Breaking the Silence on Sexuality within the Orthodox Church

Pastoral Care

Thoughts on Love

This question of what is “natural” is at the heart of the dilemma, the theological way forward. I was careful not to use the word “natural” in my post (some posts down); we use natural every time there seems to be a logical consequence or the mirror is strong outside in nature, human or otherwise. What is natural is debated; what isn’t debated is that the inner sense of what is natural is important and bound up with human and metaphysical truth. So what is natural? This has been discussed here. To me the central part of our question abides in what man and woman are to each other, their creation, how that creation has changed since breaking with a higher order intended for them. Presently, de facto, they are not natural with each other. Natural, in its core, may have been as some have described male and female as separate but at the same time one whole, their spacial relationship different, their nakedness covered in divine light, their love complete without intercourse, their communion with God so intense that the sense of a “private couple” an oxymoron. I don’t know and it is hard to carry on the tradition of the midrash and haggadah of the Rabbis or the Church Fathers. But they tried and perhaps succeeded in many ways with their exegesis. Varying interpretations has always been Traditional.

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“It Gets Better”: Orthodox Version

In my frustration about the lack of an Orthodox Christian “It Gets Better” video in response to gay teen suicide, I began to wonder what such a response would possibly be like coming from Orthodox clergy or hierarchs. But whenever I sat down to try to write one ( imagining myself in the kamilafka of any of our bishops) the result ended up satirical. So I made a special effort to make it non-satirical, to empathize with someone in the “traditional” position on sexuality and to postulate a compassionate response from that position. The following is what I came up with. I had to make up a fictional “help line” to make it reasonable. I, of course, don’t agree with this response, and I can spell out its flaws very specifically (and may be called on to do so). But this little exercise in empathy may serve the purpose of showing that those of us who support the inclusion of gay people in the church understand to some degree the position of those who don’t. I find it telling that not even something like this has appeared in response to the teen suicide awareness. Only silence.

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