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church of england/scotland - kirk yacoub - 06-06-2009
In the past couple of weeks or so I have been shocked by some of the things I have heard from the Anglicans. Not only is it deemed perfectly acceptable for a homosexual living with another man to become a priest, I also heard on the the radio one morning an Anglican clergyman speaking about "just wars in defence of our values"!
It would be good for us to talk about these things because, despite the barrage of propaganda to the contrary, Christians are not bigoted against homosexuals, we are opposed to the sin they are committing, putting their own salvation in jeopardy, and also, we are totally opposed to any war except the war conducted against satan. A good discussion will help us all to approach such issues with our fellow human beings in the Spirit of Christ.
- Antony-Paul - 12-06-2009
As someone examining Orthodoxy from the viewpoint of possibly joining the BOC, it seems to me that these two issues are classic dilemmas.
Of course we should abhor the sin but love and forgive (inasmuch as it is our place to forgive) the sinner. I have known numerous homosexuals over the years, most of whom are charming, kind people. Many demonstrate a great deal of care for others, such that they would make excellent pastors in other circumstances. But how can we tolerate an overt homosexual in holy orders, irrespective of whether or not he is living with another man? Whilst others might accuse us of discrimination, surely our responsibility is to declare the reality of the situation, and stick to our principles. Homosexuality is not the only reason for an aspirant to be refused ordination. Surely we should leave such matters to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
As far as war is concerned, I have to agree with you. Our only war has to be against the powers of darkness, where we are allied to the angels and saints in the cause of goodness and love. Even if subject to attack our response should be to turn the other cheek, not take revenge. The response to such aggression must lie with God as He judges the situation, not with us. Ultimately, if our prayers and actions are fully effective there will be no need for earthly wars, because all people will be united in God's love. Utopian? Maybe, but is this not what we believe and work for on earth?
- Simon - 04-09-2009
I wonder whether these issues of (1) homosexuality and (2) war might be two different threads. My reason is that whilst I believe that homosexual practice is a sin, I find the issues around war less clear cut. Concerning war, no doubt much sin is involved and if it wasn't for sin there wouldn't be war (cosider James 4:2 "Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war") and many, many times terrible sins are committed during war. Nonetheless...
We pray for soldiers in the Liturgy of Saint James: "Remember, O Lord ...the forces of the crown and their help from heaven and victory. Touch their armour, shield them and arise to their help and humble before them all their enemies. Set aright their plans, so that we may live a peaceful and tranquil life in all piety and dignity." This prayer surely suggests or implies that whatever the sinfulness of war there is a rightful place for the armed forces.
And then again what of our hero saints, men like Saint George and other soldier saints?
On the issue of homesxuality, I agree that we do badly, even very, very badly if we ignore homseual practice or pretend it is not a sin. If we do this then we share the guilt of the unrepentant homsexual. If we have told him it's not a sin then whose fault is it if he doesn't repent? On the other hand we must respect (however much we disagree with) the homosexual who chooses to ignore us or disagree with us. And we must honestly (as Tony does) acknowledge his good and fine caring qualities or whatever it may be - just because we differ on this is no excuse for refusing to appreciate someone's gifts and qualities. The household of faith has rules - and if someone chooses not to join this household but rather to live according to his rules then we must respect his right to make this decision... but if someone wants to join the household of faith then he must strive to live by the rules of the house.
One of the best things on homosexuality and Orthodoxy I have recently read is this (from 'One Flew Over the Onion Dome' by Fr Joseph David Huneycutt): "A priest once told of a man who came to see him about becoming Orthodox. The priest said, "Okay, we'll need to discuss who Christ is, the Church, the Sacraments..." The man interrupted him saying, "I'm gay." The priest said, "Okay. But if you want to become Orthodox, we'll need to discuss who Christ is, the Church, the Sacraments..." "Damm it! Didn't you hear me? I said I'm gay!" "I heard you," said the priest, "but if you want to become Orthodox, we'll need to talk about who Christ is, the Church, the Sacraments." Crying, the man told the priest that other pastors had either told him it didn't matter, or to get out! It took the man a couple of years to become Orthodox, but another ten years to becoem celibate. He claims he would never have made it without the benefit of Christ, the Church, and the Sacraments." Amen
church of england/scotland - kirk yacoub - 05-09-2009
The reason I put the issues of war and homosexuality together on the same post was because they are two issues in which the Anglicans are at odds with Christianity. (Though, the Anglicans being what they are, not everyone believes the same thing). The issues at stake when I posted this was the destructive road the Anglicans are on. By all means, it is possible to have three threads: a/ Anglicanism; b/ homosexuality; 3/ war.
To respond to the points you have made, Simon, I believe that there is no need for armed forces, that in opposing the war in Iraq the Church is behaving in accordances with Christian principles, that evil should not be resisted with evil. I know that I will shock many on this, and that there will be those who will ask me if there should have been a war against Hitler, a question which I will gladly respond to if anyone does ask.
Yes, Christ, the Church, the Sacraments are the best response to anyone coming to us, because we are all sinners and it is only Christ, the Church and the Sacraments which can cleanse us. The problem with what appears to be the majority faction in Anglicanism, is that they do not believe that homosexuality is a sin, but something to be blessed with same-sex marriages. They respond to Biblical statements which tell us that homosexuality is sinful by saying that in the Bible it is permitted to stone people for sinning, therefore implying that we should be selective in what we follow. They forget, of course, the famous incident of the woman taken in adultery. Only cast the first stone if you are without sin, says Christ, in response to which the self-righteous slink away. So Christ does not countenance stoning. Nor does He condemn. But this does not mean that He tells the woman that adultery is fine and to be celebrated. On the contrary, He tells her to go "and sin no more."