Yet Another Gay Marriage Thread

Homosexuality comes up frequenbtly on Orthodox forums because..

  • Some folks who need Prozac aren't on it yet.

    Votes: 20 27.8%
  • Since drunkeness, adultery, theft and dishonesty have been eradicated it's the only sin left to figh

    Votes: 10 13.9%
  • Apparently most Orthodox Christians have lots of gay family, friends and associates

    Votes: 7 9.7%
  • Orthodox forums attract a lot of self torturing closet cases and men with doubts about thier own mas

    Votes: 20 27.8%
  • Some folks who need Prozac aren't on it yet.

    Votes: 15 20.8%

  • Total voters
    72
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ytterbiumanalyst

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Ebor said:
One thought that occurs to me is that the subject might come up so frequently because it might be an instance of "cheap righteousness", that is the idea that putting up a vehement post from behind the, as it were, shield of a computer screen, may give the writer good feelings that they are taking a stand without dealing with real human beings face to face. 
Wow. What insight. We are fortunate to have such minds on this site. This is the sort of thing I want to see more of.
 

Tamara

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alice said:
Dear Tamara,

You are one of the few sane, objective, knowledgeable and charitable voices here on this matter.

Our young people are being sexually corrupted by society, and only those parents who wish to live in a 'fool's paradise' are not aware of this. Sexual corruption, whether homo or heterosexual, is happening in our elementary schools, our high schools, and most especially in the dormitories and classrooms of our colleges and universities, whom we pay top dollar to.

As for homosexuals, I,  too, like gay men and have worked with them in the fashion and interior design industries. Not wanting the 'lifestyle' taught and encouraged to our children has nothing to do with being a right wing kook. or prejudiced.  It has everything to do with being Christian and wanting to adhere to a Christian lifestyle.

Again, thank you for your sane and well written post. It seems that we are both 'cool'  and 'with it' enough mothers to appeal to those who might want to label mothers/and women as knowing not of what they speak.

I am appalled by the way that Calligraphqueen was addressed and labeled. No one should be hurt like that, or be  put on the defensive like that, on a *Christian*  forum.

In Christ our Lord,
Alice
Thank you Alice for your kind words. I have the highest respect for Calligraphyqueen. She also has the added burden of raising a large family with one child who has a genetic disorder. Her life sounds very difficult. It seems the new group of people who are not shown tolerance are former evangelical Orthodox moms who raise large families and homeschool their children. I have several good friends who match that description. I have the highest respect for them and admire the fine children they have raised into devout Orthodox Christian adults. I guess any group of people can be demonized.
 

ozgeorge

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Ebor said:
One thought that occurs to me is that the subject might come up so frequently because it might be an instance of "cheap righteousness", that is the idea that putting up a vehement post from behind the, as it were, shield of a computer screen, may give the writer good feelings that they are taking a stand without dealing with real human beings face to face. 
I second ytterbiumanalyst: Excellent point. And on reflection, it seems to me that most subjects on this forum are an opportunity for "cheap righteousness".

Ebor said:
It is among the topics that I have seen written about with, shall we say, strong words and uncharitable language that do not show any concern for the feelings or empathy with other people.
This is something which I have tried to say again and again! Here's the last time I said it:
ozgeorge said:
This isn't an accusation, but rather an examination of why we do the things we do. Why is it that we feel we can say things tactlessly in a public forum available to anyone on the internet, yet would be more tactful in person? Why should the anonymity of an internet forum make any difference to how we behave towards others as Christians? Do we think that we will not be held accountable on the Day of Judgement for what we have said on this forum simply because we typed it into a computer?
"Virtual life" troubles me. The idea that we are somehow allowed to be a "different person" online to the one who was baptised a Christian when we are in internet forums simply because we go by a username rather than our baptisimal name is hersesy as far as I can see. We can only have one hypostasis, not two.

Personally, I think we will all be held even more accountable for what we say on internet forums because:

a) Each of us who claims to be an Orthodox Christian is an Ambassador for Christ to everyone who reads this forum. We will be held to account for any soul that is lost because of what we have said.

b) We could say something sinful here, and our lives on earth might end before we have a chance to retract it or modify our post or ask forgiveness from those we have offended. Our written word continues to live even after we're dead.

c) Our audience is much wider, and the damage our sin can do is therefore increased.

Ebor said:
When such a lack of charity is brought up, a very common response is that being polite/charitable/courteous would not *really* be "loving" because the target person would think that being kind meant that whatever it is that they do/are is OK.  That a real "loving" response is the verbal equivalent of a baseball bat or a dead fish up-side the head.  :-\  Then if the other person rejects the post it is all their own fault and responsibility that they are not accepting the True Way(tm) as laid down by the one who was blunt/cruel/uncharitable.  A kind of "I did my part by telling them they were wrong, and have no responsibility for them not accepting my declaration of how they should change."  Cheap righteousness- just words, no effort in dealing with another as a human being, no trying to understand the "Other"  the "Not-like-me".
So true...so true....
As soon as anyone says "love the sinner but hate the sin" on Christian forums, alarm bells go off in my head, because they never express love for the "sinner" even when they have repented from their sin and valiantly struggle with their passion. It's like when someone begins a sentence with the words "With all due respect..." More often than not, they actually mean the exact opposite. I never see the "love for the sinner" being expressed in the "love-the-sinner-but-hate-the-sin" approach. All that I ever see is the "hate for the sin"; which is usually delivered with an air of self-righteousness combined with a pinch of false humility. And when it becomes rude, patronizing, ascerbic etc., then they start revealing their true colours in their hatred for the sinner also, and "love the sinner but hate the sin" is revealed as nothing more than a meaningless platitude.
I'd love to ask these "love the sinner but hate the sin" people how many sinners they have actually managed to bring to Christ using their method.
If anyone is interested in looking at genuine love which actually has brought people to Christ, while at the same time, upholding the teachings of the Church, then they may want to have a read of this thread: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,7154.0.html
That thread (to date) is the best example I've ever seen of "speaking the truth in love" on this forum.
 

Jibrail Almuhajir

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ozgeorge said:
As soon as anyone says "love the sinner but hate the sin" on Christian forums, alarm bells go off in my head, because they never express love for the "sinner" even when they have repented from their sin and valiantly struggle with their passion.
I confess that this is a subject that I don't know yet *how* to deal with. Raised in an extremely conservative religious town in an extremely conservative religious part of the country, I've never personally known a gay person (that I know of), and so I've never before needed to deal with it. Now there are more and more people 'coming out' so to speak, and it's something that I'm confronted with almost daily. Where I presently work at is primarily dominated by a 'good ol boy' rural mentality that typically isn't overly receptive to anyone not White or Christian, let alone homosexuals (I know I know- how can one be Christian and rascist...) I don't want to sound callous or insensitive re: this subject, but I just don't know how to deal with it. Believe me, I am trying (through prayer and reading) to be more understanding and loving. I really hope I haven't offended anyone by my posts, I truly apologize if I have.
 

PeterTheAleut

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Jibrail Almuhajir said:
I don't want to sound callous or insensitive re: this subject, but I just don't know how to deal with it.
I understand quite well where you're coming from.  I needed a few years to learn how to deal with a close friend's revelation that he was gay.

Tying this in with the OP by connecting this thought to something someone else said:  it's all too easy (and therefore cowardly) to think that one can deal with someone's struggles with homosexual attraction by hiding behind a written letter, an e-mail, or a post on an internet forum, because face-to-face interaction with the person is avoided.  I know; I've done it before.
 

Tamara

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Jibrail Almuhajir said:
I confess that this is a subject that I don't know yet *how* to deal with. Raised in an extremely conservative religious town in an extremely conservative religious part of the country, I've never personally known a gay person (that I know of), and so I've never before needed to deal with it. Now there are more and more people 'coming out' so to speak, and it's something that I'm confronted with almost daily. Where I presently work at is primarily dominated by a 'good ol boy' rural mentality that typically isn't overly receptive to anyone not White or Christian, let alone homosexuals (I know I know- how can one be Christian and rascist...) I don't want to sound callous or insensitive re: this subject, but I just don't know how to deal with it. Believe me, I am trying (through prayer and reading) to be more understanding and loving. I really hope I haven't offended anyone by my posts, I truly apologize if I have.
Just treat gay people like you would want to be treated.
 

ozgeorge

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Jibrail Almuhajir said:
I confess that this is a subject that I don't know yet *how* to deal with.
I think that's the first and most important step towards understanding how to deal with anything.
The next step, I think, is trying to make a connection with something in my own experience. For example, I know what it's like to crave a cigarette even though I know that smoking them does me damage. But no amount of public health warnings was ever able to stop me smoking. I even worked in palliative care with people dying of lung cancer and emphysema, and even that didn't stop me smoking. My Mother (God rest her) called it "the incense of the devil" and my Father (God rest him) once got me to take a $10 note out of my wallet and burned it in front of me saying "It would be better if you burned your money this way!"- and even that didn't stop me!
After a period of some years with my current Confessor, and having dealt with some more pressing spiritual matters, he got me to start looking at my nicotine addiction, not as something to be eliminated, but rather, as an opportunity for spiritual growth. Rather than listing all the reasons why I shouldn't smoke (which I knew anyway), he got me to start looking at the possibility of learning live with nicotine craving, and using it as a way of coming closer to God. As St. Anthony the Great says: "Whoever has not experienced temptation cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Without temptations no-one can be saved.'
If we think of smoking as sinful and morally wrong, then nicotine craving is the passion and is morally neutral. This is the Orthodox understanding of the difference between "passion" and "sin".
Similarly, homosexual orientation is the passion (and therefore morally neutral) while homosexual acts are the sin, and morally wrong. As a psychologist, I think that this Orthodox view offers the only way out of what is termed "Ego-Dystonic Homosexuality". In the Diagnostic Manual we use to  diagnose mental illness, homosexuality is not a mental disorder unless the homosexual themselves considers it to be disorder, that is, their homosexuality is dystonic to their own self identity. Now, among some Protestant and Catholic groups, the current "treatment" for ego-dystonic homosexuality such as "Courage International" and "Exodus International" is "reparative therapy", that is "reorienting" the sexual attraction. The problem with this is it just doesn't work. I personally know of two members of "Exodus International" who have committed suicide (one after having entered a hetrosexual marriage as part of his "reorientation"). It's boloney. It would be like myself trying to give up smoking by pretending that my very powerful cravings for cigarettes don't exist. Let me tell you, they darn well do exist!
With it's keen understanding of how the passions work and how to manage them, Orthodoxy offers a way out of homosexual behaviour while not attempting to deny the existence of homosexual orientation. It offers another option- yes, a difficult one, but an option nonetheless, and that is the martyric path of chastity. And St. John Climakos in "The Ladder of Divine Assent" makes this keen observation in Step 15:24:
"Do not expect to overthrow the demon of fornication with refutations and pleadings. For, with nature on his side, he has the best of the argument."
Orthodoxy acknowledges that, in demanding that the People of God avoid fornication (whether heterosexually or homosexually) she is demanding something which goes against nature. In other words, she acknowledges that yes, the desire is there, but that we are not to act on it. This is a big ask, and St. John Climacus acknowledges this when he says in Step 15:7:
"Let no one thoroughly trained in purity attribute its attainment to himself. For it is impossible for anyone to conquer his own nature. When nature is defeated, it should be recognised that this is due to the presence of Him Who is above nature. For beyond all dispute, the weaker gives way to the Stronger."
So, rather than continually rattle off the same stuff about "homosexual agendas" and "homosexual sin" that occur on every Christian forum, why don't we offer on an Orthodox forum the unique perspective that yes, homosexual orientation exists, just as the desire to fornicate or be an adulterer exists, and these are "natural", but even this does not mean that acting on these "natural desires" is morally neutral. And even more importantly, we can offer the uniquely Orthodox understanding of the difference between passion and sin which may offer homosexuals a way out of having to act on their desires, while at the same time not attempting to deny that their desires exist.
But if the only thing we have to offer is the same old hackneyed thing that one sees on every Christian forum such as "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" then what's the point? No one's gonna listen, it's the same rubbish they get everywhere.
We cannot tell people outside the Church how to live their sexual lives. And with nature on their side (as St. John Clmacus points out) they'd laugh us to scorn. All we can do is bear witness to another way, and offer it as an alternative.
 

Schultz

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Αριστοκλής said:
Wow!

"ozgeorge, the New Theologian"

Impressive
I totally agree!  That's incredibly impressive, ozgeorge.  I've never seen it put that way before, at least so succinctly and clearly, tying in not only St. John Climacus (which should impress anyone with the slightest inclination to Eastern theology) but also making a great point at the end regarding "another way".
 

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I think what riles most decent people is the normalization of Sodomy.  The organized Gay mafia (a minority with a big voice) is an attack on family.  Sodomy, narcissism, fornication and adultery are sins that need to be confessed.  Of course we should condemn the sin not the sinner.  However the Epistles warn us what will happen to those unrepentant sexual deviants - sad, but that's free will.  It is curious that smoking is now an international sin - due to be banned on planet earth, yet sexual deviency is simply a matter of choice.
 

PeterTheAleut

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observer said:
I think what riles most decent people is the normalization of Sodomy.  The organized Gay mafia (a minority with a big voice) is an attack on family.  Sodomy, narcissism, fornication and adultery are sins that need to be confessed.  Of course we should condemn the sin not the sinner.  However the Epistles warn us what will happen to those unrepentant sexual deviants - sad, but that's free will.  It is curious that smoking is now an international sin - due to be banned on planet earth, yet sexual deviency is simply a matter of choice.
Have you not been reading this thread, Observer?  What you've just done is provide us the perfect example of how NOT to speak the truth in love, how to condemn the sinner together with the sin.  You focus so much on condemning homosexual behavior that you think it equally important to show how gays will be punished with everlasting fire.  How is it loving to call gays sexual deviants?  This is not love.  This is self-righteous judgment.  How can you say that your righteousness is greater than that of the gay man?  Do you--does any one of us--have such control of your anger that you can ever separate your "zeal for truth" from your own base passion of anger?  Is "righteous indignation" such as you show here ever truly righteous?
 

Jibrail Almuhajir

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I think we're finally reaching a point on this forum where genuine Christian dialogue is taking place (re: this subject at least). I would like to hear from folks on this forum who are struggling with this passion (providing they're comfortable in doing so). I think us hetero's discussing this issue with each other is helpful, but hearing from those folks who struggle with it can provide an insider's insight.
Those of you who are trying to overcome it and deal with it, do you see our culture's acceptance of homosexuality as something that's helpful in your struggle, or do you see it as a setback. It seems to me that it could be both. On the one hand, we're talking and discussing it openly and with maturity these days (as opposed to 10-15 years ago). Yet on the other hand, it seems that it could be a hindrance if one is truly trying to overcome it and deal with it (with every media outlet telling you that it's natural and nothing wrong with it). This analogy, BTW, can be used with heterosexuals as well. We're all constantly being barraged with sex through almost every form of media. 
 

ozgeorge

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Jibrail Almuhajir said:
I think we're finally reaching a point on this forum where genuine Christian dialogue is taking place (re: this subject at least).
I don't want to sound too negative, but if I've learned anything in participating on Christian forums, it's that they never "finally reach a point" on anything. There will always be new members who will not bother to read what has been discussed in the past, and the discussion has to start all over again.  That's just the nature of forums. And I dare say that our older, homosexual-oriented posters have seen this time and time again, so they cannot be blamed for not wanting to go through it again.
 

Jibrail Almuhajir

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ozgeorge said:
I don't want to sound too negative, but if I've learned anything in participating on Christian forums, it's that they never "finally reach a point" on anything. There will always be new members who will not bother to read what has been discussed in the past, and the discussion has to start all over again.  That's just the nature of forums. And I dare say that our older, homosexual-oriented posters have seen this time and time again, so they cannot be blamed for not wanting to go through it again.
Yes, I agree it can get tiresome. However, since we know that this will inevetably happen again, rather than throw our arms up in the air and showing agitation (and I'm not refering to anyone here- just generally speaking), just post the relevant threads for them to look read. Then, when they have questions or comments, try to guide them in love to a more mature, Christian perspective. I mean, it worked for me afterall.  ;)

And as far as the older, homosexual-oriented posters go, when they speak up on these threads it suddenly gives pause to the other posters. I for one, didn't expect there to be any homosexuals on the OC.net. Naive? Yes. Sobering? Very. Suddenly we were no longer talking about sinners, but talking to other humans who had their own passions they were/are struggling with. I hope I'm making sense here.
 

ozgeorge

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Jibrail Almuhajir said:
Yes, I agree it can get tiresome. However, since we know that this will inevetably happen again, rather than throw our arms up in the air and showing agitation (and I'm not refering to anyone here- just generally speaking), just post the relevant threads for them to look read. Then, when they have questions or comments, try to guide them in love to a more mature, Christian perspective. I mean, it worked for me afterall.  ;)
You know, that might just very well work!
It certainly seems to have worked for the topic of mensturation which also kept coming up again and again: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,9448.0.html.
Thanks for the suggestion, I'll talk it over with Fr. Chris and the other moderators!
 

Ebor

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ozgeorge said:
I think that's the first and most important step towards understanding how to deal with anything.
The next step, I think, is trying to make a connection with something in my own experience. ....
I cut it to save crunchons, but this is a wonderful post,  OzGeorge, and I'm going to read it over again.

Ebor
 

ozgeorge

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MODERATION:
I have split off the tangential discussion on STD's and fornication into this thread:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12052.0.html

George

EDIT: I'm temporarily locking this topic for a few hours until the people who wish to discuss STD's and fornication read this moderatorial post and realise where they should be posting!

EDIT2: OK, I think people got the point now. I'm unlocking this thread again.
 
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