Bad Father

I had the unfortunate (for lack of a better word) luck of  having an exchange with a Fr. John W. Morris, Ph.D.

Father Morris:  How is it that such commentators as St. John Chrysostom who died in 407 saw a condemnation of homosexuality in the Holy Scriptures. How is it that St. Basil the Great who died in 379 saw the same thing and advocated that a person who committed an homosexual act should be excommunicated for 30 years.

Me: Funny that you bring up John Chrysostom when it was he who stated 1 Corinthians had nothing to do with homosexuals. All Saint Basil did was put male homosexuals in the same category as adulterers, he didn't seem too worried about either.

Father Morris: You are quite mistaken St. John Chrysostom  actually taught that homosexual acts are sinful. Unfortunately the pro gay movement resorts to all sorts of deception such as misquoting the Fathers or rewriting the Bible to support their cause. St. Basil taught that a person committing a homosexual sin should be excommunicated for 30 years, a decision that was ratified at the Council in Trullo in 695 and the 7th Ecumenical Council, the 2nd Council of Nicea in 787.

Me: I'm not saying Chrysostom wasn't against homosexual acts in no uncertain terms, it's just he saw no homosexuals in any part of Romans 1. He saw heterosexuals who made a conscious decision to turn from their desired want of a woman to men.
As for Basil, it's a far cry from his excommunication for 30 years to being cast into a forever damning in Hell because you're a practicing homosexual. He's one of the least damning of the Church fathers on homosexuality.

Father Morris: You have been misinformed. I just looked at St. John Chrysostom's homilies on Romans. Read his 4th homily. The golden mouthed saint very clearly states that Romans 1:27 refers to homosexual and lesbian acts.
No one teaches that homosexual sins cannot be forgiven. The 30 years penance is applied after the person repents of the sin of homosexual acts. If they do not repent, they are excommunicated and not restored to the Sacramental Life of the Church until they repent. No one today would impose such a severe penance. In fact, I probably would not impose a penance for one act of homosexual sin if the person were truly repentant, but would have to increase the severity of the penance if the person repeated this sin, making the penance more severe with each offense.

Me: Ummm, do you even know what the 4th homily is saying? He's talking about heterosexual men who leave the use of a woman for another man in that it's against their nature. Since I was never heterosexual, how do you think that applies to us who have a homosexual nature?
"No one today would impose such a severe penance. In fact, I probably would not impose a penance for one act of homosexual sin if the person were truly repentant, but would have to increase the severity of the penance if the person repeated this sin, making the penance more severe with each offense."
*sarcasm* I thank you for that kind mercy you've extended to me.

Father Morris: (now he starts getting angry) All of the ancient commentators agree that the Bible condemns homosexual acts as sinful. If  I want to know the meaning of a Greek word, I will ask a Greek. I studied ethics and the Bible at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. I believe that since my professors were Greeks, that they had a much better understanding of the original Greek text than any modern American pseudo-scholar . The word "arsenokoitai" literally means men beders or men who have sex with men. Anyone who claims otherwise is either ignorant of New Testament Greek or is lying.

Me: You went to a lousy school if you believe the Bible has been condemning homosexuality for 2.000 years, who told you that? Homosexuality wasn't even thought to be the reason God destroyed Sodom until the 11th Century. Your 'great' school "Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology" (in Massachusetts no less) is run by the Greek Orthodox Church of America with American teachers. You make it sound you came from a school of wise old sages in Greece. Of course they are going to tow the line of these crappy interpretations, the Greek Orthodox Church is especially virulent on the subject of homosexuality because it's so steeped in their dead traditions, screw tradition! It's the Word of God we need to dive into like it was a swimming pool, and if it goes against long-held tradition, so be it. 
I'll turn it around and say this. Anyone who claims 'arsenokoitai' means homosexuality outside the context of exploitation is either ignorant of New Testament Greek or is lying.

Father Morris: I suppose that if a person cannot answer an argument, they resort to personal attacks.

Me: Can you show me the personal attack here?

Father Morris: Just what qualifies you to pontificate on the meaning of any word in the Greek New Testament or the historic teaching of Christianity on any subject? You are simply wrong, the word "arsenokoitai" refers to homosexuality. I will trust the Holy Fathers and my seminary professors who were all of Greek heritage to tell me the meaning of the Greek text of the New Testament before I will trust any modern pseudo-scholar with a politically correct pro-gay agenda. If you want to reject the Bible, that is your right, but when you insist on misrepresenting the teaching of the Bible, as a Bible believing Christian, I certainly have a right to correct the false information that you are spreading.It is historical fact that all Christians agreed on this issue until a few dying mainline Protestant sects surrendered to the pressure from  the pro-gay movement. If your movement has to resort to fraud to prove its point, it obviously must be rejected by any intelligent person. I also trust what I have learned through a study of church history, since I have a PhD in history, which I earned before I even converted to Eastern Orthodoxy and went to seminary, and have taught church history on the college level above your ranting and raving on a subject about which you absolutely know nothing.

Me: "...before I will trust any modern pseudo-scholar with a politically correct pro-gay agenda."

Not only did you make a baseless claim of me making a personal attack (that you never showed), but you turned around and did that very thing. The rest of what you say are insults and boasting of  how smart you are. You noticed how in all of this you still haven't given me a point by point argument of how I'm wrong? All you've done is brag about your schooling (is it too late to ask for your tuition fee back?) and attack me for having the nerve to open a Bible to see for myself. The Koine Greek and Masoretic Hebrew translations of the Bible are not hidden in a deep vault somewhere, it is available for all to access, including the translations in other languages that preceded our own,  I also studied ancient Near-Eastern languages to flush out the more accurate rendering of words and phrases the Bible uses without being taught biases from church tradition, that unlike the Bible, are influenced by cultural, social and political prejudices of the time. What ever happened to the great sin of usary for instance?

At this point I think the kind Father Morris went to get another cruller with milk and forgot to come back. To bad, I would like to know what he thinks of Saint Basil (who he just quoted to me) saying; "For, just as water that irrigates many furrows makes those furrows fertile, so also the vice of gluttony, proceeding from your heart, irrigates all of your senses, raising a whole jungle of evils within you, making your soul a lair of  wild beasts" (St. Basil the Great, On Renunciation of the World). I don't think he realizes what an arrogant and pompous ass he's coming off as with attempting to belittle me.


Tanya said...

So 2000 some odd years ago, a humble man, a carpenter no less, came to disclaim the well dressed "religious teachers" of that time. This amazing "nobody", proved to his followers that the qualified "teachers" had nothing but venom in their own hearts. We can spew off every single scripture that may "oppose" gay marriage, or call homosexuality "sin", my question is this ~ What does this have to do with loving Jesus with our whole hearts? Everything that Jesus was crucified for is being mocked when we battle out the holy scriptures and become self righteous. I don't want to be one of the Pharisees who crucified Jesus. I want to be his follower, isn't the bible a road map for our own journey? Am I wrong to think that when I read the bible it is teaching ME how to live MY life? I read it and think WOW God is AMAZING ~ He has shown me that every single finger I point outward, I had better turn that finger right back in, look in the mirror & make some serious changes within myself. Correct me if I'm wrong, because that's often the case in my life... but wasn't there a time in history when you had to be someone of importance & come from money to have access to reading a Bible? Good believing Christians didn't always get to read the bible, how on earth did they ever have a relationship with God if they didn't read the bible & know every scripture by heart??? I'll tell you how I think they would, they would get down on their knees & simply say, God I am NO ONE with out you, I NEED you & then would walk in relationship to his good & perfect will for their lives. Anybody who is filled with self righteousness has got bigger problems than "homosexuality being a sin". Are we all not guilty of sinning? Why on earth would Jesus our Lord & Savior need to be crucified for our sins if we are all perfect? I become angry when I hear "religious teachers" preach this garbage about Homosexuality being a sin! Sitting on thrones, with all of their "education", condemning people. Jesus did not come here to condemn the world, but to save it. There is not a day that goes by that I don't fall on my knees & thank Jesus for his saving grace. I am a SINNER, saved by HIS GRACE, not of my own doing, so that I may NEVER BOAST, it is Him that is doing a good work in me. I thank that amazing carpenter every day for teaching me who I really am in him. Jesus came to put an end to judging & oppressing others...How can this be so hard for so many? ~ As soon as we fill ourselves up with "knowledge" our egos take over & self righteousness wins ~ But when we fill ourselves with Jesus, we walk humbly with him ~ He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. Isaiah 53:7

Homosexual men & woman are no more sinful by nature than heterosexual men & woman, to think otherwise is absolutely self righteous and sinful in itself!

Jesus came to free the oppressed, equality for all in Him who paid it all.

I always love reading your thoughts.

Keep up your tireless efforts for freedom & equality, keep on teaching the "religious teachers" that their own self righteousness is in fact a sin. The message of the gospel is so crystal clear to those who believe on Jesus. We are ALL called to love our neighbor & my neighbor is in fact Homosexual. I am not here by God's divine grace to judge others, I am simply called to LOVE others. Love without His amazing grace is impossible for a self righteous heart to obtain. Love with His amazing grace has no limits, he showed us this when he said "it is finished" on the Cross.

Blessings & Love.
Your Sister in Christ,

Tanya said...

I love this piece...
I understand your mountain of love for Jesus & His word. I think that our Testimonies of His unbinding love for us speaks greater volumes than discrediting what others believe the bible to say. You are a "Christian", I am a "Christian", I thank-you for speaking the truth in love. I thank-you for bringing His truth to the ears of those who may feel condemnation from the "Christian Community". Jesus told us to speak the truth in love & that is how His word of the Gospel is spread. Salvation is open to all, a free gift, so that no one may boast. He has transformed so many lives, restored them & made them new. That is the only thing that we "Christians" should be confessing. It greatly saddens me that we as Christians target the Gay Community as SINNERS, my point in the piece that I wrote, is that we are ALL SINNERS. Nobody except for Jesus alone is sinless. Jesus told me to LOVE. I know now that this simple task of "loving" cannot be done without HIM & His amazing grace. When I read the bible there are so many things that I just don't understand...I immediately pray & ask God to make it make sense to me. I'll give you an example) After first having been saved, I cracked open my bible: I read the story of Cain & Abel; I quickly shut the bible & said GOD what the heck is that all about??? If I was Cain, I'd be pissed too. I mean here you favor one brother over the other, isn't that kind of planting a bad seed in Cain's heart? I said to God that I don't get it, please make this make sense to me. A couple of weeks later & completely forgetting that I had even read the Cain & Abel story) I had a Woman's Day Breakfast to attend, I invited my Mom to tag a long with me; the topic was "Self Esteem"...(My Mom is VERY apprehensive of the "Christian Community" & reluctantly agreed to attend) We were enjoying ourselves as Pastor Sue was speaking about the values of Self Esteem, all of a sudden she went off on a tangent about the story of Cain & Abel: I have to tell you I felt as though this message was specifically for me) She even said "I don't know why I'm talking about this today, it's not in my notes, but I know it's reaching somebody here today" When God's words came to life for me, my heart leaped for joy! My Mom was totally confused & said I have NO idea what the hell that had to do with self esteem!) Okay so I've completely gone off on a tangent here; I guess my point is that I can see how your love for His word, needs to be shared with those who only feel condemned. Keep up your efforts of spreading his truth of his unbinding love for us ALL!

Be Blessed!

rottenqueerchristian said...

Believe it or not this is the edited version of our little exchange. His whole 'bit' was what nerve I had to have an opinion on what the Bible says and his putting church traditions and early church fathers on the same level as the Word of God. I fall or stand with the Word of God, it's the brightest beacon that leads me to the man I call Saviour and sustains me with what I know is true. If the Word of God is not inspired, what we know as truth from error will fall like a house of cards. I stake my life, my very soul, on it's solidness, it's simplicity, it's changeless truths and it's accuracy.

I love that story of yours. I'm in the same boat with my partner who doesn't trust a self proclaimed Christian as far as he can drop kick him. You can't blame them in a way, many Christians act like they're holding a baseball bat behind their backs waiting for the chance to wallop you.

I love your feedback Tanya.