Breaking the Silence on Sexuality within the Orthodox Church

Important message about the Listening Group

Please read this new message from the administrators recounting the history and purpose of this Facebook group, and outlining, in greater detail than before, guidelines for participation. This document will from here on out be sent to all new members.

The Facebook group Listening: Breaking the Silence on Sexuality in the Orthodox Church was begun in January 2011 as a open forum for discussion of issues in sexuality in the Church context, inspired by responses critical of His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah’s letter to the Armed Services Chaplain’s board protesting the repeal of the “Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell” policy regarding homosexuals in the U.S Military..

Membership in the group grew more quickly than anyone expected, and within the first few months a great deal of thoughtful and challenging dialogue was generated. Along with the dialogue came increased visibility, and the knowledge that the group was being observed and read by influential hierarchs, pastors, and theologians.

By the summer, the group began to come under attack by those in the Church who adamantly maintain that dialogue on sexuality cannot take place. The attacks have been vicious and hateful, and have caused the administrators to be necessarily cautious about who is allowed into the group as members, and to keep a careful watch on the conversations, both their content and their tone.

We note the above history so that those entering the group come in with an understanding seriousness of this project, of the importance of the dialogue, and of the fact that we are very widely observed. We, the administrators, are committed to keeping the group open so that broad observation may continue to take place. In order to do that, there are some behaviors in the group that we will not tolerate. Inappropriate language, disrespect, or ad hominem attacks are grounds for immediate expulsion. Provocative posts also constitute violation of the ethics of discourse. We welcome all points of view here with the exception of the view that says this dialogue cannot or should not take place.

This group has no political agenda and is emphatically not committed to “fighting a culture war”.

We ask everyone, regardless of their views, to be aware of the above noted history and guidelines and to post with that in mind. The Listening group isn’t intended to be used as a message board. Please keep the conversation focused on the topic at hand. And please keep each thread focused on the topic that originated it. Be mindful of the fact that a topic of interest to you may already have been discussed at length. Please review the “Documents” section in the right hand margin of the page to see past discussions. Sometimes it might make sense to revive one of those discussions and to refine it rather than starting all over with the same topic. Also, in consideration of the format of the online discussion, please try to keep the comments brief.

Thanks for joining the Listening group. We look forward to your participation.