Frankly Speaking

Probably the best exposition on the homosexual juggernaut and Frank Schaeffer’s useful idiocy in support of it. It’s sad, really. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Frank going on ten years now. He’s a great thinker (or at least was). At any rate, from personal experience I known he’s better than this. We should pray for him. (Thank you for Fr John Whiteford for this wonderful essay.)

Source: Fr. John Whiteford’s News, Comments, & Reflections

Frank Schaeffer has had a long career as a writer and speaker, and if you have followed him over the years, you know that his primary writing and speaking mode is righteous indignation, peppered liberally with sarcasm, and spiked with a penchant for gross exaggeration of the views of those he disagrees with. That righteous indignation was once directed at those who kill babies for money — the abortion industry. When he converted to Orthodoxy, his indignation was also turned on the Protestants from whence he came, to whom his father, Francis Schaeffer remains a highly regarded figure. In more recent years, he has become a pro-Obama, pro-homosexual, and anti-war advocate (at least when George Bush was waging the wars), and so now supports the very people in the abortion industry that he was once so righteously indignant about. How one goes from being in favor of blockading abortion clinics, to supporting a president who opposed laws that would protect babies born alive in botched abortions is beyond comprehension.

 An Obama backed Terrorist, making sport of the loot from a Syrian Church that has been ransacked.

An Obama backed Terrorist, making sport of the loot from a Syrian Church that has been ransacked.

In his most recent blog post, he has now taken aim against not only the “religious right” (a favorite target of his in recent years), but now even the Orthodox Church that he still is ostensibly a member of is in his cross-hairs — because they support Russia’s laws restricting the promotion of homosexuality.

I looked over his blog to see if he had expressed any concern for his Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters in Syria, who are being raped, murdered, and run out of their ancient homes by Al Qaeda terrorists, who are armed and supported by Barack Obama, but there was not a word. Tens of thousands of Syrian Christians are now dead, millions are refugees, and not a word of concern. He also expresses no concern over the Coptic Christians of Egypt, who are similarly suffering at the hands of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood regime that Obama helped to put into power. But who is Frank Schaeffer concerned about today? Homosexuals in Russia. Where is his righteous indignation directed at today? The American religious right, and the Orthodox Church.

Vladimir Putin, on the other hand has been one of the lone voices on the international stage that has expressed concern for the Christians of Egypt and Syria. Whatever else one may think of Putin, the Christians of Egypt and Syria have a much higher opinion of Putin right now than they do of Obama. And it should pointed out that Frank Schaeffer’s own opinion of Putin has not always been so negative.

When George Bush invaded Iraq, and then the subsequent guerrilla war resulted in a mass exodus of Iraq’s Christian population, at least he could say no one saw that coming. However, Obama knows what is going on in Egypt and Syria, and he knows what would happen to the Christians of Syria if he bombed the Syrian government, and the Al Qaeda terrorists he is arming took power… he just doesn’t seem to care; and unfortunately, neither does Frank Schaeffer, it would seem.

The laws on the books today in Russia regarding homosexuals are more liberal than the laws we had here in the United States just 40 years ago. It is not a crime in Russia to be a homosexual. It is only a crime for them to propagandize minors. They are also not allowed to have gay pride parades… which in the United States are obscene displays of perversion in the streets of almost every major city in America. And “Natasha’s Two Mommies” is not a book read to children in kindergarten in Russia. This, Frank Schaeffer finds more of a concern than the murder of Christians in Syria with the aid and comfort of his beloved Barack Obama.

The Russian Orthodox Church, as Frank well knows, suffered horrendously under the Soviet Union. The Church is therefore not inclined to antagonize the state unnecessarily… especially when that state is on the right side of a question. The Church has spoken against the government when it has taken positions contrary to that of the Church — for example, Putin was for some time opposed to introducing instruction about Russia’s religious heritage, while the Church was a strong advocate of that idea. In the end, the government introduced such courses, and so now parents can choose between courses that study Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or Buddhism — which are the primary religions in Russia. But when the Russian government passes laws that restrict homosexual propaganda, the Church has no reason to oppose those laws, and good reason to support them, since they reflect traditional Christian morality. The Orthodox Church is not going to change its views on homosexuality, since the Scriptures, the Fathers, and the Canons are unambiguous on the subject. Of course Orthodox Christians cannot support thugs that beat up homosexuals in the street. But in the United States we now have homosexuals beating up those that disagree with them in the streets, and we hear nothing from Frank about that.

Frank cites two Orthodox Christian clergymen as being “pro-gay”: “Archbishop” Lazar Puhalo, and Fr. Antony Hughes. And suggests that they represent a hopeful trend in the Orthodox Church. However, if Frank read the article about Lazar Puhalo that he linked, he should be aware of the fact that he is a crank, with a very checkered history. He was never an active priest, bishop, or Archbishop in any legitimate Orthodox Church. He was a deacon in ROCOR before he was deposed for disobedience, and began his career as a vagante bishop, and was only received by the OCA as a retired Archbishop as an act of economia— a decision that was controversial even within the OCA. His views range from being slightly off, to the outlandish, and so he is hardly a mainstream bishop.  I know less about Fr. Antony Hughes, but I know that the Bishops of the Antiochian Archdiocese have little patience for anyone who challenges the teachings of the Church that homosexual acts are inherently sinful, and that only a repentant homosexual who is struggling against that sin may receive communion. The views of the Orthodox Church on the question of homosexuality are known, and are not up for debate. 

You can read about a Roman Catholic mother who was beaten, raped, and murdered by a homosexual because she had persuaded her son to end his homosexual relationship with him:

You can see a video of a gay mob in the Castro District of San Francisco which attacked a group of Christians that were praying peacefully together:

You can see a video of a gay mob beating up a Christian at a Gay Pride rally in Seattle:  

I am sure most gays oppose such things, just like most Christians oppose gays being beaten.

Also, as I pointed out in a recent post, homosexual activists in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, are using the power of the state to destroy those who do not agree with the homosexual lifestyle in general or gay marriage in particular, if they will not be coerced into either remaining silent about their views or to participate professionally in a gay marriage. In states that have legalized gay marriage, homosexuality is now being taught as normal to even very young children, regardless of the wishes or views of their parents.

Since homosexuals are not proving to be very tolerant of those who disagree with them, now that they have achieved mainstream acceptance in the west, I don’t blame Russians for wanting to nip the whole thing in the bud now, so that they don’t go down the road to Sodom and Gomorrah too. And it is also interesting that homosexual activists are now focusing their wrath on Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church, but while they will picket an Orthodox Church in San Francisco, for some reason they have not begun picketing mosques to protest the fact that homosexuals are routinely given the death penalty in Muslim countries.

However, whatever grievances gays in Russia, or Christians in the west may have, they are all small potatoes compared with the suffering of Christians in Egypt and Syria at the hands of terrorist groups that have been funded, supported, and defended by the Obama administration. It is a shame that Frank Schaeffer does not use his considerable oratorical and polemical skills to defend Christians who are being threatened, abused, beaten, raped, tortured, beheaded, displaced and butchered by the millions.

About GShep


  1. Michael Kinsey. says

    A lovely essay! Not once did I experience the disappointment of having to confront a machination from an unsound mind. Direct, honest, yea and nay ,obviously natural to a natural Christian man. As for Mr. Shaffer, his profession career prominence, has to be ,at least, in part his principle concern. As a very active pro-life activist for a time, I know the pro-life community would consider his support of Obama, betrayal. Lord have Mercy.

  2. Once again, a wonderful piece by Fr John Whiteford. We are blessed to have him as a priest in our diocese and in our Great State.

    I, too, am saddened by the trajectory of Frank Schaeffer’s career and thought over the past few years. In the 1990s I loved his work — as a kid who grew up Orthodox in the United States, some of his early works were quite instrumental in helping me to stay Orthodox when I was younger — for example: his book “Dancing Alone” and his early work with “The Christian Activist” publication, which I think was fairly short-lived (I think he was part of the Christian Activist, though not sure if maybe he was just interviewed by the publication — this is maybe 20 years ago). I also loved reading Portofino and Saving Grandma, which are well written and very funny semi-autobiographical novels. And being in the US military, I was especially touched by his book “Keeping Faith,” where he discusses his thoughts/feelings/emotions that unravel as his his youngest son joins the USMC.

    Lately, though, he seems to either have lost a lot of his faith or to be more interested in acceptance among his peers in the increasingly secular and churchless New England, or maybe both. His work is often viruently anti-Christian, at least from a traditional Orthodox perspective. There is nothing wrong with having doubts when it comes to faith — indeed, doesn’t that happen to us all, and at times doubt seems more urgent than at other times. But lately, Frank seems (at least in his public life) to be more of a nominal Christian at best.

  3. Tim R. Mortiss says

    Well, the essay isn’t really about Frank Schaeffer. It’s about Barack Obama. By the way, Obama did not “bomb the government of Syria,” as it turned out.

    I think Schaeffer should be called out, all right. He is a strange bird. The author does that for a bit, then spends the whole essay talking about something else.

    I agree with the author, but not with the method of argumentation. It’s like when your wife is upset about the yardwork not being done, and you tell her that she should really be upset about the Christians in Syria. A non-sequitur argument, really.

    I think Schaeffer is very wrong about homosexuality. I think also that he seems to have a lot of the weird back-and-forth grandstanding of many of the children of prominent people. His father had the virtue of being both serious and consistent. It’s like contrasting Billy Graham with his sons, except worse.

    On the other hand, Schaeffer really has little to do with the persecution of Syrian Christians that I can see, nor does a photo of an al-Queda-type with the desecrated items seem to relate much to him.

  4. To be frank (pardon the pun), I was wary of him all along, even in his supposedly good days.

    Men who always need an enemy of some sort at all times in order to prove that they are ‘more right’ than everyone else are unworthy of trust even when they speak the truth. God help us all – and especially me – to resist this delusion. There can be no peace in the heart of a man that cannot see the truth staring at him in the mirror.

  5. Father Michael Shanbour says

    Thank you, Father John for this difficult but necessary article.

    As a priest who had previously invited Frank Schaeffer to speak in his parish and city on more than one occasion, I am greatly saddened by the strange reincarnation of his persona. The industry of “tolerance” is very seductive indeed and perhaps allows one to play the role of “hero,” at least in his own mind and among other “enlightened academicians.

    What a terrible loss for we Orthodox Christians who once had a blessed witness of conversion from Protestantism to the one, holy, catholic and apostolic faith. How much fodder do those Evangelicals have now in Schaeffer to disparage Orthodoxy and her power to transform and sanctify her members.

    This article deserves an response from Frank Schaeffer. But my fear is that what would come through louder than any words in such a response would be an anger that disguises some deep, unresolved hurt that needs to be opened to God’s grace and healing. May God be merciful to each of us who try to maintain an Orthodox faith and life in this modern age!

    • Good points Father. My wife and I went to a conference at a Greek church almost 29 years ago to listen to Frankie; we walked out Orthodox or at least beginning Orthodox. As a Protestant I had read everything that his father wrote and a few of his books. My comment to my wife on that important day was that he was an angry young man and felt that I agreed with where he was coming from, I guess that I was an angry older man. It has been a shock to see the moral degradation of this once influential man; I remember reading many years ago in a Protestant publication where somebody commented to one of his pastor friends that Frankie Schaeffer had become Orthodox; his friend retorted with something like, “Yeah, I know, it is kind of like losing cancer.” Lord have mercy.

    • Michael Bauman says

      Fr. Michael, the tragedy of Mr. Schaeffer is that he has always been a performance manaqin and not allowed to be a human being. When he came into the Church he persisted in that false persona and either no one cared enough for him to place him into some sort of spiritual formation of obedience, quiet and repentance or he resisted such guidance.

      He was used as canon-fodder just as he felt he had been by his parents. His behavior is a lot like that of children who act out in the hopes of being told NO.

      So, while he should know better, a lot of the responsibility rests with his pastor and his bishop.

      • Pere LaChaise says

        Thank you Mr. Baumann for the insight into Schaeffer’s complex personality and motivations. If I could just read this I would navigate to another page satisfied. Nothing else I read here, including the essay, were the least bit helpful or insightful. Fr Whiteford’s kitchen sink condemnation is absurd, even though I agree with the elements of it – its incoherence is embarrassing. Thankfully, only a couple dozen web denizens will ever read his rant.

      • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

        “Fr. Michael, the tragedy of Mr. Schaeffer is that he has always been a performance manaqin and not allowed to be a human being. When he came into the Church he persisted in that false persona and either no one cared enough for him to place him into some sort of spiritual formation of obedience, quiet and repentance or he resisted such guidance.

        “He was used as canon-fodder just as he felt he had been by his parents.”

        He was never a performance manaqin, no, he was the spoiled child allowed to go his own way, but then came back and began using his father as the manaqin.

        Yet the worst example of nepotism and family politics was his own disastrous persuading of his father to enter the political fray. After the Lausanne Congress in 1974, I remember well how Francis was blackly depressed, believing he had no more to say. It was Frank, alarmed at what he saw, who then abandoned his own aspirations as an artist and became his father’s “sidekick” in order to re-charge his father with visions of political activism.

        In the process Frank overrode the established principles of how decisions were made at L’Abri. As he acknowledges, he “goaded” Schaeffer toward the strident and increasingly gloomy last period of his life, and he himself became a brash and intemperate hothead, notorious for his slashing attacks on evangelical scholars who disagreed with him. The net effect of Frank’s efforts was to sow the seeds of his own self-loathing, and also to return his father to fundamentalism and to undermine his reputation in the long term. That was the first time in my experience at L’Abri when a major decision was made without unanimity among the leaders, and it was clear that the family trumped everyone else and Frank trumped everyone else in the family. It was the breaking point for me and many others.


        The real truth is that Franky, as he then called himself, was spoiled. He was more like a poster child for Benjamin Spock than the son of “fundamentalist missionaries.” Having been born well after his sisters, and having survived polio as a child, he was rarely challenged, disciplined, or denied. As a result, he grew up a “little Napoleon,” as some of the L’Abri students called him. He would boast that he could twist his parents around his little finger, and time and again he proved it.

        Running away from boarding school at fifteen, Frank was bright and gifted, with talents that showed as clearly in his art then as in his writing now. But he bucked at all formal education and serious tutoring, and his claim that he then received a “‘great books’ British university-level literature course” comes as quite a surprise to his tutor. Francis actually praised Frank’s dropping out of school to a friend of mine, arguing that “Christians should be like Bolsheviks.” Later, pushed far out of his depth by the momentum of his and his father’s activism, Frank found himself propelled into becoming the arrogant, pompous, and hollow young fraud that, to his credit, he came to loathe and then repudiate. Frank himself is where the con artistry came into the story.

        In sum, the combination of neglect, guilt, nepotism, and spoiling was a toxic brew. Some sons of famous Christian fathers are pushed by their fathers into following in their footsteps, and they respond with a slow-burning resentment that comes to cast a shadow on their fathers’ reputations. In Frank’s case, he chose to steer his father’s steps for his father’s sake, so he is responsible rather than resentful. But he is responsible for what he now acknowledges was a horrible outcome, so he turns on his entire upbringing to excuse his role.

    • Michael Bauman says

      I would add, Father that the loss is not to the Church so much as it is to Mr. Schaeffer. The view of him as a “prestige recruit” is part of the problem. He is a human being, not a notch on the belt.

      Personally I think any convert should just be Orthodox for a while in a healthy parish under the guidance of a good confessor and bishop. It takes time to heal and actually begin to adopt an Orthodox understanding.

      I was received in 1987, it was some time before I began to really feel Orthodox. A lot of house cleaning had to be done.

  6. Franky Has Gone Nuts says

    Why read the article when we can all watch the video of Franky going nuts right here……\

  7. wrong pic 4 your article says

    In Russian with English subtitles

    11.01.13. St. John of Kronstadt, the Wonderworker. Sermon by Archpriest Victor Potapov

  8. Father Anonymous says

    If I was betting dollars to donuts I would wage that Mr. Schaeffer will apostatize from the Church. What I do not know is will he go Episcopalian or simply drink from the altar of secular humanism. Wherever his wanderings take him I hope he can find the peace of Christ and let go of all of his anger and indignation.

    • Prayers Needed says

      Dear Father,

      I pray he 100% returns to Orthodoxy. That implies everything else you say. Christ conquers!

  9. cynthia curran says

    Well, I know there is some corruption among the Religious Right not going into details but Frank does go on and go and as the author mention he ignores other problems.

  10. cynthia curran says

    Well, everyone has it out for the northeast or California or Oregon but there is an advantage to an area where people are not born into Christianity. People become Orthodox or Protestant or Catholic because they choose that rather than their community or parents do as such is the case in the US South A lot of liberals point out that the south doesn’t live up to his values, not only divorces but lots of out of wedlock births. Take Houston Texas versus Orange County Ca, both have a lot of Hispanics but Houston has 52 per 1,000 out of wedlock births among teenagers while Orange County Ca is at 22 per 1,000. In fact Orange County is not that prolifically liberal while Houston is more so for Texas. In Orange County people are Christian because they want to be not because its the culture thing to do like its in Houston.

  11. Prayers Needed says

    from a friend’s email:

    just returned from a blessed week of peace, love and prayer, spent with my whole family, at one of our monasteries, so remote, hurray, that we had no cell phone coverage and were not tethered by electronic leash to work and such, and found this:

    > Urgent prayers needed for Orthodox in Pakistan. This morning I was informed by a brief email from Fr. John in Pakistan that police have arrested two Orthodox young men in Wazirabad, and charged them with blasphemy. In Pakistan this is not a minor charge, and is often a trigger for massive violence against Christians. Fr. John states that many of the Orthodox faithful have left the area, out of fear that the situation will become violent and dangerous, especially tomorrow (Friday).
    > From the only news report I could find online, these two young men are brothers, and a third brother who is in hiding is actually the one accused of blasphemy. It is charged that he used pages of the Quran to make fireworks. The “evidence” is that one person claims that he saw Arabic writing on some of the paper used in making the fireworks, which were being detonated at a wedding. I have asked Fr. John to confirm this report.
    > This is potentially tragic for the Orthodox Church in Pakistan, even more so because Wazirabad is the city in which the first Orthodox church ever built in Pakistan is nearing completion (photos). I know from many conversations with Fr. John how creative he has been in finding ways to include the entire community, including Muslim clerics and civic officials, in the construction of this building, so that it will be viewed as a community project. Attached are a couple of recent photos showing progress on the building. Let us pray that Fr. John’s labors to build connections and show love to the entire community will prevail against the radicals who will undoubtedly try to stir up hatred.

  12. PRAYER: In Eritrea a woman, jailed for a year for her Christian beliefs, has died from pneumonia brought on by harsh conditions. She was refused medical treatment because she would not renounce her faith. About 3,000 Christians are incarcerated in Eritrea, many in shipping containers in desert prison camps. Remember them, and others who suffer around the world, heading into this Sunday’s Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Open Doors and Voice of the Martyrs have helpful information and guides for churches that participate. Other organizations will mark the event next Sunday, Nov. 10. I say why not honor the persecuted on both Sundays!

    • Monk James says

      Let it never be doubted that we Christians compose the most persecuted of all religions in the world.

      But thus was it ever. Our Lord Jesus Christ told us that this would be so.

      Let us be strong in Christ and remain faithful, whether the persecution be bloody or more subtle, as in the ‘culture wars’.

      Lord Jesus, You died and then rose from the dead to show us that Your promises are true.
      Help us now and give us strength in love to live and even die for our faith, for each other, and for You, that we may be raised from death by You and live with You in everlasting joy.

  13. Not a very good literary work.. I kept trying to read about Frank, but Fr. Whiteford only used Frank as an entry to a sort of anti-gay anti-abortion anti-Obama sermon.

    The incessant drum beat here against 2% of society is unhealthy for so many reasons. First, it is really picking on a minority, then yes, picking on them why? Whiteford found a newspiece to justify it, but with 4-5 billion on the planet; how hard is that? I bet I can find priests that are rapists-does that make Whiteford a bad guy?

    If I gleaned anything, it is that Fr. Whiteford and George need our prayers to grow past worrying about gays..

    Or was the story about abortion? I guess Fr. Whiteford would prefer a return to the dark ages of children starving to death before abortion’s modern advent in overpopulated Japan, or the invention of contraception-referred to as abortion inducing here as well, depending upon the mode…

    If you are trying to convert anyone to Christianity, I doubt you’ll get many takers with such an essay. Taking a self righteous stand against gays doesn’t work.

    • Jesus was kind to the hooker-I’m sure he must have ranted against gays.


      • Anna Gribowsky says

        Mr. Fall, are you comparing apples and oranges here? Wasn’t Christ being kind to the repentant prostitute?

        • Daniel E Fall says

          If we follow the ways of Christ, however, he did not rant against gays, so why should we? You, Anna, changed the point of my rhetorical. Christ did not rant against gays.

          The Bible has been used to support slavery, to restrict the right to vote of women, and to now condemn homosexuality. But, in all fairness, there is not tons of content on homosexuality. I suspect it was because there weren’t many gays then either.

          • No one wants to rant against “gays”, but rather “the promotion and acceptance of sin”. Anna G. Is correct. You are talking apples and oranges and missing the point. Christ rewards the repentant. It is all about repenting, for all of us. You have confused things. The “hooker” as you call her didn’t remain so because SHE REPENTED. She changed and became a saint. She WAS something but became something else. She entered the community of Christ after her “Conversion”. Then she was something new. She left her profession and old identity behind.

            The Bible has been used for many a thing-but it does not mean that it actually approves of those things. It has never promoted slavery-it mentions it because that was the economy of most cultures, but that it never says it’s good and from God. It doesn’t say anything about women voting or not, but it does speak clearly about homosexuality-both Old and new Testament– and Christ believed no differently from those scriptures. He agreed with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, he uses it as an example. He blesses marriage as his first miracle in the Gospel of John. Will Christ accept the repentant sinner when he/she comes to Him? Yes!!! Always!

    • Michael Bauman says

      Mr. Fall, the antidote to sin is not more sin.

    • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

      “I guess Fr. Whiteford would prefer a return to the dark ages of children starving to death before abortion’s modern advent in overpopulated Japan, or the invention of contraception-referred to as abortion inducing here as well, depending upon the mode…”

      A child starving to death is always better than a child murdered by his own mother. At the moment of conception, it is no longer just the woman’s body, and if comes down to it, her life is the expendable one. Killing is not always murder, and even war can be justified, but murdering your own unborn child is always murder.

      • George Michalopulos says

        If impoverishment is an evil to be avoided at all costs as Mr Fall believes then we should exterminate those who don’t or can’t work for a living. At the very least, sterilize them. Hmmmm, where have we heard this before?

  14. Archpriest John Morris says

    I discussed Schaefer’s essay with Fr. Anthony Hughes. Fr. Anthony is not pro-gay. He supports the teaching of the Orthodox Church on this issue and does not approve or or advocate same sex marriages.

    • Daniel E Fall says

      Does the Orthodox church believe everyone, even those outside the church ought to follow the doctrines of the church?

      Ultimately, that is the question. Is it the churches position that we stuff our ideals down others proverbial throats? Should everyone celebrate Christmas on the same day? Oh wait, there is some uncertainty within on that one.. How about the EP? Does he recognize the OCA? Or the doctrines they follow? Is the Antiochian church non-canonical because its rulers are outside the physical territory of the church and does that mean they don’t even follow their own rules? The churches don’t even follow their own rules, how can they expect their rules to be the standards for others. The church in Russia preached forgiveness, but when 3 girls dirty danced in the church, they were sentenced to prison. The patriarch could have asked Putin to stop the punishment of them and called it childish. So much for the forgiveness doctrine.

      Society needs to answer hard questions sometimes about what rules to follow. Should society follow rules driven by theology? Right here, someone posted a story about a Christian woman persecuted for her religion because her religion was not in the majority. In the US, we have a freedom of religion. To me, that suggests, the religious rules we follow must not be followed by all by the very notions of freedom.

      Within the church, we must not accept abortion, nor ought we accept gay marriage. Outside the church, it is my position that I cannot force my ideals on others. And because of this, Bauman suggests I’m bifurcated. I don’t have a problem with different people having different rules they live by and having a set of rules society lives by that are not ordained solely on religious views of the majority (Eritrea).

      Polyamorous marriage? Let’s all agree to say NO.

      In Minnesota, the Republicans tried to ban gay marriage with an amendment. It failed sort of epicly because it became a get out the vote driver for Dems. On its face, it only failed by a margin, but the reward was gay marriage passed later through the legislature, even getting support from some Republicans who realized the political realities. Just how many people are we talking about? Keeping it simple, there are about 5 million people in MN. The state suggests 5,000 gay couples will marry in the first year. For semantics, let’s say another 5000 marry in the next 10 years, and we’ll discount death for a population of gay marrieds in MN of 20,000. That’d be a grand total of 4/10ths of 1% of the population. If I’m under by a full 100%, it still isn’t 1% of society.

      Keep beating that drum against 4/10ths of the population. This number is why Frank Schaeffer is right and the rest of you are wrong to argue so vehemently against gays. And part of why I disagreed with the premise of the ManDec.

      As for me, I personally am against gay marriage for an entirely different reason than theology, but I see no reason gays ought not be able to get the same rights as heterosexual marrieds. I just don’t like government recognizing social status of marrieds versus singles. And I certainly don’t see any reason to protest 4/10ths of the population for wanting equitable treatment under the law.

      Of course, there is a fair question. If Orthodox gays marry for equitable treatment under the law, what does that really mean? For me, I think the church mainly cannot recognize them as marrieds for receptions, anniversaries, etc. And that is about all the church needs to do….nothing.

      My 2 cents..

      • George Michalopulos says

        “Polyamorous marriage? let’s all agree to say NO.”


        • Well, marriage should be between two people, but I still think government has no business in blessing personal relationships. The irony of my position is it is sort of libertarian versus reactionary.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Marriage is not just about two people, that is another fallacy. Anyone who is Orthodox and ever read or attended an Orthodox marriage ceremony would know that. Marriage is part of God’s way of ordering human community and allowing us to fulfill the commandments to dress and keep the earth, be fruitful and multiply and exercise our dominion in a righteous, just and sanctifying manner.

            The state, which is responsible for establishing and maintaining a just order definitely has an interest in determining what is a marriage and what isn’t. BUT, when the state goes against the ordained order of creation, it ceases to be a legitimate exercise of its authority.

          • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

            “Well, marriage should be between two people.”

            Muslims are entitled by the Koran to up to four wives, and unlimited temporary wives and sex slaves. And as you say: “In the US, we have a freedom of religion. To me, that suggests, the religious rules we follow must not be followed by all by the very notions of freedom.” How dare you impose your Western (aka Christian) theological based monogamy upon them!

            And then there is your hate speech about marriage being between two “people.” How dare you impose your theology driven values upon those with different sexual orientations! People who were born with sexual desire for horses, cows, cats, dogs, sheep, goats, chickens, hamsters, etc. How dare you deny their love, how dare you deny them the ability to marry their loved ones and receive tax benefits! Or perhaps I’m being too hard on you, and you recognize that animals are non person “people” too, entitled to our the same rights and freedoms as humanity? (but that still wouldn’t excuse your ignorant hatethink “marriage should be between two people”!)


        • Yrs Daniel, stop pushing your religious doctrines on the rest of us.

      • Disgusted With It says

        “Does the Orthodox church believe everyone, even those outside the church ought to follow the doctrines of the church?”

        Yes. Christ called everyone to follow him. We cannot force or coerce people to follow Christ, but we certainly do believe they should.

        • Ladder of Divine Ascent says

          Does the Orthodox church believe everyone, even those outside the church ought to follow the doctrines of the church?”

          Yes. Christ called everyone to follow him. We cannot force or coerce people to follow Christ, but we certainly do believe they should.

          We cannot force or coerce people to follow Christ, but in countries in which we have the influence, we can certainly craft the laws governing abortion, infanticide, sodomy, marriage, incest, etc, to reflect Natural Law. Some group’s ideas of right and wrong and “normal” will be imposed over these areas, so it might as well be us.

        • Daniel E Fall says

          Anonymous poster…we believe everyone should follow the doctrines of the church? A doctrine of the church is to fast during Lent. We certainly don’t believe everyone should fast do we? Should fasting become the law of the land and no meats are sold during Lent, for example? Sorry, but the doctrines of religions should never be laws of the land. They can form a basis for them, but certainly not in absolute terms.

          And following Christ doesn’t necessarily mean sin ends either.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Mr. Fall you are being sloppy: the doctrines of the Church are about Jesus Christ, the nature of man, the Incarnation and salvation: belief that is essential to salvation and being Christian.

            There is a moral practice that flows from that but is not really “doctrine” but is simply an understanding of how people who are human should behave. What is right and what is wrong. These behaviors, as St Justinian and indeed the Church until now should form the law of any just and righteous society.

            Fasting is a specific spiritual practice that is not essential to salvation as doctrine nor universal moral goodness.

            Your argument is once again founded on an incorrect assumption and therefore fallacious.

            Why are you so intent on arguing for an amoral secularism that dehumanizes people and trys to strip God from the world?

          • Disgusted With it says

            Mr Fall,

            I think you’re putting words in my mouth. My comment did not say anything about making doctrine the law of the land. My remark was in response to what seems to be a flawed assumption implied by your opening question as it currently reads. Whether one thinks that Christian doctrine should be the law of the land is one thing. But the question of whether the Orthodox Church believes everyone “ought to” follow the doctrines of the church is a different thing completely. Certainly the Church believes everyone should follow Christ and struggle to live up to the the teachings of the Church. We are all invited and called to do so.

            Perhaps you would want to change your question to read “…ought to be compelled to follow…” if that’s the point you’re trying to make. I hope you see my point now.

            • Daniel E Fall says

              Christianity may be the basis for many laws, but we will live in a society in the US that is not driven by the theology of one religion. We can wish it to be otherwise, but it is as unreal as Dennis Kucinich’ idea that government can create utopia. Everytime a law is passed that doesn’t exactly jive with Christianity, the sky is not falling.

              So, our laws must consider others ideals and how others are affected. That doesn’t mean we need to self govern to those rules, or that society will collapse if the rules are different than ours.

              I, for one, can’t comprehend homosexuality. I can’t also comprehend how those two gay guys in the article will impact my life negatively. I’m sure someone will offer conjecture, but I just don’t see it.

              Bauman…you seem to think that if society establishes laws that disagree with the Bible that it means God will be stripped from the world, but I don’t agree. In fact, I think each person should decide whether they want to believe in God and how.

              A person was a friend of mine years ago and he said, “…. your Jesus”. Our friendship ended and that was fine with me. In a world governed by theology, he might have been punished for his words. I don’t see the need.

              • Michael Bauman says

                Mr. Fall, you are about as far from understanding my statements as I can imagine. Did not say what you think I said, did not mean what you think I mean.

                Forgive me for my total inablity to communicate. I hope you are correct that the gay revoloution will have little impact on believers or the Church. I am not sanguine.

      • Ops! I meant to register thumbs down rather that thumbs up.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Mr. Fall.

        RE: Your question as to whether the Church expects everyone to follow her teachings.

        The manner in which you pose the question and then pretend to answer it is deeply flawed.

        1. Your post assumes that the Church is just another human institution among many others all essentially equal . (Fallacy one of libertarianism)

        2. Essentially you seem to be saying that a person’s life is entirely separate from every other person’s life. (Fallacy two of libertarianism)

        3. Your post assumes that there is some sort of non-moral foundation for law and custom when in fact all law has a moral and cultural foundation. Law is formed from the spiritual and moral foundation of the particular culture that expresses it. These laws express how we want to be ordered and governed as a community of persons not as competing individuals (Fallacy three of libertarianism)

        4. All law is an expression of what is right and what is wrong and contains penalties for doing wrong. Modern libertarian idealism aside there really is non-subjective standards of right and wrong.

        5. Should anyone transgress the law and be shown to have transgressed the law, those penalties are going to be incurred (except in the egalitarian solipsism of what passes for ethical thought these days).

        6. The enforcement of any law that is based on any standard of community understanding of right and wrong (as all law ultimately is) can always be characterized as ‘stuffing someone else’s morality down the throats” of others,

        Those who object to the homosexual agenda as it is enacted into law are already suffering at the hands of the new moral consensus: loosing businesses, reputations and jobs. (The ultimate hypocrisy of the ‘tolerance’ crowd. George Orwell would recognized them for what they were long ago.)

        7. Your argument is an entirely specious one.

        If you really believe that the teaching of the Church is the truth of salvation for everyone and that, among many other things, sin harms one’s chances for salvation AND our Lord Himself desires everyone to be saved then who would not want a society and its laws to conform as much as possible to the teachings of the Church. Certainly that is part of the history of the Church and could be considered to be part of the revealed tradition.

        At the same time, it is an existential reality that without a Christian monarch or a truly great awakening of the people as a whole, no such society has a whisper’s chance in Arrowhead Stadium (which on any given Sunday can produce a decibel level that exceeds that of a jet engine over a large area) of happening.

        That does not mean that we should cease trying. The Church through we, Her members, has a God-given responsibility to preach the Gospel, heal the sick and give hope to the hopeless. We do this in many ways: almsgiving, pastoral teaching and care, Eucharistic worship, forgiveness, prayer, the witness of our spiritual transformation

        But, one of the things that was prominent in Jesus ministry was the public call to repentance announced by the Forerunner and Baptist John: “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” Mercy is not acquiescence to someone’s sin, neither is it punishment for punishment’s sake, nor is there anyone outside the scope of Jesus call to follow Him.

        So to answer your initial question, Yes, the Church longs for and should long for everyone to live a life in accord with the revealed truth of salvation. Yes, that means there should be laws reflecting that. Law alone will not be enough. Neither is simply repeating the call to repentance without a deep and through explanation of the truth with wisdom and zeal.

        The greater question is why would anyone in the Church think it is OK to simply allow people to violate their own souls and loose their salvation while we remain silent? Did not Jesus say to leave the 99 and look for the 1 who has gone astray (that’s less than 2%)?

        Your argument, Mr. Fall, is one of apathy, quietism and neglect.

      • Michael Bauman says

        Mr. Fall, here is a post about the Orthodox understanding of law and society. It is short, thoughtful and to the point:

        • While I have the two-volume Rahlfs edition of the Greek 70, I have to say that it is significantly different from the canonical Greek 70, especially in the psalms, my particular bailiwick.

          Were the patriarchate of Constantinople and the church of Greece to embrace this latest critical edition as superior to what we’ve been using for the last couple of thousand years, I’d be delighted to use it as a standard.

          But considering the generally poor quality of translations into English provided by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, I don’t think that their endorsement of this latest effort counts for much.

          • I’m grateful to Peter Papoutsis for his clarification, which helped me to understand that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America isn’t endorsing the latest critical edition of the Greek 70, but collaborating with the American Bible Society in producing an English-language translation of it.

            Even so, given the GOAA’s translations up to now, I fear that their participation in this project will be unhelpful.

            This is because there’s a sort of ethnic, homogenetic pride active among the Greeks in America (at least) which continually asserts that since many of them are native speakers of Modern Greek, they have a somehow privileged access to Classical and/or KoinE Greek. As proof that this assumption is false, I adduce the many poorly translated liturgical publications of the GOAA these last several decades.

            This assertion of ethnic privilege is ridiculous. The confusion between words and expressions which meant one thing many centuries ago and what they mean now is almost undetectable by native speakers of Modern Greek who haven’t been well educated in their own language’s history and the meaning of its ancient forms. The same can be said of speakers of Modern English or any other of our contemporary languages regarding the ancient forms of those same languages.

            The ABS people (not Greeks, not Greek Americans, mostly Protestants) are very likely to bend to the assertion of a purported ethnic privilege, at least on the editorial level, while those of us who’ve gone to school to study the ancient idioms are marginalized, and mistranslations will continue to abound.

            Still, it will be good to see what heterodox scholarship has produced, since we have so few orthodox scholars working on the Bible.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Monk James, interesting points. It’s ironic but we must also keep in mind not only the relative ignorance of modern Greek-Americans regarding Ancient Greek and Koine but the espousal of modern liberalism by much of the clerical intelligentsia. Speaking for myself, when the “official” version of the Creed was rammed down our throats about 10 years ago, many of us were aghast at its “gender inclusivity.” Instead of “Ton dimas anthropous kai…” being translated as “And for us men and…” it was rendered “And for us and…”

              Various other translations were atrocious as well. Example: instead of “myrrh-bearing women,” we were given “ointment-bearing women.” There is no theological issue at stake here but as a literary trope it is extremely clunky. Other examples abound.

              I fear you may be right: the ABS may give way to the GOA intelligentsia simply because they wave the magic wand of Greekness over their heads.

              • Speaking for myself, when the “official” version of the Creed was rammed down our throats about 10 years ago, many of us were aghast at its “gender inclusivity.” Instead of “Ton dimas anthropous kai…” being translated as “And for us men and…” it was rendered “And for us and…”

                τὸν δι’ ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους: tous anthropous is plural, and in this context clearly refers to human beings, broadly speaking, not (male) men. The word was often gender-inclusive when plural in number. Therefore, to be “aghast at” and to regard as “atrocious” the translators’ recognition of a commonplace, elementary Koiné Greek denotation, even if just “speaking for yourself,***” is more than a little weird. Are you a scholar of Koiné? If the composers of the Symbol of Faith meant to restrict the denotation here to male human beings they could have used the genitive plural of ἀνήρ as the object of the preposition. The expanded version approved at the First Council of Constantinople in 381 used identical language at this point in the text. These facts should be clues that the knee-jerk “conservative” indignation on public display might be inadequately informed. I take it you don’t mean to deny that the plural of anthropos often denoted humankind, human beings, in Koiné. Or do you?

                I do hesitate to ask this, however: What are you suggesting? That Christ came only to save male human beings, according to the fathers at Nicea and I Constantinople? Or what?

                ***You blatantly contradict yourself, and within the same sentence: you assert a claim to be speaking for “many of us,” too.

              • A close look at when (and speculation about why) the Jewish authors/redactors(?) of the NT text used ἄνθρωπος and when they used ἀνήρ or more rarely ἀνδρός is certainly very profitable exercise for developing hermeneutic sensitivity, I’d say. I suspect that some surprises might be in store here for many people. But this is a separate question from the one to do with what Greek-speaking and, presumably, mostly Gentile theologians meant three centuries later, in the point at issue.

              • correction: I meant plural accusative (of cause), not genitive, for the case of the object of διά in the text of the Nicean-Constantinopolitan Creed, to which George alluded in his complaint about throat-rammed translations.

                “. . . they could have used the genitive accusative plural of ἀνήρ as the object of the preposition.”

                Having said this, Monk James’s point about the overall poor quality of many GOAA translations seems true to me. The particular instance that arouses George’s wrath (and allegedly that of the “many of us” for whom he claims to speak) is not an example of poor translation, however. To be accurate. (No doubt just another waste of my time to bother saying it, since accuracy isn’t much appreciated in this joint.)

              • Justina (Christine Erikson) says

                since “men” would refer to “mankind” incl. women it is not “modern” but gets the idea across. I recall a protestant woman calling into a protestant radio show, complaining that she couldn’t get anything out of Proverbs because it is mostly written to the writer’s SON. Since
                this mentality exists a whole lot, gender inclusive may not be that far wrong IF it doesn’t mess with doctrine (like calling God “Mother and Father” or “It” or something like that). The intention of the Creed, as shown by the behavior of the Church from Apostles to now, not to mention of Jesus Christ Himself, is NOT to exclude women from salvation.

              • . . . since “men” would refer to “mankind” incl. women it is not “modern” but gets the idea across.

                “Men” is at best equivocal to the modern ear and downright misleading to many. An interesting theological issue (and point of Koiné syntax/grammar) is why these 4th-century theologians used “δι’ ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους” rather than just “δι’ ἡμᾶς.” If I ever knew why, I’ve forgotten. As I noted, the language at this point is identical in both Greek versions of the creed, the simpler text of 325 and the expanded product seen in the Acts of the 1 Constantinople Ecumenical Council.

                The first known Latin translation of the 325 version of the Nicaean Creed, from a text of Hilarius of Poitiers, the great 4th-century Western opponent of Arius in Roman Gaul, omitted any hint of the eponymous τοὺς ἀνθρώπους: qui propter nostram salutem descendit.* It reappears, however, in the Latin translation of the more or less final redaction of the Creed, formally promulgated at Chalcedon (451): Qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem descendit de caelis. (Note the addition of de caelis.)

                . . . The Creed is also sometimes called the Nicene-Constantinoplian Creed since it appears in the Acts of the Council of Constantinople (381), but it is clear that this Council is not the source of that composition for it appears in complete form in the Ancoratus of Epiphanius of Salamis some seven years earlier in 374. In any case, it was this text that appears in the Acts of the Council of Constantinople that was formally promulgated at Chalcedon in 451 and has come down to us as our present Nicene Creed.

                *De Synodis et De Fide Orientalium, 84. Migne, PL, vol. 10, Col. 536

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              “Heterodox scholarship” is an interesting phrase…..

              Quite apart from the question of Greek, there is the question of English, as to which I assume the GOA has no special claims of expertise!

            • Probably more pertinent to the poor translations used in the GOA are:

              1. a commitment to maintaining the meter or the Greek so the chant melodies remain the same in English (as their musical modes are highly dependent on meter regardless of language), no matter the violence done to the text, and

              2. “A sort of ethnic, homogenetic pride active among the Greeks in America (at least) which continually asserts that since many of them are native speakers of Modern Greek, they have a somehow privileged” perspective on whether a given English translation from Greek is good English or not – knowing what the Greek means can matter little when it comes to the accuracy and styling of an English translation, the nuances of which language often seem lost by many Greeks (as the nuances of and between modern, katharvousa, koine, or attic Greek are lost on the average anglophone [and perhaps many grecophones, too].)

          • M. Stankovich says


            I liked the idea of purchasing the electronic version (which has the obvious advantages for searching, etc.) for the Mac & iPad – the review you provided had a link to Olive Tree, which is a respected developer of Scriptural software for both Windows & Mac – but for the time being, they only offer the New Testament. The desktop and the iPhone/iPad versions are sold separately as an “in-program purchase” for $35.99. The Scriptural software and the KJV is free. The website makes no mention as to when they plan to offer the Old Testament.

            Thank you for the review and the link!

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            I like the RSV best of all, but then I was raised Presbyterian. The NRSV is bowdlerized dreck. I care little for the various “New” KJVs, including the Orthodox Study Bible. My everyday bible is still the Oxford RSV edition with the “apocrypha”.

            I am interested to hear the comments about GOA translations, about which I know nothing, except a translation by the GOA that I heard and read recently in a vespers service of the 50th/51st Psalm was nearly incomprehensible, almost unreadable, and left me wondering….

            • ‘Tim R. Mortiss’ (November 11, 2013 at 8:27 pm) says:

              ‘I like the RSV best of all, but then I was raised Presbyterian. The NRSV is bowdlerized dreck. I care little for the various “New” KJVs, including the Orthodox Study Bible. My everyday bible is still the Oxford RSV edition with the “apocrypha”.

              ‘I am interested to hear the comments about GOA translations, about which I know nothing, except a translation by the GOA that I heard and read recently in a vespers service of the 50th/51st Psalm was nearly incomprehensible, almost unreadable, and left me wondering….’

              Well, de gustibus non est disputandum and all that notwithstanding, our preference for a particular translation of the scriptures ought to be based on something more solid than mere familiarity or inertia.

              In fact, there’s a lot to be said not only for accuracy in rendering and readability and sonority, but also for theological resonance, this last consideration making it wrong for us to blasphemously pray ‘lead us not into temptation’.

              BTW: I don’t take so dour a view of the NRSV (the New Testament, anyway) as do some critics. But then, I know when exclusive language and inclusive language are appropriate for the sake of accuracy, and when they’re not. Exclusive forms in the KJV, RSV, etc., etc. are NOT always correct.

              Here’s one of my attempts at PS 50, which I hope our correspondent will appreciate.

              Monk James, quem timor mortis non conturbat

              PSALM 50 (51 Hebrew)

              1. At the end; a psalm of David.
              2. When the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba’, the wife of `UriyYah.
              3. Have mercy on me, God, in accordance with Your great mercy.
              and, in accordance with Your abundant compassion,
              wipe away my lawless deed.
              4. Wash me clean of my lawlessness, and purge me of my sin.
              5. For I recognize my lawlessness, and my sin is ever in my sight.
              6. I sinned against You alone, and I did evil in Your sight.
              You will then be justified in the sentence You give,
              and You will be vindicated when You pass judgement.
              7. For behold, I was conceived amid lawless deeds,
              and in the midst of sins my mother bore me.
              8. For behold, You love truth;
              You explain to me the unknown secrets of Your wisdom.
              9. You will sprinkle me with hyssop, and I will be purified.
              You will wash me clean, and I will become whiter than snow.
              10. You will make me hear joy and gladness; my humiliated bones will rejoice.
              11. Turn Your face from my sins, and wipe away all my lawless deeds.
              12. Create a pure heart within me, God, and renew an upright spirit deep inside me.
              13. Do not cast me away from Your face, or take Your Holy Spirit away from me.
              14. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and strengthen me with Your guiding Spirit.
              15. I will instruct lawless people in Your ways, and irreverent people will turn back to You.
              16. Rescue me from bloodshed, God, God of my salvation!
              My tongue will rejoice in Your righteousness!
              17. Lord, You will open my lips and my mouth will proclaim Your praise.
              18. Had You desired a sacrifice, I would have given it;
              but You will not be pleased by whole-burnt offerings.
              19. A broken spirit is a sacrifice to God;
              God will not spurn a humbled, broken heart.
              20. Lord, be good to Zion in Your good will,
              so that the walls of Jerusalem may be built.
              21. Then You will take pleasure in a sacrifice of righteousness,
              in an oblation or in whole-burnt offerings.
              Then they will offer young bulls upon Your altar.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                I do like it; indeed the comparison of translations is usually quite instructive.

                I agree that the NRSV uses “inclusive” terms at many places where they are quite suitable and preferable as good translation, but there is an underlying bias behind the project that produced some bad stuff, in my opinion.

                My two biggest personal reasons for using the RSV above all others is, first, it is a very good translation into very fine English, preserving, as it set out to do, much of the great phraseology and “music” of the Tyndale/KJV tradition.

                Second, it is the book of memory and memorization. Psalm 50/51 is the perfect example. The RSV is not only good as poetry and translation, it is the one I know by heart, as is true of other passages. I have found over the years, happily, that it is the one used in most Orthodox English services I have attended.

                One big difficulty in using various translations is that it is thereby hard to learn things by heart. One does have to pick one.

              • To Monk James says

                Dear Monk James,

                Thank you for the beautiful translation into English. It sings

              • M. Stankovich says

                Mr. Mortiss,

                You make an excellent point about learning a translation “by heart,” and I was grateful to Peter last year when he mentioned his like for the RSV. I was in and around St. Vladimir’s Seminary for nearly 25-years and the chapel “psalter” was the RSV, not only chanted, but sung (e.g. during Great Lent, we would divide into 2 choirs on either side of the chapel and sing the appointed Kathismata antiphonally: (I) “In my distress I cry to the Lord” (II) That He may answer me.”). Every morning and every evening; every vigil the 6-Psalms dividing Vespers & Matins; the Psalms appointed during the services, etc., etc. The RSV is beautifully poetic & wonderfully singable! But, I also understand that familiarity drives the opinion of those passionate regarding the KJV… Nevertheless, your point is well taken by me!

              • What of the translation of Psalm 50/51 by Arch. Ephrem Lash for the EP’s Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain?:

                Have mercy on me, O God, in accordance with your great mercy. According to the multitude of your compassion blot out my offence. Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my wickedness, and my sin is ever before me. Against you alone I have sinned and done what is evil in your sight, that you may be justified in your words and win when you are judged. For see, in wickedness I was conceived and in sin my mother bore me. For see, you have loved truth; you have shown me the hidden and secret things of your wisdom. You will sprinkle me with hyssop and I shall be cleansed. You will wash me and I shall be made whiter than snow. You will make me hear of joy and gladness; the bones which have been humbled will rejoice. Turn away your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. Create a clean heart in me, O God, and renew a right Spirit within me. Do not cast me out from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Give me back the joy of your salvation, and establish me with your sovereign Spirit. I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn to you again. O God, the God of my salvation, deliver me from bloodshed and my tongue will rejoice at your justice. Lord, you will open my lips, and my mouth will proclaim your praise. For if you had wanted a sacrifice, I would have given it. You will not take pleasure in burnt offerings. A sacrifice to God is a broken spirit; a broken and a humbled heart God will not despise. Do good to Sion, Lord, in your good pleasure; and let the walls of Jerusalem be rebuilt. Then you will be well pleased with a sacrifice of righteousness, oblation and whole burnt offerings. Then they will offer calves upon your altar.


              • To Monk James (November 13, 2013 at 7:28 pm) says:

                ‘Dear Monk James,

                Thank you for the beautiful translation into English. It sings’


                While I thank our correspondent for this expression of appreciation, I’d like to mention once again that I’m a sort of nuts-and-bolts translator.

                I dig deeply for the essential and accurate meaning of the Greek, and represent it in English
                as best I can. Then poets and musicians must review my (or any translator’s) work, clean it up and make it suitable for use in the services or in a yet-to-be-produced orthodox christian version of the scriptures in English.

                More than twenty years ago, I devised a skhema for this, a flow chart, showing how the work of translation should be collaboratively done. I submitted it to OCA central, but it was ignored.

              • Tim R. Mortiss (November 13, 2013 at 11:12 am)says:

                I do like it; indeed the comparison of translations is usually quite instructive.

                I agree that the NRSV uses “inclusive” terms at many places where they are quite suitable and preferable as good translation, but there is an underlying bias behind the project that produced some bad stuff, in my opinion.

                My two biggest personal reasons for using the RSV above all others is, first, it is a very good translation into very fine English, preserving, as it set out to do, much of the great phraseology and “music” of the Tyndale/KJV tradition.

                Second, it is the book of memory and memorization. Psalm 50/51 is the perfect example. The RSV is not only good as poetry and translation, it is the one I know by heart, as is true of other passages. I have found over the years, happily, that it is the one used in most Orthodox English services I have attended.

                One big difficulty in using various translations is that it is thereby hard to learn things by heart. One does have to pick one.
                I am grateful that our correspondent appreciates the value of comparing translations. Each and all of them contribute something to our consideration of meaning, and it’s rare that any of them are completely accurate.

                Still, we can learn something from them all, but we must bear in mind the theological implications of various renderings.

                It’s undeniably true that the mnemonic value of standard translations is great, but we have to brake ourselves at the point where we ask: ‘Are we memorizing the truth, or are we internalizing a mistake which will immunize us against the truth should it ever come our way?’

                We keep repeating ‘Our Father which art in heaven….’ only because inertia is sometimes stronger than truth, and our bishops are afraid of losing people by upsetting them. Let me tell you: Our OCA is losing people not because of challenging revisions in language, but because of the immorality of our bishops.

                In the particular matter of PS 50, I’d like to adduce the consistently mistranslated (at least in English) verse 7. Were we to continue to say that we were ‘conceived in iniquity’ and that our mothers gave birth to us ‘in sin’, we would perforce buy into the RC doctrine that we are all ‘guilty’ of ‘original sin’ and hence fall into the strange theological anthropology of the ‘immaculate conception’ of the Theotokos which — in their opinion — made her uniquely qualified to be the Mother of God.

                Of course, such an idea makes her something other than human, and deprives us of her role-model status as someone who — by her own divinely given free will — always chose to cooperate with the will of God.

                Had our blessed Panagia Theotokos been ‘conceived without the stain of original sin’ (as the RCs say), she would have had no free will, but MUST only have said ‘yes’ to the archangel. But the Gospel tells us that she balked, and that completely undermines all such heterodox considerations.

                So, please let’s not memorize and internalize heterodox translations without some serious revisions.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis November 13, 2013 at 10:49 am)says:

                ‘Nice translation. If its ok with you I would like to correspond with you privately on such text and translation matter. However, I know as a Monk you are probably busy, but if you have time I would live to talk to you about such matter.’


                I thank Peter Papoutsis for his compliments.

                George Michalopulos has my e-mail address, and he has PP’s too. He has my permission to put us in touch.

              • Tim R. Mortiss says

                Lash’s translation clearly follows the KJV/RSV model. It’s a good one, except I take exception to “for, see” instead of “behold”, a much better expression! That is my two-cents!

                Monk James mentions “heterodox translations” and either he or someone else recently in this discussion referred to “heterodox scholarship”. I do think we should clarify what is meant by these expressions.

                I would not support “heterodox scholarship”, because like “heterodox engineering”, “heterodox medicine”, “heterodox physics”, and so on, it would produce unreliable results! For example, I will not fly in a plane designed by heterodox aeronautical engineers, because I would fear that it would not stay in the air. I don’t hire “heterodox accountants” because their failure to follow generally-accepted accounting principles would get me in trouble with the IRS….

                So, is a “heterodox translation” one done by non-Orthodox Christians? Or one which, by reason of this or something else, sets forth views or doctrines contrary to Orthodox theology?

                As far as single-author translations into English are concerned, I do like and frequently read Richmond Lattimore’s New Testament translation.

            • Tim R. Mortiss says

              Here is probably as good a place as any to note the death of Sir John Tavener:


              May his memory be everlasting!

      • Archpriest John Morris says

        There is a difference between forcing our Orthodox doctrine on non-Orthodox and working for what is healthy for society. The normalization of homosexuality and the undermining of marriage as between one man and one woman is not healthy for our society not for religious reasons, but for reasons of the moral stability of society. The acceptance of homosexuality reduces sex down to the level of something done only for pleasure, and robs it of its ultimate meaning as the creation of new life and the union of a man and a woman. If a heterosexual couple came to me and asked to be married but told me that they planned to have no children, I would not marry them, because the text of the marriage service makes it clear that part of marriage is the blessing of children if they are physically capable of bearing children. As a result of the acceptance of homosexuality, we have normalized sexual immorality and cheapened God’s creation of sex. Therefore just as we are concerned with the welfare of the truly needy poor, we should also be concerned with the moral health of our society.

        • Justina (Christine Erikson) says

          The problem of homosexual marriage is NOT that it makes sex only for pleasure, but that it endorses PERVERTED pleasure and the perversion of soul that would take pleasure in such an action.
          The idea that marriage is primarily to produce children is a Roman Catholic not Orthodox notion, coming from St. Augustine (who was excellent in dealing with Pelagianism, but took things too far in the opposite direction which later spawned Calvinism and essentially revived the filioque heresy first taught by the Eunomian heretics), who, apparently not being that well versed in The Apostolic Epistles, claimed that a wife married for pleasure is nothing but a legal prostitute.

          Trouble is, St. Paul NEVER LINKS MARRIAGE TO REPRODUCTION. You do heterosexual stuff often enough without contraception, and ONLY the kinds that kill the unborn are condemned in the Canons, you will reproduce anyway. ST. PAUL ALWAYS ADDRESSES THE ISSUE OF AVOIDING FORNICATION BY MARRYING, AND SAYS THAT MARRIAGE IS A DISTRACTION FROM THE SPIRITUAL LIFE, because it tends to shift your priorities from pleasing God to pleasing your wife or your husband.

          Genesis chapter two says that the man should not be alone, the focus is on companionship, out of which the two will eventually move to physical intimacy and become one flesh, which St. Paul states is the automatic result of sexual intercourse, not the state of mind better called one soul or one spirit that people confuse with one flesh, and says therefore since this is the case, the fornicator sins against his own flesh, while all other sins are outside of the body.

          St. Paul spends more time denouncing male unchastity than female unchastity, probably because it was more of a problem with the double standard and all. Polygamy was a tolerated form of adultery like divorce and remarriage was, which unlike casual fornication at least involved a permanent or hopefully permanent relationship and was not impersonal.

          • Michael Bauman says

            Justina, the Orthodox marriage service clearly links marriage and procreation. While, like many other things, it is not dogmatized in the Orthodox Church as it is in the RCC, neither is it quite accurate that it is absent.

            While companionship is certainly a big part of marriage the synergistic union is also much more–creative in many other ways than procreation of children.

            Marriage allows us to fulfill the three commands in Genesis: Dress and keep the earth; be fruitful and multiply; have dominion over the earth.

            Since marriage is a type of the incarnational union of Christ and His Church, it is also sacramental in nature allowing the dominion we are given to be transformative for the rest of creation rather than oppressive and rapacious.

            Marriage is not solely about children or companionship or anything other than magnifying the gifts of God and ordering creation and giving thanks to God for all things. Monks would not be needed except for the perversity of our sin.

  15. Dan Fall says,

    I think Stankovich makes a good point that this is something best discussed with one’s priest…bishop, rather than criticizing the host.

    Would the host ask them to leave? Unlikely.

    Whether you like it or not-gay clergy have caused problems for the OCA. Usually because someone else takes advantage of the info…

    Since the USSR tread is now closed I would like to pick it up here and clarify some points from the other tread.

    Dan, I was not criticizing SVS for their Anniversary event. It was grand. My point is that the retired priest in question with his gay companion at his arm, bringing him to the event, coming out, as it were, to any and all who did not already know goes to the root that this man either felt it was totally appropriate for him and his companion to be in public or possibly he was making a statement such as, “here we are folks, deal with it.”

    Some may call such an act brazen but others in the OCA may call it just another example of the OCA questioning the Tradition of the Church, that we now must make a choice, a choice this priest and his lover are throwing in our faces. Like the saying goes, “we are here and we are queer.”

    I don’t have anything against, nor do I think it is wrong for a priest to commune gay or lesbian people as long as they understand that they need to struggle against their inclinations, that such inclinations are sinful. If they are making the struggle, then their struggle is in line with any other sinful inclination that a person struggles with and against.

    However, when a divorced priest, now retired, who has lived with his male companions for decades now uses the SVS event to present his life choice to others, and I believe that is what he was doing, changes the entire dynamic. The priest obviously does not think what he is doing or how he is living is wrong, ergo, no struggle is necessary. And that is the issue that is infecting, as Monk James stated on the other tread, the OCA in the highest places and with prominent clergy.

    Let’s not kid ourselves, there are gays and lesbians in our parishes, they have been there since the Church started, that is not the point. But the agenda, I believe now is that since same-sex marriage is being legalized in state after state, the movement is now afoot to recognize these marriages and to fully integrate these new relationships in the Orthodox Church. OCA priests have made this decision on their own and are already communing “these people.”

    That is the end game and because the OCA considers itsself autocephelous, these voices are using this “status” to suggest that the OCA can, and must, take the lead in being more inclusive, in recognizing these relationships and legitimating them by allowing these couples to commune.

    In these same communities we hear their clergy calling for a “dialogue” with these folks. That we can learn from them. “Dialogue?” About what? What is the starting point for such a “dialogue?” Isn’t what the Church has always taught clear enough? I don’t see how the Church can even start this “dialogue” unless its starting point is that homosexuality is a sin. Period. Of course if the goal of the “dialogue” is for the Church to evolve into now believing and teaching that it is not, then, no thanks. Not interested. But I am afraid that is exactly what we are hearing from the new OCA teachers. And, I will again suggest, is one reason why the OCA is losing its grip on Orthodoxy in America.

    In closing, I think Dan Fall says it all when he concludes that” Whether you like it or not-gay clergy have caused problems for the OCA. Usually because someone else takes advantage of the info…” is dismissive and flippant and goes against Scripture. What Holy Writ? Matthew 18:15-16

    “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.”

    However if we are now postulating that what we once thought was a sin is no longer a sin, well then I guess we don’t have to bother with this instruction, do we?

    • M. Stankovich says


      Now, take your napkin and wipe the fatted calf from your face. Hopefully, like the ghost of Anglican bishop from CS Lewis’ The Great Divide, you have convinced yourself you have taken the moral high-ground. As for me, I claim the second “thumbs up” for your above effort, and please extend your thanks to Mr. Michalopus for “moderating” my response to you for two days until the thread closed. One man’s moderation is another man’s censorship. He apparently is too “uncomfortable” with the Scripture, and you apparently are too frail. Surely harsher words lay ahead, my friends. “The Lord said to Job: “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!” (Job 40:1-2)

    • Well said.

      If guests were at my party and they acted inappropriately I would talk to them in private and if they refused my request, I would ask them to leave. So yeah I probably would go to the deans with this. . . . especially if I knew the Bishops would do nothing.

    • Ok James…there is absolutely zero correlation between your statement and mine. I suggested non-homosexual clerics have taken advantage of the secrets of homosexual clerics and that has been a problem for at least the OCA. What is flippant about that? It is fact and I am supporting your concern and suggesting homosexual clerics are a problem has merit! If that old fool you saw thinks this is a good decade for a revolution; even this liberal appreciates his error.

      Now go back and reread what I said-it wasn’t the tiniest bit flippant. Furthermore, if addressing the bishop is not helpful-did you mention that in the original post? If you said you complained about this to your priest or bishop with no effect, I would appreciate your efforts to complain more publicly.

  16. “I think it’s important that we stay close to our roots, and that we show our children what’s important,” said Wendy Cherbaka, a third-generation Lebanese-Canadian. The vast majority of the church’s congregants have origins from parts of the Arab world that has seen some of the worst turbulence recently, like Syria, Egypt and Iraq. What is a yearly Palm Sunday ceremony took on a slight political complexion this year.

  17. The “Back in the USSR” thread appears to be closed to comments, so I will post here if you’ll forgive me for doing so.

    This is not intended as a criticism of James. I have no idea what he did or did not do.

    But I will relate a lesson I have yet to learn fully from my wife. She perceives (I believe correctly) that this idea that we are disqualified to speak the truth…

    “mainly because none of us (myself included) is morally justified in their own lives.”

    …is a trap into which Orthodox Christians are especially prone to be ensnared, because it is a lie cleverly concealed under an undeniable truth. Moreover, it a pernicious lie that has become an easy excuse for cowardice in Orthodox Christian circles.

    Yes, we are all sinners. Yes, none of us is morally justified. But failure to speak the truth in love is a cowardly denial of the truth, a betrayal both of God and of those in desperate need of the rebuke of truth. We smile meekly in passive implied agreement instead of speaking the truth, the truth that is not dependent upon our righteousness. When speaking the truth we do not speak from ourselves but of God Himself who remains true though every man, including our self, be a liar.

    We often refuse to tell even our own children the truth because, after all, we ourselves have been guilty of the things against which we ought to council them. What foolishness! What an obvious trick of the Enemy to keep us all imprisoned in sin!

    Whenever someone speaks a lie as though it were true, even casually, my wife will no longer let it pass unchallenged. She is gracious; she is gentle, but she tells them the truth, steadfastly refusing to participate passively in the almost imperceptible but obvious decline in our knowledge of the truth of God and His desire both to preserve and to restore His image within all of us. She doesn’t pretend to be perfect, but she will no longer countenance the passive acceptance of anything contrary to the revealed loving will of God. Her loving courage puts me to shame.

    There can be no love without truth. Neither can there be truth without love. Truth and love are one.

  18. Archpriest Andrei Alexiev says

    I have a question to ask, was this priest’s alleged “other” actually holding his hand or arm? It’s true, as you say, there have always been homosexual clerics and homosexual Christians in general. The church is a spiritual hospital for sinners, not a museum of saints.
    Having said that, I quite agree that to ACT on any sexual impulses outside of marriage is wrong and those who indulge in ANY chronic sexual activity outside of marriage, same-sex, opposite sex, or both, can and should be denied the Sacraments until they repent.
    I repent of having stood in churches for about three months in lay clothing, when I began my leave of absence in 2007. I repent of having dated two women for about two years. I didn’t cohabit with either of them ,because to me, that would have closed the door forever to my serving at the Holy Altar. I’m no righteous man, on the contrary, if there is a worse priest out there than myself, I don’t happen to know him. I repent of having caused scandal for my sons, my friends, my flock ,past and present. I hope to spend the remaining days of my life in ” peace and repentance ” as we hear at every Vespers, Matins, and Divine Liturgy.
    Hollywood and society in general has gotten most of us sold on the notion of instant gratification, NO MATTER WHAT. We don’t even have to look at the gay lifestyle. The very concept of family life is mocked. Look at the male characters in sitcoms and cartoons from the 70″s on, Archie Bunker, Homer Simpson, and that “Family Guy” creature, just to cite three examples. These males,as heads of households, are all depicted as buffoons.
    I thank God that I was raised by a mother with old-fashioned values, even though she was politically as far to the left as possible, and died, I regret to say, an embittered atheist. Nevertheless, she DID teach me never to lie, never to try to claim something which I wasn’t entitled to, and also to be true to my convictions. She never was Orthodox herself, but she did respect my right to seek out and join the Faith that my father was raised in. Had I voiced my disagreement with the church’s teachings, she would have suggested that I find one I could agree with.
    One saying of hers I recall was, “your rights end where someone else’s rights begin”. If only society today followed that old-fashioned liberal maxim. We would, in the words of our host George, be content with a” live and let live” attitude. The church cannot abandon it’s moral position without ceasing to be the church. The church may take people as she finds them, but she need not LEAVE people as she finds them,

    • Thank you for being transparent and honest. It is refreshing. I don’t easily respect people, but you I respect.

      • Just guessing, but I bet you easily respect those who fork over 10K or whatever for your “icons.”

        This blog is such a joke.

        • George Michalopulos says

          You know, Mike, I was just thinking. Since Pope Francis has now thrown in the towel on upholding the magisterium of the Catholic Church, why don’t you just stay where you’re at? I think you’d be more comfortable there.

          • Bishop Tikhon Fitzgerald says

            George…I think it’s kind of an ABC of Roman Catholicism that the “magisterium” must uphold the teaching of the Pope—not vice-versa. Pope Francis has thrown in no towels whatsoever. Anyhow, i believe that there are not a few Orthodox Christians that opine that “Ecumenical” Patriarch Bartholomew has a long,long way to go to equal the steadfastness and consistency with his own Church’s Holy Tradition that has been shown by Pope Francis, even by those who get their views from popular media about the latter.
            I mean, some of these comments resemble in depth of content the comments once put forth by advocates of Jennifer Anniston vs. Angelina Jolie!

          • Tim R. Mortiss says

            Rather too soon to say Pope Francis has thrown in any towels. One thing about Rome, it takes the long view. One thing we should do is assess the effect of various things in the long term also, not on a weekly basis.

            A true Orthodox blog should operate at a snail’s pace. A hard thing for a blog to do!

            • George Michalopulos says

              You’re right: Rome always takes the long view. The trouble with Pope Francis (and I say this with a heavy heart after having supported him from the outset) is that his lacksadaisical view of the papacy and the Christian moral tradition means that the RC’s mission is hopelessly neutralized for the time being. Indeed, set back for a generation. He’s the polar opposite of both John Paul II –whose moral courage allowed him to stare down the Evil Empire–and Benedict XVI, whose intellectual brilliance was needed to bring down the Evil Empire of Materialism.

              • George I was pressing like about your eval of Popes Francis, John Paul II and Benedict and it went the other way! Perhaps the other 3 also intended like…

        • The above was “deleted” by me immediately after I posted it. Cranky mood that day. George, you do realize there’s a huge bug in your blog’s delete feature, right? It simply doesn’t work.

          • More accurately, the “Delete” feature does work, at first. Then, many days later, the “deleted” post makes an anabasis from cyber-Hades.

            Colette’s icons actually look quite lovely to me, there on her website. Beautifully written. I was just being snotty (and unfair — none of them cost 10K or anything close, as far as I could tell). And as noted I did try to “delete” this crack at once. But none of the posts I’ve “deleted,” for at least a few months now, have stayed for long in the cyber-underworld. Each one’s returned from the dead.

            • Well at least you attempted to delete it-thanks for the effort! The delete button doesn’t work for me either. . . . could we possibly fix that . . .???

            • Lola J. Lee Beno says

              You have about 59 minutes after posting with which to delete, and then afterwards, you can’t.

              • It simply doesn’t work. Even if you delete within 60 sec, as I did in the case above. They always wash up on the beach days later.

  19. If it’s the person I am thinking of, it should be noted that the “gay priest” with his lover/husband at the SVS anniversary is actually a defrocked priest who was removed from Orders when he left his wife for a man. So, he is a former priest of the OCA. I don’t think that has been clear to many. He is, however, an active member of an OCA parish. That and online pieces like this are still ‘scandalous’ without some explanation of the Church’s policy, in general, even if it is theoretically possible that the relationship is (now?) non-sexual.

    • 123,

      N, you are thinking of the other person. The person in question is still a priest. Still serves and is also a hero and model to the OCA’s Chancellor, this by the admission of the Chancellor and posted on his blog.