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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Format Change

Due to a few really, really, really long nested discussions on a few of the posts (Yay!) we’ve decided to turn nesting off.  This means all comments will be displayed across the entire width of the text-space.  Yay!  It also means it may be slightly harder to figure out which comment is directed at what.  Boo!

For anyone who may be unfamiliar with how to deal with this sort of dilemma, I suggest either posting responses @ specific people, so we know who’s talking to whom, or @ the number of the comment you’re responding to.  Quoting other people’s comments is also helpful.

Thanks, and sorry for any disorientation.

-Blogmaster, Righteous Pagan

Published in: on August 25, 2010 at 4:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Other Gay Conservative Groups? Really?

Cool!

I got linked to GayPatriot today, and it was a bit of a surreal experience: all sorts of statements supporting homosexuals, but advancing the conservative agenda – even an alternative to Pride called Homocon.  Now, when we say in our title that our blog is conservative, we mean, largely, religiously conservative.  Victor is politically to the right, and Eiluned is to the left, but both agree on more than they disagree.

I, the atheist-agnostic-white-straight-male, am quite fiscally and socially liberal and a lot of what I read on GayPatriot (really, Patriot? Because only conservatives are patriotic?  But I digress…) I found horrifying, wrong-headed, and at times, mildly offensive.  Ann Coulter, one of the most loathsome writers I’ve ever read, is going to SPEAK at HOMOCON!  Admittedly, she’s taking a beating for it, but still: what is happening to the world?

Gay Activist? Maybe not, but still...

But you know what my overall response is?

This is awesome.

It’s about time the Liberals lost their stranglehold on gay rights, and gay conservative organizations became prominent. It’s an indication that homosexuality and homosexual acts,  only decriminalized in Canada in 1969, finally decriminalized by the US Supreme Court in 2003, and still punishable by death in many countries (Saudi Arabia, Sudan, UAE, to name a few) are finally being accepted even by mainstream Republicans.  Is this bad for the Democrats?  Yes; it robs them of a useful demographic.  Is it bad, potentially, for the cause of gay marriage?  Probably, as these gay Republicans are arguing more for civil union than marriage.  Is it bad for liberalism as a movement? As it steals liberalism’s issues, it may drive progressives to be more and more extreme; and that’s a good thing.  Progress must always push the envelope, and conservatives must resist the change.

There is nothing inherently wrong with either conservatism or liberalism.  They are both vital drives: one is the desire to try new things and explore, and the other is the fear of what damage such exploration might inflict; the need to hold onto what we have already accomplished vs the imperative to change.  Both are valid.  It’s a dialectic… the two forces must clash, and a synthesis forms from the struggle.  Gay Republicans are part of that synthesis, and are a sign that times are changing. I may be wrong, but I doubt Anne Coulter would have spoken at a gay rally fifteen years ago, or even ten, or five.  Things are improving, and this shift on the part of the right is a perfect example.  Eventually, gay rights will have the same status as feminism… still an important struggle, still a real concern, still laughed at and ignored by those who are uninterested, but at least the largest part of the work will be done.

-Your Blogmaster, the Righteous Pagan

Published in: on August 21, 2010 at 1:25 am  Comments (7)  
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As Queer as an Atheist in a Cathedral

A message from our Straight-White-Male-Atheist/Agnostic Blogmaster, the Righteous Pagan

I’m  a bit of an oddity on the staff here at the Homodox Confessions, being neither Queer, Conservative, nor Christian, but I’ll be weighing in now and again, as the spirit (or rather, the indefinable impulse I refuse to attribute to anything supernatural) moves me.  And I thought I might take this opportunity to talk about the sensation of being an outsider, a minority, in situations where my fellow Victor and Eiluned feel right at home.

As a Straight-White-Atheist Male, I’ve been trying to think of situations where I too feel othered.  It doesn’t happen often but I have experienced it in certain situations: in a Women’s Studies class, for example, or more seriously, when living overseas among people who don’t speak my language and look nothing like me…  But I think the moments when I feel the most queer are when I’m in church.

I find going to mass, or participating in religious ceremonies in general, intensely uncomfortable.  I’m not a rabid New Atheist who feels like all religion is an assault on rationality (or at least, I’m not one any more).  I’m well aware of the good religious organizations do around the world.  I love pre-Vatican II liturgical music (or rather, the chant and polyphony more commonly performed before Vatican II), enjoy the sound of Latin, and think churches are absolutely gorgeous.  Though I hate most of the homilies I hear, I am fascinated by homiletics.  I even find theology cool from a philosophical perspective, even if I’m unable to make some of the cognitive leaps required to grok it.  Why then, when I’m surrounded by the joyful faithful at an Easter Vigil mass, do I feel possessed by rage and frustration?  Why, when at a house blessing, do I search, panicking, for some alternative to making the sign of the cross, settling on crossing my arms awkwardly on my chest as if I were attempting to refuse the Eucharist?

Part of it is claustrophobia… I hate being surrounded by people, with limited access to exits, and I have trouble cramming my long legs and large feet into pews.   Part is boredom.  But that doesn’t explain the rage reaction.  Sometimes I can pick out specific things that make me mad, like particularly offensive homilies (those that viciously attack homosexuality, other religions, and aspects of secular culture I support, for example), or prayers for the Jews and other heathens (which I find somewhat condescending).  But since I get panicked and furious even when my buttons aren’t directly pushed, there has to be something else.

I think it has to do with my deep programming and the exclusionary nature of religion.  Being surrounded by a large group who all share a common shibboleth is a profoundly unsettling experience.  I feel like a caveman who has been dropped into the middle of a foreign cave, and my every hesitation marks me as an outsider.  Intellectually, I know I’m in no danger, but my flight or fight reflex gets triggered anyway.  I suppose the next question is, why cannot I learn the responses, join the singing, approach the priest for a blessing if I cannot actually take the wafer, pretend to belong.  Since I don’t believe and do respect religion, I shouldn’t feel uncomfortable pretending, should I?

But I do, I feel desperately uncomfortable.  I feel that by pretending to take part in a ceremony that is, to many people, more important than life, I will somehow diminish it.  I cannot ask the priest for a blessing precisely because it is meaningless to me, but profoundly meaningful to him, and as he assumes I’m one of the faithful, he expects me to cherish it too.  But I don’t, I can’t, not in the way he expects.  I am glad he wishes me well, but the true significance of the act, as experienced by a theist, is lost on me. I feel like an imposter, a sham. So I am trapped, unable to make the responses, and so doomed to remain alienated.

But there might be a solution.  Part of the pressure to conform comes from other people not knowing I’m an atheist.  If they know, it’s not a sham any more.  I’m not lying to them, and not pretending, and if they choose to offer their blessing to someone they know doesn’t believe, that changes the whole nature of the transaction.  A priest who knowingly blesses an atheist has made an informed decision, and I can accept the gift without concern; I might still be a bit weirded out (I don’t GET blessings) but I wouldn’t feel as though I had transgressed.  If there were some way to be openly atheist in a setting where everyone assumes one is religious, then I would take it.  It’s part of the reason I understand gays who broadcast their gender identity; so long as people assume that a homosexual person is straight, they’re still kinda closeted, and have to continually brace themselves against the shock of being outed again and again.

-Your Blogmaster, the Righteous Pagan

Published in: on July 19, 2010 at 11:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mandatum nostrum

The idea for this blog originated from discussions between its main contributors, Eiluned de Oxonia (Roman Catholic) and Victor de Villa Lapidis (Russian Orthodox), and many other young religious LGBTQ of our acquaintance.  We decided to begin this blog, motivated, on the one hand, by the lack of support for religious LGBTQ amongst the Church hierarchy, and on the other hand, by the lack of careful theologically-grounded discussion of sexuality amongst those church groups which do welcome us (and for which we are very grateful!).  Ideally, the blog will be a safe space for those who are LGBTQ and have traditionalist leanings,  and will also provide a place fostering discussion with those who are not queer, traditionalist, or even religious.

Published in: on July 2, 2010 at 3:10 pm  Comments (7)  
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