Breaking the Silence on Sexuality within the Orthodox Church

Dave O'Neal

Some Comments on the Hopko Article

Below are a few comments on Fr Hopko’s article on homosexuality that was recently posted here. My comments are in boldface—if you can’t see the bold, go back and click on the document title itself, which should give you a version in which the bold shows up—it really can’t be read without the bold showing. This goes with apologies to Fr Hopko for the fact that these comments are on an article that’s now twenty years old, in case any of his views in it that I comment on have since been revised. Though I believe the criticisms remain apt because the article is still used as a reference by those who aim to shut down the gay dialogue.

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An Imaginary Dialogue

Inspired in part by Walter Savage Landor’s Imaginary Conversations of the Greeks and Romans and in part by the cheesy old 1970s TV show Meeting of the Minds, I imagined this conversation with Protobresbyter Alexander Schmemann of blessed memory as a way of facilitating, even if only in my mind, a dialogue I’d like to have with a respected churchman. The first speech below, which appears in italic, is taken from The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann, 1973-1983. All the rest I made up.


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Evil Is Powerless

Friends may have seen me post this beloved quote elsewhere, but it seems to me to apply to our business here–and to so many other things currently going on. I think we could also say that truth is powerless against falsehood. I take great hope from this.

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The Danger of Anonymity

There’s been some discussion lately among the administrators here and other interested parties about whether this group should allow anonymous comments and participation like some other web discussion groups do. We’ve pretty much come down on the side of not allowing anonymity here. This will hopefully prevent the sort of inappropriate “flaming” that happens on some sites.

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Most of us have had the experience of being amazed at coming up against someone’s perception of us that’s at odds with our perception of ourselves. Such an experience can be an occasion of insight. It can sometimes be funny; it can also be painful.

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The Tipping Point

I sometimes get the feeling from people on the “love the sinner-hate the sin” side of the sexuality discussion in our church that they take us of the opposing view to be people who, when confronted with our own same-sex attraction, simply chucked all the church’s teaching in the interest of getting laid.

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This Group’s Original Statement of Purpose

This group was started to continue the conversation generated by several open letters to Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), in response to his public statements on sexuality, church teachings, and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  It is intended to be a forum for broader discussion on sexuality within the Orthodox Church generally. Membership is to open to all who are interested in honest, respectful, non-polemical conversation.

It Gets Better: My “real” version

Last week I posted a script for an “It gets better” video as I imagined it could be presented by someone representing the position on homosexuality taken by so many who perceive themselves to take a traditional view. I pointed out in the thread beneath it what I thought was wrong with it. Below is an “it gets better” statement as I might really do it, with words addressed to a young gay Orthodox Christian person:

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