What is the appropriate relationship to have with friends who are homosexual?
Posted 13 October 2012 - 09:47 AM
I have no idea how to approach this at all. In my eyes it is wrong to intentionally and purposefully deprive a child of a father. If they are successful in their attempts to impregnate they will begin their own version of a family, complete with a child that has no responsibility for how it was brought into the world. I don't know how to show my love or my disapproval in a christian way With every person that has told me they are expecting it is so easy to say "Congratulations," but what do I say to this? I can't find the right words to express that I love my friends, but I think what they are doing crosses the line. It's also not my place to be their father, but I feel for the loss this child will experience. I grew up without a father due to a car accident, and the loss was immeasurable. This child will experience the same loss, but simultaneously be expected to celebrate it since it was pre-planned. What happens if this couple wants their child baptized? Baptizing an infant means that s/he is a member of the church, but you also must trust that the child is being raised in a home with Christian values to perform the mystery.
I'm sorry if I am rambling somewhat, but I am dumbfounded and at a complete loss here. I thought I had the balancing act, between Christian love and understanding with my homosexual friends, mastered but this has really upended my senses. They certainly don't make greeting cards for this.
Posted 13 October 2012 - 12:02 PM
In the meantime, I understand that "Congratulations" doesn't seem appropriate. What about this as a suggestion: "You're taking on quite a challenge. I hope he/she will be a blessing to you. You will all continue in my prayers."
Posted 13 October 2012 - 07:49 PM
Love is something else. When we love someone, we will what is truly good for that someone regardless of our pleasure or theirs. Loving someone means doing what is good for them whether they like it or not. True love is therefore sometimes unpleasant for both us and others.
Sometimes for love's sake, we have to keep people at a distance so that we aren't obliged to live like them and support them in their sinfulness. We have to show them that their sinfulness separates them from others, from us, and of course from Christ. This is hard to do, especially when the world will condemn us as judgmental and hateful. But it is what the Fathers advise. They warn us not to have unbelievers as friends. They tell us to love them, pray for them, do good to them, but not keep them as friends, sharing all the things friends share with each other, conforming our lives to theirs instead of conforming our lives or their lives to Christ.
The Fathers do not counsel shunning unbelievers altogether, “for then must ye needs go out of the world,” says the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 5:10), but they do counsel separating ourselves from the wayward, both for our sake and for theirs, per the Apostle:
“But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.” (1 Cor. 5:11)
In Homily 14 on 2 Cor. 7:2-3, St. John Chrysostom writes:
“For it is the part of humanity not to humor the sick in every thing nor to flatter their unseasonable desires. No one so loved him that committed fornication amongst the Corinthians as Paul, who commandeth to deliver him to Satan; no one so hated him as they that applaud and court him; and the event showed it. For they indeed both puffed him up and increased his inflammation; but [the Apostle] both lowered it and left him not until he brought him to perfect health.
There is great wisdom in this counsel -- and great danger in not keeping it. Many people let their friends decide what is right and wrong for them, putting their fondness for their friends before their love of the Truth, and putting their fear of rejection before the love they should show their friends.
Edited by Brian Patrick Mitchell, 13 October 2012 - 08:08 PM.
Posted 13 October 2012 - 09:54 PM
I too have several gay friends, not that we hang out or anything. Perhaps friends is not the right word, I have several gay acquaintances I am friendly with and we confide in each other our struggles, but at the same time more than acquaintances, but not so much in that we ever see or talk outside of our present venue. Does that make sence?
They know my position as an Orthodox Christian on their lifestyle and mine. I am sure this thread will bring out a few of our "regulars" on this board and i don't want to fight that struggle again with them. (My brothers, you know who you are. Please forgive me)
At what point do we stop being friendly (or friends as the OP says) and cut ourselves off from them? What is the line in the sand? We hate the sin and love the sinner (as we all are) but St. Paul and St. John quoted above tell a very hard thing to do in the truning our backs on these people we have gotten to know. I can assure you their lifestyle in no way changes or corrupts my own beliefs. To turn my back on them becuase, in the above case they want to conceive, though may be "tough love" is not going to change their minds in trying to have a baby. They will just see this as "Those hateful biggoted Christians".
I too agree they should not conceive outside God's lawful marriage. (I can say that since I am not running for political office) How can we affect change or attitudes in their future lives if we turn our backs on them and leave them to their "potential" damnation? (no more so than my own) [I hate having to qualify everything I say just so no one will take my words the wrong way].
So what am I trying to say? How do we show Christian love and charity and turn our backs on our acquaintances once they cross that line in the sand and who tells them there is a line to cross?
Paul (I am not confrontational, I really want to understand your position and those of the quotes you kindly posted.)
Posted 13 October 2012 - 11:16 PM
I would add that we cannot possibly expect to save our own souls if we cannot bear being despised as "those hateful bigoted Christians." All the martyrs have been.
Posted 14 October 2012 - 02:15 AM
To leave the friendship as most friendships die away anyway, I can only see ultimatums ensuing. "We love you but don't approve of your lifestyle so change or we are going to leave you or we are going to step away from you". Regardless, the friendship will die or wither solely due to this couple's lifestyle. No Christian witness I dare say is worse than some Christian witness. or is it?
Posted 14 October 2012 - 02:15 PM
Maybe the question can be put in the following way then:
does shunning have a place in Orthodox practice?
if so- then under what circumstances?
There are two situations for an adult Orthodox convert to think about. First, what to do, if anything, about existing friendships. Secondly, possible new friendships. The former is difficult and having no friends who are not practising Christians I have no experience in this. As to the second, do offers of friendship have to be declined? One may get on well with a colleague who is, say, homosexual, or a Buddhist, and the colleague suggests coming round for a drink or dinner. Is it appropriate to 'shun' - in the nicest possible way - that colleague's invitation? Probably it is.
We are told not to let anybody or anything come between us and Christ. If we detect any effect on our relationship with Christ as a result of certain relationships, then we have to draw away from them.
Posted 14 October 2012 - 04:40 PM
Posted 14 October 2012 - 05:40 PM
Posted 14 October 2012 - 06:17 PM
Fr. Dcn, forgive me. I do not think I am assuming to put words in your mouth, but your quotes from St. Paul and St. John above directly say to not even eat with "these" people. What else is one to think if not to "cut [himself] off from them"? ... To leave the friendship as most friendships die away anyway, I can only see ultimatums ensuing. "We love you but don't approve of your lifestyle so change or we are going to leave you or we are going to step away from you". Regardless, the friendship will die or wither solely due to this couple's lifestyle. No Christian witness I dare say is worse than some Christian witness. or is it?
Sharing a meal is the most intimate thing we do with non-family members. We are sometimes obliged to eat with strangers at public or business events, but we dine at home only with family, friends, or people we are trying to get to know. We might occasionally dine with the grossly immoral for the purpose of evangelizing them, as Christ Himself did, but it seems plain to me that the Apostle is advising us not to dine with them for any other purpose, not to socialize with them casually or otherwise cultivate the friendship of such people. That would indeed mean "shunning" in the sense of avoiding close association with the grossly immoral, but not "shunning" in the sense of not having anything at all to do with them.
Paul, the dangers of getting too close to unbelievers are very real. When we make friends with unbelievers, we are often tricked into judging Christianity by what our unbelieving friends think of it. That seems to be what you are doing here, responding against what has been the Christian way since the Apostles because it will seem unloving to unbelievers you know and regard as friends. Sometimes disapproval is the best and only Christian witness we can offer, and often our continued kindness, unrelated to any continued attempt to correct the wayward, will only be received as acceptance and approval of immorality.
Posted 14 October 2012 - 11:02 PM
Posted 15 October 2012 - 12:50 AM
To say 'I might have gone over board on the extra cheese on my hamburger' puts me in the same league as a sodomite is ridiculous.
Yes there are lots of sins and yes we may be guilty of them but to exonerate one sin at the expense of another is fatuous.
It is as silly as saying:' Yes I'm a pedophile but at least I stick to less than 2000 calories a day and give to charity.'
Posted 15 October 2012 - 01:41 AM
O ye subverters of all decency, who use men as if they were women, and lead women out to war as if they were men! This is the work of the devil, to subvert and confound all things, to overlap the boundaries that have been appointed from the beginning, and remove those which God has set to nature. [Homily 5 on Titus]
And John Konstantin is right: If you don't want to involve your family or friends in the argument, then don't do so.
Posted 15 October 2012 - 02:09 AM
I think you will find it here Ryan.
I said nothing about "exoneration." As if exoneration is the only alternative to shunning! I said nothing along the lines of "we're all sinners, so fornication is OK." What I did say, and I'll say it again, is that I see no serious basis for singling out homosexuality as a graver sin than other more common sins such as greed, anger, or other forms of lust for that matter.
Posted 15 October 2012 - 03:12 AM
For my part, I try not to be the one to end a relationship, unless that relationship is explicitly harmful to me, and even then it does not end with a lecture or with shunning, but just withdrawl.
What one does depends on many factors. There is no one size fits all solution to problems.
I wouldn't say homosexual sins are of the same level of seriousness as all other sins. There are definitely degrees of seriousness for sins. It's not to make light of sin as a serious problem, but I don't think every sin can be treated exactly the same--this ends up distorting a lot of things, such as how these sins are fought against and healed.
To be a friend or relative to someone who openly sins and has no interest in repentance and would not even understand what you said if you talked to them about it is very difficult. It is a cross. But from the cross come blessings. We are concerned for our friend and loved one. We pray more. We have pain of heart. We recognize that human beings are a mix of sin and virtue. Harlots have raised the dead and righteous men have been condemned because of not being humble.
One homosexual person is not the same as another. Each has a different understanding of himself and his condition. Some actively oppose the truth and justify themselves, others do not. Christians need to have some sort of relationship with all people in prayer if not in person. In my opinion, we have not done the best job in reaching out to the rejected.
Posted 15 October 2012 - 08:32 AM
Posted 15 October 2012 - 10:49 AM
"And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomor'rah than for that town."
"And you, Caper'na-um, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you."
We should attend to ourselves but that may entail how we interact with others.
Edited by Andreas Moran, 15 October 2012 - 11:23 AM.
Posted 15 October 2012 - 02:09 PM
We are not dealing here with a merely private sin; we are dealing with a very public sin bearing witness against nature, against the Church, and against God. For that reason alone, we should not associate too closely with such people, just as we should not associate too closely with Jews, Muslims, or others who openly reject Christ. That is what the Church has always taught.
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