Wednesday, January 2, 2013

January 1st, The Feast of the Circumcision of Christ

Circumcision of Christ -- by Bartolomeo Veneto

     After almost a year in abeyance the time has come, with the New Year, to take up this blog yet again. 2012 was an eventful year, and in the next few posts I would like to explore the past year. I’ll write about some of the exciting and life changing events that have come to pass, as well as towards the future, and the bright hopes that it holds.
Part I
     Although I was an Eastern Orthodox Christian, I did not have a regular parish home. I had reached a point in my life where, as much as I love the Eastern Church, I was unable to reconcile my firmly held beliefs regarding my own homosexuality with that Church's increasingly reactionary attitudes towards the same. I certainly had never expected the Eastern Church to be affirming, but with the conversion of many Protestants fleeing progressive changes in their own denominations, it seems that the Church has, over the past two decades, become more aggressively and vocally anti-gay. Sordid gay sex scandals in the highest ranks of some Orthodox Jurisdictions, notably the OCA, heightened that sense of intolerance. These scandals also made clear to me the disordered nature of the Eastern attitude (an attitude shared with the Roman Church) that homosexuality was an illness to be struggled against, much like alcoholism or drug addiction. By choosing to live in a monogamous same-sex relationship I was a recalcitrant and confirmed sinner, whereas had I claimed an attempt to be celibate while engaging in fleeting gay sex acts I would have been guilty of sin, but like any sin, one that could be confessed and forgiven. I knew that my relationship with my partner was not intrinsically sinful, why should I confess something I believed not to be a sin? I knew that God had created me as a gay man. I also knew that I was not called to a life of celibacy. For many years I had been completely open about my sexuality with my family, with my friends, and in the work place. In all these venues of my life my partner was welcomed as such, and appreciated for his individual talents, and the love and support he gives to me. The only exception was within the Church. Why did I have to compartmentalize my life, to go temporarily back "into the closet" in order to participate in corporate worship and parish life? Why couldn’t I participate with my partner standing proudly at my side, just as we stood proudly before God?