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Source: (consider it) Thread: What homos do in bed
Anglican_Brat
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Every child prays that she was conceived by a virgin, only Jesus was ever so lucky.

[ 22. February 2008, 14:32: Message edited by: bc_anglican ]

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Knopwood
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quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
Ahem...to return to the OP, I find thinking about what homos get up to in bed sexually rather icky. But, then again, I find thinking about what my fellow-heteros get up to sexually in bed pretty icky too.

One of the problems I have is the fairly consistent equation one sees of "homosexual activity" with buggery. When my grade 12 drama teacher was away, our class would serenely ignore the supply teacher and hold peer discussions on sex and sexuality. During one of these sessions, I admitted that the aforementioned notion rendered me faintly nauseous, only to be told that this was impossible since, as a gay man, I would obligated to submit to it. Say what?
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Bullfrog.

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I recall reading a while back about a very conservative member of the UMC (James Holsinger, former member of the Judicial Council) being nominated for the position of Surgeon General, and his views on homosexuality were partly "backed" by an article on how medically risky anal sex was. Even if it's not something every male homosexual couple does, the two definitely seem connected in at least some portion of the public eye.

Here's a PDF of the article for the curious.

[ETA: removal of a badly written and fairly redundant paragraph]

[ 22. February 2008, 15:25: Message edited by: mirrizin ]

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beachpsalms
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I'm not so sure it is what we do in bed that causes all the ire - it's what we do outside of bed.

Preach from the pulpit.
Go to parent teacher meetings.
Call home from the grocery store aisle to ask which brand of soy milk we were meant to pick up.

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Comper's Child
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quote:
Originally posted by mirrizin:
I recall reading a while back about a very conservative member of the UMC (James Holsinger, former member of the Judicial Council) being nominated for the position of Surgeon General, and his views on homosexuality were partly "backed" by an article on how medically risky anal sex was. Even if it's not something every male homosexual couple does, the two definitely seem connected in at least some portion of the public eye.

Here's a PDF of the article for the curious.

I agree it sounds yucky, but then again most sexual acts have some yuckiness, and this one in particular gets to core of yuckiness in the popular imagination.
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Shadowhund
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quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
If you're going to fight to push through a conservative religious agenda and to keep control over a church in the hands of conservative men like you, what issue do you pick?

Divorce? Everyone does it - evangelicals in the US have above average rates. Most of your congregation will have divorced people in their families. Not a good idea.

Premarital sex? Again most of your congo will have been at it. The Newspapers will laugh at you.

Male headship/ no women priests? Half the population are going to be really chuffed with that. Don't expect any sympathetic newspaper coverage. Even some African and Asian countries have had women priests for a long time and wont come on board.

The Gays? Ah now, there are a lot of African and Asian countries which for cultural and historical reasons are very anti-gay. If you're criticised you can play the 'western imperialism' card. If people point out you're behaving like a racist or sexist, you can play the 'homosexual practice' card - 'love the sinner, hate the sin. Only a tiny minority of gays are going to be in your congo and most of them will be closeted, and there's still a fair amount of anti-gay prejudice even in the UK or US. It's a great wedge issue to push through a conservative agenda with all kinds of other things on the coat tails (no women priests, anti-abortion, high view of the Bible), because the people who side with you on it will tend to go along with the other items anyway, but you don't need to bring that agenda up explicitly in public. It can be a variant of 'Dog Whistle' politics.

But if you follow this strategy then the one thing you must NOT talk about is communion, because you risk breaking your conservative coalition apart. The Conservative Catholics believe in the real presence and a proper mass, the traditional low church people don't, but expect communion to be carried out by a properly ordained minister and maybe even a prayer book service, the Sydney Anglicans and very con-evos believe in lay presidency and will use Ribena and overhead projectors, if they want to.

The First Rule of Conservative Fight Club is you do NOT talk about What God Does With The Biscuits.

Always talk about The Gays, and if people push you further on that, waffle about 'the faith once delivered unto the saints' and 'raisin cakes' but don't mention The Biscuits! Also it's fun to talk about gay sex, and if you're one of the many closeted gays in the conservative ranks, why shouldn't Jeffrey John and Gene Robinson have to suffer the way you did?

I'm not saying that people don't hold anti-gay beliefs for sincere reasons, but if you ask why the leadership of people like Minns, Sugden, Schofield and Akinola and Jensen et al picked this issue, at this time, that would be my guess.

It's not so much what homos do in bed, as what bishops do in committee rooms.

L.


* I wouldn't normally link to the Daily Wail, but I can't get a link elsewhere.

I am quoting this long post because the questions Louise raises with the Anglican con-evos falling on their swords on this particular issue are important ones- which is an extended version of the OP's question. Perhaps the participants on the thread should ASK the con-evos this question or get one of them to provide an answer, rather than having a bunch of gay activists and their friends answer the question in their names with a lot of cheap and stupid psychobabble answers which are just as likely to be cases of projection on their part as the anti-gays' horror of gays to be the cases of projection that they hope to be.

In any event, just to pile on the psychosexual psychobabble explanations with one of my own, it has been my observation that in the Catholic Church, the witch hunting brigade in the clergy (i.e., the "expose the sodomite priests!" types as opposed to "homosexuality is evil" types) usually have been engaging in heterosexual misconduct and are using the gay issue to deflect attention from what is their own seriously scandalous behavior.

[ 22. February 2008, 18:59: Message edited by: JArthurCrank ]

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by beachlass:
I'm not so sure it is what we do in bed that causes all the ire - it's what we do outside of bed.

Preach from the pulpit.
Go to parent teacher meetings.
Call home from the grocery store aisle to ask which brand of soy milk we were meant to pick up.

Soy milk? You people really are sick.

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beachpsalms
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My point.

And that's even setting aside the lesbians and their cats.

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Dennis the Menace
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quote:
Originally posted by Comper's Child:
quote:
Originally posted by mirrizin:
I recall reading a while back about a very conservative member of the UMC (James Holsinger, former member of the Judicial Council) being nominated for the position of Surgeon General, and his views on homosexuality were partly "backed" by an article on how medically risky anal sex was. Even if it's not something every male homosexual couple does, the two definitely seem connected in at least some portion of the public eye.

Here's a PDF of the article for the curious.

I agree it sounds yucky, but then again most sexual acts have some yuckiness, and this one in particular gets to core of yuckiness in the popular imagination.
That article is almost enough to turn me hetro!!! [Snigger]

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iGeek

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quote:
Originally posted by Hooker's Trick:
...I'm led to wonder why is homosexuality the hot-button du jour?

What is it about what homos do in bed that gets so many people so exercised?

In my experience, it's mainly men who get very exercised. Women tend to be more tolerant or, at least, not so strident in their opposition.

Allowing that generalisation as a given, I assume the men in question are straight or, perhaps, struggling with their sexuality and very closeted.

In the former case, I think the anger is centered in the failure of gay men to adhere to male gender norms; that males penetrating males can only make sense in the straight male view as an intention to humiliate and rob one of his masculinity by violence (see Goldstein's conjectures along these lines. It seems to be an almost instinctual revulsion - it's like the very idea makes a right-thinking straight male clench his ass and adopt a offensive try-it-if-you dare posture whereas, in reality, the gay male is more likely to suffer harm at the hands of the straight male rather than the other way 'round. There's some misogyny involved, I think, as well.

In the latter case, I think it arises from a desperate fear -- of being found out and the resulting liklihood that one will be cast out, no longer belonging.

[corrections to atrocious spelling]

[ 25. February 2008, 23:01: Message edited by: cqg ]

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by beachlass:
My point.

And that's even setting aside the lesbians and their cats.

Please, oh God please tell me Lesbians don't feed soy milk to their cats? [Eek!]

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Anglican_Brat
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Essentially what is the Church condemning?

Whenever someone says "the Bible condemns homosexuality", I always get confused by that statement.

What exactly does the Bible condemn? Does the Bible condemn any form of love between two people of the same sex? Including hugging between two ostensibly heterosexual men, or teenage girls kissing each other on the cheek when they greet each other?

Does the Bible condemn anal intercourse? If that is a sin, then there are plenty of heterosexuals who engage in that too. Ditto with oral sex.

I know the old Romans 1 argument, but Paul in my view was drawing a connection between a specific type of sexual activity with idolatry. I don't think one can interpret Romans 1 and apply it to all forms of same-sex relationships.

So I'm basically scratching my head. What do they mean when they say that the Bible condemns homosexuality.

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El Greco
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That the tendency to feel sexual towards a member of the same sex is against nature, and that putting that tendency into action is a Big Mistake.

Basically it has to do with whether feeling sexual about members of the same sex is part of human brokenness or not. It has been experienced as such till our days, which is why the Church condemned it, because the Church cannot bless brokenness and proclaim it to be OK when it's not. I could draw a parallel with sex outside marriage or before marriage.

In my view the Church does not give satisfactory answers to these problems which is why the majority of the people has stopped listening to the Church long ago...

[ 26. February 2008, 08:46: Message edited by: andreas1984 ]

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
That the tendency to feel sexual towards a member of the same sex is against nature, and that putting that tendency into action is a Big Mistake.

Basically it has to do with whether feeling sexual about members of the same sex is part of human brokenness or not. It has been experienced as such till our days, which is why the Church condemned it, because the Church cannot bless brokenness and proclaim it to be OK when it's not. I could draw a parallel with sex outside marriage or before marriage.

In my view the Church does not give satisfactory answers to these problems which is why the majority of the people has stopped listening to the Church long ago...

[my italics]

Maybe it is against nature but obviously not against one's preference. Aren't gluttony, theft and a lustful desire outside marriage entirely natural? I can't avoid one for the road, would have difficulty handing back an fiver given in change and, yes, there are some women I would not kick out of bed.

A lot of Christ's teaching is clearly against nature and the Epistles are full of injunctions to be "in the world but not of it", which looks like going against nature is hardly sinful.

To be quite honest the fact that "the church" does not give satisfactory answers is because we are all too willing to state what is OK and what is not OK. Especially about others. Only one thing is absolutely, every time, wrong and that is self-deceit, which is betweem you and God.

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JimS
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
That the tendency to feel sexual towards a member of the same sex is against nature, and that putting that tendency into action is a Big Mistake.

Basically it has to do with whether feeling sexual about members of the same sex is part of human brokenness or not. It has been experienced as such till our days, which is why the Church condemned it, because the Church cannot bless brokenness and proclaim it to be OK when it's not. I could draw a parallel with sex outside marriage or before marriage.

In my view the Church does not give satisfactory answers to these problems which is why the majority of the people has stopped listening to the Church long ago...

Even from a Dawkins' viewpoint this is rubbish. It may well be better from my genes' perspective that I form a homosexual relationship and ensure that my siblings' children thrive.
Isn't loving ones enemy against nature?
You could draw a parallel with sex outside marriage but as the church doesn't alow homosexuals to marry it would be a stupid and illogical one.
If people have stopped listening to the church it is because people like you have stopped listening to the Holy Spirit.

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dj_ordinaire
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
It has been experienced as such till our days...

I think it would be more accurate to say that that's the way that straight people have considered it. Those who actually experienced it may have had very different ideas!

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Knopwood
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quote:
Originally posted by JimS:
You could draw a parallel with sex outside marriage but as the church doesn't alow homosexuals to marry it would be a stupid and illogical one.

And, more problematically, a circular one.
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Anglican_Brat
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
That the tendency to feel sexual towards a member of the same sex is against nature, and that putting that tendency into action is a Big Mistake.

Basically it has to do with whether feeling sexual about members of the same sex is part of human brokenness or not. It has been experienced as such till our days, which is why the Church condemned it, because the Church cannot bless brokenness and proclaim it to be OK when it's not. I could draw a parallel with sex outside marriage or before marriage.

In my view the Church does not give satisfactory answers to these problems which is why the majority of the people has stopped listening to the Church long ago...

The problem with appeals to natural law is because it is subjective. There was a time when people thought women wearing pants was against nature.

I'm still waiting for a compelling reason in light of current scientific research, why homosexuality is wrong.

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mousethief

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Is scientific research what tells us what is right and what is wrong?

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Anglican_Brat
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No of course not, but ethics is informed by Scripture, apostolic tradition, and IMHO, reason. Scientific research falls in the third category, and within limits, can enlighten our understanding of the world.

So when it comes to sexuality, we need to be aware of how different sources construct in our culture.

Sexuality itself is complex, and a statement such as the "Bible condemns homosexuality" or the "Fathers condemn homosexuality" borders on the nonsensical. Both statements do not deal with the rich complexity of sexuality in human existence.

[ 26. February 2008, 16:15: Message edited by: bc_anglican ]

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El Greco
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quote:
Originally posted by Sioni Sais:
Maybe it is against nature but obviously not against one's preference.

The church is not here to cater for one's preference, but to save us.

quote:
Aren't gluttony, theft and a lustful desire outside marriage entirely natural?
Of course they aren't. For them to be natural God would have to be their author.

quote:
I can't avoid one for the road, would have difficulty handing back an fiver given in change and, yes, there are some women I would not kick out of bed.
You are not the epitome of human nature. Just because one makes certain choices, or even if many make those same choices that does not make it natural.

Let's take sex outside marriage for example. Many many people cheat on their partners. That does not make it natural. Saints for example don't cheat. Cheating doesn't go with being human.

quote:
A lot of Christ's teaching is clearly against nature
On the contrary, Jesus shows what man is called to become... Man is being created as we speak, and in Jesus Christ is authentic humanity seen.

quote:
and the Epistles are full of injunctions to be "in the world but not of it"
Except that the bible does not mean the Universe, but passions. The world is a scriptural term for passions. And I recall saying the church sees homosexuality as one passion, but I got no response whatsoever to that...

quote:
Originally posted by JimS:
You could draw a parallel with sex outside marriage but as the church doesn't alow homosexuals to marry it would be a stupid and illogical one.

Drawing a parallel does not make the two identical. Duh!

quote:
Originally posted by dj_ordinaire:
I think it would be more accurate to say that that's the way that straight people have considered it. Those who actually experienced it may have had very different ideas!

Really? So, out of the millions of people that have shaped the Churches' view, out of all those people who wandered in deserts and caves, out of all those people who shed their blood and were mutilated and tortured, out of all those people who bore the pain of the world, they all happened to see things that way because they were straight? Is that so?

quote:
Originally posted by bc_anglican:
The problem with appeals to natural law is because it is subjective.

I'm not appealing to a law. I'm appealing to the Church's view. You guys seem to think that if you don't like what the Church says on any number of issues, you can make a church accept your view or change to a church that does. Well, things don't work like that. The Church Christ founded is one and one gets to be a member by changing one's life so that it can fit the Apostolic Way. It doesn't go the other way around.

If there is an issue (and obviously there is) ecumenical dialog needs to take place, in peace and love. If we are all Christians, we will get a unanimous answer in the end. "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us" is the way to go. Not splitting, nor shouting at each other, nor ignoring each other, nor accusing each other.

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Knopwood
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No, not at all, but there is an attitude among a certain stripe of theological conservative that sees such research as irrelevant, because the Bible tells us everything we need to know on the subject.

On the other hand, many of us have difficulty attributing infallibility to St Paul's writings on the matter. Why would I accept as the final word that of an author who wrote before there was any notion of a concept of sexual orientation? For some of us, that's a fatal flaw.

It's a gap between those who view Scripture as the final end of revelation (which is hardly a catholic view) and those who view revelation as ongoing?

[responding to Mousethief]

[ 26. February 2008, 16:11: Message edited by: Liturgy Queen ]

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El Greco
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quote:
Originally posted by Liturgy Queen:
Why would I accept as the final word that of an author who wrote before there was any notion of a concept of sexual orientation? For some of us, that's a fatal flaw.

Because humans haven't changed that much in the past two thousand years*. What was seen as a passion back then, it can't be revised now... Besides, what's that knowledge you are talking about? As far as I am concerned, the way sexuality works is far from being clear!

*Of course, there is more to the church than what happened two thousand years ago and what happens now... There is a continuous history all along. What Paul saw 2000 years ago, is what others saw 1400 years ago, 700 years ago, 100 years ago, 15 years ago...

[ 26. February 2008, 16:26: Message edited by: andreas1984 ]

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Anglican_Brat
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"Let's take sex outside marriage for example. Many many people cheat on their partners. That does not make it natural. Saints for example don't cheat. Cheating doesn't go with being human."

Au contraire. One might argue that nature favors multiple partners. In the animal kingdom, polyamoury abounds except in the case of swans.

I'm saying that the whole "Nature" argument falls apart and is completely useless in any debate over human ethics. Hamster mothers eat their young. I have yet to see someone defend abortion on that basis.

"I'm not appealing to a law. I'm appealing to the Church's view. You guys seem to think that if you don't like what the Church says on any number of issues, you can make a church accept your view or change to a church that does. Well, things don't work like that. The Church Christ founded is one and one gets to be a member by changing one's life so that it can fit the Apostolic Way. It doesn't go the other way around."
What constitutes the Church? Is not the Church, the entire catholic body of Christ? Does that not include the genuine spiritual experiences of same-sex couples as loving and Christ-like people?

The Church is not simply the thoughts of a group of old Greek theologians who lived centuries ago. The Church includes all of us, including those rejected by polite and decent society.

So appeals to the Church as a body removed from the lived experience of the entire people of God have no resonance with me. The Church includes all of us, listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

I don't see it as the Church changing its mind. But rather because the Church is both a human and divine institution, we see that in certain ages, some voices are more prominent than others. In certain ages, the voice of the powerful overwhelmed the voice of the lowly. And until recently in mainline denominations, the voice of those propagating decent family values, have overwhelmed the voice of the sexually outcast, including gays and lesbians.

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Anglican_Brat
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
quote:
Originally posted by Liturgy Queen:
Why would I accept as the final word that of an author who wrote before there was any notion of a concept of sexual orientation? For some of us, that's a fatal flaw.

Because humans haven't changed that much in the past two thousand years*. What was seen as a passion back then, it can't be revised now... Besides, what's that knowledge you are talking about? As far as I am concerned, the way sexuality works is far from being clear!

*Of course, there is more to the church than what happened two thousand years ago and what happens now... There is a continuous history all along. What Paul saw 2000 years ago, is what others saw 1400 years ago, 700 years ago, 100 years ago, 15 years ago...

Are you going to seriously argue that the same-sex couples in the present are the same as the same-sex activity, connected with Greco-Roman idolatry, that Paul condemned 2000 years ago?

Because I have met many same-sex couples. None of them worship idols, as far as I know. Unless you count Cher, but I don't think Paul had in mind, a 20th century actress and music star when he wrote Romans.

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El Greco
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quote:
Originally posted by bc_anglican:
Au contraire. One might argue that nature favors multiple partners.

From the many replies I saw on my mentioning nature, I see there is an unbridgeable gap between what I view as the Christian view on nature and other poster's views. Saying that this or that passion is natural, is a shocking thing for me to hear. Saying that Christ's teachings are against nature, is even more shocking! We are talking about entirely different kinds of Christianity here, and I am very saddened by this.

quote:
What constitutes the Church? Is not the Church, the entire catholic body of Christ? Does that not include the genuine spiritual experiences of same-sex couples as loving and Christ-like people?
To the best of my knowledge none of the Saints ever argued in favor of same-sex couples. None. From the oldest times of the Old Testament to the most modern elders. None argued in favor... This is a problem that needs to be addressed by the advocates of same-sex couples in church.

quote:
The Church includes all of us, including those rejected by polite and decent society.
First of all, all the Saints, have been rejected by decent society. Some of them were accepted and that was only when they lowered their tone a bit.

The whole concept of a decent society where I come from has little to do with Christianity. It has been put forth by heretics and has infected our societies like plague. It has little to do with the gospel of Christ and a lot to do with the gospels of men.

It's not a matter of the powerful Church leaders deciding one way or another. When I think of my Church's leaders I'm thinking of people who lived like pariahs, that went unnoticed, and were God not to reveal some of them, we wouldn't even suspect they exist.

The problem is first what those whom God glorifies have to say, not what you or I have to say. Saints whose prayers prevent earthquakes and change the course of hurricanes at a different continent, Saints who know you by your name before you ever introduce yourself to them, Saints who know the past, the present and the future, Saints whose prayers bring healing to the deeply sick, Saints whose mere presence made broken men become whole again, Saints whose relics put forth fragrance and heal people centuries after they died...

Where I stand, I'm going to hear to those people, people who suffered much but are also being glorified much by God. These men inform my view, and these men and women I follow, not people for whom these things sound like fairy tales and things out of reach.

I don't believe in creating pariahs, I don't believe in treating people as outcasts. And I am very ready to see the State accept same-sex couples and give them rights and allow them to adopt children. And I expect everybody to treat each other with decency and love and generosity irrespectively of differences.

However, I don't believe the Church should ignore it's history and just bless it. I am not convinced that it is something to be blessed.

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Anglican_Brat
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:To the best of my knowledge none of the Saints ever argued in favor of same-sex couples. None. From the oldest times of the Old Testament to the most modern elders. None argued in favor... This is a problem that needs to be addressed by the advocates of same-sex couples in church."

So David and Jonathan doesn't count?

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dj_ordinaire
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
quote:
Originally posted by bc_anglican:
Au contraire. One might argue that nature favors multiple partners.

From the many replies I saw on my mentioning nature, I see there is an unbridgeable gap between what I view as the Christian view on nature and other poster's views. Saying that this or that passion is natural, is a shocking thing for me to hear. Saying that Christ's teachings are against nature, is even more shocking! We are talking about entirely different kinds of Christianity here, and I am very saddened by this.

I think the problem is that not the differences in our Christianity, but the fact that you're using 'Nature' in a way which is, for an ordinary English-speaker, very odd.

When we talk about 'Nature' we mean the everyday stuff of creation that we see around us, that is, the way we are . You seem to be using to refer to our 'true' Natures - that is to say, to what we should be, if only we were perfectly conformed to God.

Hence, by this definition, being gay is perfectly natural for some people - that's just a biological fact. Whether it corresponds to what is Natual according to your usage of the word is a different matter, and the subject of this whole long-running debate.

Does this clarify the position of some of us on this thread?

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El Greco
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quote:
Originally posted by dj_ordinaire:
I think the problem is that not the differences in our Christianity, but the fact that you're using 'Nature' in a way which is, for an ordinary English-speaker, very odd.

I thought I was not talking with ordinary English-speakers [Biased]

When I made that post on passions, some days ago, I thought it was the single most important thing for our discussions, and I am a bit surprised that we are not discussing on that basis. Passions are central to Orthodox church life, because we are all afflicted by them, and it is because of them that our nature does not shine forth the goodness inherent in it.

The discussion gets too secularized for my sensitivities. Let's discuss passions. Because, in my view, a Christianity that has forgotten about passions, that does not offers healing from passions, is a dead Christianity, an empty shell of the once glorious and world-stirring Christianity.

quote:
Originally posted by bc_anglican:
So David and Jonathan doesn't count?

Dan Brown, is that you? [Paranoid]

[ 26. February 2008, 17:05: Message edited by: andreas1984 ]

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dj_ordinaire
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
quote:
Originally posted by dj_ordinaire:
I think the problem is that not the differences in our Christianity, but the fact that you're using 'Nature' in a way which is, for an ordinary English-speaker, very odd.

I thought I was not talking with ordinary English-speakers [Biased]

When I made that post on passions, some days ago, I thought it was the single most important thing for our discussions, and I am a bit surprised that we are not discussing on that basis. Passions are central to Orthodox church life, because we are all afflicted by them, and it is because of them that our nature does not shine forth the goodness inherent in it.

Well yes, the first bit I probably agree with you, but, oh you know what I mean... [Big Grin]

But moving on to Passions - I quite agree that the 'point' of Christianity is the removal of all the barriers between ourselves and God.

My question then becomes - how can we know that being gay (or bisexual, or whatever) is an example of such a barrier, such a Passion. What other Passions are there? Do they resemble homosexuality in some essential way? What are the characteristics by which they may be known?

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Knopwood
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
quote:
Originally posted by Liturgy Queen:
Why would I accept as the final word that of an author who wrote before there was any notion of a concept of sexual orientation? For some of us, that's a fatal flaw.

Because humans haven't changed that much in the past two thousand years*. What was seen as a passion back then, it can't be revised now... Besides, what's that knowledge you are talking about? As far as I am concerned, the way sexuality works is far from being clear!

*Of course, there is more to the church than what happened two thousand years ago and what happens now... There is a continuous history all along. What Paul saw 2000 years ago, is what others saw 1400 years ago, 700 years ago, 100 years ago, 15 years ago...

This kind of takes us round the circle. In fact, what I am suggesting is that there is a very good reason to look differently know at certain matters than the New Testament church did. Your reponse (in essence: "Nuh-uh!") doesn't really address that.

As far as your technical use of the term "nature" goes, was it Colin Slee who pointed out that if the worst we can say is that homosexuality is a result of the Fall, then of itself it's no worse than wearing clothes?

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Knopwood
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
You guys seem to think that if you don't like what the Church says on any number of issues, you can make a church accept your view or change to a church that does.

We touched on this on, I think, the priestly genitalia thread. It goes to your idiosyncratic definition of "Church", which appears to be in your eyes a bodiless theoretical entity divorced from the people who comprise it. I believe on the other thread you were saying something to the effect that even if Christians as a group came to new conclusions about the ordination of women, it would still be against the mind of "the Church." I'll fish for a link.
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iGeek

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quote:
Originally posted by dj_ordinaire:
I think it would be more accurate to say that that's the way that straight people have considered it. Those who actually experienced it may have had very different ideas!

quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
Really? So, out of the millions of people that have shaped the Churches' view, out of all those people who wandered in deserts and caves, out of all those people who shed their blood and were mutilated and tortured, out of all those people who bore the pain of the world, they all happened to see things that way because they were straight? Is that so?

Given that the issue has only in very recent history been framed this way (i.e. same-sex relationships founded on commitment, fidelity, mutuality and reciprocity), isn't it missing the point to appeal to the witness of those who came before? The scriptural and traditional witness was aimed at a different target (as been emphasised multiple times on this thread).

Our contemporary witness as to the nature of love between two people of the same-gender is important for this very reason.

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beachpsalms
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:
You guys seem to think that if you don't like what the Church says on any number of issues, you can make a church accept your view or change to a church that does.

Well, "the Church" I'm in says that sexuality is a gift from God, and does not differentiate between heterosexuality and homosexuality. We have been ordaining gay and lesbian clergy for 20 years, and perform same sex marriages (in some, but not all of our congregations).

You must be according preferential status to one branch of the church over the other, or your argument is meaningless.

code:
 preview post is my friend, coding brackets are not 



[ 26. February 2008, 17:36: Message edited by: beachlass ]

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El Greco
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quote:
Originally posted by Liturgy Queen:
It goes to your idiosyncratic definition of "Church", which appears to be in your eyes a bodiless theoretical entity divorced from the people who comprise it.

No, it's not like that... It's not bodiless, but it's not a secular democracy. Truth is not set to vote. The Apostolic Way is given. If we change that Way, we are creating different churches.

The Church, like creation, is hierarchically structured. And by hierarchy I don't refer to bishops and priests, but to our hierarchy according to our sanctity...

So, while I am here with all sort of problems that need to get resolved, I follow the advice of those advanced on the Way, because I want to follow their steps and have my issues resolved.

Which is pretty standard ancient Christianity... Those still afflicted under passions have no right to do theology... And of course, that's not because the ancients were snob, but because they knew that when we are afflicted we don't see things clearly, and if we guide ourselves we will end up falling in a pit...

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Otter
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quote:
Originally posted by andreas1984:

Which is pretty standard ancient Christianity... Those still afflicted under passions have no right to do theology... And of course, that's not because the ancients were snob, but because they knew that when we are afflicted we don't see things clearly, and if we guide ourselves we will end up falling in a pit...

Is heterosexual attraction a passion? Hetorosexual love? Love of a parent for a child or vice/versa? Are you saying that only those who are asexual and non-emotional should do theology?

And that leads me to the question, can you clarify what you mean by "do theology"? (To be pedantic, theology is a noun, not a verb, so one does not "do" it at all.) Do you mean study it? Render opinions on it? Teach it? Formulate ideas in one's own head?

[pesky cod!]

[ 26. February 2008, 18:53: Message edited by: Otter ]

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El Greco
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No, I don't think these things are passions. Lust however is a passion...

Well, in Greek, we have a verb for that. Theologo, means speak about things that have to do with God and our religion. But how we speak about these things matters. For the ancients (and I call upon the ancient church lest I be accused of speaking solely about Orthodoxy... Of course what I say about the ancients is valid for Orthodoxy today) theology is the result of getting to know God personally. The one who sees God (again, we have a word for it) gets to speak and we trust his word because it is based in experience. Speculation has little place in these things, because we don't infer our salvation from speculation or philosophical discussions but from experience of God alone.

Basically, theology is like speaking about one's spouse. Unless you get to live with her and love her with all your being, you can never understand what it is really about, no matter how much you hear about that. God is to be experienced... alone. For example, we might hear that God is good, and even believe that, but when we get to see God, we realize that all our thoughts and imaginations had nothing to do with The Real Thing, and we get to experience that God is good has an ontological depth that is beyond imagination.

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dj_ordinaire
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Once again we're quickly back to your magnificent heresy that the 'Saints' were perfect and therefore qualified to theologise in a way that the rest of us aren't.

But leaving that aside - it isn't that the Apostles said one thing and now we want to say another. It's that we simply don't believe that Our Lord or His Apostles said anything about same-sex attraction as we now understand it. This rather leaves us to work things out for ourselves, according to the general framework of Grace that Christ left us. And regrettably, yes, that does mean squaring up to the fact that those saints whom we admire from ages past didn't always get it right. I hope that you will believe that this is not something which we enter into lightly. It is difficult.

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El Greco
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dj

I don't believe the Saints are perfect; that's a caricature of what I am saying, which might be easy to attack, but it's not true.

Anyway, I'm not being heretical here. I am merely echoing the ancient teachings (which get verified over and over again in my personal experience).

That said, I understand what you say that you don't take it lightly. I think this is very very positive. My problem is different. That you are making unilateral changes. Quite the opposite of "it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us".

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Knopwood
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Andreas, you're clearly either using "passions" in a specific technical sense or else trying to translate something directly (remember the "Secret Supper" debacle?). Either way, I suspect that most of us aren't familiar with the usage at hand. Please do us the courtesy of an explanation.
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mousethief

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"Passions" is a technical term in Orthodoxy. I have never quite been able to totally pin down the meaning -- sometimes it seems to mean "temptation" and other times something like "actions arising from the old man or sinful nature". They can be opposed (this is a form of "spiritual warfare" IIRC) or given in to. We are told to flee from all passions. Jesus' death is paradoxically referred to as the "passionless passion" playing on the two meanings of the word (apparently, even in Greek).

What it doesn't mean is its meaning in our contemporary culture, which I will (probably wrongly) gloss as strongly-felt feelings or actions arising from deep romantic/sexual love or longing. Those feelings or actions may be a passion [o.s.]* but not necessarily, and the passions [o.s.] go waaaay beyond that.

What is unclear is whether the type of stable homosexual relationship between two committed and loving partners is a passion [o.s.]. This sort of meaning for "homosexual" was unknown in Bible times and I daresay in patristic times. So quoting the Bible or the fathers about "homosexuality" is far from the final word on the subject. They were against what they called "homosexuality" but what they called "homosexuality" and what we call "homosexuality" are not the same thing. So on the topic of whether they were or would have been against what we use the term to denote, we are no further along than we were when we picked up the book to look.

Interestingly in the stories of the desert fathers, when one of the monks was caught in flagrante delecto, the sex of their partner was not given as an issue; only the breaking of their monastic calling. It was "fornication" whether the fornicatee was a woman or a man. Or as J likes to say, if you take a vow of sexual abstention, then it doesn't matter whether you're not having sex with a man or not having sex with a woman.

*Orthodox sense

[ 27. February 2008, 00:35: Message edited by: MouseThief ]

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St. Sarcastica
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quote:
To the best of my knowledge none of the Saints ever argued in favor of same-sex couples. None. From the oldest times of the Old Testament to the most modern elders. None argued in favor... This is a problem that needs to be addressed by the advocates of same-sex couples in church.
Well, that`s because no one arguing in favor of same-sex couples would be labeled a "Saint" by the people who give those labels. Part of your definition of a "Saint" is "someone who doesn`t argue in favor of same-sex couples."
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Arabella Purity Winterbottom

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Seriously helpful post Mousethief, thank you. I'd add one tiny change to your modern gloss on passions - things which arise from deeply held convictions (which may or may not be sexual). Thus, one may have a passion for anti-war activism arising out of one's strongly held belief in peace (believe me, it can consume people just as much as sex, my mother-in-law is a fabulous example at 86).

This definition is not necessarily incompatible with sexual matters, either. I think of the ministers I have watched foaming at the mouth during Assembly, giving amazing testimonies about what "homosexuals do in bed" that seem to go a long way past rational discourse into the realm of passion. I have commented in the past that it seems to me that they get off on it, to the point where they are not quite sane and healthy.

I always want to know how and where they do their research.

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Anglican_Brat
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Mousethief,

I think you hit on something important. I don't think we can assume that what the Fathers are condemning are the same thing we are discussing today.

Ultimately, the criteria for all things is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Does this relationship or action conform to the gospel of Christ? All things, Scripture, the Fathers, church doctrine, reason, is subject ultimately to the gospel of Christ.

In that way, even though Scripture for example does not explicitly condemn slavery as evil, I truly believe the Gospel condemns slavery as a grievous sin.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Arabella Purity Winterbottom:
Seriously helpful post Mousethief, thank you. I'd add one tiny change to your modern gloss on passions - things which arise from deeply held convictions (which may or may not be sexual). Thus, one may have a passion for anti-war activism arising out of one's strongly held belief in peace (believe me, it can consume people just as much as sex, my mother-in-law is a fabulous example at 86).

Point taken. I was going for a quick-and-dirty (get your mind out of the gutter) but as you say there are a lot of other things that the modern sense of "passion" can be used for.

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Anglican_Brat
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Specifically, what needs to occur is for sexual theology to move away from judging the "nature" of a relationship towards addressing the "quality" of a relationship. All relationships, should be characterized by mutuality, compassion, respect, faithfulness, and genuine love.

Abuse for example. Abuse occurs in all types of relationships. There is domestic abuse in heterosexual marriages, non-marital heterosexual relationships, and gay and lesbian relationships. Domestic abuse and sexual assault are serious issues today. According to the recent sexual assault statistics, a substantial number of women are sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

And yet, the Roman Catholic Church spends the bulk of its time fighting same-sex couples trying to adopt. Several evangelical leaders speak against the homosexuals "destroying" marriage. Parishes in the Anglican Church are threatening to split from dioceses over the blessing of same-sex couples.

So, no, I don't take many churches seriously when they blather on about the evils of homosexuality when they do not offer the same amount of attention to concerns such as domestic violence, poverty, and other issues in the world.

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Catrine
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quote:
Originally posted by bc_anglican:
Specifically, what needs to occur is for sexual theology to move away from judging the "nature" of a relationship towards addressing the "quality" of a relationship. All relationships, should be characterized by mutuality, compassion, respect, faithfulness, and genuine love.

This is spot on.
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El Greco
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quote:
Originally posted by Liturgy Queen:
Andreas, you're clearly either using "passions" in a specific technical sense or else trying to translate something directly (remember the "Secret Supper" debacle?). Either way, I suspect that most of us aren't familiar with the usage at hand. Please do us the courtesy of an explanation.

This is deeply problematic, the way I see it. It's not some Orthodox jargon, but the single most important word in Christianity's ascetical literature.

On the one hand we have theological writings, writings where the teachings on the Trinity or the natures of Christ or the creation of the world are expanded. On the other hand we have writings on Christian life, how we are to fight for an inner change to take place, writings that deal with life. Of course, theology leads to a view of life, and exercise (or ascesis) is the result of theology...

Passions is the central word in those writings that have to do with Christian life, because we are all afflicted by them, and it is them that prevent us from being in conscious communion with God, from finding the unceasing peace that comes from above, the ineffable joy the Saints experience...

I have heard -and that's my single most important accusation against the West- that the ascetical character of life has been lost, and this only seems to re-inforce that view.

Passions are neither the temptation nor actions. Passions are what is used inside us for the temptation to lead to actions. It's another word for our brokenness. This brokenness is used by temptation so that we end up sinning. It's the death of sin, rather than a sinful action per se.

I remember a story, and I will share just to show how important it is that we understand our own passions.

There was this very famous elder. One great man came to see him. The elder's disciple thought it was quite an honor. The great man made a long trip to see the elder. When they met, the great man started to speak about the Scriptures, to bring up passages and explain things and ask questions. The elder remained silent. He said nothing. Nothing at all. The great man got very sad and disappointed that the elder wasn't talking to him, and he began to leave.

The elder's disciple was frustrated. This great man came from thousand of miles away so that he can talk with you and you said nothing to him? The elder's reply was: "He was talking about high things. What do I know about the Scriptures? If he was to talk about passions I would respond, because about passions I know".

The disciple ran and found the great man. "Forgive the elder" he said, "he is not accustomed to speaking lightly about the Scriptures. Come back, if you want, and let's talk about passions". The great man understood what happened, he came back, repented, and they began talking about the passions that afflicted the great man.

The elder gave him answers for his problems, and then, on top of that, he explained the Scriptures the great man spoke about at the beginning.

The problem here is that if we don't focus on our own passions, we are lost and there is no chance of us finding salvation. When you are captured and enslaved, first you seek salvation from the oppressing slavery you have fallen in, and then you move forward.

A quick google search gave this:

quote:
Weakness for wealth and for collecting and owning things of different kinds; the urge for physical (sensuous) enjoyment; the longing for honor, which is the root of envy; the desire to conquer and be the deciding factor; pride in the glory of power; the urge to adorn oneself and to be liked; the craving for praise; concern and anxiety for physical well-being. All these are of the world; they combine deceitfully to hold us in heavy bonds.
All these things are aspects of our brokenness, which is the world to which we must die so that we can live in Christ. They are passions that need to get healed before we enter the Kingdom. And if we say we have entered the Kingdom but our passions follow, we will be like the man who came to the Wedding but did not wear appropriate clothing and was thrown out by the angry Host.
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El Greco
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quote:
Originally posted by MouseThief:
What is unclear is whether the type of stable homosexual relationship between two committed and loving partners is a passion [o.s.]. This sort of meaning for "homosexual" was unknown in Bible times and I daresay in patristic times.

It depends what you mean by "patristic times". For example, elder Paisios who died a couple of years ago, is certainly one of the fathers, and the issue was brought to him and he replied that it is a passion.

Could he have been mistaken? Of course he could, but the mistake needs to get pointed out and then resolved by someone else of his magnitude.

quote:
Interestingly in the stories of the desert fathers, when one of the monks was caught in flagrante delecto, the sex of their partner was not given as an issue; only the breaking of their monastic calling.
Well, if you take into account that their calling is to die to the world and live in Christ, that's no small thing to break...

As for fornication, the word carries many meanings. For example, if a married man or woman has sex with an unmarried woman or man, that's fornication, not adultery. But if an unmarried person has sex with a married person, that's adultery...

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El Greco
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quote:
Originally posted by St. Sarcastica:
Well, that`s because no one arguing in favor of same-sex couples would be labeled a "Saint" by the people who give those labels.

The people who give those labels are the laypeople who get to live with a person and can testify of his holiness. Many many Saints have been persecuted by the officials of the Church. Many of them have been tortured by the decent society and exiled and died in prison. Some of them had their hands and tongues cut.

Like I said, they were pariahs, not exactly power's best friends...

And when God reveals a man or a woman of that magnitude, the people run to him or her for advice, for healing, for help. And it is because the people got immense help that they are now celebrated as Saints...

Take the late elder Paisios for example. Countless people have been healed of their diseases through his prayers. He was knowing who came to visit him before they came. Read a bit of his life, and you will realize that a Saint is someone that extra-ordinary. If he was to say "look, you have got it wrong, same-sex couples can be blessed" then that would be quite a thing.

And neither did the great Saints of old say such a thing...

What bothers me, and that's a question to MouseThief as well, is that if we are born heterosexuals and some people are born homosexuals, then why wasn't the issue addressed and resolved in the ancient times? Is homosexuality a social phenomenon, in which case I can understand the argument that society changed, or does it have to do with the way we are born, in which case what society thinks and does is not that relevant?

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