Comments Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse
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Here’s a question Monk James…
Yes, the term “Father” functions as a metaphor, but how can we say the metaphor is authoritative beyond the scope of the sentence in which it is used? In other words, is its function anything more than descriptive? Is the metaphor indicative of a reality beyond the meaning contained in the sentence? It’s a good question I think and one that “feminist theology” uses to discredit any application of the term beyond the sentence itself. This is also where the default to psychology takes place and usurps authority over the application of the term (ie: some people have abusive fathers, etc.).
I think I have an answer to this but would be very interested in hearing what you say about it first.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On January 11, 2017 @ 8:08 am
I found Bulgakov’s book Philosophy of Economy: The World as Household a great help in understanding economics (oikos-nomos — house management in Greek), not as a reduction to mathematics and sociology (the way we mostly perceive it) but as a treatise of man’s relationship to nature. The thesis is that eating is the foundation of economics and nature provides the food (Bulgakov continues the theme began in Genesis that continues within the fallen world). Economics then is grounded in both the nature of man, the nature of the created world, and a proper application of stewardship toward nature, a triad that, when realized in the context of divine design and intention, works toward the freedom of man.
Man, Bulgakov wrote, finds himself in communion with the Logos. Nature finds itself in communion man. Stewardship then, implies also the correct (according to divine design) relationship of man to nature which is the foundation and real purpose of economics. If we can extract anything from this then (it seems to me anyway) that we build/support the structures that allow human flourishing; that are in accord, albeit imperfectly given that the world if fallen, with the proper order of things.
Things are never perfect which is why I don’t think we should dismiss the imperfect. The old saying that sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good makes a lot of sense in my view.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On January 11, 2017 @ 7:31 am
Michael, free markets do indeed exist and often foster human flourishing, even in a fallen world. In the last 20 years over a billion people have been lifted from poverty largely due to the creation of market economies. See: Towards the End of Poverty.
Yes, capitalism can be messy but human affairs generally are. Greed afflicts the socialist too, often more so, and envy is a scourge of the poor as well. There is a reason why Jesus told the soldiers to “be content with your wages.”
Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. Create a market where the man can sell his surplus fish and he can build a home and send his kids to school.
Poverty Cure below explains it (albeit against the false promises of socialist largess and misplaced sentiments of the wealthy):
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On January 10, 2017 @ 7:14 pm
Carl, free markets allow for human flourishing. Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. Create a market where a man can sell his surplus fish and he can build a home and send his kids to school.
Bulgakov said that about the only substantial contribution Marx made to the study of economics is that he clarified the place of labor in economic thinking. Bulgakov writes about this in his book Philosophy of Economy: The World as Household (an outstanding book BTW).
Marx’s idea about the perfectibility of man on the other hand is just an outgrowth of his materialism. It was not a new idea. Rousseau is generally credited with putting it into circulation when he rewrote the Genesis narrative and displaced the locus of sin from Adam to society (socialization). Rousseau, Solzhenitsyn wrote, is the father of modern totalitarianism.
Further, the reason that perfectibility has no “scientific backing” is that these dimensions of human experience lie outside the purview of science. There is no way to measure such things. Literature is the means by which these things are comprehended and explained, and even predicted on occasion.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On January 10, 2017 @ 6:55 pm
The pronoun “He” preserves the ontological distinction between Creator and creation. If the pronoun “she” is used, then it is implied that the manner of God’s creation models in some way a human birth: the stuff and substance of the creation comes out of the stuff and substance of the god/s (ancient pagan thinking).
This is also a reason why we don’t have women priests. All men (collective noun) come a from a mother. Man is born of a woman. The woman’s creative prowess in other words is displayed bodily — only women give birth. Your body, your blood, comes from your mother. Men don’t have this capacity. (Even the one sperm cell that penetrates the egg dies after the genetic code has been delivered.)
For the Christian, the new birth is baptism, the sustenance of that new life is the Body and Blood of Christ — the Holy Eucharist. When a women holds up the chalice however discord results on symbolic levels (in the Greek meaning of the term). Two manners of creation and sustenance are represented — the female’s and Christ’s — and they get confused. If anyone thinks this doesn’t have consequences ask yourself why the Episcopal church went full blown homosexual only a decade after ordaining women priests.*
A male priesthood preserves the ontological distinction between Creator and creation. There is no confusion that the body and blood in the chalice has anything to do with the creative prowess of the male because males cannot create life from their bodies.**
*I’ve argued for years that once a church gets feminized it gets homosexualized.
**Some say that a male priesthood is barrier against a slide back into paganism. While that may be true in the early centuries of Christianity, today a slide into neo-paganism is a conceptual impossibility given that monotheism is ubiquitous in Western culture. Even the atheist/secularist assumes the God he claims is not there is monotheistic; so shaped by and dependent is he on the tradition that he decries. As a result the only path left is nihilism.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On January 10, 2017 @ 4:55 pm
Political correctness is the cultic aspect of Progressivism mostly because it attempts to control thought through language. It’s Orwell but on a deeper level Dostoevsky and even Nietzsche. The markers are easy to spot especially the cruder terms — racist, sexist, homophobe, Islamophobe, white privilege — anything to shut down discussion and censure thought. Language is used promiscuously, laced with moral opprobrium and other self-justifying blather. It’s intimidation, like the Brownshirts or Bolsheviks.
The corruption of language is both a cause and effect of the moral inversion I spoke of elsewhere. I have set a goal of reading all of Dostoevsky works in the next two years and am about a third of the way through. He’s the master and anyone who wants to understand why things are as they are needs to read him. Dostoevsky is the clearest expositor of the rot of the cult and thus also an antidote; he exposes the acidic pits from which the corruptions seep and reveals how courage and other virtues can defeat it — virtues that draw power from the scandal of the cross; a strength through weakness; a re-inversion of the inversion that makes all things whole and new.
We will increasingly see that those who support the Progressive ideals do so thinking that they do service to God. They do not recognize the dehumanizing trajectory of their heresy, how it threatens the true Gospel with a false one. At the same time we will better understand why the Father’s fought against the heresies of their day with all their strength. We have already seen this descent among the heterodox and I think it is inevitable that we will see it among some Orthodox too. The only strength that can avoid this fate is the kind of strength that endures the cost of faith in Christ and frankly we have few leaders willing to pay that cost and many more who don’t understand it. It we did, we would not see scandals like we recently saw in New York.
We will see about Trump. The repudiation of the Democrats and Republicans is a good thing overall. The test will be if those who understand what is at stake have the courage and discipline to maintain resistance. If not, we just delay the inevitable descent into tyranny. Progressives believe their own propaganda. They are impervious to facts and the testimony of history and literature. They think tyranny is freedom and earnestly labor to build a New Jerusalem surrounded by barb wire and attack dogs that they think keep the barbarians out when in fact it keeps them in chains. That’s what the inversion does. Not all of them see this of course but their leaders do.
We have been given a reprieve. You are right, we have to fight with all means necessary.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On November 26, 2016 @ 5:49 am
Mike, I’m glad to see you refrain from the “racist, homophobe, Islamophobe” shibboleths since they don’t work anymore. Nevertheless, a descent into the murkier depths of moral approbation seems to be occurring. For example,
Father. I cannot ascertain whether or not you enjoy, and endorse, George’s at best poshlost and way too often hideous sensibility. But your failure to rebuke his dissemination of libel, fake news, monstrous lies and all manner of disinformation makes clear all that at least is A-OK with you.
Maybe you could get a job with the DNC. They appear to be doubling down too.
You don’t really argue ideas Mike. Further, I use the term “finger-wagging” a lot because you tend to wag yours a lot. Of course on a deeper level — the group-think, cultic dimension — the attacks resemble a kind of secular Puritanism, a gaggle of church ladies all too certain that their enforcement of social mores is pleasing to God, or in the case of cultural Marxists pleasing to the march of history.
Anyway, back to the facts. I am glad Trump won. At least we have hope the liberal/neo-con enabling of the slaughter of mid-east Christians will stop. That’s a very good thing.
I also like the promise of an expanding economy. It will lift many of the brutal pressures middle-class families face after a decade of declining wages — families I deal with BTW. Have you ever noticed that those who glorify socialism have little experience with its effects on real people?
Finally, if Trump can break the strictures of indentured servitude in American inner cities (outlawing school choice, 55% unemployment of young Black men, unsafe family neighborhoods, subsidizing the abortion industry in the killing of unborn black children, etc.), the cities might start turning around. These cities have been controlled by Democrat administrations for over 40 years.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On November 19, 2016 @ 4:51 pm
Mike, five paragraphs of moralistic finger wagging but not one clear idea expressed apart from your clear disapproval of — what? As far as I can tell nothing more than I don’t agree with you. Nevertheless, you managed to avoid the shibboleths of homophobe, Islamophobe, racist and the rest of the tiresome litany (although you managed to sneak in “bigot”). Maybe that indicates some progress is being made.
If your argument is that I deserve the disapproval because I am not sufficiently sensitive to Nate’s “worries about the fates of millions of Americans ,” it should be clear by now that I don’t subscribe to the Progressive demand that policies be judged by intention. I prefer to judge them by results. This is also a way to break free of Progressive group think, the demand that people think a certain way or be subject to the petulant moral shaming you display above, that cultic dimension of the ideology as I explained to Nate.
Back to the salient point. We don’t have to call the destroyers of mid-east civilization liberals and neo-cons. Call them Democrats and Republicans if you like. Still, not all Democrats subscribed to the Arab Spring debacle (Sanders supporters for example) and neither did all Republicans (Trump supporters for example).
You are right about one thing though. I did support the war in Iraq but had I understood how it would end up, I would not have done so. Smarter men than me (Buchanan, Trump, some others) saw it more clearly than I did at the time.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On November 18, 2016 @ 1:33 pm
Dino, the values have not been turned upside down as much as they have been inverted. Progressivism/liberalism represents what Nietzsche termed the “transvaluation of values” (what I call a moral inversion). It uses the language of the moral tradition but means different things by it (aborting the unborn is an act of benevolence, denying birth sex as the basis of gender is an act of compassion, forcing states to allow adult males to use bathrooms used by little girls is an act of tolerance, to cite some examples).
The confusion enters because the vocabulary of the tradition and the vocabulary of progressive/liberals is the same. This gives the appearance that the values informing the liberal/progressive social vision are derived from the tradition (and contiguous with history). These values function on the level of religious conviction and thus gives the vision moral power. That’s why so many progressive/liberals are impervious to facts and why actions seen as illicit in the past (abortion for example, or driving families out of business, etc.) are construed as a social good.
This is why people like Nate who see things like restricting Muslim immigration as an impending catastrophe (the Fascists are coming!) while impervious to the slaughter of Christians in the Middle East due to the policies of politicians he supports, or why he defends the financial destruction of a family over the refusal to bake a cake. The thinking takes on a cultic character where the real cost of real life events are evaluated and judged solely within the boundaries of politically correct ideology. That’s why political correctness is actually a political cult.
This is also why we see such outlandish statements like Nate’s assertion that his views concern the “well-being of your own flock” (emphasis his). To argue against such statements on their face asserts ground where there is none. The statement is absurdity on stilts but when you are captive to the cult, you believe they are true. The inability to see real limits is one characteristic of cultic thinking. So is overreach into the affairs of other men about whom one knows nothing.
One of the things the election proved is that conservatives (non-liberal/progressives really) are done with it. You can’t reason with misguided believers. You can only take away their power. Thankfully, we can still do that peaceably in America.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On November 16, 2016 @ 7:53 am
Mike, clearly you are still in the cult. I’ll only respond to the salient point.
I welcome a Trump administration because the “Arab Spring” debacle (the cause of so much suffering in the Mid-East) has been stopped in its tracks. I also welcome working with Russia against the ISIS threat. Hillary was a war hawk and unfit as Secretary of State. As President she would have been worse. The neo-con and liberal foreign policy that has been the cause of so much instability in the world is over.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On November 15, 2016 @ 8:07 pm
Nate, one of the reasons you and other progressives don’t perceive how Trump won and why you were so sure Hillary would win is evident in your comment above.
Political correctness is a cult. It sees the world in restricted and self-limiting ways, so much so that asserting that Bannon is “potentially America’s Goebbels” is construed as a clear idea. Those captured by the cult think that calling clearer thinkers who don’t share the progressive beliefs with names like racist, misogynist, homophobe, Islamophobe (and other phobias not yet discovered) closes the discussion. It doesn’t and it should be clear to you now that it never did. The “Goebbels” comment in other words makes no sense except to those already enraptured by the cult.
What progressives like yourself don’t understand is that most Americans don’t like having things like transgender bathrooms shoved down their throats, seeing bakeries forced out of business because they won’t bake a cake (the judge who ruled against the bakery was voted out of office, BTW), using public money to subsidize the abortion industry, and the scores of other beliefs that those caught up in the cult see as self-evidently righteous and true. The cult has been completely and thoroughly repudiated. The progressives would not listen (actually they are so self-limiting they cannot hear) so conservatives took matters into their own hands (they have been doing so in the states for ten years). This should become increasingly clear to you as the months wear on but whether or not you will see it depends on whether you can escape the self-limiting constraints of the cult.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On November 15, 2016 @ 4:12 pm
Mike, time to get out of the bubble. Look at the following data from Daily Kos (a site I am sure meets with your approval):
From Daily Kos:
Following the 2014 midterm wave, Republicans dominated state legislatures at a rate not seen since the Civil War. Democrats had hoped to rebound in 2016, but thanks in part to Trump’s resilience and widespread Republican gerrymandering, they only made modest gains. Democrats flipped four chambers, but lost control of three, leaving Republicans in charge of 68 state legislative chambers and Democrats just 31.
The crack about gerrymandering is Progressive editorializing but the numbers don’t lie.
The Roosevelt Coalition may be coming to end that started I think with the Progressive takeover of the Democrat party by the McGovernites after McGovern’s loss. We will see a realignment in both parties with the Democrats relegated either to a regional party (CA, Northeast, and some major cities mostly) or they will purge the Progressives. The Republicans may hold on to the working class which is to say the Reagan Democrats may stay Republican. There is a civil war happening among the Democrats presently with the Progressives urging a doubling down (Keith Ellison for DNC Chairman for example). This approach won’t work.
Another point is that with the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the Democrats went full bore in their defense of Clinton. They demanded that all Democrats accept the mantra that it was “just about sex” which in effect required complicity with the degradation of the man and his office. This was considered a victory at the time but it truncated the necessary reflection that allows new leaders to emerge (the party became the Clinton Machine; a better man would have resigned). That carried forward to Hillary who, after the Obama hiatus, demanded the same loyalty despite her unsuitability due to her own corruption so that the Democrats have no one capable of carrying the banner. Shumer, Ellison, Warren, are basically the line-up but none have the necessary talent for national leadership (Warren will prove to be a disappointment for the Democrats).
The Democrats have lost heavily since the the Obama election on the state levels (Obama was a gift to Republicans). If Trump succeeds in turning around portions of the inner-city, or at least provides the blueprint and some early success to show a way out of the poverty and breakdown held in place by the welfare state (a form of indentured servitude), then the Democrats remain a minority party for a long time. This conforms to the historical patterns as well given that the Democrats were the party of slavery and the KKK.
Below is the map and here is the link to the analysis.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On November 15, 2016 @ 10:13 am
Stankovich, reading the first few paragraphs of your post it was clear that you don’t know the history of the Moynihan Report and were cherry picking quotes. I did some digging and found a short history as well as the report. The commentary is marred by a progressive bias but the history is still clear.
On New Year’s Eve, 1964, Assistant Secretary of Labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan assembled his staff in his office to announce that they were going to help him write a report on African American families. The Negro Family: The Case for National Action, completed in March, 1965, became one of the most controversial documents of the twentieth century. Best known as the “Moynihan Report,” it launched the career of its author, who became a professor at Harvard University, a top adviser to President Nixon, and a four-term U.S. senator representing New York.
Moynihan wrote the report on his own initiative hoping to persuade White House officials that civil-rights legislation alone would not produce racial equality. He succeeded in getting President Johnson’s attention. On June 4, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson gave a major address at Howard University based largely on the Moynihan Report and co-written by Moynihan and Richard Goodwin. Echoing civil-rights leaders of the time, Johnson declared, “Freedom is not enough”: Equal citizenship for African Americans was incomplete without the ability to make a decent living.
Complete article here.
+ + + + + +
Brian, yes, Moynihan was a liberal when liberalism still meant something (before the hijacking of the Democrat party by the McGovernites). Nat Henthoff was another honest liberal excoriated by his fellow liberals because he dared defend the unborn and quite properly argued that if a liberal cannot defend the unborn, the ground of human rights would erode. “If only the pro-choice Left could think of the fetus as a baby seal, in utero,” he used to say.
This election has decimated the Democrats. Almost 35% of Democratic Senators and Congressmen come from only 3 states. The party is almost extinct in the south. Over 900 Democratic statehouse seats have been lost since Obama was elected eight years ago. The Trump revolution has been brewing for a long time.
A map of Republican control of the Statehouses.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On November 14, 2016 @ 7:44 pm
Try not to proof text the Scriptures or the Fathers.
A passage of the Bible to which appeal is made in support of an argument or position in theology.
Further, yes, the term “homophobe” is ad hominem, and no, proof texting Matthew 26:37 does not change this fact.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On October 8, 2016 @ 8:53 am
Finally you define your construct “as it was in the beginning” and it appears that you add something to Chrysostom’s explanation that he does not say, ie: male and female are not a part of human ontology. I say appears because your arguments imply as much when you conclude that natural law has no bearing on your construction. Genesis however, defines the human being as male and female before the fall so your conclusion that natural law has no bearing, or to phrase it another way, the created bodies of male and female have no bearing on how we comprehend sexuality after the fall, is simply wrong. Orthodox anthropology affirms this point, BTW.
To say there was no “heterosexuality” in the beginning subsumes the term into the basket of “orientations.” It is true that sexuality as we understand it was not part of life in the garden. It is not true the male and female is a construct that appeared post-fall. Consequently “heterosexualty” ought to be defined not as an “orientation,” that is, a passion, since heterosexual relations are in accord with nature while the the other passions are not. From another direction, the unnaturalness of a passion is an important part of defining them as such.
The “plastic construct” you mentioned actually applies to anthropology and affirms a point I made earlier here: you hold to a plastic anthropology. Anthropology is plasticized when the passions are essentialized, that is, seen intrinsic to the human being and thus part of ontology. Your reduction of heterosexuality to a passion (which arises out of your negation of male and female as ontology) affirms it.
In Orthodox anthropology “heterosexuality” as an orientation does not exist. Relations between a man and woman conform to nature — natural law (although of course the definition of what constitutes the proper relationship between a man and woman requires more insight than what natural law alone provides). Any other kind of “orientation” violates that law.
If you want to use the term “orientation” as a diagnostic category then you should only apply it in a therapeutic context. That would work as long as the limits of psychology are recognized. You use the term in a theological context all the time however — even proof-texting Chrysostom above to make a point wholly unrelated to what he says. This is one reason why your arguments are muddled.
Lest you doubt that male and female relate to ontology, don’t forget we venerate the Theotokos as Mother. She will remain a Mother even when all things are restored as they once were in Eden.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On September 21, 2016 @ 4:26 pm
Monk James wrote:
I merely suggested that Fr Hans is right and I was referring only to attempts to create a moral justification of homosexual behavior when I wrote: ‘The notion of ‘innate sexual orientation’ is based on a mechanistic view of human nature which has never been proved and is impossible to reconcile with orthodox christian theological anthropology.’
This is the problem I’ve pointed out again and again about Michael Stankovich’s approach to homosexuality. He uses the term “heterosexual orientation” and “homosexual orientation” interchangeably. This implies a materialist anthropology where the passions have become essentialized and viewed as a intrinsic to the human being, that is, passions are now grounded in ontology. This is not Orthodox Christian anthropology, although the dominant culture has already made this shift.
I’ve also pointed out to Stankovich that all passions effect an ‘orientation’ – just talk to the alcoholic, porn addict, or drug abuser. I’ve also asked him if homosexual desire is given the appellation “orientation,” then why not the pederast, pedophile, or bestialist?
From the other direction, hetrosexual desire is not an “orientation.” It is grounded in being as affirmed by natural law and Orthodox anthropology.
The problem is that whenever questions like this are raised, you are met with another recitation of the resume, general bullying, and a host of other distractions.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On September 20, 2016 @ 11:37 am
I refused to print a response because you tend to view psychological categories as biologically fixed. It’s a kind of scienticism that assumes that if any psychological category has data that explains it, and if the data is collected and collated in a responsible manner, then the data functions as prima facie evidence that the category is grounded in ontology.
In fact the assumption is epistemological. And, if the assumption is taken as self-evidently true, then ontology is derived from the epistemology. I’ve said on many occasions that your ontology is flawed and I still hold to it.
An example would be your inability to reconcile homosexual desire as a passion with you usage of the term “homosexual orientation” which you see as a fixed ontological category. Orthodox anthropology does not see it that way. Another example is you continual juxtaposition of the terms “homosexual orientation” and “heterosexual orientation” as if both are anthropologically equivalent. They aren’t. It’s is a false dichotomy. In fact, heterosexuality should not even be classified as an “orientation.”
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On September 16, 2016 @ 6:18 pm
Nope. I cancelled a wedding once right before it started. Never had any flack about it either because it was the right decision and everyone knew it except the parents. (The betrothed couple was relieved.)
Even so, how could you possibly know that:
Every single Sunday across this country in some Orthodox church, in every jurisdiction, some Orthodox priest is marrying a couple he knows will not not be married in two years tops, yet he will not take a stand against it. Why? Because what bishop, in what diocese, in what jurisdiction will support such a stand? None, nowhere.
You don’t know because it is simply not true.
Everyone gets married for different reasons but after three or four years you learn that staying married takes a discipline that has to be learned and it applies across the board. The reasons matter but the intention and commitment matter more.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On September 13, 2016 @ 9:51 am
Check this out: Exposing the Left’s Dogmatism on Sexual Orientation and Gender
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On August 31, 2016 @ 9:02 am
The best critique of Ayn Rand was written by Whittaker Chambers:
Also do some research on her personal life. Not pretty. Alan Greenspan was in her inner circle.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On July 16, 2016 @ 11:34 pm
Peter, the priests (the smart ones anyway) do this: When Fr. Pat speaks, we listen.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On July 15, 2016 @ 10:41 am
I’ve thought that perhaps the waters (metaphorical for chaos) might the state of the universe after the great rebellion by Lucifer and his followers.
I don’t think we can call it “potential energy” because potential doesn’t exist apart from being. What came first, the being or potential? The being did. We can’t say God is the being in who the potential resides either because that would collapse the ontological distance between God and creation. Also the ordering of the creation is a function of logoi that came into existence by the speech (the language) of the Logos at the moment those words were spoken. The Logos was the agent of ordering, the logoi the means by which the ordering took shape. This too preserves the ontological ordering since creation is brought into being using language and thereby passing any notion of birth like the pagans employed.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On May 24, 2016 @ 11:09 am
I’ve been reading Florensky’s “At the Crossroads of Science & Mysticism: On the Cultural-Historical Place and Premises of the Christian World-Understanding,” which is really unedited notes from lectures he gave. His take on evolution and change is interesting, particularly his assertion that progress occurs only in radical discontinuity.
On gene editing. That fact the genome can be edited at all tells me that language, not physics and chemistry, may be the ground of epistemology. If correct, then the Darwinian hypothesis is the wrong creation narrative given its dependence on philosophical materialism.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On May 24, 2016 @ 10:59 am
The authors, in their typical Orwellian manner, are trying to remove the limits nature places on marriage in order to redefine marriage into something other than the union of male and female.
The essay is a conceptual mess that begins in the first paragraph. Natural law (it takes one male and one female to create a child) is dismissed as “ideology” (their term) while that which replaces it (once natural law is overthrown) is termed “theology.”
From there the authors argue that,
Unlike a static understanding of natural law, the bond of grace removes marriage from being solely bound to biological pro-creation (sec. I, par.5). Consequently, the bond of grace can lead marital love to extend beyond its own physical intimacy and embrace a child or children in the act of adoption
The authors are rebelling against nature’s limitation. A male-male or female-female coupling is naturally sterile. Two lesbians or two gays cannot produce offspring. Even if they contrive to create children through surrogates, the child these couplings produce can never possess the genetic code of both parents. Nature prohibits it.
This is the crux of the essay. Everything else is just language manipulation; an attempt to rework the language of the tradition to make it appear that the tradition says things it does not say.
Don’t be flummoxed by the language. At best it functions as window dressing, as an attempt to confer an authority where none really exists, and at worst it is meant to deceive. Anyone who works with the language of the moral tradition — who understands that words really mean things, who sees that language is a means through which God communicates with man, who rejects the iconoclastic rejection of this potential for divine meaning as these authors do — will see through it.
What needs to be remembered is this: entering into same-sex relationships of the kind the authors champion brings great confusion to the soul. It can even destroy the soul. That confusion is evident in the essay.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On May 17, 2016 @ 8:58 am
George, I can’t speak to the debate about Abp. Demetri’s presumptive Sainthood but I do recall a story about him that impressed me.
A man who was in my GOYA group many years ago married and moved to Dallas. After his parents died he went to the Dallas Cathedral to ask for a Memorial. He told me that a Bishop answered the door and they went right into the Church and did the memorial right then. I thought he was mistaken about it being a bishop. “Bishops don’t do that,” I said. “It must have been a priest.”
He was insistent it was a bishop but I went on believing he was mistaken. I had no idea who Abp. Demetri was. I was in the GOA and that was my world for the longest time.
Years later when I heard other stories about Abp. Demetri, and after I met him (the only time) and heard him preach (brilliant sermon BTW), I decided that my friend was probably correct and I was wrong.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On March 6, 2016 @ 8:22 pm
No, you forfeited the right to determine what must be clarified when you proof-texted the Fathers within an anthropological framework you refused to clarify. The Fathers don’t belong to you. They are not to be used in any context without the willingness to examination or explain the assumptions that determine the context in which they are used. Since you are unwilling to discuss your assumptions so your claim that only you are allowed to determine what must be clarified is drained of any authority.
The tradition is clear: same-sex attraction is a passion. The anthropological shift is also clear: passions are to be essentialized leading to a plasticized anthropology. It is evident that some quarters of Orthodoxy promote the new anthropology: Lenova, McDowell, Arida, and others. One does not need to prove the received tradition to its detractors. One only needs to point out where they are in error and, if necessary, explain why they are.
It should not be necessary to point out to you why the new anthropology is in error. It’s curious though when asked to clarify where you stand on the new anthropology you go mute.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On March 17, 2016 @ 9:51 pm
The point is not “‘essentializing’ SSA as an identity.” The point is essentializing a passion. The passion could be anything, not just same-sex attraction. Once the passions are seen as essential to being, as a defining constituent of human personhood, then the passions become the ground of self-identity and anthropology is plasticized (malleable). You make man what you will; you are what you feel.
Further, the proper understanding of Orthodox anthropology is not a “distracting point.” Rather, it’s the one point you must clarify. Lenova, McDowell and their fellow travelers (relevant only because they identify as Orthodox) understand the received tradition but militate against it. Your writing is muddled because you never deal with this point with any clarity.
Maybe you don’t understand it.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On March 17, 2016 @ 6:57 am
Michael, your response contains a multitude of words with plenty of references from this and that authority as well as some Greek thrown in for good measure but the devil, as they say, is in the details. Here’s the rub:
This is significant because the manifestations of His humanity – his biological/genetic, psychological, environmental/social, and moral/spiritual dimensions – are essential to our understanding of our humanity reflected in Him, a humanity, as Met. Anthony (Bloom) noted, we no longer recognized.
There are two assumptions in your responses that never sit right with me mostly because they are asserted but never defended except in the most abstract ways I have already pointed out (proof-texting and so forth):
First, biology and by extension psychology are the authoritative ground by which we understand the human person (the scoldings are illustrative here because you tend to shout down anyone who challenges this assertion).
Second, which is a corollary of the first, you tend to essentialize what otherwise has been traditionally understood as a passion in Orthodox anthropology. Specifically you seem to argue that same-sex attraction is intrinsic to human personhood. I say “seem” because whenever this point is broached the scoldings, the proof-texting and the copy and pasting of Greek start all over again and we never get a clear answer. It is true of course that all desire has bio-chemical manifestations. It is not true however, that one must be a biologist or psychologist to speak on same-sex desire, or any other desire for that matter.
Most important however is that same-sex desire should never be essentialized; seen as a foundational constituent of human personhood and thus self-identity. Same-sex desire is being essentialized in different quarters of Orthodoxy today (Inga Lenova, Maria McDowell and other activists for homosexualism subscribe to it, even some of the Fordham group believe the fallen world is the world as it was created). Essentializing passions is not Orthodoxy. It leads to a plastic anthropology which will one day, if it continues in Orthodox circles, constitute a new heresy.
From my perspective you either don’t comprehend this point or you agree with it. The scoldings, the endless proof-texting, the mocking of those who don’t agree with you seems calculated to avoid this very point that I raise. Maybe the failure is mine. Could you clarify it for us?
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On March 15, 2016 @ 8:12 am
Again, overlooking the insults and self-aggrandizement…
…upon whom the Church, let alone me, has relied upon to articulate the nature of our humanity, “as it was in the beginning,” and in this fallen world…
The clause “as it was in the beginning” is entirely your construction and you have never been able to explain what it means; you (not the Church) simply assert it. It’s where the relocation of passion into biology occurs and where your plasticized anthropology is revealed.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On March 7, 2016 @ 5:29 am
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It is possible to destroy the soul in the sense that St. John Chrysostom describes (speaking here of sodomy):
“A murderer only separates the soul from the body, whereas these destroy the soul inside the body….. There is nothing, absolutely nothing more mad or damaging than this perversity.”
It is not possible to annihilate the soul (the way you might be reading my comment). It is possible to bring destruction to the soul.
» Posted By Fr. Hans Jacobse On March 6, 2016 @ 7:57 pm