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June, Pride, and The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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June is LGBTQ Pride Month. June is also devoted to the “Sacred Heart of Jesus” in the Roman Catholic tradition.

I remember a time in my life, shamefully, when I spewed homophobic rhetoric and proclaimed that gay people were literally going to burn in hell. I could try to excuse my behavior by saying that’s just what I was taught as an evangelical fundamentalist, and thus I was only following the doctrine I knew at the time. But the fact is that I had a free will, a mind of my own, and the volitional ability to either embrace or reject such inhumane and cruel language and beliefs. So I have no excuse.

Today I recoil when I read or hear venomous anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. I think of my friend and roommate in Bible College who struggled deeply with his homosexuality. In a moment of trust and candor he confessed to me that he wrestled with homosexual feelings. I tried to be kind and I kept his secret, but I nevertheless gave him the standard fundamentalist spiel: “You’re not gay. Those feelings are from the devil. You can overcome this with faith in Jesus.” A few years after that he introduced me to a young woman who was his fiancé. He seemed happy and finally at peace. I felt proud that I had helped him overcome his “demonic” sexually perverse inclinations…. until a few years later when I learned that my friend had committed suicide.

My own sexual perversions and moral failures throughout the years had been much worse than his. When he first confided in me, he said that he had never acted on his homosexual feelings. I, on the other hand, had acted out my heterosexual lusts too many times to count. Yet somehow I still prided myself on the fact that at least I wasn’t gay. I may have been a sinner, but at least my sins were red blooded, natural, masculine, heterosexual sins. (That awkward homosexual experience I had when I was 11 years old surely didn’t count. Or did it? I still wonder.)

As a 52 year old Orthodox Christian I confess that I’m still working through my thoughts on the whole LGBTQ issue. I am conflicted. I am disturbed by what I don’t know, such as whether or not people are “born that way.” And I don’t particularly trust either what fundamentalist Christians or secular science has to say about the matter.

But I don’t think it really matters, to be honest. What matters is that people are people, that each and every one of us were conceived and born as the very images of God. And the supreme commandment of the Christian gospel is to do unto others as we would have others do unto us. The indisputable fact is that God loves LGBTQ folks just as much as He loves everyone else (it’s sad that this still needs to be pointed out), and as Christians we are commanded to demonstrate that love.

I’m not a theologian, but from my layman’s reading of the Gospels I don’t see Jesus spending time telling people to change their feelings. He does, however, tell sinners to “go and sin no more.” I’ve been a Christian for over 30 years, and I still haven’t been able to change my lustful desires for beautiful women. And Jesus clearly stated: “I say to you, that everyone who looks at a woman so as to lust for her immediately commits adultery with her in his heart.” [St. Matthew 5:28] So I don’t think I have any divine calling or moral right to tell other people how they should feel regarding their sexual desires.

But I also don’t think Christ wants any of us to be content with our lustful desires, regardless of whether those lusts are of a heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual nature. The Gospel calls us to struggle against the passions and find the satisfaction of our souls in the pure and perfect love of God.

On the one hand I am inclined to wholeheartedly join in with the entire LGBTQ movement, leaving all judgment to God. That would make things much easier for me. But almost every noble cause is fraught with behavioral and ideological errors; and I believe it’s important to discern what’s right and good about a movement from that which is harmful and destructive. Therefore I cannot support endeavors or policies designed to sexualize our youth, regardless of whether the sexualizing is of a heterosexual or homosexual nature. For example, I believe programs like “Drag Queen Library Hour” are both harmful to children and ultimately harmful to the LGBTQ cause. I also believe that genital mutilation – even done as a willingly consenting adult – is harmful and destructive, because it violently desecrates the very image of God. (By the way, I also oppose the circumcision of infants for the very same reasons. In fact, circumcision is arguably even worse because it is performed on unwilling innocent babies.) I also oppose public displays of lewd and immoral sexual behavior conducted under the guise of “Pride Parades.” (Again, I think such “parades” hurt rather than help the LGBTQ cause.)

But apart from those concerns (which I’m sure will still make me a “homophobe” in some people’s eyes), I simply no longer believe that it’s right or Christian to crusade against homosexuality and treat the LGBTQ community as “abominations of nature.” And as far as marriage is concerned, I have no qualms about a secular state legalizing homosexual marriage. As long as the state doesn’t try to force the Orthodox Church to violate its beliefs about marriage, then I’m cool with it. I wish that my friend and roommate from Bible College were alive and married to another loving man rather than dead from needless judgment and shame.

Which brings me to the “Sacred Heart of Jesus.” The Sacred Heart of Jesus is a beautiful Roman Catholic devotion that views the heart of Jesus as symbolic of God’s boundless and passionate love for all humanity. Therefore I pray that the Sacred Heart of Jesus would enlighten and warm my own heart, making me more compassionate and merciful to all the wounded and suffering people of this world. I pray that the Sacred Heart of Jesus would comfort and strengthen the hearts of all those who are struggling with their sexual identities. I pray that the Sacred Heart of Jesus would assure all people – gay, straight, LGBTQ, or whatever else – that they have been created good and created FOR good, and that they bear the indelible and irrevocable image of God. I pray that the Sacred Heart of Jesus would burn away all of our sinful pride, destructive lusts, unrighteous judgments, and demonic shame. And I pray that the Sacred Heart of Jesus would unite our hearts to His – right now, today, tomorrow, and forever into eternity.

Those are the only thoughts and the only prayers I can muster regarding this subject. May God forgive me for my past cruelties, and may He forgive me for my present ignorance. We are all works in progress – beautiful works in progress.

“Lord have mercy.” +++

Selam,
+ GEBRE MENFES KIDUS +


 

Christos3

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I find the whole LBGT movement abhorrent. It is not a "live and let live" issue as many want to believe (i.e, if people want to lead a sinful lifestyle, that is between them and God. Hate the sin, love the sinner, etc.) The issue is that the movement is a political movement and they are doing everything possible to normalize deviant behavior. From allowing boys to compete against girls, shower with girls etc., arresting/penalizing business owners for not serving homosexuals, to taking away parental rights because they do not want their child to change sexes. And the movement gets away with this because too many are afraid to be labeled a homophobe or "cancelled" by the tech mob. Lastly, the movement is terrible for women and children.

Haven't we learned anything? From the moment the serpent created doubt in Eve; once "man" decides they know better than God, then mankind is the worse for all, spiraling downward into filth. Political leaders (in the USA) are trying erase God from society and replace Him with their so called morality and the consequences are devastating.

God is quite clear that homosexuality is sinful. Lv 18:1-3, Judges 19:24-30, WSir 16:8, 9, Romans 1:26, 27.
 

LizaSymonenko

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There are a couple of points I would like to make.

1. LBGQT... is political. They are not demanding "equal" rights, but, special rights. If you accept this lifestyle, then you are accepting the destruction of the family unit as designed by God.

I too know many gay people.... and while I like the individuals for whom they are, I will never support their lifestyle, or express any manner of acceptance of it.

Granted, many do not "have" a choice... perhaps they are born this way... but, claiming God made them this way is incorrect. Due to our corruption of this world, due to toxins in our environment, and toxins we ingest (drugs on intention or additives in our food/water) we have caused mutations... perhaps causing the destruction of the DNA. I'm no scientist... and I do not claim any real knowledge... but, I know that God created well defined genders for specific reasons. We have muddied the waters - physiologically, mentally, spiritually...

I will end this by saying... while I disagree with the lifestyle... and I believe many of the trans people need more than a physical amputation or addition of appendages... I will love each human... for the potential in them... for the struggle they are living with... for the fact that God gave them life and they are part of our earthly family. I would do them no harm (unless did so while protecting someone else).

2. As for the Sacred Heart... this is really a wrong theology... and has no place in Orthodox ethos.

How can you venerate an organ? Why aren't you venerating Christ's brain? I don't even agree with their Eucharistic adoration. Christ did not offer the Eucharist for it to be placed on a plate or in a display so people can come and pray to it. It was made to be ingested... to become part of our very being...

While you can commend and wish to emulate the love Christ has shown the world.... that is completely different from the "Sacred Heart" theology.

We love and worship Christ.... all of Him... and we know that miracles occurred even by touching them hem of His garment...

Worshipping a heart is simply wrong.... What we need to be doing is living the LOVE that He showed us... loving the world, loving our neighbors, loving ourselves...loving God by loving others....
 

scamandrius

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2. As for the Sacred Heart... this is really a wrong theology... and has no place in Orthodox ethos.

How can you venerate an organ? Why aren't you venerating Christ's brain? I don't even agree with their Eucharistic adoration. Christ did not offer the Eucharist for it to be placed on a plate or in a display so people can come and pray to it. It was made to be ingested... to become part of our very being...
Christ said, "Take and eat" not "Take and put it in a monstrance and then parade it around town so others can venerate it and make a donation." I hope I'm wrong on this, but there have been a few Catholic converts I have known over the years who have tried to get the priest to have some sort of Eucharistic adoration after the Liturgy concluded. Thankfully, the priest said no in each instance, but they keep trying. I wonder what else of Catholicism they wish to import into the Orthodox church.
 

LizaSymonenko

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Christ said, "Take and eat" not "Take and put it in a monstrance and then parade it around town so others can venerate it and make a donation." I hope I'm wrong on this, but there have been a few Catholic converts I have known over the years who have tried to get the priest to have some sort of Eucharistic adoration after the Liturgy concluded. Thankfully, the priest said no in each instance, but they keep trying. I wonder what else of Catholicism they wish to import into the Orthodox church.
I may be wrong... but, I believe there exists an actual dogma against doing just this. You are NOT allowed to do anything with the Eucharist other than ingest it.

The rule is in place... because some baba yagas were known to try squirreling it away in a napkin to take home and do God knows what with it.
 

hecma925

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There is nothing to stop an Orthodox Christian from going to an Orthodox Church (unless it's locked) and contemplate the dread presence of Christ, since reserved Eucharist is kept in the altar.
 

biro

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Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

The first example God gave for marriage was one man and one woman, true.

But Solomon is usually called a king of unique wisdom, is he not?

Polygamy is not for everyone. Warren Jeffs, remember him?

I don't know much about anything, you see. If everyone can have polygamy, for instance, sooner or later we'll just run out of people.

Also, don't we all sin just as much when we argue and fight and drive a car through a window, and so on, even if we make no sexual sins in our lives?

(Which is almost impossible. Sex is a strong drive. One of the strongest we have. It just is.)

Please forget this post existed. I lost a lot of weight due to the summer season, and I need a bit of a break.
 
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..... Eucharistic adoration....

We love and worship Christ.... all of Him... and we know that miracles occurred even by touching them .... What we need to be doing is living the LOVE that He showed us... loving the world, loving our neighbors, loving ourselves...loving God by loving others....
When we receive Holy Eucharist, we all become a living Monstance. We are Christ walking around, on display, alive, living stones, the members of the Body of Christ. We adore Eucharist in each other when we prefer one another above ourselves. We forgive each other and thereby bow down and prostrate before the Living Holy Eucharist.
Then we go out and we are the Light, Salt, Water, Oil, Gate, for those who have not yet tasted the Holy Eucharist.
We are the living Monstance on display.
 
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Individuals vary in all groups but I think the collective mindset of PRIDE is anti Orthodox ( anti Christian in general).
 

Paradosiakos

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Pride is one of the 7 deadly sins. Homosexuality combined with pride only makes it that much worse.
I’m tired of seeing it pushed and publicized practically everywhere. It didn’t bother me as much before because you could easily ignore it. It’s sickening now. You can’t even watch a TV show without that sickening behavior being pushed down your throat. For crying out loud even kids shows are pushing it.
Lord have mercy on us and please save us!
 

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Have heterosexuals stopped sinning?
No. God flooded the world for sin, but he razed two cities with fire and sulfur for a specific reason and it wasn't heterosexuality.
 

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Pride is one of the 7 deadly sins. Homosexuality combined with pride only makes it that much worse.
I’m tired of seeing it pushed and publicized practically everywhere. It didn’t bother me as much before because you could easily ignore it. It’s sickening now. You can’t even watch a TV show without that sickening behavior being pushed down your throat. For crying out loud even kids shows are pushing it.
It used to annoy me too until I realized that's it's mostly not really ideological or political. It's about money. Companies just want queer folks' money. And since capitalism is God's greatest gift to mankind I'm all for companies helping gays in getting rid of their money.
 

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It used to annoy me too until I realized that's it's mostly not really ideological or political. It's about money. Companies just want queer folks' money. And since capitalism is God's greatest gift to mankind I'm all for companies helping gays in getting rid of their money.
I feel like boycotting every company who changes their logo to a rainbow not because I hate homosexuals, but because I know the company is just pandering, and that irritates me.
 

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I feel like boycotting every company who changes their logo to a rainbow not because I hate homosexuals, but because I know the company is just pandering, and that irritates me.
For me it feels like a company or society in general is trying to press people to change their opinions over complete non-issues. Nobody is actually hating queer folks in Western countries. I mostly try to ignore it though as getting angry is not helpful to pretty much anything.
 

biro

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Ainnir, does seeing umpteen jillion displays on Valentine's Day offend you, even though it's about a man who was regarded as a martyr (chiefly today in the RCC)?
 

Ainnir

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For me it feels like a company or society in general is trying to press people to change their opinions over complete non-issues. Nobody is actually hating queer folks in Western countries. I mostly try to ignore it though as getting angry is not helpful to pretty much anything.
This. I do normally just ignore it all because anything else is really too much anymore; and it's just one facet of a bigger ball of wax. Right or wrong, I couldn't have cared less who was or wasn't gay/straight/bi/etc. until people started yelling about it. Though there are still people who are harassed and terrorized for being homosexual, etc. So like I said upthread, I get the outrage over that. But rainbow logos for 30 days won't fix that and that's not why the companies put them up. I'd respect them more if they just kept a rainbow logo all year. One month is tokenism.

Ainnir, does seeing umpteen jillion displays on Valentine's Day offend you, even though it's about a man who was regarded as a martyr (chiefly today in the RCC)?
I said I was irritated, not offended. I don't tend to register offense, even when I should. I'm also full up on guilt trips and alarmism for the rest of forever. But in short, yes. You'll have to PM me if you want an overview of my history with holidays. 🤷‍♀️
 

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If one believes in universalism then all sorts of things become twisted and ok. Soon the creature judges the Creator as unfair, unjust, unloving....like spoiled children who touch the hot stove and run into the street who think they know better than the Father.
I am amazed daily at the patience and goodness of our heavenly Father; He is longsuffering-not willing that any should perish, giving us so many chances to repent and turn to our Creator.

Our life can be led in heavenly love. Perfect love casts out fear.
 
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