So color me shocked when a Protodeacon of the OCA took it upon himself to publicly flush all manner of heretical and amoral waste onto the Internet for all to see. I was less shocked to find that Pdn. Theodore serves under Fr. Arida (who some will remember had entire clergy brotherhoods writing in alarm about his compositions of a similar bent).
The article, entitled "LGBTQ+ IN OUR CHURCHES by Protodeacon Theodore Feldman" is available here.
Let's sample some of what his letter contains:
Even adulterers, though, Christ accepted when they turned to Him. He foreknew the Samaritan woman for a serial adulterer, yet He broke every law in the book to bring her into communion with Himself—speaking to a Samaritan, speaking alone with a woman, sharing her drinking cup—because He foresaw that she would open her heart to Him. Indeed, she turned her entire community to Him (Jn 4). The sinful woman who washed His feet with her hair He likewise forgave because she approached Him with love in her heart (Lk 7). It was the Pharisees who muttered complaints against her and other sinners who turned to Him. How can we miss the parallel with those who are complaining today about LGBTQ+ persons who wish to draw near to Christ?The point, then, is not that Christ said "keep at that adultery thing," but that they stopped their sinful behavior and strove to "Sin no more." Hardly what the deacon is recommending.
Both sides of the debate appeal to Tradition. But from Holy Tradition itself we hear only…silence. For Holy Tradition is rooted in the word and work of Christ. And here, as we have seen, we find nothing concerning LGBTQ+. So the opinions of the Church Fathers on sexual behavior (aside, always, from adultery) are just that: opinions, growing out of their own cultural context, but not out of Christ’s word.Here is how you read the Fathers. A council is better than a single Father who can err, but when you have both multiple conciliar pronouncement and the univocal voice of the Fathers on a topic, you don't just call it antiquated "opinions" and think that somehow living in 2019 your opinions are more enlightened. This is the age of the slanket and trap music, not St. Basil or St. Anthony. I wouldn't absorb today's mores and try to work them backwards into the fabric of the Church any more than I would smear motor oil on my favorite book. The church brings salvation to a fallen world, the fallen world doesn't experience any salvific effects wading into the murky waters of contemporary culture.
What is our experience, as clergy, when a communicant approaches the Chalice? Whom do we see? If, as Paul taught us, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female, but we are all one in Christ (Gal 3:28), do we yet distinguish between gay and straight? Or do we see, standing in front of us, only a person desiring to meet the Lord?Why, yes we clergy are supposed to use our discretion. That's why people don't commune themselves as if it were a Eucharistic buffet at the Golden Corral.
Are we to stand in judgment between Christ and this person who seeks His face?
The article goes on and on with poorly thought out ideas and an appeal to kindness that does no kindness to the people it presumes to help.
The clergy of the OCA have asked in the past (in motions at All American Councils, in letters, and online), and I join them today in asking, when will the Holy Synod act on these public proclamations so opposed to the Faith? When will it respond so that there is no question that a clergyman cannot use his great influence on the people and lead them astray in this way? If millstones around the neck are the lot of such authors, what of episcopal inaction when hierarchs know full well what their clergy are getting up to?