Of Note

A friend and convert to Eastern Orthodoxy over at State of Formation has written a brilliant post on the subject of “Communion Secrets: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Money-quote:

When I began learning about the Orthodox Church during college, I was enamored with its liturgy, prayers, music, and icons. And I confess that there was something in me that was drawn to its seemingly monolithic authority. We claim to be the Church of the Apostles that has preserved the faith for two thousand years. Though some may laugh at the seeming naïveté of this claim, Orthodox believers find deep comfort and stability in a tradition that reaches far beyond our current cultural situation. It is all the more painful, then, when our tradition not only fails to adequately address present-day realities but also insists on judging modernity through the lens of antiquity.

The traditional teaching on homosexuality as recounted by Metropolitan Jonah ignores the reality of many Orthodox women and men struggling to understand their feelings of sexual attraction toward members of the same sex. Even if they choose not to pursue sexual relationships and struggle to remain celibate—a path imposed on them by the church, rather than a gift genuinely given by God—His Beatitude believes that they are condemned by virtue of their being in “a sinful state of self-delusion.”

How are homosexual Orthodox Christians to grow in love, virtue, and relationship with God if they are categorically excluded from the sacramental life of the Church?

Good question.

Published in: on February 8, 2011 at 10:19 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. The Orthodox do not believe they are simply viewing the modern world through the lens of antiquity – they believe they are viewing the world through the lens of the Holy Spirit, which stretches back to the day of Pentecost – and when anything conflicts with that, feels like a burden, it’s understood as the weight of a cross. The church’s responsibility is to preserve the Holy Tradition, the result of the action of the Holy Spirit in the church, for the sake of those who also want to share in it. If one doesn’t believe that this is true of the Orthodox Church, then the question at hand is whether that person would want to be Orthodox or not, subscribe to those beliefs or not.

    As a convert, it is hard for me to understand when people feel that the Church is imposing any type of life on anyone else – Christianity, and Orthodox Christianity of course, is a personal choice. There were so many religions and churches that I could have chosen – I only chose the one that I felt was true. If I had thought something in it’s teachings, its scripture, and its interpretation of scripture was false, and had been for 2000 years in it, I would have chosen a different church. I don’t deny the emotional and social difficulties involved if one were to decide to change religions or churches – I have experienced it first hand, the challenges from both within and the harsh judgements, scorn, and abandonment by other people. I lost a lot to get here. And being Orthodox requires even more sacrifice. But I will never say that the Church is forcing it on me. I walked in here on my own, I can walk out on my own.

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