This Sunday — October 7, 2018 — I will be hosting my third live stream on YouTube on the topic of teen relationships. I have painted a very wide stroke of the brush here, encompassing many facets of this rather broad topic. Today I would like to talk about the LGBTQ phenomenon that has appeared in the last five years. While it has been longer than that, the acronym is a recent creation.
For all of the attention this topic has been receiving, everything I have read indicates LGBTQ people comprise a very small percentage of the total school population. Yet this is getting so much attention in the media, especially in Hollywood. When it comes to our Orthodox teens attending public schools, we might ask how often are they faced with this? I hear stories of our teens having friends who are gay or transgender. How should we view this? On the one hand I believe our teens handle this issue better than us grown ups, who seem more conflicted about this. I think it is a good thing that teens have friendships with people who are gay, lesbian, or transgender. This demonstrates how one can relate to people who live lifestyles the Church doesn’t bless without hanging that “Scarlet Letter” on them.
But the minute I say that, I am sure I will get in trouble with others who say I am going too far and sanctioning the lifestyle. This begs the question: By being too friendly, or calling someone Jane who used go by John, does that mean one sanctions a lifestyle that the Church doesn’t bless? Am I going too far? We bishops often say, in our letters and encyclicals, that we should not hate someone who is gay or transgender or who has had an abortion. We are always called to speak the truth in love when called to do so. When people live a life that is contrary to what the Church teaches, how are we to love them? What does that love look like? Saint Paul had to address the issue of sexual immorality (among others) in the Church of Corinth. Perhaps the following verse will shed some light on answering the questions I posed:
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Drive out the wicked person from among you” [1 Corinthians 5: 9-13].
I will further discuss this note in next week’s reflection. May the blessing of the Lord be upon you.
With love in Christ,
The unworthy, +Paul
Greetings Your Grace,
I’m glad you brought up this topic. We teach our kids to understand that the LGBTQ community are human beings created in God’s image. We also teach our teen & pre-teen to treat all people the same (in the church and out of the church) – with kindness, compassion, & boundaries. They have close family members that are homosexual, so the public school is not the first place they’ve encountered this issue. We had two different responses when we discussed this with them yesterday. My teenager said he’s around it all the time at the junior high level and it’s considered trendy to be bi-sexual/homosexual. My elementary pre-teen said that she doesn’t encounter it all.