A VIRTUAL LISTENING TOUR: Saving the Lives of Our LGBTQ Youth

This is the sixth instalment in Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s Fifty Years after Stonewall: A Virtual Listening Tour. We urge our readers to forward the articles in this series to their diocesan bishops and parish priests. We beg our hierarchy and clergy to listen, attentively, reflectively, and prayerfully.
We ensure complete anonymity if you wish to write for this series between now and the end of June.

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When I was a college student in a Logic & Rhetoric class, the professor asked me to participate in a debate taking the position that “practicing homosexuality is morally okay.” As a liturgically-minded Presbyterian attending a Southern Baptist University and majoring in Philosophy and Biblical Studies, I didn’t have any clue where to begin. I was clearly meant to lose the debate. I mean, the other team had the Bible on their side.

So I called up my gay cousin.

He attended church! He was out and proud. How did he reconcile these two seemingly diametrically opposed positions?

My conversations with him were literally the first time—the very first time in my entire life—that I’d heard any position other than the standard Evangelical one that argues that “the gays” are “living in sin” and are maybe even bound for hell if they don’t repent. Read More


“THE GOOD WIFE” ACCORDING TO FATHER JOSIAH TRENHAM: DOES METROPOLITAN JOSEPH APPROVE?

A Note to Women, Girls, Wives, Future Wives, Men, Boys, Husbands, and Future Husbands in the Orthodox Church
Neither Father Josiah Trenham’s (here) nor Father Joseph Gleason’s (here and here) dangerous views on marriage represent Holy Tradition with respect to the nature of the husband-wife relationship. Ignore them. For a more wholesome exposition (although by no means the final word) see our St. Paul on Marriage and On “Orthodox” Wife-Beating.
If it seems extreme to bring wife-beating into this conversation, psychotherapists who follow Orthodoxy in Dialogue closely have been unanimous in their warnings that, whether intentionally or not on their part, these priests’ perversions of “theology” set the stage for any manner of abuse of wives and children.  

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Metropolitan Joseph (Al-Zehlaoui) and Archpriest Josiah Trenham of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese’s Father Josiah Trenham of Hatewatch fame (see here, here, here, and especially here) has seen an increase in attention on the internet of late—not due to his hysterical fearmongering against LGBTQ people (in Trenham’s own words, “those tolerance tyrants, that lavender mafia, those homofascists, those rainbow radicals“),  but to his equally toxic “teachings” on marriage and the “proper” way for husbands and wives to relate to each other.

In fact, the attention Trenham is receiving comes from those who claim to have been directly harmed by his “teachings” and “pastoral care.” Read More


A VIRTUAL LISTENING TOUR: Remembering the UpStairs Lounge

This article by Terry Firma appeared at the Friendly Atheist in June 2013 and was updated in June 2017 on the first anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre. We republish it as the fifth instalment in Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s Fifty Years after Stonewall: A Virtual Listening Tour series because a social climate in which these kinds of atrocities are possible feeds on homophobic Christian rhetoric. Recall that the Orthodox dog whistles that LGBTQ people are better off dead continue to be blown by certain of our clergy, e.g., Father Josiah Trenham, Father John Parker, and an unnamed parish priest
We urge our readers to forward the articles in this series to their diocesan bishops and parish priests. We beg our hierarchy and clergy to listen, attentively, reflectively, and prayerfully.
We ensure complete anonymity if you wish to contribute to this series between now and the end of June.

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***Update*** (6/23/17): When we first published this story in 2013, the Pulse nightclub massacre had not yet occurred. So this is now the second largest LGBT massacre in U.S. history.

The 24th of June in 1973 was a Sunday. For New Orleans’ gay community, it was the last day of national Pride Weekend, as well as the fourth anniversary of 1969’s Stonewall uprising. You couldn’t really have an open celebration of those events — in ’73, anti-gay slurs, discrimination, and even violence were still as common as sin — but the revelers had few concerns. They had their own gathering spots in the sweltering city, places where people tended to leave them be, including a second-floor bar on the corner of Iberville and Chartres Street called the UpStairs Lounge. Read More


WHO IN THE WORLD IS IOANNIS CONSTANTINOU?

hypothesis-clipartToday’s analytics at Orthodoxy in Dialogue show two or three referrals, or click-throughs, from a new “website” whose sole purpose seems to be the publication of a single hit piece by the hitherto unheard of, unknown to us Ioannis Constantinou. A Facebook search of the name provides little clue as to which Ioannis Constantinou of three has favoured us with a few new readers.

We won’t bother sharing the link because Constantinou has nothing of value to say, and very little of factual truth. 

Be that as it may, we wish to welcome his few referrals to Orthodoxy in Dialogue. Be sure to check our Archives by Author and Letters to the Editors to get a sense of our wide range of articles. Have a look at our Submission Guidelines if you would like to write for us.

Lastly, visit our Patreon page if you think our work merits a little financial support.

Welcome! Read More


A VIRTUAL LISTENING TOUR: Priest to Mother, “Better Your Transgender Child Were Dead”

This testimonial marks the fourth voice to speak out in Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s Fifty Years after Stonewall: A Virtual Listening Tour. 
We urge our readers to forward the articles in this series to their diocesan bishops and parish priests. We beg our hierarchy and clergy to listen, attentively, reflectively, and prayerfully.
We ensure complete anonymity if you wish to contribute to this series between now and the end of June.

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I still remember what it felt like five years ago, when the elder of my two autistic children told me that she was transgender. The entire world froze. I wasn’t sure I could breathe. I couldn’t get any words to come out of my mouth. The only words that I could form in my mind were, “Oh, shit.”

I was terrified. I had been working for years to make sure that, when my autistic son grew up and became independent, he would be safe. My husband and I knew he’d reach independence later than his age peers, and that was okay. We just had to ensure that, when he got there, he had the knowledge and skills he needed to be safe.

You have to understand, people with autism are far more likely to be victims of abuse than their neurotypical peers. They are more likely to be emotionally abused, to be sexually assaulted, to be physically attacked. They miss social cues, and they often don’t realize when someone is taking advantage of them. They can’t think quickly in a novel situation. They don’t understand where proper social boundaries lie. It takes them time to process the sensory and social information. All of this makes them uniquely vulnerable. Read More


A VIRTUAL LISTENING TOUR: Sexual and Gender Diversity at the Dawn of Modern Orthodox Theology

This article by Giacomo Sanfilippo appeared on June 12 as an op-ed at the Kyiv Post. It marks the third instalment in Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s Fifty Years after Stonewall: A Virtual Listening Tour. Although written for a Ukrainian context it applies equally to Canada, the US, and other locales around the world.
We urge our readers to forward the articles in this series to their diocesan bishops and parish priests. We beg our hierarchy and clergy to listen, attentively, reflectively, and prayerfully.
We ensure complete anonymity if you wish to contribute to this series between now and the end of June.

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Artur Korniienko’s Lawmaker Again Sues to Ban Kyiv Pride, Uses Anti-LGBTQ Hate Speech of June 8 serves as a case in point for my recent appeals (May 17 and June 2)  to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) to encourage President Zelensky and the Verkhovna Rada to  safeguard and expand civil rights for Ukraine’s LGBTQ citizens. Many of these are faithful Orthodox Christians. Many more would come if the Ukrainian Church followed the lead of her sister Orthodox Church of Finland and offered a safe spiritual home for Ukraine’s LGBTQ Christians to live their life in Christ out of the closet and in the Church.

The fact that lawmaker Ihor Mosiychuk feels justified to call on “God’s help” to defame his fellow human beings and citizens as “perverts, degenerates, genetic garbage,” and a threat to Ukrainian children makes it all the more imperative that the OCU and the entire membership of the All Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations (AUCCRO) condemn the diffusion of such hateful rhetoric in the name of religion. Time and again we see, where such toxicity is allowed to proliferate unchecked, that a social climate is perpetuated in which physical violence against LGBTQ people and a higher suicide rate than the general population inevitably ensue. Communities of faith have a moral obligation to protect all minorities from the depredations of the dominant society, including sexual and gender minorities. Yet too often—in the present as in the past—organized religion has taken the lead as society’s preeminent discursive and physical persecutor of anyone whose ethnic, linguistic, racial, religious, sexual, or gender identity is perceived as a threat to the established order. For her part in these persecutions, the Orthodox Church must repent. Read More


THE WAY OF THE PEACEMAKER: SEEKING PEACE IN AN ERA OF EXTREME CONFLICT reviewed by Paul Pynkoski

The Way of the Peacemaker: Seeking Peace in an Era of Extreme Conflict
Eric Simpson
Ashland OR: Marginal Accretion Press, 2019

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A cursory search on Amazon reveals dozens of available books on the Beatitudes. These sayings of Jesus can be explored through the sermons of the 19th-century Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon; Roman Catholic bishop, Fulton Sheen; Anglican cleric, John Stott; and lifelong peace activist, Jim Forest. It is entirely fair to ask, then, whether another study on the Beatitudes is necessary. What might it offer?

Eric Simpson, an essayist, poet, and Orthodox Christian, is the author of The Way of the Peacemaker: Seeking Peace in an Era of Extreme Conflict. His intent was “to write a personal book from my own experience and study for anyone who is interested, and for the work to speak for itself and become its own authority insofar as it speaks to the reader…” (9). Simpson has meditated on the Beatitudes for over a decade and keeps “finding new and extraordinary dimensions of meaning and significance about what it means to be a human being who is a follower of Christ, or rather, a Christian who is following Christ into the fulness of what it means to be a human being” (7). The Beatitudes have become for him “the lifeblood and beating heart of authentic, ancient and living Christianity” (8). This signals that we are not reading an academic study, but rather one that is rooted in the Christian tradition of pilgrimage and transformation.

Simpson devotes a chapter to each of the eight Beatitudes, followed by chapters on “The Path of Suffering” and “Seeking Peace in the Public Square.” His approach is simple and direct, drawing from his own life experience, contemporary literature, and the Christian tradition. He reinforces for the reader that this way of transformation is a process by connecting the insights discussed in each new chapter with those in the preceding ones (e.g., meekness is not achieved without going through poverty and mourning). Read More