A few months ago I was invited to become one of the contributors to a new Eastern Orthodox blog called Orthodoxy in Dialogue. At the time I had just written my post How Should We Then Live? which was a response to conversations around Giacomo Sanfilippo’s post on Conjugal Friendship. Giacomo is one of the editors at Orthodoxy in Dialogue and asked if I’d contribute from time to time. They are hoping to “provide a space for the discussion of topics relevant to Orthodox Christianity.” Some of those topics, will overlap with Spiritual Friendship’s ongoing discussions around the place of sexual minorities in the church. One of their recent posts, “Transgenderism” Isn’t a Thing is in the same vein of subjects we’ve written about here on Spiritual Friendship.
I recently published my first essay with Orthodoxy In Dialogue continuing the themes of How Should We Then Live and wanted to share with you all.
Most often, the rehashing and restating of the Church’s concrete theological positions grate against me. It pains me not because I personally disagree with its conclusions; rather, I find it lacking in practical advice or teaching that actually helps make sense of the life I’m called to live. Discussions around celibate relationships, committed friendships, life in community, sexual abstinence, and many others just don’t happen. I’ve found the Church leery of engaging in these gray areas for fear of somehow failing a test of “Orthodoxy.” Simply even engaging with the lived experiences of queer people in the Church is dangerous, or has the possibility of contaminating what is seen as “pure” theology.
I want to affirm the need for theological preservation, and for ancient truths to continue to have a place in the teaching of the Church. But the problem comes when it starts to feel as if I’ve been forgotten by the Church or reduced to a theological anomaly.
You can read the rest of the post here!
“Discussions around celibate relationships, committed friendships, life in community, sexual abstinence, and many others just don’t happen.”
This is a sad omission. It grieves me. The emphasis is on married folk and families.
The difficulty is the present day’s church neglect of single people and not seeing value in their unmarried vocation. Celibacy is seen as a gift not wanted in the churches. Yet, the Scriptures cherish the unmarried and see great value and even advantage in ministry.
This neglect, loneliness, and ultimate feelings of personal rejection cause many to become wanderers drifting from church to church.
Yet, orthodoxy has in the past cherished such single community in their history of monasticism. There were great issues in that but not all was bad. The image of community in this picture stirs my heart as a good place for the discussions you seek. Appreciate your view regarding this?