ORTHODOXY AND DISABILITY: THE CONVERSATION CONTINUES by Monica Spoor

wheelchairjesusI was delighted to see Charlotte Riggle’s response [Disability in the Orthodox Parish: A Call to Love] to my response [One Woman’s Story: Mental Health, Autism, and Orthodox Pastoral Care] to Father Isaac Skidmore’s article [On Mental Health Referrals by Orthodox Clergy]. Again I wanted to respond. 

Riggle has done an outstanding job of pointing all of us toward the many areas in the Church where inclusion still needs some work, to put it mildly.

I’m on welfare with a disability in the Netherlands. Compared to the rest of the world, I’m not that badly off. There’s room for improvement—lots of room for improvement—but generally speaking, it could be worse. It is worse, in many places.

However, from what I see in various countries, some views hold true everywhere. My value as a citizen is judged by my production. Do I generate income, taxable income, to offset the costs of having me in this country? Read More


CHAOS & BEAUTY: CONFERENCE ON THE LEGACY OF METROPOLITAN ANTHONY (BLOOM) OF SOUROZH

Conference Date

October 26, 2019

Image result for anthony bloom

Metropolitan Anthony (Bloom) of Sourozh (1914-2003)

The Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh Foundation is holding its eighth conference on the legacy of Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, to take place at St Sava’s Church Hall, 89 Lancaster Road, London W11.

Entitled Chaos and Beauty, the conference will reflect on Metropolitan Anthony’s understanding of chaos as potentialities, and the ways in which this relates to our experience of life, of God, of one another, and the world. We include below his own words on chaos – words which remain vital and relevant to the challenges we face today. Read More


ASSAD REGIME RESPONSIBLE FOR MAJORITY OF ATTACKS ON SYRIA’S CHRISTIAN CHURCHES by Emily Jones

Syrian President Bashar  al-Assad, Photo, AP

Bashar al-Assad (Photo credit: AP)

On April 15, 2018 Orthodoxy in Dialogue published the Joint Statement of the Patriarchs of Antioch on the civil war in Syria, and on April 27, 2018 the insightful Bashar al-Assad and Syrian Christians: What Should We Think? by Dr. Philip Dorroll and then associate editor Kari Edwards. From the vantage of their respective areas of study, Dorroll and Edwards separately address the widespread assumption that Bashar al-Assad is the protector of Syria’s Christians.

A year and a half later, on September 5, 2019, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) has released a 21-page report entitled Targeting Christian Places of Worship in Syria Is a Threat to World Heritage; The Syrian [Assad] Regime Bears Primary Responsibility for 61% of the Targeting of Christian Places of Worship in Syria. The PDF of the report can be read and downloaded here.

For those who haven’t the time or inclination to read a 21-page report, Emily Jones has summarized it for CBN News, and included commentary from other sources, in her brief Assad Regime Named Number One Threat to Syria’s Christians After 120+ Churches Intentionally Attacked. Read More


SERBIAN ORTHODOX BISHOPS OF THE USA SAY WHAT?

serbobishops

L to R: Bishop Longin (Krco), Bishop Irinej (Dobrijevic), Bishop Maxim (Vasiljevic)

On September 7, 2019 Bishop Longin of New Gracanica-Midwestern America, Bishop Maxim of Western America, and Bishop Irenej of Eastern America published a statement, Regarding the Episcopal Council for North, Central and South America, the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox School of Theology, Constitutional Matters and Draft Child Protection Policies and Procedures, on the website of the Serbian Orthodox Dioceses in the United States of America.

While we do not have sufficient information to comment on the controversies addressed in the statement or in the “internet ‘postings’ and ‘e-petitions'” cited therein, the final paragraph stands out as particularly needing clarification on the part of Their Graces: Read More


DISABILITY IN THE ORTHODOX PARISH: A CALL TO LOVE by Charlotte Riggle

disabled-people-png

I am grateful for the discussion of disability that Father Isaac Skidmore [On Mental Health Referrals by Orthodox Clergy] and Monica Spoor [One Woman’s Story: Mental Health, Autism, and Orthodox Pastoral Care] have begun on Orthodoxy in Dialogue. It is a topic as near to my heart as my own children. They are what my husband and I used to call high-maintenance kids. Between them, they have autism, ADHD, asthma, bipolar disorder, chiari malformation, chronic migraine, dyslexia, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, prosopagnosia, restless leg syndrome, and some other diagnoses I’m sure I’m forgetting. They’re all adults now, although the two with autism still require our support.

And I can second everything that Monica and Father Isaac said about autism and mental illness.

When I have spoken with people with disabilities and their parents, I hear the same stories over and over. People in our parishes struggle to welcome and love people with disabilities. And people with disabilities struggle to stay in our parishes.

Let me explain … Read More


HOW DO GENES AFFECT SAME-SEX BEHAVIOR? by Melinda C. Mills

As we noted a month ago in Dialogue at Last? Metropolitan Nathanael on Same-Sex Orientation (Part One), one of His Eminence’s most significant statements acknowledges the importance of science to our growing understanding of sexual diversity in human nature: “First, the Orthodox Church embraces scientific truth and medical knowledge, and the opinion to which I am responding [see reference here] has no basis whatsoever in science or medicine.”
It should go without saying that good theology is impossible absent conversation with good science.

DNAStudies have indicated that same-sex orientation and behavior has a genetic basis and runs in families, yet specific genetic variants have not been isolated. Evidence that sexual orientation has a biological component could shape acceptance and legal protection: 4 to 10% of individuals report ever engaging in same-sex behavior in the United States, so this could affect a sizeable proportion of the population. On page 882 of this issue, Ganna et al. report the largest study to date, comprising almost half a million individuals in the United Kingdom and United States, identifying genetic variants associated with same-sex sexual behavior. They provide evidence that genetic variation accounts for a small fraction of same-sex sexual behavior and uncover a relationship to the regulation of the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen as well as sex-specific differences. They also reveal complexity of human sexuality. Read More


ON ORTHODOX ECOLOGICAL THEOLOGY by Patriarch Bartholomew

greenworld

Encyclical of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for the Feast of Indiction and the First Day of the Ecclesiastical Year and the Day of Environmental Protection

September 1, 2019

Prot. No. 582

✠ B A R T H O L O M E W
By God’s Mercy
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
To All the Plenitude of the Church
Grace, Peace and Mercy from the Maker of All Creation
Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ

Dearest brother Hierarchs and beloved children in the Lord,

With the goodness and grace of the all-bountiful God, today marks the 30th anniversary since the Holy Great Church of Christ [the Church of Constantinople] established the feast of Indiction and first day of the ecclesiastical year as “the day of environmental protection.” We did not only address our Orthodox faithful, nor again just Christian believers or even representatives of other religions, but also political leaders, environmentalists and other scientists, as well as intellectuals and all people of good will, seeking their contribution. Read More