bob2 said:
New response to this today.

http://orthodoxhouston.blogspot.com/2014/11/statement-on-comments-of-fr-robert.html
The innuendos and the blatant unsubstantiated gossip was disturbing. But if this starts a discussion about the care of celibate homosexuals, great. It is time this stops being pushed under the rug.

Also, I do not read facebook pages and I will never join.

I dislike ambiguity as much as you do, probably more so. Note the absence of smiley face emoticons.
 

Second Chance

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Bob2 said:
New response to this today.

http://orthodoxhouston.blogspot.com/2014/11/statement-on-comments-of-fr-robert.html

It is also contrary to our Tradition to write about matters of faith or piety in ways that are intentionally ambiguous – this is rather the approach of liberal Protestantism.
Some have pointed out that the original essay was careful not to directly contradict Church teaching, but that it wasn't clear what was meant. I think this helps explain the position of alarm that some have to this lack of clarity.

We are all the more concerned that members of Fr. Robert Arida’s parish who identify themselves as homosexuals, report that though they make no secret of their ongoing homosexual relationships, they are freely communed. One such person, wrote, on an open Facebook group (named oxymoronically “Pro-Gay Orthodox Christians”):  “I am gay... I was married to my husband in a civil ceremony in 2005. When I began attending Holy Trinity later that year I was completely up front with the priest. My husband, Martin, began attending liturgies regularly about two years ago. He was chrismated Holy Saturday earlier this year. Our relationship is not a secret; I have had no negative interactions with either clergy or laity in this parish. Martin and I are not the only gay people in the parish, though after Martin became Orthodox, we are the only Orthodox gay *couple* as far as I know. I don't think this constitutes "don't ask don't tell." More like "ask or tell whatever you like... we don't care." Just saying.”2
https://www.facebook.com/groups/20917659986/permalink/10150437152724987/

I'm not sure I see tinfoil hats on the people see this as at least some cause for concern



Fr. Robert Arida’s recent and past statements on the issue of homosexuality are a scandal to the faithful. They also present those who are sincerely struggling against homosexual temptations with additional temptations, and misdirection. As a pan Orthodox organization, we are also concerned that such blatant disregard for the Scriptures and the Tradition of the Church present further obstacles to Orthodox unity in America. We can only unite around a common fidelity to the authentic faith and piety of our Tradition. If we are not united in that, then authentic unity is impossible.
  These seem to me like to two most critical issues at stake
I agree with the following assertion of the Houston statement "We find it unacceptable for Orthodox Clergy, who have been given the charge to instruct and guide the laity, to suggest that the moral Tradition of the Orthodox Church needs to change with the times or with the prevalent culture.”

I do not agree that the article by itself is about a reconsideration of our stance on homosexuality. I do not agree that Metropolitan Tikhon's public actions to date are not sufficient. OTOH, I do hope that the OCA investigates the strong allegation in the Houston statement regarding the communing of active and unrepentant homosexuals by Fr. Arida.
 

hecma925

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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) said:
OTOH, I do hope that the OCA investigates the strong allegation in the Houston statement regarding the communing of active and unrepentant homosexuals by Fr. Arida.
I hope so, because his Bishop is my Bishop for the foreseeable future.
 

Second Chance

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hecma925 said:
Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) said:
OTOH, I do hope that the OCA investigates the strong allegation in the Houston statement regarding the communing of active and unrepentant homosexuals by Fr. Arida.
I hope so, because his Bishop is my Bishop for the foreseeable future.
February 2015 is around the corner. That is in time for the Spring session isn't it?
 

AntoniousNikolas

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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) said:
I do not agree that the article by itself is about a reconsideration of our stance on homosexuality...OTOH, I do hope that the OCA investigates the strong allegation in the Houston statement regarding the communing of active and unrepentant homosexuals by Fr. Arida.
+1

I'm all for forgiveness, meeting people where they, are and ministering to them in their weakness.  That's entirely different than rubberstamping their sin though.
 

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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) said:
hecma925 said:
Carl Kraeff (Second Chance) said:
OTOH, I do hope that the OCA investigates the strong allegation in the Houston statement regarding the communing of active and unrepentant homosexuals by Fr. Arida.
I hope so, because his Bishop is my Bishop for the foreseeable future.
February 2015 is around the corner. That is in time for the Spring session isn't it?
I think you're right.
 

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I'd like to divert a little from the topic.  While reading through Fr. Arida's post and all of the responses to it, from clergy and non-clergy alike, there was one aspect that I noticed from time to time.  There was some talk about Fr. Arida being a cradle priest and that because he's not a convert, he has some "greater" authority than a priest who was received into the church later in life.  My question:  If a convert priest had written the exact same piece, would there be fewer people defending him?  Converts, whether they be in the laity or in the clergy, are viewed by many with suspicion.  But a cradle Orthodox is seldom viewed this way.  I see this particularly accentuated when it comes to clergy.  So, again, if a priest who was a convert from another Christian confession, had written this same article, would there be a greater move even from the hierarchy to censure him?
 

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scamandrius said:
I'd like to divert a little from the topic.  While reading through Fr. Arida's post and all of the responses to it, from clergy and non-clergy alike, there was one aspect that I noticed from time to time.  There was some talk about Fr. Arida being a cradle priest and that because he's not a convert, he has some "greater" authority than a priest who was received into the church later in life.  My question:  If a convert priest had written the exact same piece, would there be fewer people defending him?  Converts, whether they be in the laity or in the clergy, are viewed by many with suspicion.  But a cradle Orthodox is seldom viewed this way.  I see this particularly accentuated when it comes to clergy.  So, again, if a priest who was a convert from another Christian confession, had written this same article, would there be a greater move even from the hierarchy to censure him?
I am a convert and read enough theology that it doesn't make a serious difference for me if the writer is a convert is not. On one topic I researched, I found that three modern, cradle theologians (two of them well-known) openly opposed what they considered the Church's teaching, while one famous convert theologian made a statement that was easily misleading. PM me if you would like details.

I think though that some cradle theologians are more likely to be stronger in proposing major "revisions" to theology than converts. That's because the convert theologian sees Orthodoxy, typically as an adult, and decides to join it "against the grain", while the cradle is raised in it and so their decision to become Orthodox is partly from being already in a community.

On the other hand, I think that everyday thirty year old cradle Orthodox are more likely to have the culture of Orthodoxy around them than someone who has, say, joined the church for five years.
 

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scamandrius said:
I'd like to divert a little from the topic.  While reading through Fr. Arida's post and all of the responses to it, from clergy and non-clergy alike, there was one aspect that I noticed from time to time.  There was some talk about Fr. Arida being a cradle priest and that because he's not a convert, he has some "greater" authority than a priest who was received into the church later in life.  My question:  If a convert priest had written the exact same piece, would there be fewer people defending him?  Converts, whether they be in the laity or in the clergy, are viewed by many with suspicion.  But a cradle Orthodox is seldom viewed this way.  I see this particularly accentuated when it comes to clergy.  So, again, if a priest who was a convert from another Christian confession, had written this same article, would there be a greater move even from the hierarchy to censure him?
Nathan Monk.  ;)
 

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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?  
For instance:

[size=10pt]Fr. Robert: “the Church can no longer ignore or condemn questions and issues that are presumed to contradict or challenge its living Tradition.”
Aside from his excessive concern for being perceived by the world as "relevant", it is a serious problem that Fr. Robert sees the question of sex between two men or two women as if it were an open question in the Orthodox Church.  He says that it is presumptuous to say that homosexual marriage contradicts the tradition of the Church.  The canons, Scriptures, and Fathers were quite clear that sexual relationships between two men or between two women are sins that, if not repented of, will prevent those engaged in them from inheriting the kingdom. 
 

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Someone can verify this, but I believe Fr Robert is in fact a convert himself, coming from a Byzantine Catholic backgroud.

This whole episode is very deeply concerning to me, very much so to the point that I'm leery of the OCA in general.
 

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Fr. Arida is suggesting that the Church is under a "new" alien spirit that promotes an ideology against a certain sexual orientation or assaults those who act in ways it considers immoral or who raise questions about the Church's position. (page 3)

The problem with Fr. Arida's essay is that he is suggesting that opposition to homosexual acts are a new, alien spirit for the Church when in fact that has been the church's view going back to St. Paul's writings about it.

I doubt that the church assaults those who only raise questions about its positions. Probably the main question people on both sides of a debate on the question would have to ask and answer is what things has the Church changed on (eg. Calendar, head coverings), and how are those categories of things different for the Church than the things those people are questioning (eg. sexual acts).

You can just answer that the question of sex acts is a much different one for the church than calendar questions.
 

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DCBmoreOCF said:
This whole episode is very deeply concerning to me, very much so to the point that I'm leery of the OCA in general.
I don't think so. The OCA has many priests, while the hierarch has clarified his position on the essay.
 
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rakovsky said:
Fr. Arida is suggesting that the Church is under a "new" alien spirit that promotes an ideology against a certain sexual orientation or assaults those who act in ways it considers immoral or who raise questions about the Church's position. (page 3)

The problem with Fr. Arida's essay is that he is suggesting that opposition to homosexual acts are a new, alien spirit for the Church when in fact that has been the church's view going back to St. Paul's writings about it.

I doubt that the church assaults those who only raise questions about its positions. Probably the main question people on both sides of a debate on the question would have to ask and answer is what things has the Church changed on (eg. Calendar, head coverings), and how are those categories of things different for the Church than the things those people are questioning (eg. sexual acts).

You can just answer that the question of sex acts is a much different one for the church than calendar questions.
I thought the homosexual acts were wrong? The person is not committing a sin until he commits acts that are disgusting, right?
 

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charbelkaleab said:
rakovsky said:
Fr. Arida is suggesting that the Church is under a "new" alien spirit that promotes an ideology against a certain sexual orientation or assaults those who act in ways it considers immoral or who raise questions about the Church's position. (page 3)

The problem with Fr. Arida's essay is that he is suggesting that opposition to homosexual acts are a new, alien spirit for the Church when in fact that has been the church's view going back to St. Paul's writings about it.

I doubt that the church assaults those who only raise questions about its positions. Probably the main question people on both sides of a debate on the question would have to ask and answer is what things has the Church changed on (eg. Calendar, head coverings), and how are those categories of things different for the Church than the things those people are questioning (eg. sexual acts).

You can just answer that the question of sex acts is a much different one for the church than calendar questions.
I thought the homosexual acts were wrong? The person is not committing a sin until he commits acts that are disgusting, right?
All acts of sin are disgusting.
 

rakovsky

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charbelkaleab said:
I thought the homosexual acts were wrong?
That's the OCA's position.

The person is not committing a sin until he commits acts that are disgusting, right?
Well, sin is an immoral act, and I suppose that acts can include thoughts, but otherwise Yes.
 

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jah777 said:
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?  
For instance:

[size=10pt]Fr. Robert: “the Church can no longer ignore or condemn questions and issues that are presumed to contradict or challenge its living Tradition.”
Aside from his excessive concern for being perceived by the world as "relevant", it is a serious problem that Fr. Robert sees the question of sex between two men or two women as if it were an open question in the Orthodox Church.  He says that it is presumptuous to say that homosexual marriage contradicts the tradition of the Church.  The canons, Scriptures, and Fathers were quite clear that sexual relationships between two men or between two women are sins that, if not repented of, will prevent those engaged in them from inheriting the kingdom. 
I guess I don't read that as Fr Robert believing that "sex between two men or two women" is an "open question in the Orthodox Church".  I read that as "asserting X to be the case is not enough to answer the question".  I have a lot of experience listening to clerics and lay people say "The Church believes that..." followed by some black and white statement about some hot button issue.  The statements, in and of themselves, are not false, but "This is the way it is because I say so the Church says so" is more or less "Shut up" if that's all you've got to say. 

There are a lot of theological issues about which we could make such an appeal to authority.  "Christ is consubstantial with the Father because the Church says so", "Mary is Theotokos because the Church says so", etc., but, while the statements are true, that's not why they are true.  And we don't oppose really thorough examinations of these ideas in order to understand, within our human limitations, why they are true.  Why are we so scared now?       
 

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DCBmoreOCF said:
This whole episode is very deeply concerning to me, very much so to the point that I'm leery of the OCA in general.
I am very disappointed that you could generalize from this one incident. The OCA's position is no different than any other jurisdiction's and it is very clear:

"According to the apostle Paul, those engaging in homosexual acts, with fornicators, adulterers, idolaters, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers and robbers, will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. Christians come from all these categories of evil doers who have, voluntarily and involuntarily, been caught up in the sin of the world. They are those who through their personal repentance and faith in Christ, their baptism and chrismation, and their participation in Holy Communion, have been “washed…sanctified…and made righteous in the name of the Lord Jesus and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Orthodox Baptism and Chrismation Service).

Jesus teaches mercy and forgiveness for all sinners, but the Lord does not justify sin. When the Son of God pronounces divine pardon to those caught in evil he always charges the forgiven sinner to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

Convinced of these God-revealed truths, we offer the following affirmations and admonitions for the guidance of the faithful:

Homosexuality is to be approached as the result of humanity’s rebellion against God, and so against its own nature and well-being. It is not to be taken as a way of living and acting for men and women made in God’s image and likeness.

Men and women with homosexual feelings and emotions are to be treated with the understanding, acceptance, love, justice and mercy due to all human beings.

People with homosexual tendencies are to be helped to admit these feelings to themselves and to others who will not reject or harm them. They are to seek assistance in discovering the specific causes of their homosexual orientation, and to work toward overcoming its harmful effects in their lives.

Persons struggling with homosexuality who accept the Orthodox faith and strive to fulfill the Orthodox way of life may be communicants of the Church with everyone else who believes and struggles. Those instructed and counseled in Orthodox Christian doctrine and ascetical life who still want to justify their behavior may not participate in the Church’s sacramental mysteries, since to do so would not help, but harm them.

Assistance is to be given to those who deal with persons of homosexual orientation in order to help them with their thoughts, feelings and actions in regard to homosexuality. Such assistance is especially necessary for parents, relatives and friends of persons with homosexual tendencies and feelings. It is certainly necessary for pastors and church workers."
http://oca.org/holy-synod/statements/holy-synod/synodal-affirmations-on-marriage-family-sexuality-and-the-sanctity-of-life#Homosexuality
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
I guess I don't read that as Fr Robert believing that "sex between two men or two women" is an "open question in the Orthodox Church".  I read that as "asserting X to be the case is not enough to answer the question".  I have a lot of experience listening to clerics and lay people say "The Church believes that..." followed by some black and white statement about some hot button issue.  The statements, in and of themselves, are not false, but "This is the way it is because I say so the Church says so" is more or less "Shut up" if that's all you've got to say.  

There are a lot of theological issues about which we could make such an appeal to authority.  "Christ is consubstantial with the Father because the Church says so", "Mary is Theotokos because the Church says so", etc., but, while the statements are true, that's not why they are true.  And we don't oppose really thorough examinations of these ideas in order to understand, within our human limitations, why they are true.  Why are we so scared now?        
Mor, do you have an opinion on homosexual acts, particularly as to what the New Testament and Church say about it?

In my view the acts are those of a sexual disorder, so I don't have a strong feeling about it being immoral so much as an abnormality. On the other hand, I know that the Church and New Testament both consider them to be immoral. For a theologian to teach (and Fr. Arida did not do so in a strong, direct way) otherwise would go against the New Testament.
 

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primuspilus said:
It really makes me wonder if all the +Jonah and the lavender mafia stuff didnt have a sliver of truth to it......
Please refer to him as Metropolitan.  "+" is appropriately used only by the bishop himself, not of him by others.  For more information, please click here.  Thank you.   
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
rakovsky said:
Mor, do you have an opinion on homosexual acts, particularly as to what the New Testament and Church say about it?
Sure.  Why do you ask?
Because one's own beliefs affect how one interprets writings by others, like Fr. Arida, on a given topic.
 

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rakovsky said:
Mor Ephrem said:
rakovsky said:
Mor, do you have an opinion on homosexual acts, particularly as to what the New Testament and Church say about it?
Sure.  Why do you ask?
Because one's own beliefs affect how one interprets writings by others, like Fr. Arida, on a given topic.
The statement on homosexuality in the forum rules adequately summarises my opinion, at least when it's not talking specifically about forum policy. 
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
rakovsky said:
Mor Ephrem said:
rakovsky said:
Mor, do you have an opinion on homosexual acts, particularly as to what the New Testament and Church say about it?
Sure.  Why do you ask?
Because one's own beliefs affect how one interprets writings by others, like Fr. Arida, on a given topic.
The statement on homosexuality in the forum rules adequately summarises my opinion, at least when it's not talking specifically about forum policy. 
And said statement is a restatement of the position of all of the canonical North American jurisdictions as expressed repeatedly by individual jurisdictions over the years and by the SCOBA, now the Assembly of Bishops. http://assemblyofbishops.org/httpwww.assemblyofbishops.orgaboutdocumentschambesy/documents/2013-assembly-statement-on-marriage-and-sexuality
 

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Mor Ephrem said:
jah777 said:
[size=10pt]Fr. Robert: “the Church can no longer ignore or condemn questions and issues that are presumed to contradict or challenge its living Tradition.”
I guess I don't read that as Fr Robert believing that "sex between two men or two women" is an "open question in the Orthodox Church".  I read that as "asserting X to be the case is not enough to answer the question".  I have a lot of experience listening to clerics and lay people say "The Church believes that..." followed by some black and white statement about some hot button issue.  The statements, in and of themselves, are not false, but "This is the way it is because I say so the Church says so" is more or less "Shut up" if that's all you've got to say. 

There are a lot of theological issues about which we could make such an appeal to authority.  "Christ is consubstantial with the Father because the Church says so", "Mary is Theotokos because the Church says so", etc., but, while the statements are true, that's not why they are true.  And we don't oppose really thorough examinations of these ideas in order to understand, within our human limitations, why they are true.  Why are we so scared now?         
Mor:

You are right in what you say above. And the quote you discussed above by Fr. Arida was reasonable, even if one weren't to agree with it.

The problem with Fr. Arida's essay for me is different. He begins the essay by complaining about an "alien", new spirit imposed on the church. Then at the end, says that this alien spirit means 1) promoting an ideology against a certain sexual orientation or 2) assaulting those who act in ways it considers immoral or 3) who raise questions about the Church's position. (page 3)

The problem with Fr. Arida's essay is that he is suggesting that opposition to homosexual acts is a new, alien spirit for the Church when in fact that has been the church's view going back to St. Paul's writings about it.
 

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rakovsky said:
The problem with Fr. Arida's essay is that he is suggesting that opposition to homosexual acts is a new, alien spirit for the Church when in fact that has been the church's view going back to St. Paul's writings about it.
When I read it, I didn't take him to mean that "opposition to homosexual acts is a new, alien spirit for the Church".  He's too smart to say something so stupid. 
 

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rakovsky said:
Fr. Arida is suggesting that the Church is under a "new" alien spirit that promotes an ideology against a certain sexual orientation or assaults those who act in ways it considers immoral or who raise questions about the Church's position. (page 3)

The problem with Fr. Arida's essay is that he is suggesting that opposition to homosexual acts are a new, alien spirit for the Church when in fact that has been the church's view going back to St. Paul's writings about it.

I doubt that the church assaults those who only raise questions about its positions. Probably the main question people on both sides of a debate on the question would have to ask and answer is what things has the Church changed on (eg. Calendar, head coverings), and how are those categories of things different for the Church than the things those people are questioning (eg. sexual acts).

You can just answer that the question of sex acts is a much different one for the church than calendar questions.
There is nothing on page 3 that deals with this Rakovsky. What text are your reading from and arguing about?
 

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I want to clarify that for me this is becoming for the sake of argument.

Fr. Arida writes on p. 1:

The  voice  of  Christ  is  being  weakened  by  the  voice  of  philosophical  and ethical  systems.  
Then on page 4 (not p 3 my mistake) he writes:

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,  
What other ethical system is he claiming exists in our church that weakens Christ voice? The context is his complaint that the Church is condemning an issue of human sexuality presumed to contradict Tradition. However, the Church's condemnation of it is not really a "new alien" spirit, but one that has been around since Paul's time.
 

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rakovsky said:
I want to clarify that for me this is becoming for the sake of argument.

Fr. Arida writes on p. 1:

To  diminish  this  most  fundamental aspect  of  Orthodox  thought  and  life  is  nothing  less  than  a  distortion  of  the  Gospel. Yet,  as  will  be  pointed  out,  this  is  precisely  what  is  occurring  in  the  Orthodox Church here  and  abroad.  A  “new  and  alien spirit”  is  displacing  the  authentic  voice  of  the Gospel.The  voice  of  Christ  is  being  weakened  by  the  voice  of  philosophical  and ethical  systems.  
Here Fr. Arida claims that the Gospel is being distorted in the Orthodox church and a new and alien spirit is replacing the gospel's voice. An ethical system, which he later relates to the rejection of a certain sex orientation is, he claims, weakening Christ's voice. Such a passage by Arida is going against the Church and against its ethical system that opposes homosexuality.
Where?
 

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Fr. Arida writes on p. 1:

To  diminish  this  most  fundamental aspect  of  Orthodox  thought  and  life  is  nothing  less  than  a  distortion  of  the  Gospel. Yet,  as  will  be  pointed  out,  this  is  precisely  what  is  occurring  in  the  Orthodox Church here  and  abroad.  A  “new  and  alien spirit”  is  displacing  the  authentic  voice  of  the Gospel.The  voice  of  Christ  is  being  weakened  by  the  voice  of  philosophical  and ethical  systems.  
Here Fr. Arida claims that the Gospel is being distorted in the Orthodox church and a new and alien spirit is replacing the gospel's voice. An ethical system, which he later relates to the rejection of a certain sex orientation is, he claims, weakening Christ's voice. Such a passage by Arida is going against the Church and against its ethical system that opposes homosexuality.

In other words, he is saying that our Church has a spirit and ethical system that is new, alien, and wrong.


Then on page 4 (not p 3 my mistake) he writes:

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.
Then he writes:
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."
What is the particular "political agenda" he is talking about? Who are the people who those Orthodox Christians perceive as "immoral" in relation to human sexuality? My impression is that he is talking about homosexuality and euthanasia, since those are two of the most controversial issues. However, I don't believe that the church has a new, alien spirit in its opposition to homosexuality, since the church and its "ethical system" have opposed it for a very long time.
 
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