Voices from Russia

Saturday, 2 July 2016

2 July 2016. Is There a Gay Agenda? I Think NOT…

00 It's better to light a single candle... 01.10.12

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Editor:

Righties such as Dreher and Whiteford would have you believe that the Church refuses communion to homosexuals. That’s a lie. They’re spouting their unbalanced personal political idiosyncrasies… not the Church’s teaching. The Church takes ALL of us as individuals, not as members of this-or-that group… it considers ALL of us sinners. Do have a care with much posted on the internet, as most isn’t “kosher”, it’s by ungrounded people with no real Church education or experience. We do live in dicey times, kids, so, please, do show caution…

BMD

*****

If there’s a “Gay Agenda”, then, we must refute it. We must uphold the Doctrine of the Orthodox Church at all cost. However, upholding it shouldn’t entail language of hate, malice, pejorative, or lies. We can state Church doctrine clearly, unequivocally, and directly without ever using terms, words, and expressions that are clearly sinful in themselves. The Ecumenical Councils established Orthodox doctrine; they spoke in the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Some people asked me if I actually thought that there was a “Gay agenda”. No, of course, I don’t believe that. Nor is there any such thing as a “Gay Lifestyle”. That’s just part of the usual rightwing detritus, and few forces in our world today are as fraudulent and evil as rightwingers… i.e., ISIS is a rightwing movement. One of the most dangerous things in our world today is the Rightwing Agenda, especially, its war against the knowledge of and action against global warming and climate change. What do people think that a “lifestyle” consists of, anyway? It encompasses one’s economic status, whether one has an urban or rural lifestyle, whether one has the “lifestyle of the rich and famous” or of the homeless. A lifestyle involves whether one eats out often, what kind of car one drives, if one pays a mortgage or rents an apartment, what kind of job one has, what kind of friends one has, if one is vegetarian, religious, or atheist, if one helps to feed street people, etc. So, to say that there’s a “Gay Lifestyle” is just ideological propaganda, generally laced with hate, fear, malice, and (often enough) a “cover-up” for one’s own shameless “behind the scenes” activities.

We don’t accept same-sex marriages in the Orthodox Church, but many Orthodox communities embrace gay Orthodox Christians with openhearted love and recognition of their humanity. One can’t defend truth with lies nor can one defend the faith with slanders, wilful falsehoods, hate, malice, and anger. I’ve carefully studied more than a hundred careful, well carried out, provable, and repeatable medical/scientific studies that clearly demonstrate that being gay is not a “choice”… only an angry ideologue would add “a lifestyle choice”. Like [transsexuality], this is something that develops in the womb, its present in every studied species of mammal, as well as birds. This doesn’t compel us to alter our Church Doctrine… what it should compel us to do is to stop being just plain old liars. The only thing that I can see that gay people desire is to have full equality under the law… full total equality, not be deprived of their full rights as citizens of a nation, as full complete human beings, who are just as loving, just as compassionate, just as charitable, who give their lives in wars because they are just as patriotic, just as heroic, have just as much valour, humanity and, yes, just as much decency as any other human being in any society, in any nation under the sun.

Whilst I’ll defend Orthodox doctrine to the last breath, I deeply and sincerely believe that hateful homophobia is expressed only and solely by deeply self-hating homosexuals who project their self-loathing out toward others. Let none of these rightwing fanatics accuse me of not upholding Orthodox Christian Doctrine, though being natural liars, I’m sure that some will.

Archbishop Lazar Puhalo

Saturday, 18 June 2016

18 June 2016. A Point to Ponder

01 he ain't heavy he's my brother

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As followers of Christ, we really need to learn the difference between “moral outrage” and “moral grief”.

Archbishop Lazar Puhalo

In a later post, Vladyki Lazar elaborated:

Some of you have asked me to explain “moral grief”. Perhaps, we can discuss it briefly, looking at the Holy Fathers. The best example of Moral Grief is Christ’s prayer in Gethsemane just before his betrayal. As the Fathers tell us, Christ had no fear of death. He certainly knew who He is. What then, was the “chalice” that He suffered from so greatly that He wished to have it removed? He was referring to His grief over the conditions and bondage of humanity. As the great Russian Father Metropolitan Antony Khrapovitsky said, “Christ suffered more greatly from His moral grief for humanity than He suffered physically on the cross”. Christ expressed no outrage over mankind’s sins, which He had come to bear away. Even when commenting on the self-righteous, He was sharp and stern, but without outrage. With the woman taken in adultery, we don’t see any moral outrage in Christ, rather, being concerned for her healing and salvation, He demonstrates a moral grief toward her accusers who were, despite their own moral outrage, themselves immoral, and full of sin. Moral grief never seeks the punishment or degradation of another, but feels grief over their bondage and inner human suffering. Moral outrage wallows in the desire for punishment, it rages against the other, not feeling a deep sense of humble grief over their condition. I hope this will explain to some degree.

I quite agree and have nothing to add to the above.

BMD

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

1 June 2016. In Defence of Our Senior Archpriests

00 fr dan resetar 300316

Fr Dan Ressetar of Harrisburg PA, a good example of our senior archpriests

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In my communications with several young clergy, I’ve noticed a judgemental tone towards senior members of the clergy… not necessarily apparatchiki, just senior clergy in general. What I’d like to remind these zealous young bucks is that without these men and their steadfast attitude during the Crazy Years (of Schmemann and Vitaly, for instance), we’d have no real Church today. The konvertsy, in particular, have no idea how superheated the atmosphere was from 1965 to the early 2000s (it was starting to cool down in the 90s, but it wasn’t over until the ouster of Vitaly Ustinov in 2001). Somehow or other, most priests had to keep it all together, keep their parishes going, and stay out-of-the-way of interfering apparatchiki… all at the same time!

There are still traces of the Madness amongst us (the Seraphim Rose claque… the tollhouse fantasy… stale SVS daydreams… Paffhausen and his cracked semi-mad schemes), but the worst is over. However, those of the current younger generation who sit in judgement on their elders who served in more turbulent times are chock fulla shit and deserve a trip to the woodshed for ten of the best! Really, would they have done as well? I seem to think that they’d turn out quite similar… some cowards, some heroes, and most of them just doing their best to serve God and their parishes without running afoul of the apparat and its nosy commissars (whether “right” or “left”, it makes no difference… the apparats were similarly invasive, cruel, and uncaring).

I know some of the senior archpriests personally… my friends know even more. We shall testify that they’re neither angels nor devils… merely good men who had to serve in a rather nasty era. Many had the grit to overlook ukazi that forbade them to give communion to Orthodox believers of this-or-that archdiocese… the young ‘uns don’t understand what guts that took. These guys kept the flame burning in a time of general darkness. For that, they deserve praise and honour. As for the young naysayers… grow up and get a life. Sometimes, people got to do what they must to survive. That’s what they did, and it isn’t blameworthy in the least.

I bow in respect to these guys. After all, they had the guts to get rid of Paffhausen when it got too bad (it wasn’t SVS… they wanted Dahulich and his fancies… they didn’t want peace). They did so to save the Church… just as they saved the Church in the Mad Years. They weren’t perfect, but they were there when we needed them… that’s all you need to be “good” in my book. I’m not alone in thinking that way…

BMD

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

24 May 2016. A Point to Ponder…

00 happiness 240516

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The simple straightforward moral imperatives of Christ are the only real answer to our moral quandaries. Civil law has to deal with those that we can’t otherwise resolve. Social justice is an imperative of true morality, but rightwing religious people oppose it, sometimes vehemently. It’s disconcerting to see that what people consider to be “personal immorality” or a neurotic focus on often-petty sexual impropriety dominate the discourse, whilst the concentration of wealth in the hands of people who do and can afford to do the most abominable things, whilst impoverishing the majority of humanity, isn’t considered immoral, no matter how much damage they do to humanity or to their nation.

Bishop Lazar Puhalo

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