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Gay Christians?


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#1 Brian Patrick Mitchell

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 11:32 PM

It goes without saying that the so-called "gay lifestyle" is well beyond the bounds of Orthodox Christianity, but what about those afflicted with same-sex attraction who nevertheless accept the Church's teaching against homosexuality? Can they still identify publicly as "gay" if celibate and chaste?  

 

I offer here an Orthodox answer in the negative, along with a warning of the danger "coming out" poses to Christian communions:

 

"Gay Christians? The Grave Danger Coming Out Poses to Christian Churches"

 

In Christ,

 

Pdn. Patrick

 

 



#2 Anton S.

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 09:14 AM

If a gay person really believes in the teaching of the Orthodox Church and is seriously seeking salvation on the Orthodox Christian path, I think his or her situation is very simple. He (she) understands that he (she) suffers from a spiritual affliction, which he (she) has to fight against without finding any excuse for it or a compromise between Christian spirituality and this soul-destroying passion. 

 

This struggle is very hard, just as spiritual struggle against alcoholism, drug addiction or any other type of addiction. If a person publicly identifies as gay, this will not help his (her) struggle. On the contrary, it will make such struggle much more difficult. It may provoke gay people into trying to seduce the struggler, it may also subject him (her) to the vitriolic hatred of gay activists or other progressively-minded bullies. Or to advice from well-meaning friends in the vein of "Accept yourself, relax and enjoy your sexuality". On the other hand, it may scandalise some Orthodox believers or just embarrass them.

 

And if a young man or woman publicly declares him or herself gay, but later manages to overcome this sin to such a degree, that he or she falls in love with a person of the opposite sex and decides to marry, this might introduce unnecessary complications.

 

On the whole, public identity sticks. If somes tells everyone: "I'm gay", everyone will consider him (her) first and foremost as gay and expect him (her) to conform to the stereotype, thus making him (her) prisoner of his (her) identity.

 

I think that an Orthodox Christian suffering from a same-sex affliction should not talk about it without pressing necessity. This is a matter to be discussed with his (her) spiritual father or a Christian therapist. Of course, if such a person feels a burning need to discuss his (her) troubles with someone, they can talk to a close straight friend or a loving relative of whose discretion they are sure.

 

On the whole, there are things which are better not mentioned. Sins of the flesh are among such things. The less we talk of them, the less we think of them. And the less we think of them, the less we commit them.



#3 Paul Cowan

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 04:26 AM

Well said Anton.

 

It is always best to keep our eyes on our own plate.

 

Paul



#4 Michał

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Posted 29 January 2015 - 08:54 AM

It goes without saying that the so-called "gay lifestyle" is well beyond the bounds of Orthodox Christianity, but what about those afflicted with same-sex attraction who nevertheless accept the Church's teaching against homosexuality? Can they still identify publicly as "gay" if celibate and chaste?  

 

Yes. Living in lie will backfire someday.


Edited by Michał, 29 January 2015 - 08:55 AM.


#5 Anton S.

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Posted 29 January 2015 - 11:59 AM

Yes. Living in lie will backfire someday.

 

If a person suffering from this affiliction refraines from publicising his affliction, this is not 'living in lie'. This is just a sensible precaution.



#6 Anton S.

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Posted 29 January 2015 - 12:20 PM

Going public about your unnatural inclinations is bad because by doing so you attach too much importance to them and invite others to do so.

 

Modern materialistic and definitely anti-Christian ideology wants exactly that. Nowadays there is so much talk in the media and mass culture about 'being gay', 'discrimiation of gays', 'gay culture', etc. that it naturally leads people to believe that homosexuality is some fundamental trait of character, that it is central to a person's identity and therefore has to be 'accepted' or even 'celebrated', that gay people are something like a race or an ethnic minority which are intrinsically different from everyone else.

 

This is a dangerous idelogical trap. Those who get into it suffer enormous spiritual damage and may lose their chance of salvation.

 

In reality, homosexuality is not a fundamental characteristic of a man or a woman's soul from which no one escapes. It is just a parasitic tumour on a human soul. It would be dangerous, even suicidal to consider it an essential part of their nature. It is very much like alcoholism - a thing that opresses people, makes them suffer and can utterly crush and destroy them. But it can also be overcome. If not to the extent of having a normal Christian family, at least, to the extent of living a chaste life. Father Porphyrios wrote that he met young transsexual men and women who lead Christian chaste lives and whose souls were like those of angels.

 

I do not see much difference between a straight man (or woman) who chooses to serve God not in marriage, but in chastity, and a gay man or a lesbian who chooses to the same. Of course, homosexuality does place an additional burden on the soul, but the less people talk and think of it and the more they concentrate on prayer and normal human activities, the less they suffer from it.


Edited by Anton S., 29 January 2015 - 12:23 PM.


#7 Brian Patrick Mitchell

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Posted 29 January 2015 - 07:11 PM

I had better post again, to get my total posts above 666. So I'll say that Anton is exactly right. There is no lie in not letting everyone know what you struggle with.

 

There is a lie in saying that honesty requires someone struggling with same-sex attraction to "come out." My article explains the origin and perniciousness of this appeal to "authenticity."



#8 Anton S.

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Posted 30 January 2015 - 07:56 AM

Was it St Ambrose of Optina who said that you must not lie but you must not tell everything that you know either? Many Orthodox saints warned against revealing your intimate feelings to the world.



#9 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 30 January 2015 - 08:54 AM

Indeed. My late spiritual father warned against revealing very much at all of our spiritual life and inner disposition, good or bad.



#10 Seraphim of the Midwest

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 04:57 PM

Part of the issue is the inconsistent use of terms.  Gay has no standard definition, just as Jewish does not.  Flipping between definitions causes confusion.

 

Some people define Jewish as "having been born of a mother who traces her lineage to the nation of Israel" and as such, it has a genetic meaning (an racial meaning).  Others define Jewish as "practicing the faith of Judaism" and still others define Jewish as "identifying with the Jewish culture and race" which is defined by behavior and mannerisms.  Often, in writing, the meaning is not even clear.  Sometimes, definitions are switched in the midst of a discussion.

 

The initial post distinguished same-sex attraction (a passion) from living as a sodomite (participating in homosexual acts).  Immediately, the posts began using the terms "gay person" without defining what that means.  Similarly to my first example, the definition is inconsistent.  As a result, the discussion becomes unclear at best and deliberately misleading at worst.

 

I always use the term "gay" to mean "sodomite" and "formerly gay" to "former sodomite".  As such, a "gay Christian" make as much sense as a "Christian prostitute" or a "Christian child predator".  Of the same, none of those lifestyles is compatible with the Orthodox Faith.  In other words, it is hypocrisy.

 

If broadcasting your sexual preferences was a good idea, then would it not follow that those who are pedophiles (those attracted to pre-pubescent children) should also let everyone know?  I think that it is a bad idea in practice, and as far as I am aware, has no foundation in the Faith.



#11 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 06:32 PM

I avoid the term 'gay' and say, 'homosexual'. I entirely agree that definitions are important. Accordingly, I think it is arguable that 'sodomy' can apply to female homosexuals - I don't think it can. The Church is careful to distinguish a person with homosexual tendencies which are not practised from one who engages in homosexual conduct.



#12 Brian Patrick Mitchell

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 10:05 PM

In many (maybe even most) U.S. civil jurisdictions, the word sodomy covers any unnatural sex act.



#13 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 08:13 AM

In England, the meaning is more restricted.



#14 Father David Moser

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 02:44 PM

Please stay within the bounds of the forum and rather than discuss legal issues, focus on those things that relate to the teaching of the church.  Having defined your terms, leave that discussion behind and go on to the more substantive aspects of the discussion (or drop out).

 

Fr David



#15 Rahul-IN

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Posted 01 July 2015 - 04:02 AM

Alright, I'm a bit new to the Orthodox Church, so be kindly to me. But I had some thoughts in mind..

First, I think that God is a spirit, and as a spirit, there is no logic in his having a set of definitive preferences in regard to sexuality. I do not think it is a part of say eternal virtues like love. So rather than thinking of sexual preference and activity as being applied objective morals, which brings to mind things that God himself would subscribe to, I think of these things that these are not eternally fixed. In this life, we are something, in heaven we go on to lack sexual desires altogether. 

Now having said that, it seems to me that rather than same sex attraction, or even relationships, what is being really said about it in the bible is in terms of things like lust or 'Sodomy' as such. 

We discuss gays, but then what can we say about eunuchs? Is their sexuality than perevrted both ways? That is pretty asinine to think of, for me.



#16 Rahul-IN

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Posted 01 July 2015 - 05:16 AM

Hello, I did not want to spam the thread further, but actually I got mixed up and did not realize that my post is not fitting to the original topic of the thread. Sorry, I hope it can be deleted.



#17 Rdr Thomas

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Posted 01 July 2015 - 01:16 PM

Alright, I'm a bit new to the Orthodox Church, so be kindly to me. But I had some thoughts in mind..

First, I think that God is a spirit, and as a spirit, there is no logic in his having a set of definitive preferences in regard to sexuality. I do not think it is a part of say eternal virtues like love. So rather than thinking of sexual preference and activity as being applied objective morals, which brings to mind things that God himself would subscribe to, I think of these things that these are not eternally fixed. In this life, we are something, in heaven we go on to lack sexual desires altogether. 

Now having said that, it seems to me that rather than same sex attraction, or even relationships, what is being really said about it in the bible is in terms of things like lust or 'Sodomy' as such. 

We discuss gays, but then what can we say about eunuchs? Is their sexuality than perevrted both ways? That is pretty asinine to think of, for me.

 

I realize that you weren't looking for a response on this (given your post immediately following), but since your comment was relevant to this thread, here's one anyway:  God is a spirit.  God also stepped into creation as a human being with a particular gender.  "[S]exual preference and activity" absolutely ARE applied objective morals, as evidenced by the Scriptures and the illumined God-bearing Fathers that both handed them down and taught us how to read them.

 

Establishing the dichotomy that "because God is spirit only, it makes no sense to talk about His teachings on sexual preference and activity" is to essentially deny the Incarnation and the creation that God gave us to work out our salvation in.

 

By the way, the Church has dealt with the subject of Eunuchs in the first canon of the first ecumenical council, among other places.



#18 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 01 July 2015 - 08:13 PM

God also stepped into creation as a human being with a particular gender

 

The expression, 'a human being' is best avoided since it is unknown in patristic thought and tends to Nestorianism as discussed elsewhere.

"[S]exual preference and activity" absolutely ARE applied objective morals, as evidenced by the Scriptures and the illumined God-bearing Fathers that both handed them down and taught us how to read them.

 

Establishing the dichotomy that "because God is spirit only, it makes no sense to talk about His teachings on sexual preference and activity" is to essentially deny the Incarnation and the creation that God gave us to work out our salvation in.

 

The meaning of this is not clear to me. Are you saying Christ experienced 'sexual preference and activity'? I hope not, but please clarify your meaning.
 



#19 Rdr Thomas

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Posted 01 July 2015 - 09:25 PM

Regarding your second question, no, of course not.  The way I wrote it seems like my comment about Jesus was connected, but that's not what I meant.  It was just poor paragraph structure.  What I mean is that the Fathers and the Scriptures do teach an objective, moral truth regarding sexual preference and activity.  The point about Jesus being fully man was to demonstrate that taking a verse out of context (i.e. "God is spirit") can lead to the view that matter is inherently bad, which is a de-facto denial of the Incarnation.



#20 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 01 July 2015 - 11:11 PM

Thank you for that welcome clarification. We do indeed have a very positive view of matter. When we say that Christ was (and is) fully human, we mean perfect in that Christ as the new Adam was and is all that the old Adam was meant to become.






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