The Fruits of Amsterdam?

One of the arguments leveled against Yours Truly, regarding the alleged normalization of sodomy within the Church is that there is no “proof” that any Orthodox officialdom is even countenancing such a thing.

“Go to any official website and you’ll see no such thing” I am told.

Fair enough, that is correct. However I never said that there was an “official” effort to sanction sodomy. Instead, a careful reading of my words is that this is an “insidious” process, one that takes years (if not decades) to accomplish. To provide it sanction in the sense of a fait accompli, by simply looking away as we have in the sense of Freemasonry, cohabitation and divorce. In other words, to be “pastoral” and “understanding”

Now, don’t get me wrong, our clergy and hierarchy should be pastoral. But it’s the second word that bothers me. “Understanding” and “tolerance” and “inclusiveness” are buzzwords that cover a multitude of sins or worse, provide an excuse for inaction.

It is in this light that Monomakhos reports the following: it has come to our attention that Leadership 100 has provided the funding necessary to hire a high level executive, one trained in “human development” and “sexuality”.

The language is bland enough all things considered but as they say, the devil’s in the details. Speaking for myself, I’d say that there are many layers to this onion, one of which is the sidelining of intimate, one-on-one pastoral care that can only be provided on the parish (or monastery) level. How anybody can believe that some national-level director can provide the necessary pastoral services to a person suffering from homoerotic or is in the grips of transsexual feelings is beyond me.

Whatever else this does, it proves that the powers that be still don’t “get it”. The struggle of the individual Christian can’t be farmed out to a bureau. And spare me the details of how this person is only going to provide materials and resources for the parish priest. To my mind, the average parish priest has all the tools necessary to help a struggling sinner: the insistence on regular attendance at services, the necessity of a prayer rule, frequent Confession and of course Communion, with an occasional penance thrown in for good measure.

Regardless, the innocuousness of the job description raises red flags. For me, it brings back the anodyne language of the seventies, when the Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Methodists started going down the primrose path of “inclusiveness” and “tolerance”.

Is the Episcopal Assembly on board with this or is this just a purview of the GOA? Regardless, I think it’s incumbent on concerned Orthodox Christians to contact their bishop if you have any concerns.

http://www.orthodoxjobs.com/display_job/49398/.html

Comments

  1. Anonymouse says:

    St. Paul flatly states such people will be damned. May Leadership 100’s money be damned too, if this is how they use it.

  2. Dionysia says:

    “This job is no longer available” is written when the above link is opened. Wondering if the notice was taken down after your article.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      I don’t know. Could anybody help in finding out? I posted this article last night around 2100.

      • Anonymouse says:

        Google still had the original cached. I archived it here: http://archive.is/mzEix

        Whenever doing a report on something like this, George, I would recommend making an archive of the page on archive.is. You never know what might disappear down the memory hole.

        • Nate Trost says:

          Hmm, let me contrast George Michalopulos description of the job with that archived job posting detail:

          George Michalopulos wrote
          it has come to our attention that Leadership 100 has provided the funding necessary to hire a high level executive, one trained in “human development” and “sexuality”.

          From the posting

          Research Analyst
          Part Time Independent Contractor
          700-900 hours to be completed over the course of one year. The position will terminate in approximately one year.
          Independent Contractor will fill out a 1099 for taxes and submit time sheets for compensation
          Rate $15-$20 per hour depending on experience and level of education
          No other benefits are involved.
          This is a remote work position. The independent contractor will be responsible for his/her own office set up such as computer, phone, internet connection, etc.

          $15 an hour part-time on an independent contractor basis with no benefits and provide your own equipment and you don’t get an office. Now you’re living the high-level executive life!

          George Michalopulos wrote
          Really, if they had 100 grand lying around

          $15×700 = $10,500, $20×900 = $18,000, So you’re only off by a factor of more than 5 or possibly as much as 10.

          Whatever the position is, or whatever the motivation might be for it I have no idea could frankly could care less. However, one thing that is clear to me is that George Michalopulos misstated the description and nature of the job position to a level which either implies gross incompetence or malevolence.

          • Anonymouse says:

            The listing may have been changed. The Google cache is just a snapshot in time. But that’s why it’s always good to archive a page when you see something noteworthy.

  3. Listing seems to have been removed.

  4. Ronda Wintheiser says:

    I followed the link just now. It says the job is no longer available.

    • George Michalopulos says:

      If so, all the better.

      Really, if they had 100 grand lying around, couldn’t they have used it for seed money for a mission or two?

      • Will Harrington says:

        Or they already hired the person they had in mind for the job.

        • Michael Bauman says:

          Will, more than likely. They post the job long enough to satisfy any legal requirements with absolutely no intention of considering anyone but one person who does not even have to apply. A priest may never even know the person’s name until she shows up on his door step.

  5. Maybe they don’t even understand human reality well enough to address it pastorally.

    Dr S has expounded previously on some of these.

    And Dr S is clearly quoted in your essay withou credit, by the way.

    If the church doesn’t understand chromosonially challenged, but rather
    paints such as deviancy; wouldn’t that be rather disturbing?

    Another chicken little moment.

  6. lexcaritas says:

    What is Leadership 100? What do they do? Who are they? Where to they get their money? What Anonymous is referring to from St. Paul was in the Epistle readings from First Corinthians during the past two weeks. 1 Cor. 6:9-11 July 17. St. Marina.
    Lxc

    • Anonymouse says:

      It’s a group of (100?) wealthy Greek Orthodox laymen who fund church-related causes. I understand that they do good work in other areas, and I know a couple of members, so it’s a shame they got wrapped up in this. Hopefully they have been sufficiently corrected.

  7. Joseph Lipper says:

    George, that is interesting, but we shouldn’t second guess their motives for hiring such a person.

    I agree that it’s good to be concerned and ask our bishops about such things.

  8. M. Stankovich says:

    Today is the 25th anniversary of the falling asleep in the Lord of Archpriest John Meyendorff, who died in Montreal, Canada exactly 22 days after retiring from the faculty of St. Valdimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary after 33 years, and as Dean for 8 years. He was 66 years old at the time of his death.

    Fr. John was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, of emigre parents forced out of the Russian Empire during the Russian Revolution. He completed his secondary education in France, and in 1948 received a Licentiate at the Sorbonne, and later earned a Diplôme d’études supérieures (1949), a Diplôme de l’école pratique des Hautes Etudes (1954). He also completed his theological education at the St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris in 1949 and earned the degree of Doctor of Theology in 1958 with a groundbreaking doctoral thesis on the teachings of St. Gregory Palamas. He shortly became Assistant Professor of Church History at the Orthodox Theological Institute, and a Fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.

    Having been ordained to the priesthood in the Orthodox Church, he accepted an offer to move his new family to the United States and become Professor of Church History and Patristics at St Vladimir’s Seminary (1959), while also holding successive joint appointments as lecturer and later Senior Fellow in Byzantine theology at Harvard University, Dumbarton Oaks (to which he returned for a semester as Acting Director of Studies in 1977), and as Professor of Byzantine History at Fordham University, Bronx, NY (from 1967 until his retirement from SVS). He also was Adjunct Professor at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary and lectured widely on university campuses and at church events. A member of several professional associations, Fr Meyendorff served during different periods as President of the Orthodox Theological Society of America, President of the American Patristic Association, and a member of the Executive Committee, U.S. Committee for Byzantine Studies. He was a Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities (1976-77), and a Guggenheim Fellow (1981). He had been granted The Diploma of Honorary Member of the Leningrad Theological Academy, and he was awarded the Order of St Vladimir, 2nd Class, by His Holiness Aleksy II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia in 1991. He was long-time editor of St Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly, chairman of the Department of External Affairs of the Orthodox Church in America, an advisor to the Holy Synod, and was editor of the monthly newspaper The Orthodox Church.

    Fr Meyendorff’s publications include the critical text and translation of Byzantine theologian Gregory Palamas (1959), as well as a number of books in the fields of theology and history, such as A Study of Gregory Palamas (French ed., 1959; Engl. 1964); The Orthodox Church (1963); Orthodoxy and Catholicity(1966); Christ in Eastern Christian Thought (1969); Byzantine Theology (1973); Marriage, an Orthodox Perspective (1975); Living Tradition (1978); Byzantium and the Rise of Russia (1980); The Byzantine Legacy in the Orthodox Church (1981); Catholicity and the Church (1983); and Imperial Unity and Christian Divisions. The Church 450-680 AD (1989).

    Much has been written about the “contentious” relationship between Alexander Schmemann and Georges Florovsky – and I have written of being a poor “nobody” who attended (I believe!) the 40th Anniversary banquet of SVS only because I was a student willing to check coats, and witnessed an extraordinary “reunion” and had an opportunity to spend some time with Fr. Georges – I have read nothing about his relationship with Fr. John. But suffice it to say that these two men are rightfully credited with nearly single-handedly fueling a neo-patristic “hunger” that demanded access to Migne’s Patrologia Graeca; the re-printing of the Ante-Nicean, Nicean, and Post-Nicean Fathers Series translated in the 19th century!; Quasten’s Patrology; the Philokalia; new translations, new volumes, new discussions; and the wisdom of the appeal and the assurance of “joining with those Holy Fathers before us,” even unto those who heard the voice of Lord Himself, for “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.” (Acts 15:28) It is truly astonishing what these fathers of our generation awakened in a church stagnating in post-war and cold war, grasping at “traditions,” but having lost a sense of Tradition.

    And finally, I will always recall what distinguished John Meyendorff from Alexander Schmemann, two brilliant men whom God placed together for a very specific reason, at a very specific time. These men were the greatest and the truest of friends, but affectively and by personality, they could not have been more different. Alexander Schmemann was frenetic, he was driven, he was inspired, and he was inspiring. He once described being so excited by a lecture from Archimandrite Kyprian (Kern) that he literally ran home to tell his mother! On the other hand, John Meyendorff was precise, measured, and certain. He taught history as if he had been there, and Patristics as if he had known the Fathers themselves. And in each and every one of these certainties were “revelations” of our God and ultimately His desire for our salvation. And more than anything, Fr. John knew this with his heart.

    Fr. John Meyendorff was the warm, kind, approachable, attentive “pastoral persona” Alexander Schmemann, by temperament and personality, could not be. And should history suggest that Fr. Alexander Schmemann was the greater influence and more profound influence on American Orthodoxy than Fr. John Meyendorff, it will be a profound misperception. Fr. Alexander Schmemann, as David, was incomplete without Jonathan, Fr. John Meyendorff. May the memory of Fr. John Meyendorff be eternal, and may he rest with the saints!

  9. Keep an eye on these guys says:

    https://www.amazon.com/Occult-Renaissance-Church-Rome/dp/0990954722

    Faithful Orthodox would do well to read this book and chart the infiltration of usury, occultism and sodomy into the Roman Church. It’s full of fork-tongued lies from hierarchs and false condemnations of the above, all while they were being encouraged and promoted from the top down. It’s a work of excellent scholarship, albeit uncomfortable to read.

    Is the same thing afoot in our own Orthodox Church? We should arm ourselves with the knowledge provided by this research and, along with firm commitment to our Orthodox faith, keep a vigilant eye not only on what is happening.

    • The destruction of the Roman Catholic church owes more to Marxism than to the occult.

      You’re better off reading ‘The Politcal Pope’ by George Neumayr.

  10. M. Stankovich says:

    The last “snapshot” of the site by the Wayback Machine of Archives.org was 07.05.17. That means the site was not archived since that date and the post is probably lost.

  11. What clerical or canonical right does this collection of academics have to appoint an executive overseer Your are indeed correct, the Holy Church does not need a Madison avenue insider directing Orthodox pastors and inflicting an LBGT agenda approved of tolerance and understanding on them. We already have Holy Spirit who inspired Holy Fathers who already FULLY directed what a God pleasing response towards these severely spiritually disenfranchised sorry souls who have deluded themselves into thinking todays their birthday, everyday is. St Paul said “don’t even give them greeting in the market place”. St John Chrysostom said their worse than murders. ” The un-Canonical executive will undoubtedly be expounding the tolerance and understanding as guiding directive to pastors who are in no way accountable to him.What is needful is telling the Lbgt uncouth, sphincter fetish folks. it’s not your birthday Golum. That goes for Fr Webber who they all flew to Amsterdam to see because they wanted to include him, as an openly gay cleric because that where where he resides. Spending God’ hard earned tithe money to see him. He’s lucky one of those Manton monks didn’t punch his lights out before they left for Platina. This is dirty business. Bit for some real dire straights, google Dane Wigington, heq
    s telling the truth about global extinction and how man ,not God is doing this.

  12. Along similar lines, an interesting story about the struggle of the church in Greece —

    http://orthochristian.com/105352.html

    • The population let Marxism continue for too long, and are too dependent on gibs. Outside of armed revolt the same things that are happening to this country are going to take over Greece.

  13. Pat Reardon says:

    The buzz around here says that the Dutch government bankrolled that Amsterdam meeting. Do any of you know about this?

    • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

      It was hosted by the Free University of Amsterdam. That means some degree of government-funded support, but not necessarily more than any other academic conference.

    • Gail Sheppard says:

      I don’t know if they bankrolled it, but it wouldn’t surprise me. The Greeks (South Eastern Europe) are the ones looking for a research analyst to “research and gather resources both in and outside the Orthodox Church with regard to the grant topic . . .” Perhaps grants like one of these:

      Faith Matters
      One year of funding for a series of seven radio shows and podcasts highlighting religious attitudes toward transgender people, emphasizing the need for a pastoral, just and loving response from religious communities.
      Amount: $137,000 Year: 2017 Location: Washington, DC

      Intersections International
      One year of funding for the Believe Out Loud’s Public Education Expansion Project to conduct online public education campaigns, mobilizing diverse groups of religious leaders to speak out against proposed anti-LGBT policies.
      Amount: $100,000 Year: 2017 Location: New York, NY

      Center for American Progress
      Fourteen months of funding for the Reclaiming Religious Liberty as a Progressive Value Project, seeking to promote religious liberty as a core progressive American value that includes LGBT equality and women’s reproductive health and rights.
      Amount: $250,000 Year: 2016 Location: Washington, DC

      There are so many grants out there. It’s the Greek Church that is looking. I don’t recall their Synod coming out in force denouncing Sister Vassa’s YouTube clip. Did they?

      http://www.arcusfoundation.org/grantees/?_paged=3&focus=Global+Religions&amount=default&_year=default&location=North+America#scroll-anchor-1

    • Gail Sheppard says:

      I don’t know if they bankrolled it, but it wouldn’t surprise me. The Greeks (South Eastern Europe) are the ones looking for a research analyst to “research and gather resources both in and outside the Orthodox Church with regard to the grant topic . . .” There are so many grants out there. Here are examples:

      Faith Matters
      One year of funding for a series of seven radio shows and podcasts highlighting religious attitudes toward transgender people, emphasizing the need for a pastoral, just and loving response from religious communities.
      Amount: $137,000 Year: 2017 Location: Washington, DC

      Intersections International
      One year of funding for the Believe Out Loud’s Public Education Expansion Project to conduct online public education campaigns, mobilizing diverse groups of religious leaders to speak out against proposed anti-LGBT policies.
      Amount: $100,000 Year: 2017 Location: New York, NY

      Center for American Progress
      Fourteen months of funding for the Reclaiming Religious Liberty as a Progressive Value Project, seeking to promote religious liberty as a core progressive American value that includes LGBT equality and women’s reproductive health and rights.
      Amount: $250,000 Year: 2016 Location: Washington, DC

      It’s the Greek Church that is looking for a research analyst. I don’t recall their Synod coming out in force denouncing Sister Vassa’s YouTube clip. Did they?

      http://www.arcusfoundation.org/grantees/?_paged=3&focus=Global+Religions&amount=default&_year=default&location=North+America#scroll-anchor-1

      • Estonian Slovak says:

        I wouldn’t be surprised if George Soros isn’t bankrolling it. I’m sure he or some person like him is bankrolling the Romanian Pentecostal churches springing up like mushrooms.
        Soros is a Hungarian born Jew, but he is neither a good Hungarian nor a good Jew. Our host George has alluded to his influence with the EP. I wish I could say George was barking up the wrong tree, but in this case, I feel he’s onto something.

        • George Michalopulos says:

          ES, I wish I could say that I was barking up the wrong tree myself. I’d love to be wrong on this.

        • Billy Jack Sunday says:

          I wouldn’t be suprised. Do you or anybody know of any proof or leads that indicate any particular global type persons have created or backed different protestant groups within the U.S.?

          In other words, is there a reason to believe that Protestantism has developed and mutated into so many different groups other than for the reason that it is possible in the U.S. due to religious liberty?

          I am looking at America as the root because we’ve exported more versions of Christianity far more than any other country in history- probably more than all countries combined since the days of the first Church.

  14. M. Stankovich says:

    A high-level executive trained in human development and sexuality? This is a BA-level clerical/scheduling position posing as a “researcher analyst,” with the more practical necessities of making reservations for meeting locations, hotel reservations, food & beverage provision, etc. for the actual meeting participants (who presumably will be actually developing this program). I don’t see a single reference to “understanding,” “tolerance,” nor “inclusiveness,” but rather “engaging, theologically sound, effective resources.” What your objection might be to those goals – other than pretentious projective pessimism & scorn – is beyond me. For anyone who is actually “engaging” real, live, breathing human beings who are struggling with issues of sexuality and gender: can you honestly say you could endorse referring someone in repentance to an Orthodox priest, even knowing “this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth”(1 Tim. 3-4), and trust they will not be scorned? I honestly cannot. It is one thing to have knowledge of these matters, and quite another to also set aside your prejudice, your indignation, your loathing, and your fear. The Apostles were frantic when the could not locate the Lord, only to find him sitting among the sick, the poor, the rejected, and the most loathsome of our humanity.

  15. Gail Sheppard says:

    I agree with George because there is evidence to suggest that the normalization of an activity tends to increase it. In the case of sexuality, it is unclear to me if the propensity exists in the first place or if normalization shapes the behavior. As an example, there is a Harvard Study that states: “Those who reported being heterosexual in 1995 were 30% more likely to report being lesbian or bisexual in 2009 if they lived in a state which recognized same-sex relationships, compared to those who lived in states with no recognition.”

    Because sexual preference exists on a continuum, I suspect they will not find a genetic component to it. There doesn’t seem to be an on/off switch anywhere. I know they’ve been looking for it. If/when they find a genetic “smoking gun,” it will be front page news.

    I suspect there is an imprinting thing going on when it comes to sexuality. Just like a newly hatched chick will follow any moving object as if it’s its mother, I have long believed that if your first sexual feelings are associated with certain stimuli, you will gravitate in that direction unless there is a strong motivation not to. I know this is antidotal, but several sexually “normal” women I know have told me that although they are happily heterosexual, they have fantasies about being with women which they believe are associated with the images they saw in their father’s and brother’s Playboy magazines in the 50s and 60s. They have no desire to pursue these fantasies and seem disgusted by the idea when they think of it in those terms. Perhaps they never acted on (and further enforced) their earlier feelings, because they were encouraged not to back then. It just wasn’t done.

    Giving deference to a dysfunction (as defined by the Church) out of pastoral concern, could normalize the behavior. We’ve seen this happen before. Economia, with respect to those who were previously baptized, has become the norm in some jurisdictions, replacing the prescribed mode of entry into the Church. What started out as the exception, became the rule.

  16. Michael Bauman says:

    Gail, I agree with you. Supports Michael S. in his stance that we suffer moral/spiritual cowardice.

    It is not really Economía but rather an unwillingness to accept the consequences of righteousness.

    The only thing I would quibble with is that it would not surprise me if some physical component exists for some people. It almost has to.

    • Estonian Slovak says:

      I think here Gail is speaking about the almost universal practice of not baptizing converts if they can claim some sort of Christian baptism. Thus, no exorcisms are read, there is no renunciation of the devil, etc. I don’t say Chrismation of such people is invalid, but maybe it’s time to go back to more traditional ways as ROCOR still practices even after the union with Moscow.
      Years ago, ROCOR usually didn’t baptize converts from other Christian confessions, i.e., Fr. Seraphim Rose. There were cases where ROCOR would chrismate someone and the Greek Church in Greece would insist on baptizing them. Not the Old Calendar Greek Church(though they would do this also), but the State Chief :(New Calendar).

    • Gail Sheppard says:

      Michael, the mind is a powerful thing. We know, from the teachings of the Church, that we have to constantly keep the mind in check by watching what we expose ourselves to. Look at the myriad of fetishes people have. No one argues there is a genetic component to any of them, although they are equally pervasive. They are behaviors that have become ingrained because they were indulged. I think that part *is* genetic. Exposure and timing to a given behavior, left unchecked, gives life to it. It is critical, especially within the Church, that we don’t inadvertently “give life” to something that goes against the teachings of the Church. People *can* control their appetites. I’m expected to. Monastics do. It’s not the appetite that matters; it’s the acting on it.

      Becoming Orthodox is not for everyone. It requires pushing ourselves to adapt to something that does not come naturally to us. Through this process, we become spiritually stronger . . . at least that’s the goal, right?

      I found the following article interesting. Just think of what would have happened had this woman’s parents decided she should be transgender, as many parents are doing now: http://lindsayleighbentley.com/2014/06/30/i-am-ryland-the-story-of-a-male-identifying-little-girl-who-didnt-transition/

      • Joseph Lipper says:

        Gail Sheppard,

        You make a very good point that as Orthodox Christians we are expected to cut off our appetites. We are wisely given fasts, such as with this Dormition Fast, to practice cutting off our appetites. We practice saying “no” by saying “no” to meat and dairy products.

        We live in a hypersexualized society. From what I read, it was only in the 1960’s with the “sexual revolution” that people began identifying themselves unashamedly as “heterosexual”. Most likely this was in response and to distinguish from people who identified themselves as “homosexual”, but nonetheless it was an embrace of sexuality and sexual appetites. The earliest definitions of the word “heterosexual” from the beginning of the 20th century seem to use it to describe a pathological state. A heterosexual person was a prurient person.

        Indeed, heterosexuality can describe fornication, adultery, incest, pedophilia, rape, and the general abuse of women by men.

        What I often see on this blog, is that people want to say “no” to homosexuality, but they tend to do this by incorrectly saying “yes” to heterosexuality. The opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality. Rather, the opposites of both homosexuality and heterosexuality are the virtues of chastity and virginity. The virtue of chastity is what we, as Orthodox Christians, are expected to seek out whether we are single or married.

        When St. Paul says that in order to avoid fornication “let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband”, he is not advocating heterosexuality. Rather, he is advocating chastity. His admonition is proceeded by the words “It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” and then he continues “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication…”

        Personally, I am tired of hearing Orthodox Christians refer to themselves as “heterosexual” because this only seems to condone the hypersexualized society that we live in. It also seems to create a false dichotomy of heterosexual/homosexual.

        Personally, I would prefer Orthodox Christians to simply state that they are trying to live chastely. We have now as our heroic example, the Mother of Our Lord, who lived her entire life in the perfect chastity of virginity, and whose falling asleep in peace we now prepare to celebrate.

        • Gail Sheppard says:

          Excellent point, Joseph. The expectation is that we live chastely, but it is also true that the Church only condones sex within the context of marriage and that marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman. One cannot live chastely outside of a heterosexual, marital relationship unless one gives up sex altogether, as monastics and unmarried people do.

          For whatever reason, there are a group of people within the Church who think nonheterosexuals should be exempt from these rules. Logically, it doesn’t make sense unless someone can make the case that individuals who practice these behaviors are somehow physiologically, psychologically and spiritually impaired and unable to control their appetites the way the rest of us are expected to do. Does anyone here want to make that argument? If so, where is the evidence and is the evidence sufficiently compelling to change our pastoral approach toward those who habitually engage in unchaste, nonheterosexual practices? I don’t see it, nor do I think it is spiritually beneficial to the individual because of all the trappings that come with it. I also don’t want to unwittingly communicate to the children in our parishes that living in a way contrary to what the Church teaches is a spiritually acceptable option.

          All human beings are capable of controlling their appetites, although I acknowledge they may not want to. This struggle is part and parcel of being Orthodox and it’s not for everyone. I don’t think we (certainly not academics or self-described theologians) have the right to introduce changes in the Church, especially since she has successfully dealt with these particular issues from the beginning. It’s not like any of this is new. Perhaps what’s needed to to have more uniform approach on how to minister to people without changing the rules.

          • Joseph Lipper says:

            Gail Sheppard,

            Thank you for your response, but I have to ask: If a person who has, as you put it, “given up sex altogether” like many chaste unmarried people, could these people then be considered non-heterosexuals?

            I’m sure that many chaste unmarried people may refer to themselves as “heterosexual”, but what does this really mean? We’ve already established that they have “given up sex altogether.” Further, would it really make any sense to refer to somebody who lives in consecrated virginity, such as the Mother of Our Lord, as a “heterosexual”?

            From what I gather, this term “heterosexual” is a modernist term that only appears to have become commonplace, as I’ve mentioned before, during the “sexual revolution” in the 1960’s when the social institution of marriage began to collapse. People embraced their sexuality and rejected marriage as unnecessary, and began calling themselves “heterosexual” to distinguish themselves from those who called themselves “homosexual”. The focus of male and female relationships thus shifted away from God, away from the Sacrament of Marriage, and instead their focus shifted solely onto inter-human relationships.

            As Orthodox Christians, we uphold the God-given Sacrament of Marriage as only between a man and a woman, and there is no controversy in the Church about this; there are no Orthodox bishops suggesting otherwise. Outside of the Church, of course, we have the recent phenomena of same-gender marriage sanctioned by the state and some “Christian” confessions. However, my sense is that if we respond to this recent phenomena by defining marriage as “heterosexual”, thereby borrowing the language of the “sexual revolution”, then we inadvertently end up changing the meaning of the Sacrament of Marriage.

            The change I am referring to is a shift of focus away from marriage as a revealed sacrament primarily coming from God, and shifting instead to a focus of marriage as primarily between a man and a woman, as “heterosexual” marriage. In an insidious way, this can easily just become a recycling of the “sexual revolution” all over again.

          • Joseph Lipper says:

            Please let me rephrase this:

            If we can understand that the Sacrament of Marriage is primarily a Sacrament of God, and a way for us to relate to God, then we can understand that the marital relationship between a man and a woman is secondary. The husband and wife’s primary relationship is not to each other, but rather to God.

            However, if we primarily emphasize that marriage is “heterosexual”, then there seems to be a danger in suggesting that the marital relationship between husband and wife is primary, and that their relationship with God is secondary or maybe even irrelevant. This is a sort of “elbowing of God out of the room”, and I believe that’s how the “sexual revolution” began.

            • Joseph Lipper says:

              …and more concisely:

              Marriage is not primarily a relationship between a man and a woman, but rather it is primarily a relationship with God.

              • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                Marriage is not primarily a relationship between a man and a woman, but rather it is primarily a relationship with God.

                … which is to say that heterosexuality is primarily a relationship with God — and homosexuality isn’t.

                • Joseph Lipper says:

                  Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell,

                  Wow, that’s a pretty loaded thing to say, “heterosexuality is primarily a relationship with God”. You are substituting “heterosexuality’ for “marriage”. Would you advocate a Sacrament of Heterosexuality in the Church?

                  It seems that defending “heterosexuality” might be a dangerous thing. For example, it is my understanding that heterosexual sodomy has become prevalent today among heterosexual couples, and possibly even married couples. Are people in the Church practicing heterosexual sodomy? I don’t know, and I don’t care to know. But if we shift the focus away from defending marriage as a Sacrament of God and instead focus on just defending heterosexuality, then we possibly open up a back door in the marriage relationship leading down a slippery slope into the abyss of heterosexual sodomy.

        • Tim R. Mortiss says:

          Have you not read that He who made them, from the beginning made them male and female, so that a man leaves his mother and his father and is joined to his wife, and they become one flesh?

          • Joseph Lipper says:

            Tim R. Mortiss,

            Yes, Adam was made first, and Eve was made from Adam’s rib. So, Adam and Eve were of one flesh from Eve’s very creation and not because of sexual union. From what I have read, the Church father’s seem to concur that Adam and Eve lived a virginal life as angels and having dominion of the whole earth and of their own earthly bodies. They lived as spiritual beings but with earthly bodies. Adam and Eve were passionless, in both the image and likeness of God, and created as immortal beings without corruption. This was a very exalted state of mankind that they lived.

            Adam and Eve became mortal only later when they sinned. Because of their sin, they lost their God-likeness, were no longer in dominion over the earth or even of their own bodies, and they eventually turned to sexual procreation, like the animals, to keep humanity alive.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says:

              That would not be my reading of the passage.

              • Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell says:

                That would not be any honest man’s reading of the passage, because the passage plainly says that “the two shall become one flesh,” after leaving their fathers and mothers.

                Joseph is deliberately twisting Scripture to spit upon “breeders” as no better than gays. That’s his only interest here.

                • Joseph Lipper says:

                  Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell,

                  As we know, the Sacrament of Marriage has numerous references to that passage in Genesis: “the two shall become one flesh”. The emphasis in the prayers are for the unity of the couple, that they be of “one mind”, and of “one flesh”, just as Adam and Eve originally were.

                  However, married couples throughout history know very well that this is very often a seeming impossibility. What do we see right after the fall of Adam and Eve? Adam first blames God, and then he blames Eve: “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree…” A husband blaming his wife is neither an example of being of one flesh nor of one mind.

                  If a man and woman seek God first in the Sacrament of Marriage, then God will unite them as one. If however, a married couple seek out only their own heterosexuality in marriage, then their chances of a failed marriage are quite high. Heterosexuality by itself doesn’t denote unity, and very often it leads to divorce.

                  Pdn Brian Patrick Mitchell, why do you use the word “breeders”?

        • Michael Bauman says:

          Joseph, not so much cut off as surrender all to God that they may be in proper order. Often using ones will to suppress only makes the struggle harder.

        • Gail Sheppard says:

          Joseph,

          “God-likeness” could not have been lost as a result of the fall, for if that were true, theosis would not be possible. Christ became the new Adam, the Theotokos became the new Eve and the Church became the icon for marriage. This doesn’t suggest to me that we were reduced to animals after the fall and for all we know, the animals became like us, instead of the other way around! They may not have procreated in the garden like they do now either.

          I agree that it’s probably not productive to identify as heterosexual or homosexual but “trying to live chastely” would include both living a celibate life or marriage, as we are able and as we are called, according to Saint Paul. Within the context of both, heterosexuality would have a place; homosexuality would not.

          The following summarizes my understanding of marriage. I would be interested to hear how closely this depiction aligns with yours.

          http://holynativity.blogspot.ru/2010/07/marriage-icon.html

          “In the Orthodox wedding icon, the icon of the wedding in Cana of Galilee, Christ is not at the center. Christ is in the icon, in the foreground and in an exalted position, but not the center. In the center of the wedding icon is the bride. The bride is both at the center of the icon, and she is also the only one who is crowned–the groom is not crowned. In fact, who exactly the groom is, is not clear (an ancient tradition says the older man on the bride’s left is the groom, but I have read others who say it is the younger man on her right). I would like to suggest that the reason why only the bride is crowned and the groom is not clearly identified is that this icon not only reveals the mystery of Christ’s blessing of earthly marriage, but also reveals the mystery of the heavenly marriage of Christ and the Church, of which blessed earthly marriage is an image.

          In this icon and in the marriage service itself, we mystically see the coronation of the Bride of Christ, the Church. In fact, this is exactly what the Epistle reading of the marriage ceremony tells us: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church…the saviour of the body…. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church and gave himself for her…. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.” In a sense, the only groom in the icon of the wedding in Cana of Galilee is Christ himself, and the bride is identified twice: once crowned and sitting at the head of the banquet celebrating her coronation, and once as Mary, the Mother of God, intimately standing close, to His right and behind Jesus, talking softly to him, with Jesus’ head turned toward her. These are both mystically pictures of the bride, at once exalted to the head and prominent position as queen of the heavenly household, and at the same time hidden behind Christ Her Groom speaking softly only to Him and receiving His full attention.

          In the marriage traditions of the English-speaking West, until quite recently a woman lost everything to her husband in marriage. A woman could hold very little authority in society and almost none in relation to her husband. The man was the head of the house. In the Orthodox Christian tradition and by Byzantine law, however, a married woman has quite a bit of authority. The woman is the head of the house–in both Orthodox Christian culture and law the woman had the authority to organize and run everything related to the home, which, if the family were wealthy, could be a huge estate with hundreds of servants. In the Orthodox Christian tradition, the husband is the head of the wife, but the wife is the head of the home, the queen-mother, so to speak.

          This mystical reality of the bride’s headship over the house manifests the role of humanity in creation. As the Bride of Christ, redeemed humanity is called to resume its position as head over creation (God’s house, so to speak), to manage, care for, and offer back to God that which God has given Her. However, the crowned bride sitting at the head of the table is also, mystically, the Mother of God, standing meekly behind her Son, quietly interceding on behalf of all. And it is Her quiet intercessions that are responsible for the miraculous transformation of that which is merely natural and merely human into that which is divine: water becomes wine.

          In the icon we see that all of nature is not enough–the wine runs out. Without the miraculous Grace of God at work in a marriage or any human endeavor, even the strongest human love will run out. The water of natural affections must be changed into the wine of God’s love or it will not be enough. The Queen is revealed in two places at once. She sits as head over creation, manager of the household; but she also stands quietly behind her Groom supplicating and humbly submitting to His words and encouraging (commanding really) others to do the same: “whatever He says to you, do it.”

          The wise Solomon said that the way of a man and a woman, like the way of an eagle in flight, is too wonderful for him. In a healthy Christian marriage, a mystery is revealed: “I speak concerning Christ and the Church.” On the one hand the bride is exalted. “The King greatly desires her beauty,” as the psalmist says. She becomes queen of over all the household. On the other hand, the stands submissively behind her groom where she receives His full attention. She stands where no other can stand. She has access, intimate access, to His ear and to His attention, access no one else can have. And there she intercedes on behalf of the whole household. There she supplicates the Master for more wine, for all that is necessary, for all that is needed to make the feast joyful.

          In Orthodox Christian marriage, the wife is the queen, crowned and exalted at the head of the household; however, she is also the intercessor, standing submissively behind her husband, receiving his full attention and quietly interceding on behalf of the household. In this image is revealed the mystery of Christ and the Church, the mystery of the miraculous transformation of water into wine, of what is natural into what is above nature, of what is merely human into what is divine.”

          • Michael Bauman says:

            Gail, excellent. Only two things stand in the way of realizing such marriage: a man’s selfishness and a woman’s fear/lack of trust. Of the two by far the worst problem is man’s selfishness. All too often we men forget the verse “as Christ also loved the Church and gave himself for her”.

            Our headship is founded on kenotic offering of ourselves. Without that to the extent we are able, we can easily become tin tyrants. No woman in her right mind would or should submit to that arrogance.

            The love of a good woman can lead men to salvation though. Even as it is explained there are hidden and ineffable aspects to marriage that defy being pinned down.

            God seems to work that way.

            God forgive us.

            • Gail,
              I often search for the right words to explain to others how The Church views the role of the husband and of the wife in marriage. So many get stuck on the part of Holy Matrimony that states, “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord.”
              They don’t really read the rest of the service or try to understand it fully because they can’t seem to get by that one line.

              Your words describe what I haven’t been able to. I hope you don’t mind if I share them, should the chance arise.

          • Oh, I forgot to ask one question.

            You mentioned that “it’s probably not productive to identify as heterosexual or homosexual but “trying to live chastely” would include both living a celibate life or marriage, as we are able and as we are called, according to Saint Paul. Within the context of both, heterosexuality would have a place; homosexuality would not.”

            Within the context of living a celibate life, why would heterosexuality have a place there but homosexuality would not? Isn’t that the only way a SSA individual could remain part of The Church?
            Forgive me if I misunderstood your wording! The rest was quite beautifully written.

            • Gail Sheppard says:

              Saunca, you’re right! What I said did not make sense.

              What I should have said is this: To me, living “chastely” means the degree to which we live within the boundaries of the Church. The Church sanctions celibacy or marriage. It is the act of sex outside of marriage that is out of bounds. Joseph and I are in agreement that using terms like heterosexual or homosexual is not particularly useful when talking about these things. It all comes down to an act of will: Are we going to lean into the boundaries established by the Church, i.e. live a celibate or married life, or are we going to pull away, i.e. have sex outside of marriage (homosexual or hetertosexual)? To the degree that we lean into boundaries of the Church, I would say we are attempting to live “chastely.”

              Of course, this is the “world according to Gail.” Keep this firmly in mind at all times!!! 🙂

              • Joseph Lipper says:

                Very well written, Gail, thank you!

                Personally, I very much appreciate the OCA’s statement on marriage dated from June, 2016:

                “The Orthodox Church in America teaches and maintains as a sincerely held religious belief that God has established marriage as a lifelong, exclusive relationship between one man and one woman, and that all intimate sexual activity outside the marriage relationship, whether heterosexual, homosexual, or otherwise, is immoral, and therefore sin”

                To me, this statement is very clear about the boundaries of marriage, and only uses the terms “heterosexual” and “homosexual” to describe sexual activity outside of marriage. This, I believe, is the proper use of these words. The language and phronema of the “sexual revolution” belong outside of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

              • Gail,
                Thank you for clearing up what you meant! And, again, thanks for your beautiful description of what an Orthodox marriage is

          • Joseph Lipper says:

            Gail,

            Thank you for your response. Yes, this is an important distinction between the image of God and the likeness of God. This image of God is not lost after the fall, but the likeness of God appears to be lost when mankind sins. When men and women sin, they are no longer like God. However it is not completely lost, because as you say, it can be realized again in Christ, through repentance and theosis, and as we see in the lives of many saints.

            Thank you for the passage about marriage! That is an interesting point the author is making about Christ not being in the center of the Wedding at Cana icon. Certainly it is a temptation of many married people to not put Christ at the center of their marriage.

            The Wedding at Cana story seems to pointedly show us the limitation and disappointment of marriage, as the wedding feast has run out of wine. Marriages usually run out of many things, things like health, money, love, patience, trust, and chastity. It is only through Christ and His Mother, both virgins and unmarried, that the wedding party is kept going, the wine is restored.

            • Gail Sheppard says:

              Joseph, regarding the distinction between the “image” of God and the “likeness” of God, I think we both agree that we were created in the image of God. I would argue, however, that we were also created in the “likeness” of God because God allowed us to co-create our own destiny (through free will & synergy) and have dominion over our own realm. Were we merely an “image,” we would not have the power to co-create.

              • Joseph Lipper says:

                Gail, thank you. Yes of course, men and women are originally created in the image of God and according to the likeness of God. I believe that babies have both the image of God and to some degree also the likeness of God. However, this likeness is lost through sin, and it is only restored in degrees through the struggle of repentance and the acquisition of virtues such as love, truth, righteousness, humility, and meekness. Reading the lives of the saints, I would conclude that theosis doesn’t come very easily at all.

                The creative ability of mankind, though, is a gift bestowed upon men and women of the image of God: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” It is a sign of the image of God that men and women are able to co-create.

            • Michael Bauman says:

              Joseph, Christ is at the center only when the man and woman come together in offering. We each offer to each other and then we both offer to Christ with the man as the head.

              Of course each offers to Christ personally too but is the common offering that completes and forms a marriage.

              It is the making one.

              • Joseph Lipper says:

                Yes, a man and a woman coming together to get married in the Church is a big step in that direction, a big step in making God first together as a couple. How enormously difficult that often is! May God help them.

                Today it’s way too easy for couples to put themselves first instead of God, which unfortunately so often means living together heterosexually without getting married.

  17. The criteria for extending Christian spiritual assistance is in principle, easily stated, and utterly obvious. Live by the Word of God and accept It as the Truth it obviously IS. God made them male and female. Anyone who is saying, I am a gay . with a sexuality different from heterosexual natural males and female. Here, the gays proves they do not believe the Word of God. The authentic Holy Fathers had no difficulty recognizing the requirement for authentic repentance from this sin is a genuine belief in the infallible Word of God. Professing lbgt agenda faithful prove their disbelief and unwillingness to truly repent. They say they like their punishment but still want to live forever in heaven and the sin is with the faithful authentic Christan who is evil with homophobia. What the lbgt wants is for all to abandon living by the Word of God to suit their fancy. It not their birthday, and I have no desire to kiss their butts to get alone with them. They call evil good and good evil. Enmity is the result, as the the Word says the Holy God placed between them.