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“Most often, the rehashing and restating of the Church’s concrete theological positions grate against me. It pains me not because I personally disagree with its conclusions; rather, I find it lacking in practical advice or teaching that actually helps make sense of the life I’m called to live. Discussions around celibate relationships, committed friendships, life in community, sexual abstinence, and many others just don’t happen. I’ve found the Church leery of engaging in these gray areas for fear of somehow failing a test of “Orthodoxy.” Simply even engaging with the lived experiences of queer people in the Church is dangerous, or has the possibility of contaminating what is seen as “pure” theology.”

My latest over at Orthodoxy In Dialogue.

Source: SEXUAL MINORITIES IN THE ORTHODOX CHURCH: TOWARDS A BETTER CONVERSATION by Gregg Webb

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It has been a difficult season for me. I’ve been transitioning cities, working through heartbreak, living with nearly constant heartache, beginning the long-term career job hunt, and learning to live life without the basic structure provided by classes and coursework. Many of my friends are also struggling through difficult break-ups, divorce, depression, addiction, and […]

via A Call to Empathy — Spiritual Friendship

Spiritual Friendship

Holy Cross Chapel Copyright 2012, Gregg Webb

I don’t know what to do about homosexuality. What I do know, however, is that what I have written here is my understanding of what God and Christ would have us do, according to the scriptures, sacraments, and saints of the Orthodox Church. Perhaps I am wrong in my understanding of Christianity and Orthodoxy. Perhaps Orthodoxy is wrong in its understanding of God, Christ, and humanity. Millions of people, heterosexual and homosexual, certainly think so. Whatever the truth, and whatever God’s will for us creatures, I live with the constant awareness that I will answer for what I have written here. I will answer before God. And, in a sense even more terrifying, I will answer before Sharon Underwood and her son, and my friend, and all who try to make sense of life in this world, and to do what is good and right for…

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My latest for Spiritual Friendship.

Spiritual Friendship

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A common critique of celibate gay Christians is the perception that we attempt to swap out romantic intimacy for friendship. Instead of having same-sex romantic partners we simply have spiritual friends and too often are seen as playing a semantics game. I believe though, as do many of my fellow side-B Christians, that friendship was never meant to take the place of the intimacy that comes about in romantic relationship. Much of what we do is an attempt to celebrate the beauty and benefits of friendship as a good in and of itself and not as a new outlet for romantic and sexual desire. Friendship and relationships in general are not some equal alternative to marriage where finding the right partner becomes finding the right best friend. Friendship inherently makes room for not only the “other” in relationship but for others. I have quite a number of friends who I…

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Spiritual Friendship

For one of my graduate school classes last year we learned to create lists of goals with a counseling client, a process called “goaling.” Our professor went through the process with a classmate and then asked each of us to break up into pairs and work through goaling with our partner. After dictating to my partner, a close friend of mine, we were instructed to begin talking through how to order them and to make sure they were just hard enough to be difficult but not so difficult as to be impossible. After doing this together I had assembled what I felt was a good list. It covered the major areas of my life: spiritual, educational, personal, and financial. My partner felt that after looking at my list something was missing. He didn’t say what he thought that could be other than that it just felt like my list was…

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 This summer I am taking a short two-week class studying the book of Job. One assignment for this class was to write two laments one personal, and one about something at a distance. I chose to write this latter lament on abortion. I know that this is a controversial topic and that it stands outside of the general subject of this blog, however I couldn’t resist the opportunity to share this beyond my class. During my undergraduate years I had the opportunity to volunteer and intern with a crisis pregnancy clinic in Columbia, MO. My time there was an eye-opening and heart-rending experience forever cementing the lives of the unborn and their parents deeply in my heart. 

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Copyright Gregg Webb 2013

Holy Lord, you are our Father and bridegroom. Hear our cries as we struggle to understand and help your suffering daughters and their un-born children. You know your children and their hearts before they were ever knit in their mother’s wombs. Hear our voice in the absence of their stifled voices and bring an end to this madness.

We know you are a faithful and loving father, yet when we see mothers who can’t bear the thought of feeding one more mouth turning to abortion to escape bringing another life into such hell, our hearts are shattered and rent at such a choice ever having to be weighed by your daughters. Why, O Lord do children die at the hand of their desperate mothers? Why does poverty have such a grip on their lives, and hopelessness so deeply grip their hearts that taking the life of their own flesh and blood seems like a sane choice? There surely is no sanity in this, no reason other than pure desperation. Why are so many people’s hearts hardened to the point where they would laud such a choice as a right or as an undeniable privilege? They try and make this discussion seem reasonable and almost holy. How long will you allow children’s lives to be profaned by such words? This seems like such madness and troubles our souls beyond words.

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On the 5th Sunday of lent the Orthodox Church remembers St. Mary of Egypt. Her life is read during the Great Canon of St. Andrew during the previous week. 

St. Mary of Egypt has always been one my favorite saints of the Church. For years her own story and celebrated place in the life of the Church gave me hope that even with my own struggles with sexuality I might still belong in the Church. For those of you who may not be familiar with the life of this 5th century saint you can read her entire story here. I’ve been wanting to share just a few reflections from her life for some time now and I can’t think of a better time than the 5th Sunday in lent which is dedicated to her.

Anytime someone brings up the role of women in the Church I always think of St. Mary. Read More