August 20, 2014

After the Desert: A Faithful Catholic’s Reflection on Same-Sex Attraction


Steve Gershom (a pseudonym), the author of the following essay, is a faithful Catholic who has abandoned the homosexual life-style. Gershom affirms many points made earlier on the AOI Observer: the term gay, or even homosexual describes behavior and should never be construed ontologically, as a constituent of self-identity; homosexual actions are always sinful; the life of celibacy is not to be understood as a life of sexual self-denial, but at as a vocation (just as marriage is a vocation); that chastity is a means of self-integration and even joy; and more. Where Gersham succeeds very well is putting a human face on the struggle with same-sex attraction. All passions effect some kind of orientation. When the struggle against passion is begun in earnest however, the false self constructed within the orientation loses its grip as the real self starts to emerge. The author has, and is, experiencing the liberation in ways that anyone, even those who do not struggle with same-sex … [Read more...]

Fr. Gregory Jenson: Conscience and the Christian Life of Virtue


If you are not a regular reader of Fr. Gregory Jensen's blog Koinonia, bookmark, subscribe, or run down to your nearest internet cafe now! Seriously, Fr. Jensen offers some of the most cogent reflections on the Christian life (drawing deep from the Orthodox moral tradition) of any internet commentator that I know. "As iron sharpens iron, so sharpens a man the countenance of his friend" the scriptures tell us and one of the great benefits of internet dialogue (in spite of its raucous and sometimes irresponsible character) is that good people teach us good things that we need to know. Below Fr. Gregory writes about the necessity of maintaining the distinction between person and sin, person and passion, person and ideology (however a given circumstance might require the distinction to be framed) in order to both protect the integrity of the conscience and ensure its proper formation. It's the same distinction that I argue is collapsed in my recent article critiquing the Listening group … [Read more...]

Did Presbyterian Church USA Decline Start With “Dialogue”?


Does this sound familiar? Quoting Alan F.H. Wisdom, Adjunct Fellow of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD): “Progressive leaders have expressed their hope that the church could remain united, that people would not leave. They say that they want to have the contributions and involvement of more conservative Presbyterians in the denomination,” he explained. “However, the problem that many of us see is that [progressive Presbyterians’] rationale for deleting fidelity and chastity was justice. They regard it as discrimination that people would affirm marriage, but that they (at the same time) would not affirm people in same-sex relationships.” "Justice" is also a subtext of the Facebook group "Listening: Breaking the Silence on Sexuality within the Orthodox Church," the Orthodox wing of homosexual activism that seeks to abolish the prohibition against homosexual behavior in the moral tradition. (If the abolition of the prohibition is not … [Read more...]

Facebook “Listening” Group Drags Culture Wars into the Orthodox Church


By Fr. Johannes L. Jacobse Progressive fads sweep through the culture like clockwork. Remember the impending global ice age in the 1970s that morphed into global warming today? How about the fight about abortion where anyone who dared criticize it was branded as a hater of women? Remember the Equal Rights Amendment and how convinced its supporters were that it was absolutely necessary for a just society? None of these movements should be taken lightly of course but that doesn’t disqualify them as fads. There is always a strong strain of self-justification among Progressive Culture Warriors; a posturing that creates a facade of virtue and labels the critic as ignorant. Fellow travelers bask in that warm glow of imputed righteousness that they generously confer on each other. The rest of us can return to our caves. That kind of arrogance informs the new Facebook group “Listening: Breaking the Silence on Sexuality with the Orthodox Church.” The tendentious title … [Read more...]

Albert Mohler: Evangelicals and the Gay Moral Revolution

R. Albert Mohler Jr.

In the essay below, Dr. Mohler is speaking to an Evangelical Christian readership but many of his observations apply to all Christians. The normalization of homosexual behavior is a moral revolution Mohler writes and not one that Christians can join and remain faithful to their Christian faith. He's right about that. There will be pressure to adopt to this new morality as well. We even see it on the edges of the Orthodox Church with the Facebook group Listening: Breaking the Silence on Sexuality within the Orthodox Church for example. Who ever thought that some Orthodox would drag this battle of the culture war into the Church? Mohler takes the Evangelicals to task for their sloppy handing of the homosexual question. I'm not sure we Orthodox have been sloppy, but we have been complacent. The homosexual moral revolution is at bottom a question of anthropology, what it means to be a man or woman and thus a human being. We Orthodox know some things about human anthropology but … [Read more...]

OCALaity Urges OCA to Adopt “Sanctity of Marriage Sunday” Urges OCA to Adopt “Sanctity of Marriage Sunday”

St. Nicholas Cathedral (OCA)

From OCALaity: "St. Nicholas Cathedral in Washington DC has sent five resolutions to the OCA's Resolution Committee for consideration at the upcoming 16th All American Council. The resolutions can be found at The resolutions deal with marriage, our OCA youth, monasteries, child sexual abuse, and a deaf outreach. Of particular interest to most Orthodox Christians is the resolution calling for an annual Sanctity of Marriage Sunday. All are well aware of the continued assault on traditional marriage due to fornication, adultery, divorce, and same-sex unions. Presently six states and DC have passed same-sex marriage laws, and more states plan on taking up the issue. This resolution will hopefully encourage the Faithful to proclaim Holy Tradition's teaching on sexuality and marriage, both in the church and in the public square. We hope you view the site ( so an early discussion on the merits of each resolutions can be made before the AAC. … [Read more...]

Shifts in Paradigms. An Orthodox Psychiatrist on Homosexuality


Source: Dr. Lynne Pappas, in Orthodox baptism, Magdalene, is a highly respected psychiatrist, board certified in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry, practicing in Butte county and the Chico area of northern California. She has been practicing psychiatric medicine for over twenty-two years. She is also the president of the parish council of the Church of St. Andrew the Fool-for-Christ in Redding, California, a parish of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Dr. Pappas has agreed to share her professional knowledge with us on one "evil of the day." Dr. Pappas is interviewed by Nun Cornelia (Rees). Nun Cornelia (Rees): The subject of our conversation today is something that has been troubling many Christians in recent yearsthe general rise in the acceptance of homosexuality as a norm in many historically Christian countries. Legislature in the U.S. and other countries has dictated that homosexuality is not a psychiatric illness; and although most studies have shown that … [Read more...]

OCA Bishop Matthias Reaffirms Orthodox Teaching on Homosexuality


Editor's commentary: When the light shines, the darkness is made manifest scripture tells us and nowhere is this clearer than in the debate about the morality of homosexuality in the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Most readers know that this debate is heating up, driven in large part by the Facebook group Listening: Breaking the Silence on Sexuality within the Orthodox Church. True to its tendentious name (there is no "silence" that needs "breaking"), the group follows the playbook of homosexual activism that crippled the Episcopalian Church: Accept the premise that the prohibitions against homosexuality need to be "revisted" (a favorite phrase) and thereby undermine the authority of the moral tradition. Refuse and you will castigated as unloving, uncharitable, closed-minded, ignorant, homophobic, responsible for teen suicides -- all the usual pejoratives that are foisted on those who disagree. It's all done with a smile of course. Call it intimidation through … [Read more...]

Met. Jonah: Encyclical on Marriage and the Moral Limits of Human Sexuality


July 28, 201 Beloved Fathers, brothers and sisters in Christ, If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:6-10) In our own lifetimes we were blessed by an act of prophetic witness in July 1992, when the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America issued the magnificent “Affirmations on Marriage, Family, Sexuality, and the Sanctity of Life.” Two decades later we Orthodox who live in the diocese that includes our nation’s capital city need to be reminded of some of the … [Read more...]

Fr. Thomas Hopko: The Homosexual Christian

Fr. Thomas Hopko

Source: Many gay men and lesbians claim that the Christian faith is the guiding rule of their lives. Some of them hold that their sexual orientation is given by God, that it is good, and that there is nothing wrong or sinful with their homosexual activities. These persons say that the Bible and Church Tradition do not condemn homosexual behaviour, but have been misinterpreted and misused, sometimes unknowingly and other times quite willfully, by prejudiced and hostile people who hate homosexuals. Those who believe in this way obviously want others to agree with them, and many are now working hard to have their views accepted, particularly by fellow Christians and Church leaders. Other homosexual Christians hold that their sexual orientation is not from God - except providentially, since the Lord's plan inevitably involves human freedom and sin but derives from human fault. While some of these people are not willing or able to identify the specific reasons for … [Read more...]

Fr. Josiah Trenham: The Orthodox Church and Same-Sex Marriage [VIDEO]


Fr. Josiah Trenham pastor of St. Andrew Orthodox Christian Church in Riverside, California offers a two part talk responding to the August, 2010 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in California. Fr. Josiah's talk was given in August, 2010. Source: St. Andrew Orthodox Church Youtube Page … [Read more...]

Fr. Alexander F. C. Webster: A Gauntlet from Archpriest Alexis Vinogradov, Wappingers Falls, NY

Archpriest Alexander F C Webster

Just when we begin to wonder whether some of the recent musings of OCA priests and laity on homosexuality may not be what they seem, along comes another one that raises the rhetorical ante and reminds us that we are, indeed, whether we desire it or not, engaged in spiritual warfare. In a bizarre, presumably unintended way, Fr. Alexis Vinogradov's latest "reflection" on the OCA"News" website is another case of the gift that keeps on giving. It affords us who cherish the moral tradition of the Church, along with all the wonderful facets of Orthodoxy as the light of the world as long as we reflect Christ the True Light, an unexpected windfall—a sobering glimpse of the way the spirit of the world (note the lower case) has captured the minds, speech, and, actions of some who would take it upon themselves to lecture and even scold us [fill in the blank: simplistic, frightened, totalitarian, intolerant, superficial, intransigent, self-centered, unrestrained, callous, spiritually weak—Fr. … [Read more...]