This week the Patriarchs of Rome and Moscow held a historic meeting in an airport in Havana, Cuba.
The number of books, articles, and blog posts dealing with issues of gender and sexuality within the Church has become impossible to manage. On the one hand, it’s great that we’re having the conversation. On the other, it is very hard to sort out the useful information from the garbage. That’s where this post comes in…
My own engagement with these texts began nearly 30 years ago. In that time, I’ve moved through several stages.
Tonight Cliff and I stole a few moments of recreation. We wondered whether seeing the documentary Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine was the best way to spend them. After dealing with religion, race, and violence in the last two sermons and a book study, I had said to him earlier, “That’s it. No more violence. It is just too painful. I am worn out and I need a break.”
We saw it anyway. As fate would have it, writer and director Michele Josue, her co-producer Liam McNiff, and another of Matt’s friends were there for the showing. Afterwards we had a chance to linger over conversation in the cool Berkeley evening air. I am glad we went.
We Orthodox are currently gearing up for Great Lent, visiting several New Testament accounts that we look at every year in preparation for the season of penance and reflection: Zacchaeus, the Publican and the Pharisee, and now the Prodigal Son. What we probably won’t hear in the parish is a queer reading of any of these texts, so let me indulge for a moment…
or “Telling of the great things that the Lord has done for us…”
Recent events have provided me with an opportunity to reflect again on the dangers of being controlled by the crowd, of being conformed to the spirits of our age rather than allowing our minds to be transformed by the working of the Holy Spirit.
Two weeks ago in the revised Orthodox liturgical calendar we read Luke’s version of Jesus’ encounter with the demoniac who was possessed by Legion, so called because the forces that were driving this poor man were many. The timing was providential, reminding me of the readings offered by René Girard and subsequent adaptions by theologian James Alison.