REPRESENTATIVES OF PATRIARCHATES OF CONSTANTINOPLE, ANTIOCH, AND MOSCOW MEET

L to R: Archbishop Elpidophoros (GOA), Metropolitan Joseph (AOCA), Metropolitan Hilarion (MP)

At the invitation of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America (Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America-Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East), Their Eminences Archbishop Elpidophoros of America (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America-Ecumenical Patriarchate) and Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk and Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate met at the headquarters of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. Read More


THE PRODIGAL CHURCH by Luke Beecham

holyascensionukorth2In In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace, published on the 17th of this month, the Pew Research Center released the findings of its latest surveys on the continuing rapid decline of Christianity on the American landscape. While this is certainly not news to anyone who has been paying attention the past two decades, the response to this trend within the traditional churches bears reflection. Having spent the better part of the past 20 years serving in various roles as a Christian youth worker—including 17 years as the director of a thriving camp program, and 18 months as the National Youth, Young Adult, and Campus Ministries Director of the Orthodox Church in America—I have watched this trend from a front row seat. The number one question I was asked by clergy and parents alike was, “How do we keep the young people from leaving the Church?” Read More


OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM: A PRACTICAL THEOLOGY OF DISABILITY reviewed by Charlotte Riggle and Monica Spoor

The unique, conversational format of this review was proposed by the reviewers.

Of Such Is the Kingdom: A Practical Theology of Disability
Summer Kinard 
Chesterton, IN: Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019

Book cover has a tender forehead to forehead photo of a father and a small child with Down Syndrome. Above the father/child, a golden toned arc holds a detail from the icon of Jesus blessing the children. Text on book cover: Of Such is the Kingdom A Practical Theology of Disability. Summer Kinard

Charli: You and I both have read and written a lot about disability, including disability in the Church. But Summer Kinard’s book, Of Such Is the Kingdom, is different from books we’ve read before. What stands out about this book to you?

Monica: Well, the first part of the book provides some sorely needed Orthodox theological foundation for how the Church has approached and should approach disability. It’s been problematic for a long time in all churches. Not one church seems comfortable with the topic, and the way it gets thought and talked about can vary from slightly awkward to outright spiritually abusive. We really needed some exploration of the Scriptures and the Fathers on the matter, and I’m most pleased Summer has done so. The Orthodox Church, at least, has never cast doubt on the possibility of salvation when it comes to people with disabilities, but Summer makes a clear case for something better than the usual assumption that people with disabilities get to enter heaven under something like an Economia Clause in the spiritual contract. Spiritual life is important, being part of the Church is important, and she makes it clear that both of these are possible for everyone, disability or no.

As Summer says, we don’t know what our resurrected bodies are going to look like, and whether there will be disability in heaven. As she says, Christ’s resurrected body still showed the signs of crucifixion. As a matter of interest, that’s how He was recognizable to His disciples! There won’t be handicaps in heaven, that we know for sure. At any rate, we are being saved, disability and all. Read More


SEXUALITY, GENDER, FAITH, SCIENCE by Archbishop Lazar (Puhalo)

In Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s Facebook group we normally post only articles for discussion that we have published. Occasionally we post links to other sources that are relevant to our articles. Yesterday evening we shared the link to the Transgender Youth Clinic at Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital with the following introductory remarks:
For your information. This is how transgender identity is addressed by the medical profession. Any Orthodox theological and pastoral response must be based on the best science available to us.
Archbishop Lazar has graciously consented to our publishing his response to the group. We suggest that you read his comments along with Bishop to Bishop: Straight from Confession to Suicide and Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago’s insistence that science matters on questions of sexuality and gender.

abp.lazar

The key here is “the best science available” and “medical science.” Religio-political ideology will not do. Late Iron Age concepts will simply not do.

It may be that in some aspects the “best science” and careful medical science will not have complete answers; however, the fact that they do not have complete and final answers to a matter does not give somebody who is not a scientist in this specific field of study, in particular not a medical scientist, an excuse to pontificate or vigorously advocate an anecdotal ideology.

Ideologies which are based in fear and hate are still less admissible and acceptable.

Ignorance is no substitute for faith, and faith which is so arrogant that it thinks it has answers to which the best science is counter—science which has the humility to state clearly that it will not have all the answers or complete answers yet. Read More


FLEEING FOR YOUR LIFE…FROM THE DIVINE LITURGY?

The following brief story is published with the permission of the person who shared it with us when they contacted us for a referral from our Special Kind of Clergy Directory. We offered what spiritual support we could and successfully connected them with a listening priest in a member jurisdiction of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America
Please read our friend’s story as a companion piece to:

Image result for running out of church

On Sunday morning, October 13, a very young Orthodox adult who is navigating their way through gender dysphoria visited a new Orthodox parish.
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ORTHODOX SERMONS AND NEAR SUICIDE by Someone’s Mom

Originally posted as a Facebook comment. Published with the author’s permission. Anonymous to protect the young person in the story.

Image result for girl contemplating suicide

Now imagine that you’re a 9 yr old CHILD trying to figure out what it is about yourself that seems a little different; and the priest you love, as you would love a family member, goes on a homosexual rant for an entire sermon that summer during Liturgy.

Then, it happens again when you are 12 yrs old. Except now you know for sure that the sermon is about people “like you.” And, it is the first time that you think about killing yourself.
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