Friday, July 7, 2017

Sr. Vassa's words on gay teen dating continue to reverberate

Sister Vassa recently posted an advice piece to her Facebook page (the letter itself has been removed from Facebook and she is actively blocking people who comment on it). I post it below for those who didn't read it when it was available along with my own comments (which I'm sure will upset some readers). Let me say that her words drew immediate response from clergy and laity all over the world. Beyond the pitched battle of the left-leaning and traditionalists sides who might be looking for any arena to draw blood in regardless of the exact context or mitigating circumstances, there was widespread consternation about what was written and the sort of response that will necessarily follow from those with influence in her life (her bishop, her "zillions," ROCOR, AFR, etc.).

*EMAIL OF THE WEEK: (from a mother, on MY SON IS HOMOSEXUAL).

Hi Sr. Vassa,Please let me first tell you how much your reflections mean to me. I enjoy getting your perspective on scripture each morning.

What I want to ask you about is a topic that is not discussed too often in my church - homosexuality. Recently, my 14-year-old son came out to my husband and I. This was not a surprise to us as we kind of saw this as a possibility and have discussed how we would handle it. We have been taking cautious steps in moving forward and making sure our son knows he has our unconditional support. This may not be the case as other extended family members/friends eventually find out but for now, in our home, we just want him to know he is ok and loved.This is where the faith thing gets tricky.

I was raised Byzantine Catholic and my husband and I have raised our children in the faith as well. My family has been very active in our parish. My son has been an altar server since he was 7. I am not sure where a gay person fits into our particular faith community. What happens as he gets older and possibly wants to date? I have not talked to my parish priest yet. He is older and although he is a wonderful person, whom I admire greatly, I am not comfortable revealing this information about my son.

I am filled with so many questions. I want to do what is best for my child and have realized this may involve finding a faith community that would be more accepting of my son.

Any insight you can provide would be so valuable to me as we move forward.

Thank you. N.

SISTER VASSA’S RESPONSE:

Dear N.,

Thanks for writing. I can't reply to your question officially, but will reply to it personally. Because my personal opinion is not in line with some official pronouncements of my Church. Can someone point to me where is has ever been fruitful or healthful to say "The Church says this..." and then follow up with "But I say this..."? I'm at a loss to think of one.  So please just accept it as my personal opinion, no more and no less than that.

I applaud your approach of standing by your son in “unconditional” love. I think that we are called to accept one another as we are, regardless of the fact that all of us, in one way or another, do not perfectly live up to the scriptural ideals set out for us, particularly in the whole area of sex. Now it is true that we are, as parents or other representatives of authority, called to do what we can to guide others in the right direction, that is, toward God. But there are things that we cannot change in our children, like the God-given gift, and cross, of sexuality. It is always both a gift and a cross, because it forms a part of our “vocation” or calling, that is to say, the specific way in which each of us is called to serve and connect with others and ourselves, on the cross-carrying journey. But, like any cross, sexuality is always, regardless of sexual orientation, a rather messy business. It’s always awkward and messy, to a greater or lesser degree, as any normal adolescent discovers when first confronted with it. We don’t talk about it much, but the realities of stuff like masturbation and glimpses (whether occasional or regular) at pornography in one’s early teens (especially today in our Internet Age), and approaching girls/boys to ask them out for the first time, etc., are a kind of mild trauma that few of us have been spared. So, my point is, most of us have “crossed the line” in the whole area of sex, in one way or another, and that’s part of our human journey toward God. I think it is helpful for us to remember that we, as parents, do not guide our children as ones perfect in the whole area of sex. We guide them as humbled veterans, if you will, of a war we also haven’t perfectly fought or “won.”

But here’s the thing about homosexuality. And please read this to the end, if you could. I must say, and cannot say otherwise, that actively living it out is a sin. It’s a no-no. But so are many other things, which we tolerate in ourselves as “only human. Like, our consistent disregard for God’s word, which is worse than the sins of “Sodom and Gomorrah,“ as our Lord points out in Matthew 10: 14: “…And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable (ἀνεκτότερον) on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.” (Mt 10: 14-15)

And here’s the other thing about homosexuality. We do know today, according to reliable scientific studies, that this sexual orientation is formed in most (not all) cases, by the early age of 3-4. Importantly, it is before the “age of reason,” which is traditionally considered the age of 7, so it is not a “choice.” You mention that you knew this about your son well before he came out to you now, at the age of 14. I have heard this from several mothers of homosexual children, including one wife of an Orthodox priest, that they “knew” it from their child’s early childhood.
Hence we come to the question of “culpability” for this state of affairs, in one’s gift-and-cross of (homo)sexuality. We can and do separate the question of “culpability” for the sin, and the sin itself, - so let me point out that God must also. In most cases, homosexuality is not one’s own choice. So, “crossing the line” in this area, and not committing to total celibacy, as one “must” do according to traditional, scriptural law, is “more tolerable” in God’s eyes (as Christ says in the above-quoted passage), than our other kinds of trespasses. Among our “other” trespasses let me mention heterosexual adultery, masturbation, premarital sex, and just “looking lustfully at a woman” (Mt 5: 28), - all “sins,” although we tend to “live and let live” with them, as they are only human. I have never "live and let live[d]" any of these issues with penitents in confession nor would I treat such actions as everyday problems for my children (spiritual or earthly). She sees a double standard where I see an attempt to modulate homosexual acts to the area of "lesser" sins. But we have a double standard when it comes to homosexual “sins,” for the plain reason, I think, that most of us feel free-and-clean of this particular thing.

So what am I saying practically, about what you should do when your son “wants to date”? I think you won’t be able to change the fact that he will “date,” unless he wants to commit himself to celibacy. But I am going to go ahead and presume he doesn’t want to, and isn’t going to, do that, since he’s “come out” to you, and I don’t think you can change that in him, at age 14. So I would say, let him “date” in the daylight, with your knowledge, so he’s not chased into some kind of underground, of illicit hook-ups in certain kinds of pubs or bars. You aren’t “encouraging” him by saying, bring the guy here. Just like other parents, of heterosexual children, say, bring that girl (even the one of whom we disapprove) home, so we can meet her, aren’t saying, go ahead and do whatever you want. But what you are doing is bringing your child’s relationship into the daylight of your home, where your love, values, and mutual commitment, as family, can lend stability and light to your child’s behaviour in his/her relationships. What in God's name is this woman thinking? This is the same sort of logic that says we must give our children condoms because "they're going to do it anyway." Dating is a prelude to marriage. What is this gay "dating" a prelude to? What sort of parent doesn't exert their authority on the relationships their child has with other children? My teenagers don't date for the simple reason that they aren't ready to get married. This advice is an egregious misstep that sends the wrong signals to a child (whether he be heterosexual or homosexual) and cedes the authority of a parent that they shouldn't be frittering away. You know, the whole gay-culture of previous decades led many homosexuals (as I know from a dear Roman-Catholic gay friend aged 60 at this point) to get into irresponsible sexual encounters, inspired by the whole aura of illicitness, in hook-ups in public bathrooms and that sort of thing. Again, bringing things out into the open is not going to always be the better options. I remember from high school the parents who let their kids and their friends drink in their basements at parties they hosted because they thought "My kids are going to drink anyway, so why not do it in a safe place where I can keep an eye on things?" I don't think the kids got any less drunk or made any better decisions. They just learned what alcohol they liked or got them drunk most quickly, that bad behavior could also come with a place with a good speaker system and free booze, and that the merits of not drinking underage were "just your opinion, man."

As far as your other practical question goes, of finding a faith-community for your son, I think he has two choices: 1. He can “suck it up” in your present community, like the woman wearing a scarlet letter. It’s not the worst thing in the world, because I can tell you from personal experience that it is liberating in many ways, to be the odd man out and OK with that, even if (and this might shock you) you are denied Holy Communion. (I am not homosexual, but I have been “the odd man out” in other ways). Your son’s humble presence in your parish could benefit both him and others, in unexpected ways. Just like the story of Mary of Egypt has been beneficial to all of us, even though she had no Holy Communion for over 40 years. The obvious difference being that she abandoned her sinful ways and lived a life of total repentance and extreme askesis in rags with her skin permanently burned so that today we weep for her sins and her eventual salvation through God's great mercy. The other choice is 2. Find a parish that is acceptive of your son’s particular gift-and-cross. There are parishes like that, here and there, but I don’t know where you live and whether you have one nearby. Frankly I find the first option the better one, as shocking and insensitive as that may sound. But here’s what I would NOT suggest: to leave the Church. Our church is our family, and as a family, we are called to learn from one another, to love one another, and, as a result, to suffer to a certain degree, from one another, that we may grow. I don’t know if that makes sense to you, but I don’t believe in jumping ship when it comes to church-belonging. I think we don’t grow that way, I mean by jumping ship, but rather stunt or (best-case scenario) delay our growth.

Please forgive me if this wasn’t helpful, but it’s all I’ve got. Love to you and your family from all of us in Vienna,

SV

51 comments:

  1. That's it. Put an Orthodox nun in a Papist institution and look what happens. Plus kids are so indoctrinated in public schools now, that they are easily brainwashed. God bless Russia for at least not allowing the gay rights folk to proselytize in the schools.

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    1. Well, the EP went there too. Fr. Taft is a gifted teacher. Don't know if we can blame the institution, but we are trying to speak reason against such poorly thought out arguments that one gets exhausted quickly.

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  2. Though I am a fan of Sr. Vassa's work (especially her work on the Liturgy) I quite agree that this advice represents a colossal mis-step. I think also that it does a disservice to the gay Christians who struggle heroically to live a life of chastity out of obedience to Christ. As a father of (now grown) children I would say it is important not to essentially give any fourteen year old permission to engage in sex before marriage. We of course will love them unconditionally regardless of their wise or foolish choices, but we need to offer steadfast counsel and encouragement to do the right thing.

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  3. Amen, Father, Amen! I have a 38 year old son who has rebelled against the church. He is not gay, but his best friend(since 6th grade) is. As a result, not only does he no longer practice the faith, but my two beautiful grandchildren are unbaptised.

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  4. http://fatherjohn.blogspot.com/2017/07/sister-vassa-on-homosexuality.html

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  5. My question is, how would you respond to the same question? Not to Sr. Vassa, but to the writer?

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  6. If, let us say, a 28 year teacher can be arrested and then jailed, for having had relations with a 14 year old student, how on earth could it be ok for parents to allow their children ANY type of sexual relations under their roof?

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  7. These comments really sadden me. As someone who is gay and has tried to follow the Church's teaching to the letter on this, you can't even begin to fathom how difficult it is. It has driven me to total despair, wondering why God couldn't simply grant me death. You may think it is just a matter of repenting of sin like any other, but it is not.

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    2. You know nothing of how I feel. Your insensitivity is honestly astounding. You've never been taught from the time you were a child that your attractions were illicit. You were able to hope for love, find love, and marry. You may be a widower but you still have the memories and nothing prevents you from finding love and marrying again. I'm asked to kill inside myself every day any hope of the happiness you've had. I'm asked to kill every attraction I have, every day, until I die. Growing up I started to pray that God would let me die young and spare me. Now I'm 30 and it never gets easier, it only gets worse. Try actually talking to a gay person before you speak. It doesn't seem anyone on this thread has ever tried doing that.

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    5. I'm very sorry to hear about your wife. With that said, this kind of response is frankly unhinged. I was expressing outrage at your comments that I found highly insensitive. I didn't claim to know you. To state a gay person caused the death of your wife, or that their being gay had anything to do with it, is not even remotely rational. I would be very concerned if you are still practicing your ministry by counseling others. I pray you get help and find some peace.

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  8. Do you really believe that we are to have no personal opinions apart from what the church teaches? God bless Sr Vassa for being authentic and honest. And, WHY is homosexuality treated as the end all of all sins? I have seen the double standard applied to other sexual sins in the church. Internet pornography probably destroys more lives and families yet it is not approached with the same venom and condemnation as homosexuality. Your comment "What in God's name is this woman thinking?" comes off as rude. Her thoughts were not poorly reasoned, they took many things into consideration and made room for love, compassion, and reality. Thank goodness God does this for all of us.

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    1. "Do you really believe that we are to have no personal opinions apart from what the church teaches?" Yes. I believe exactly that. If we wish to pronounce personal opinions that are directly opposed to the teachings of the Church, you have my opinion exactly. What you call "reality" I call something else entirely.

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    2. Ok, if we are not to hold personal opinions contrary to the teachings of the church, by what right does Fr. Reardon(by his own admission) enter Synagogues to recite the Psalms in Hebrew? And, as far as I know, not one bishop, priest, or deacon has called him out on it. If we're going to call Sr. Vassa to task, which I think we should, why not call this priest to task,too?

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    3. He should absolutely be called out on it, is the answer to your question. As should priests who participate in the Seder and blog about it.

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  9. First let me say that it is totally in-Christian to define the totality of one's personhood by one aspect of it. Second, as one who holds a Ph.D. in psych I believe that our sexuality, despite what we think, isn't fixed before one's early 20's. Third, we do not have the authority to change what holy men and women and scripture have held for millennia.

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  10. How did Sr Vassa change what holy men and women and the scripture have held for millennia? She said that homosexuality is a sin. How does what Sr Vassa said change that?

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  11. Sally, you ask why homosexuality is considered such a heinous sin or at least homoerotic behavior. That is a good question.

    If one reads Romans 1 it shows the context of homoerotic behavior as a form of idolatry, worshiping the created thing more than the creator. We are created male and female. It is an integral part of creation beyond procreative sex. It is part of the synergy that is essential to commune with God. Physically, psychology and spiritually.

    The Fall disordered all of that. That disorder is in our minds, our hearts and our bodies.

    Homoerotic behavior violates all three aspects of our being and violently disrupts God's grace to restore us to communion with Him as we are created to be. It is ultimately a hatred of God and a rejection if His gifts to us.

    Same sex attraction on the other hand can often be a simple emotional immaturity that passes as one grows. Even if it is something deeper, it will always become worse if accompanied with unnatural sexual acts.

    The Church has always known this. So-called science that rejects the revealed wisdom of the Church is in reality ideological propaganda. A propaganda that is magnified and propagated in institutions of "higher leaning" dedicated as they are to the false ideal that man's wisdom is greater than God's.

    St. Vassa apparently has chosen the impossible task of trying to serve God and Mammon. Guess who just won out?


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    1. Michael- While I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your reply, I did not in fact ask why homosexuality is considered such a heinous sin. If I was unclear, I apologize. What I did ask is, why is homosexuality considered the end all of all sins? While homosexuality is according to Scripture, a heinous sin, so is the viewing of internet pornography, and pornography addiction. Where is the great outcry of the church in regard to this sexual sin, which I daresay is far more common and has done more to destroy lives and marriages, than homosexuality? There are plenty of sexual sins within our churches that we do not condemn with the vigor that we do homosexuality.

      And, I am sorry, but I found your last comment about Sr. Vassa to be pretty sad- it is presumptive and judgmental for you to offer such a conclusion.

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    2. Sally, the Church is unequivocal in condemning pornography, but we are not being asked, as a society, to accept and celebrate pornography. It is a thing that the vast majority of people - including believers - keep within the confines of their own homes. If a priest - or orthoblogger - were to advise "just a little porn" for "sex-addicted" kids, then you'd better believe it would elicit a response.

      No, having homosexual inclinations will not damn you to hell. But the response of the Church and believers is just that: a response, to the demands of a secular society that we accept homosexuality as anything but pernicious.

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  12. Sally, had a really good reply to your questions wiped out by my errant finger. I will recompose and try again later.

    Recommend the book by Wesley Hill, Washed but Waiting if you want to better understand the struggle of same sex attraction for a Christian man.

    More of this anon.

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  13. ...and Mr. Hill is an Anglican. God bless him. I deeply admire his openness and faith. He confirmed many of my own observations over the years of homosexuals I have been friends with.

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  14. Sally, homoerotic activity (as distinct from same sex arttaction) is a sin that leads to the one unforgivable sin, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit-the giver if life.

    When I was deeply involved in theater, I knew many such people, male and female. Without exception they exhibited the deep, unique loneliness that Mr. Hill describes. It is a lonliness that cannot be touched by normal human intimacy. It is that lonliness and the intinsic shame of homoerotic acts that leads to suicide, not traditional Christianity (conservative is an inappropriate label).I have read a number of testimonies from Orthodox men who echo the same reality.

    The lonliness can only be healed by deep communion with God.

    I have also been witness to the horror show of delusion, ponography and promiscuity that marks the homoerotic life. I watched impotent when a friend of mine in pre-Christian days literally talked himself into being a homosexual. He told me he got up every morning, stood in front of his mirror and proclaimed "I am a homosexual". Went on for over a year. He also invited me into his home and I saw the pornography and his friends talking openly about their cruising life. My sadness still endures years later. I moved away so I never saw the end of my friend's story, but it cannot have been good.

    Had another high school friend who "came out" after high school and was dead of AIDS in a few years.

    As to judging Sr. Vassa I am not. Merely commenting on her own response to criticism by saying she had more followers and more money now. That is deeply sad. Sounds like she is losing the battle to me. She needs help.

    Homoerotic behavior is demonic and idolatrous in nature as St. Paul points out in Romans 1. Not the only sin there to be sure, but of particular emphasis. Plus it is the sin that our culture is forcing us to confront.

    ANYONE who encourages ANYONE else in that direction is wrong. They are directing that person to a darkness far away from God. To a place where not only the body but the soul is killed.


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    1. As someone who actually is gay, you don't know what you are talking about. This is the truly horrible rhetoric that actually DOES drive people to suicide. Being deeply involved in theater hardly gives you perspective to speak on this.

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    3. So a lesbian made your life unpleasant and it caused your wife to die.....so homosexuals are bad.....? Now I've heard everything.

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  15. Hugh, my observations are of many people I knew personally and worked with closely over several years in various theater productions. They were not just casual acquaintences(the only reason theater is relevant), but colleagues and friends. A couple of them I comforted to the extent that I could in their lonliness because they were my friends.

    I had my own struggle with suicidal ideation over many years and have had several friends who had close relatives commit suicide. I am not a stranger to the pain. While I cannot know all the pain from inside, I can connect to it.

    I am not a homosexual, true but neither am I unlearned nor do I condemn anyone.

    Homoerotic acts are sinful. I too am a sinful man. I struggle with others to allow God's grace to heal the wounds of sin, but I will never agree to call sin a virtue or natural even my own nor will I accept that anyone is irredemable even myself.

    I rather doubt that Sr.Vassa has known as many homosexuals in a friendly and collegial a manner as I have nor contemplated the disorder in prayer out of loving concern for friends as I have.

    Who is more qualified?








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  16. No, you are a human being caught in a besetting sin. You are the least qualified. As I am the least qualified to understand my own sins.

    The fact that you say "I am one" indicates the strength of the delusion. You are not your sin.

    One of my besetting sins is anger. I had a genetic and environmental predisposition to it. Recently God gave me the grace to begin to get beyond it (ruled by it for some 60 plus years). During that time I had no real understanding of my disorder except what other people gave to me.

    It was tempting to think, "I am an anger man" like David Banner turning into the Hulk. Destroy others or myself. Never quite went there.

    No one is ever their sin. There is no sin that so subsumes and consumes our humanity. I will grant you homoerotic activity can seem that way but it does not.

    I must say also that I had a period in my own life where the possibility of going the homoerotic direction was quite attractive. Anger won though because it better fit the shame to which I was reacting.

    It took the death of my wife which was partially related to my anger, finally seeing the deep pain of my son and being on the verge of being fired to wake me up enough to really allow God to begin to heal me. He showed me a great deal of the damage I had done as He lifted me up. He also promised to reorder all the disorder of my anger filled life through my finally genuine repentance. That is our hope as Christians. "Behold, I make all things new."

    I do not have the experience of all of the hooks and temptations and self justification for remaining in your sin, as you don't know mine for remaining angry. That is exactly why you may be more qualified to help me with anger than I am. I can only say these things however because of the insight God's grace has given me.

    I hope and pray Hugh that you, too allow God to heal you or at least enter the struggle because you are a human being created in His image and likeness. He will give you the strength. It is the Cross that allows for the Ressurection though.

    God bless and keep you.

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  19. Boris, losing one's spouse is horrible, I felt and still feel as if half of my soul was ripped out. Still God is merciful. He showed me the truth of the Resurrection during the immediate aftermath of her death.

    The grief will never go away completely but it becomes less intense and easier to bear.

    I vowed to never ask a grieving spouse "How are you feeling". After awhile, I wanted to punch people who asked me that. Any answer is a no win response.

    What I can do is tell you I am glad you are here and extend my friendship.

    May God grant you mercy and peace.

    As far as Hugh, he should at least understand that I have no fear of those with same sex attraction nor those who engage in sodomy. But neither will I tolerate the bullying nor the ideologs who want to use such people as cannon fodder to attack the Church and the truth.

    Anger does not help though. What your supervisor did is likely tied up with her refusal to acknowledge her disordered and sinful sexuality. The repressed shame does lead to that kind of behavior. I will pray for you. God forgives even besetting sins once we allow Him to.

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  20. It may surprise you both to learn that I've been a faithful Orthodox Christian for some time and always strive to follow the teachings of the Church. I have degrees in theology and have done much teaching in the Church, which I'm sure is to your horror. I've always taught and upheld the traditional teaching on all of these matters, I'm certainly no liberal.

    And yet it is people like both of you that make life for people like me all but impossible. You have zero desire to understand whatsoever. Equating your anger with sexual orientation is so inane it leaves me speechless. To lecture me as if you understand anything about my situation is laughable. I've already been relegated to the "gay jihadists."

    Michael, you may even be worse than Boris because you're lending credence to the downright delusional idea that a lesbian indirectly killed his wife! And not only that, but that it had something to do with her lesbianism!!

    I'm saving this whole thread and will definitely be using it in the future to help priests and hierarchs understand how deeply this kind of poisonous hatred runs in the Church. You do irreparable harm to your cause by continuing to speak. Despite your professed piety you're showing very clearly how judgmental and hateful towards gay people you actually are.

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    1. We've gone a bit far afield from the original content of the post.

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    2. It was very worthwhile so that people can see the truth of what exists within the Church.

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    3. "Hugh" you are illistrating why homosexuality, and it's proponents, is foriegn to the Church. You may carve out your church of "tolerance" but it will be nothing but dellusion.

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    4. Wallace, you clearly read nothing that I actually wrote. If you want to hate me because I'm gay, so be it. You only expose the truth about yourself.

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  22. Testosterone levels have dropped by 50% in the last 50 years and 35% in just the last 20 years. The past two generations have been flooded with Xeno-estrogens and estrogens , not to mention Malt, Soy and Chemical disruptors like Atrazine and Phthalates. Hypospadias (now up to 1/300 boys) has been rising in furious proportions and the Media LIE about it or Normalize it calling it "inter sexuality". NO ! It is not natural , nor "normal" that we be blinded into equivocations when it comes to encouraging "dating" by omission, 14 year old children and we are Ignoring the TRUE nature of these things that are happening now. James 4:7

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  23. Jesus didn't instruct his disciples to only give loaves and fishes to people that aren't gay. He didn't ask the blind or the lame, "Before I can heal you are you gay."

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  24. I am autistic. I did not ask to be autistic. I was born autistic. Because I have autism I have a drastically much harder time experiencing faith. It's difficult for me to conceive of a personal God who has thoughts or feelings, and for me to experience any sense of connection to such a God. Yet I am an Orthodox Christian, even on day's when I am also an agnostic. I struggle with the most basic components of faith because of an innate and pervasive aspect of my neurology. Autism is integral to my formation as a person and can not be separated from me. So am I an unbeliever when I doubt? When the idea of God seems preposterous to me? Am I unfaithful when I can't even begin to understand other's experiences of faith? Or is it possible that God is merciful to me, a sinner, and has grace upon me, knowing that I am made differently? Can I say with St. Paul, His grace is sufficient for me?

    Like me, our LGBT brothers and sisters in Christ did not choose to be LGBT. They were this way for as long as they can remember, either from birth or from environmental factors. They have no more power to change their orientation than I do to not be Autistic. Their orientation is fundamental to the shaping of their person-hood, both through neurological difference (like me) and through differing life experience (also like me). Can they, like St Paul, say "His grace is sufficient for me?"

    I too know what it is like to ask God to let you die because you are divergent from the societal accepted norm. From being routinely excluded and rejected by Christians because I see and experience the world differently. I too know what it's like to feel the anxiety of wondering if I'll ever be able to truly belong to a church community and be accepted by the body of Christ.

    I am the most qualified to talk about my experience as an Autistic Orthodox Christian, and I suggest that people like Hugh of Balma are most qualified to talk about their experiences as an LGBT Orthodox Christian. When they say that your rhetoric causes them pain and drives people to suicide, maybe it might be wise to take note.

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  25. may ssa cousin, who rejects the church and who praises Sister Vassa's bad advice linked this page to his Facebook wall because the page has Sister Vassa's post in it's entirety. The ROCOR synod asked for this to be taken down, why have you neglected this responsibility?

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    1. They did indeed. See here:

      "We instruct therefore that the contents of these publicly-posted materials be disregarded by the faithful as contrary to the teachings of the Gospel and pastorally harmful; that they be withdrawn and removed from any web sites or publications that seek authentically to represent Orthodox theological and pastoral teaching; and that in the future such materials be treated with most extreme reticence and caution."

      I didn't post this in any way that might be construed as supportive of her position. She said it. I commented on it. It's going to stay.

      The same holds true for content of a similar ilk like the OCA Wonder posts or the ignominious Public Orthodoxy material that deserves the treatment only sunshine can provide.

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