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Thank you for your response, as you actually clarified a few things that I didn't fully understand the first time around. To be completely honest, even as a 21 year old, there are many things on which I haven't formed a solid opinion, one of them being the nature of homosexuality. That is to say, I don't quite have an opinion of if one is born as such, or if something later in life triggers the feelings, or what exactly happens, but I can't say I believe someone consciously chooses to be gay. (Though, they would have to consciously choose to act upon such feelings, as we all choose to act upon any romantic attraction.)

I do very much agree with your point about how it is much easier to point finger at someone about their sings, while ignoring the three that point back our own way. I will be the first to admit that I have passed judgment on others, when I know that I have no right or place to. Who am I but someone just as sinful as the one I am calling out for their transgressions?

I also appreciate the comparison you made about how we react to other sins. Growing up in a mostly low-income, inner city area, I have grown up being acutely aware of how wealth-hoarding is hugely detrimental to others. Unfortunately, the situation can become nearly impossible to escape. I have come to believe that it is the kind of thing that one must actually witness to understand the despair that people can feel about their lives and the system that should be aiding them. The view of such persons can be marred by a few that *do* take advantage of the system, leading some to just generalize one population. Which can lead to claims of them just needing to "stop being lazy" or "get a job", when for many, it isn't that simple. Some are too busy counting their fortunes to lend a hand to those who desperately need it.

Sorry about that tangent, I'll get off my soapbox now.

One of your statements made me draw an instant parallel to myself. As you have stated yourself as one who is categorized as having a certain viewpoint that may or may not be accurate, I also see myself as in that same boat. I do not know quite how to phrase this, but it seems that some automatically assume I stand for everything they stand against or because I ask tons of questions. I am very active in theatre, and have quite a few homosexual friends, therefore people automatically assume that I am pro-gay marriage. In all honesty, I don't know what I think. So I ask questions to understand why it is viewed as wrong. Some take this as me questioning the word of God and disrespecting the scripture, when in actuality, I just want to understand why certain viewpoints are held. I don't know if any of that made sense, but it was the best example I could think of. As I'm sure you know, these generalizations are unfair because they do not always turn out to be true.

In any case, I want to thank you again for not only your response, but also for the tone of it. Many times before, I've had people just ignore any statements made that are contrary to their own ideas. It is refreshing to hear someone who can amicably disagree and not set off on a personal attack against the other. I do want to apologize if any of my comments have seemed accusatory as that was not my intention at all. As you can tell, I am used to being quire guarded about conversations where I'm not sure how my comments will be received. I do frequently read your entries and often agree with your point of view, though you state them much more eloquently than I could (I'm majoring in Speech Pathology, not English) Thank you again for your insight and patience with my questions and ideas. A Blessed Pascha to you as well!

Thank you, Rachel, for your insightfulness.

Actually, this post was not meant for the subject of tolerance, or for the Orthodox attitude toward homosexual orientation and activity.

It was meant, rather, to drive home two propositions. The first is that, as the good Stephen Hayes pointed out in his comment (all the way from Africa), we should become acutely aware of the impossibility of self-engineered grace just so that we might be more aware of its Divine possibility.

The second proposition should be more genial to your concern than you would think: if we claim that homosexual activity is incompatible with Orthodoxy, then we should also claim that capitalism is just as incompatible. I see now that the rhetorical pairing of the two statements was too obscure to make this point as emphatically as I wished. But the fact remains that there is just as much warning against usury, capitalism and wealth-protection in Holy Tradition (i.e., Old and New Testament, the Councils and the Fathers) as there is against sexuality outside of heterosexual chastity.

You know that I am usually categorized as anti-homosexual and intolerant. The label is probably deserved as part of my ongoing chastening for past grievances.

Nevertheless, the label errs in that I am no more intolerant of homosexual activity than I am of lying, stealing, swearing, drinking excessively, or anything else on that confessional card printed up by the kind offices of the ACRY.

And what makes matters even more complicated is the morose fact that much of the sin of which I (and you) am intolerant in myself is sin of which I am guilty.

I suggested, in this post -- and none too gently -- that we are ringed by impossibilities, in which our sinfulness should be perceived acutely. It is easy, I meant to say, to point at homosexuality and cohabitation and other sins (usually of young adults or of "other people") -- but it is much harder to point at more familiar sins like wealth-hoarding (at the expense of the poor), and authority in the Church without the asceticism and spiritual vision to make that authority divine.

These latter two sorts of sinfulness were the chief targets of my complaint.

You and I will disagree (I hope amicably) about the biological predicate of homosexuality (and perhaps other behaviors).

Do not apologize for your small caps: e. e. cummings would be proud. Godspeed your studies, and a Blessed Pascha!

as much as i can agree with your statements, i take issue with something left out. while you state things such as the impossibility of being both orthodox and gay, what about the idea of being orthodox and intolerant? i have come across too many people who tell me they love God with their entire being, and seem on the surface to be devout, yet they will slander people they disagree with, whether it be in way of life, opinions, ideas, or (sadly) skin color. how do you respond to someone who will tell you why things you believe or do are wrong, but will not listen to anything you have to say? i believe that to be orthodox, one must also be tolerant (not necessarily accepting) of those different from them in all walks of life. i was always taught to hate the sin, not the sinner, so why do some who (i would assume) were taught in the same fashion believe they are above this lesson from the scripture? (I am not implying this of you Father, but am speaking of other people who I know whose reactions and ideas I have been utterly astounded by. This was the best post of yours I could think to ask this question on) I am genuinely interested in your take on how one deals with these people who hold themselves in high esteem and proclaim themselves Christians, yet will condemn people for choices they have made, or things that are as biological as the amount of melanin in their skin? This is something that has disturbed me immensely for some time, and as i respect your opinion, i would like to know how you would react to such people as an Orthodox Christian. (i also apologize for capitalization or any other errors, as i've been studying and typing papers for school all day!)

Ah, "the rule of faith" presupposes many things and prohibits many things as well, which you expicate with eloquence. To honor my father and mother goes beyond biology to spiritual life from God the Father and the Church my mother from whom I receive the regula fidei. What comfort, freedom and peace in the Holy Spirit I find in such a rule.

Of course this is true.

But it is also true that there are delineations in the fallen world.

The No answer thus is true for the last question by all accounts.

I arranged the couplets to force certain rhetorical chiasms.

But with God all things are possible.

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