Archive for the ‘Reflections’ Category

Christ Is Risen!

Posted by andre under Reflections

Christ Is Risen! 

April 19, 2014

Great-and-Holy-PaschaOn this glorious day, and in this triumphant season, we greet all of our readers with the exuberant words of “Christ is Risen!” Many of us will be able to answer just as exuberantly “Indeed He is Risen!” The feast of feast is as glorious, in the words of St. John Chrysostom, for those who have fasted and those who have not; for those who have been vigilant from the 1st hour, as well as for those who have come at the 11th hour. The Lord is merciful to all and receives us all in our richness and in our poverty. That poverty includes our poverty of faith and the dearth of our compassion. On this Pascha Day we sing the very moving words attributed to St. John of Damascus: “This is the day of resurrection. Let us be illuminated by the feast. Let us embrace each other. Let us call ‘brothers’ even those who hate us, and forgive all by the resurrection.”

On this holy day, we hope you are able to embrace your loved ones as well as forgive those who hate you. For gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Christians, these actions of embracing and forgiveness are of vital importance. So much of the world despises us for who God made us to be and who we are called to love. We are among those who experience abandonment, loneliness, and isolation. And yet, we must never forget that the Risen Lord does not abandon, or isolate, or shun us. In the words of the Psalmist: “Therefore my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices, my body will also rest secure, because you will not abandon me…” (Psalm 16) As we are not abandoned by God, let us not abandon anyone, especially those who hate us; embrace and forgive them. 

On this holy day we especially pray for those unable to fully celebrate the feast, either due to religious persecution, societal, family or ecclesiastical expulsion, or the poverty of their faith. No one is truly alone, no one is ever abandoned. Christ is Risen for all of us!

 

Love During a Revolution

Posted by andre under Reflections

Love During a Revolution

March 26, 2014

www.rtl.lu

www.rtl.lu

Ukraine has the world’s attention. The largest country within the borders of Europe, with a population of some 44 million, recently went through a significant revolution. The protesters forced a change of government following a particularly volatile protest staged by civilians against a pro-Russian government. The world’s leading powers are still trading threats and punitive actions over the forceful Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula. Certainly this battle for Ukraine is not over as it has become the center in a struggle between the power and values of West vs. East. A new Cold War era might be upon us. Read the rest of this entry »

Acceptance Comes Before Revelation

February 9, 2014

What would it take for the Orthodox Church to officially recognize that God created some people with same-sex attractions?

What would it take for the Orthodox Church to officially recognize that gay people fall in love and desire to live in loving, sanctified relationships?

What would it take for the Orthodox Church to officially recognize that gay people in life-long relationships sincerely believe that God led them to be with their particular spouse?

What would it take for the Orthodox Church to officially accept same-sex relationships and celebrate the commitments made by the couple with the mystery of crowning, in the midst of a church community? Read the rest of this entry »

Is Silence the Enemy?

Posted by andre under Reflections

Is Silence the Enemy

January 12, 2014

facebook_covers_Martin-Luther-KingMartin Luther King Jr., the great African-American civil rights leader, delivered a sermon in 1957 in Montgomery, Alabama where he spoke the following words: “in the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” These words ring true for many people, not the least for members of the LGBTQ community. While we have unfortunately come to expect hatred and vile speech from members of the extreme political right, religious fundamentalists and the ignorant[1], we are particularly confused and hurt when our friends and allies in the straight world are silent, and do not defend our civil rights in the face of injustice and bigotry. Read the rest of this entry »

Who Could Love Me?

Posted by andre under Reflections

Who could love me?

December 15, 2013

 

tessagroves.wordpress.com

tessagroves.wordpress.com

Who could love me? What a very sad question. Who could love me? Of all the challenges and difficulties that we face in this world, we should all have someone to love and someone who loves us. But the question, who could love me, is one that lesbians and gay men face in a particular way and under specific circumstances. Growing up, the teenage boy or girl begins to realize that they have different experiences from those around them. For adolescent boys this can be particularly traumatizing when the words “fag” and “gay” are used frequently to cut someone down, to ridicule and ultimately to dehumanize. Causing even more damage are the adults in the life of the young person, who hear the insults and do nothing to stop them, or refuse to educate those who use such dehumanizing and painful language. Read the rest of this entry »

Patriarch Bartholomew is Not Infallible

November 17, 2013

Bishops make mistakes. They are human, of course they make mistakes. Because they have so much influence, and even control over people’s spiritual lives, when they make mistakes, the results can be quite damaging. Permanent infallibility of the teachings of bishops is a concept which thankfully, has not invaded Orthodox theology. Infallibility, or the impossibility to be wrong on a theological issue, is a teaching that has been adopted by some Christian churches.  Read the rest of this entry »

Death of a Matushka

Posted by andre under Reflections

Death of a Matushka

November 3, 2013

A matushka[1] died.  While on vacation I went to Divine Liturgy at a local Russian Orthodox Church.  On this particular sunny Sunday morning, the small church was full of people. It had a mixture of recent immigrants from Russia and Ukraine, those that had been in the US for many years, a nice smattering of young adults and children and, as I later learned, even a few converts to the Orthodox Church.  During the sermon the priest spoke of his wife – his matushka, the parish matushka, – who had recently died and was buried within the last week.  Also serving the Liturgy was the dean of priests of the area. The dean had come to help the pastor with the celebration of the divine services, knowing that it might be difficult for the pastor emotionally, as well as physically, considering that he had buried his wife only a few days earlier. Read the rest of this entry »

Oikonomia

Posted by andre under Reflections

Oikonomia

October 13, 2013Good Samaritan

Oikonomia or “Economy” is an Orthodox concept that is probably applied more often than many Orthodox bishops would like to admit. Essentially it is a way of “managing the household” of the Church. While the Orthodox Church recognizes the authority of Sacred Scripture and Holy Tradition as the main sources for what we believe, there are many instances in which situations arise or problems need to be solved, that are not answered at all, or addressed insufficiently in the Bible or the Tradition of the Church.  When such situations arise, oikonomia or economy is applied.  It is a merciful decision applied for the sake of the salvation of the faithful.  Why can’t oikonomia be applied to gay people in the Church?  Why can’t oikonomia be used to bless the union of two men or two women in the Orthodox Church? For example, if oikonomia is continuously and liberally applied to allow an Orthodox Christian to be married to a Protestant in the Orthodox Church[1], especially in countries where Orthodox Christians are in the minority, then why not use the same principle and permit an ecclesiastical blessing for the union of two men or two women who desire to be a “helpmate” to one another[2]? Read the rest of this entry »

Palaiologos-Dynasty-Eagle_svgWere there queens in Byzantium?

September 22, 2013

Were there queens in Byzantium?  What an odd question, I thought when I read it.  Of course there were gay people in the Byzantine Empire – we were and are everywhere, no? The Byzantine Empire, the Greek speaking Eastern Roman Empire, has long been associated with the Orthodox Church.  Its capital, Constantinople, has been the ecumenical throne of the “first among equals’ patriarch since the fourth century. The Byzantine realm, which lasted 1,000 years, produced great luminaries for the Church such as St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory Nazianzus. But were there any queens in Byzantium? Read the rest of this entry »

What shall virtue do to meet brute force?

September 8, 2013

4.1.1

Life Magazine, March 26, 1965

As Americans take a moment to consider that historic day, as well as the recent tragic past in the fight for equality, it is also important for Orthodox Christians to remember the Church’s role in fighting for the full rights of all US citizens. On the cover of Life Magazine dated March 26, 1965, there is an iconic photograph of Archbishop Iakovos (Koukouzis), the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in North and South America, standing with Martin Luther King Jr. Archbishop Iakovos who led the Church in Western hemisphere for 37 years (1959-1996), went to Selma, Alabama to support the cause of African-Americans in the aftermath of the beating of Rev. James Reeb. Minister Reeb, a Unitarian Universalist cleric, was brutally beaten by white segregationists while marching for civil rights in Selma, Alabama in 1965. He died two days after the beating at the age of 38. The photograph on the cover of the popular magazine made a very vital, but dangerous statement in 1965, that white Christians were actively willing to support the cause African-Americans were fighting and dying for, not because the cause was an African-American cause but because it was an American one: equality under the law. The portrait reveals a very stoic looking Archbishop in his black robes and kalimavkion and veil (head covering) standing with great determination next to King. It certainly was a brave and courageous move for the Archbishop to support King, who at the time was under FBI surveillance, yet an action he believed was a bold, moral imperative. His presence was indeed virtue in the face of brute force. Read the rest of this entry »