church

GOARCH archbishop called “woke” while OCA bans individual thought

So two things are going on at once in two different Orthodox jurisdictions in the USA:

First, our GOARCH archbishop is taking fire for daring to baptize the baby of a gay couple.  I am greatly encouraged by signs like these, from him and our local Metropolitan Nathaniel, of an opening of the church to more inclusive ideas.  For example, the Metropolitan told my church at his last visit that we should have altar girls.  Now I don’t think the Archbishop is necessarily advocating for gay marriage, but at the very least he doesn’t seem to feel that the gender/marital arrangement of a baby’s parents should affect whether the baby can be baptized.

Adapt or die–As more and more young people see the vast difference between the regressive ideas of conservative churches and what’s going on with their own friends and science/medicine, we’ll see the steady decline of all but the oldest and most extreme members of such congregations in the future.  I’m pretty sure that most churches don’t preach that the sun revolves around the Earth anymore, and even the Catholic church apparently abandoned the “Evolution is Evilution” mindset years ago.

But of course, we can’t possibly introduce any sort of love or change into our churches, because they’re full of Pharisees (see the essay I wrote on this nearly 20 years ago).  Already Archbishop Elpidophoros is getting pushback, with all sorts of angry blogs and objections from the Greek Church and a Greek Metropolitan (hey, we’re American now, not Greek!).

I strongly suspect that if Jesus were to physically come back and walk among our churches, there would be a lot of yelling going on, right before they took out an AR-15 to execute him for blasphemy for saying that we should ditch the guns and accept people on the queer spectrum and call them whatever they want.

But on the other hand, the OCA has just made a statement that basically bans everyone–even laypeople opining on their own websites–from deviating from the official church position that the queer spectrum is full of deviance and perversion.  Anyone who violates this is subject to excommunication now.  So you have to ignore your own eyes, your own knowledge, your own conscience, and CONFORM to Groupthink lest you be tossed into outer darkness.

Giacomo Sanfilippo of Orthodoxy in Dialogue is being persecuted for defending LGBTQ+

My friend Giacomo runs the site Orthodoxy in Dialogue, which has quickly become the standard bearer for LGBTQ+ people gaining acceptance in the Orthodox Church.  And this has made him a target for a fundamentalist contingent which has a lot in common with MAGAs, many modern white Evangelical/Fundamentalist churches, and a certain anti-Francis segment of the Catholic Church.

We have learned a lot about gender variations over the past 2000 years, things which people just didn’t know back when the Bible was written, just as with human reproduction (people used to think there were little men in sperm) and astronomy.  If the Church truly is not against science, then it has to admit when it’s pushing views that are hopelessly antiquated.  But some people are against any kind of change even when it’s desperately needed.

Many of us want people to be allowed to marry whoever they want and stay in full communion.  This isn’t about allowing licentiousness or promiscuity or pedophilia in the church–homophobic tropes where people just assume if you’re gay, you must be in favor of these things as well.  Society in general has been moving toward acceptance, but some just want to drag us backwards again.

For several years, Giacomo Sanfilippo has been subject to various attacks for trying to change hearts in the Orthodox churches so they can be safe spaces for believers who are LGBTQ+.  He’s been slandered, libeled, sued for defamation, and now he’s been doxxed on Twitter. They’re trying to get him in trouble with his bishop.  It’s being done by a group of people who claim to be “Christian” and call him and his allies “wolves.”

But I’ve seen a sample of their behavior online, and–to paraphrase John Fugelsang–I’ve seen atheists who are better Christians than these people.  They have no idea what Christianity is.  They’re the pack of wolves.  They harass, troll, abuse, and give Christ a black eye with everything they do.  They need to get off the frickin’ Twitter, sit down with the Red Letters of Christ, and come to repentance for the hate that fills their hearts, because right now it’s Satan they’re serving, not God.

Death of friend, politics invading life, Buffy abusing Spike: Catchall

Dealing with several things all at once:

–1: The death of a dear friend of 30 years, the one in my College Memoirs whom I called “Pearl,” my confidante.  It happened two months ago.  But us college friends, the old roommies and InterVarsity people, the group who shared “Journal” e-mails until Facebook arose–we weren’t told.

One of us got re-married in mid-October.  I went to the wedding, disappointed to see that Pearl was not there.

She died later that week.

We last were on her page in September, when she posted about her child.

The Journal group found out around November 18, when somebody went to Pearl’s FB page and then posted what she discovered.

But that day, I was dealing with all sorts of headaches regarding publishing my books, and wasn’t on FB at all.  So I didn’t find out until a week ago Saturday, when I went to her FB to see what she was up to lately.

It took a moment to process the posts about her death, and once I did, I was just–stunned.  Heartbroken.

We were just coming off COVID quarantine when this happened.  (We’re all vaccinated, so COVID was just a bit of a cold that made the Hubby lose his sense of smell for a couple of weeks.)  I’d hoped to go back to church the following day, only to find this late Saturday night.  Instead, I was basically catatonic.

There was a day of deep grief.  Since then I’ve been hit with this intense midlife crisis, the sense of everyone getting older and older even though I could swear we were twenty just a couple of weeks ago, the sense of impending Death.  Same thing happened after my dad died in 2016; this and COVID have intensified it.  I’ll be fine during the day, then get hit with it in the middle of the night, or when I watch a 30-year-old TV show or look at a recent picture of someone from college.

And through it all I miss Pearl, who just isn’t there anymore.

And I wonder what happened.  The family was vague, just said she had health problems and died in her sleep.  I knew about the rheumatoid arthritis; she had that in college.  But all these years, she’d managed, she’d survived various health scares.  I wonder if it was COVID.  She was vaxxed, but there was the RA.  There are also the full ICU beds because of COVID anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers selfishly refusing to take the needs of their neighbors into account.  Did she die of COVID?  Did she die because she couldn’t get needed care because COVID is overwhelming health providers?  Did COVID take yet another friend/family member?  Or was it something else entirely?

Farewell, sweet Pearl….

 

–2: This part is a bit more lighthearted.  While I was away from church pre-vaccine, we somehow acquired a large group of converts.  They were attracted through studying the church intellectually–the same way I was.  But on Sunday I sat with them and discovered a strong sense of Convertitis and Orthodox Triumphalism.

It’s very familiar.  I suffered from it myself 15 years ago, and shared it with Richard, until I began to discover that people in my new church were human, too.

Until my priest said that River of Fire was too polemic and should focus on what’s good in Orthodoxy and not what’s bad in the other churches.

Until I heard somebody yelling at a parish General Assembly.

Until I saw that most people don’t follow the fast strictly, or care about the organ and pews, or even know a lot about their own theology that the converts find so attractive.

Until I began to see the drawbacks even in following the church that claims to be unchanged since the days of the Apostles.

We have our spats and flirting; we don’t just sit all coffee hour opining about the Filioque or hating on other churches.  You’re more likely to talk about gardening or kids or the next fundraiser.

Our new converts praised the church for being so welcoming, while I remember a time when people said the opposite.

My BFF and I are more likely to wear a Prussian uniform (him–this actually happened) or a Gothy top (me) than a prayer rope or a headscarf.

Part of staying Orthodox after the honeymoon period, is accepting that the people are not perfect.

Nowadays when I talk about problems in other churches, it focuses on harm being done by bad theology, or grifters, or abuse–things like that.  It’s about harm being done to the entire Christian body by certain attitudes.  I came to Orthodoxy not to be better than other people, but to stop worrying that nearly everyone alive was destined to end up in Hell.  I came to find a loving God.  I can recognize the good in other churches that are not Orthodox.  I can also recognize that various churches–including Orthodox–can be so obsessed with doctrinal purity that they don’t accept science or life experiences that prove some of their attitudes are wrong.

 

–3: I’m facing a writing club Christmas party today.  Normally I get into these biannual parties.  The conversation used to be interesting.  But lately, it seems like everyone who shows up is retired and I have nothing in common with them, so we sit and talk about very little of interest, if anything, before the food finally comes.  Well, there’s writing, but nobody talks about that, and half the people are spouses who don’t write.

We have liberal members, but we also have a bunch of people who are right-wing religious and/or Trumpers.  Our club party in July ended with a bunch of people getting into an argument about things like CRT, right-wing talking points being flung around, and me hearing a certain loved one’s disturbing attitudes on cultural issues.

I finally got up and walked out of the house.  I was shaken and upset for days, wondering if any of these relationships could survive.  I was finally able to put it out of my head and move on.

I don’t want a repeat of this.

Then last week, after a club meeting, somebody brought up a transgender issue and I became very uncomfortable.  Frickin’ politics ruining frickin’ EVERYTHING.  It makes you not want to leave the house, except even there it isn’t safe.

 

–4: Over the past several years, since we got Hulu, I’ve been rewatching Buffy and Angel, which I hadn’t seen since one pass of re-runs after they went off the air years ago.

Last night, I got to THAT EPISODE of Buffy.  I was so disturbed that I had to google and see if I was the only one to feel this way: Spike trying to rape Buffy was NOT AT ALL in his character.

Apparently that scene was one of the writers exorcising her own demons, because Joss wanted her to do so.  But it just wasn’t something that Spike would’ve done to Buffy.  Another thing that disturbed me was how Buffy had treated him for the past couple of seasons, especially during Season 6.  I guess the writers wanted us to hate Spike, but instead I was upset with Buffy for abusing Spike.  Spike was hardly a saint, doing his own abuse, but she’d punch him, she’d sleep with him and then say he disgusted her and she can’t love him, etc. etc.  Meanwhile, she’s letting her friends say bad things about him, too.

And yes, other people have indeed noticed this.  I found articles written by women complaining that Buffy had become an abuser.  For example: Defending Spike Part 1 and Kristen Smirnov’s Domestic Abuse and Gender Role Reversal in Season 6: My Letter to Mutant Enemy.

The writers were so intent on making us hate Spike, because he was an evil soulless thing, that they did this rape scene–

when the whole time they’d been showing us Spike on a redemption arc even without a soul.  We saw Buffy falling in love with him.  We sympathized with Spike because we saw that he was in love with Buffy and that it was turning him away from evil.

But after showing us this, the writers got mad at the viewers for seeing it clearly, and accused us of being the type to write love letters to serial killers.  It was gaslighting.  Them having Spike try to rape Buffy was like them abusing US now, along with Spike’s character.  They wanted us to think that Xander’s constant snipes at Spike were Xander seeing the situation properly.  They wanted us to agree that Buffy’s self-righteous abuse of Spike was how Good and Decent People™ behave.

While reading “Defending Spike” last night, I realized that Buffy treated Spike exactly the same as Shawn treated me back in college.  And there in black and white, I saw somebody else confirm that yes, this is extremely abusive behavior.  The writer saw it as abusive when a woman does it, and pointed out that a man doing it is clearly seen as an abuser.  And well, Shawn was male.  So hey.  That explains why I always sympathized with Spike here.

Abusers can so get into your head that for years afterward you wonder if you were the actual abuser.  Shawn and Phil (also in college) both did this to me, as did the so-called “friends” who abused me a decade ago, Richard and Tracy.  That’s part of the reason for my memoirs on both college and Richard/Tracy, to try to get into what really happened and sort it out.  It’s a lot of work and reflection.  And the conclusion is that I’m not the abuser at all.  But they can make you think you are, even 30 years later, even when intellectually you know that you were the victim.

And that’s my very-long catchall catchup post.

More on Jeff Durbin who calls woke Christians “sluts” and “Marxists”

Regarding my last post, about the guy, Jeff Durbin, who says that so-called “woke” Christians are evangelical sluts opening their legs to Marx etc.: I’ve been googling him this evening to find out more about him.  He is a postmillennial theonomist; not quite sure what that means, because the sources I saw disagree and get all word-salady, but it seems to be a form of theocracy.  Here you can find more information about his ranting sermon, and that he is buddies with Doug Wilson of Christ Church–which the Spiritual Sounding Board and Wartburg Watch blogs have covered as an abusive, patriarchal church that covers up abuses and tells abused women to stay put.  Durbin himself is the pastor of Apologia Church in Arizona.  Along with a couple of clips, on the Protestia post you can also read some of Durbin’s words in the sermon:

So in light of these issues, BLM, LBGT, and the abortion issue, evangellyfish woke pastors – you say ‘homolust is not a sin,’ even though Jesus said sin begins in the heart. You say ‘we aren’t under the law, we’re under grace. We don’t need God’s stipulated standards of justice.’ Yet you throw up your Marxist communist fists shouting, ‘No justice, no peace!’ You swallowed the member of the Marxist denying what God says about our unity and identity in the Messiah, and you teach people that our identity is in our color. Shame on you. You deny God’s own word, accusing people of guilt for the sinful color of their ancestors. Thus, you invalidate the word of God for the sake of your woke bullshit.

…The woke evangelical whore is a slut who lies down in the middle of a burning city, spreading her legs to the rioters and looters, spreading her legs to Marx, Engels, Alinksy, and Soros. Only she knows the history. Marxism and Communism plunge nations into poverty. There’s no money in this for her, but she wasn’t looking for payment anyways. The evangelical woke slut is a slut whose behavior makes Cardi B’s WAP ( A filthy song whose acronym is ‘Wet Ass Pussy) look like performance art for preschoolers.

…Pray that God removes these pimps from the pulpit and fills it with prophets who will keep his bride pure and faithful.

People apparently complained about his cussing.  But it’s not the cussing that’s offensive: It’s the misogyny, racism and homophobia! My searches led to this article, which contains a video of Durbin explaining his views on abortion.  He believes that women who have abortions should be subject to the same penalty as someone who, say, murders her teenage child–which can be the death penalty.  If you watch it, you can see him and his friends with long beards, apparently “hipsters.”  They’re trying to look cool, and Protestia compares his manner to “Mark Driscoll and edgy Youth Pastors everywhere.”

So–Mark Driscoll, Doug Wilson–both names that ring bells because they’ve been all over the spiritual abuse blogs in the past decade.  Is Durbin another spiritual abuser? Pulpit and Pen would say yes.  They have a whole post describing Durbin’s tendency to tape-record conversations and then use them against people later, including a private confession.  Not only that, but his church has membership covenants, which the Wartburg Watch and many other sources warn against.  One person left the church, and when he tried to join a different church:

Rod Boyd was an attender but never a member of Apologia Church, and yet Jeff Durbin was insisting that Jesus Christ himself would condemn both Rod and Daniel on the Day of Judgment for not recognizing Apologia Church’s discipline upon a non-member.   Luke Pierson reminded Daniel that Apologia members who left for Daniel’s [church] plant were not being “faithful unto death” to Apologia, as required by their membership certificate.

The post also describes incidents in which a 12-year-old girl was getting “sinful” texts from a member of Durbin’s household.  It doesn’t go into detail, but it seems clear they were sexual.  A member of the household also engaged in “inappropriate behavior” with her at a sleepover.  The Durbins initially slandered the girl as a predator, until they saw the “sinful” texts.  It isn’t clear who the member of the household was; was it an adult, or one of the Durbin children?  Was it statutory rape, or was it typical consensual behavior between kids of the same age?  I don’t know.  But whatever it was, the Durbins were spreading lies about the girl.

This video, by a Mormon who had issues with Durbin, reveals that Durbin throws around the word “Marxist” even when you’re talking theology he doesn’t agree with, and is very abusive with people he argues with.  He says at the end that Durbin and James White are manipulative liars with questionable moral character and judgment; he says their behavior (such as saying women should get the death penalty for abortion) is not normal; and that he suspects more people will start coming out with stories about them.

It is very concerning to see “pastors” such as this coming out with abusive language toward people in the churches who dare to have different political views than their own, who dare to look into the issue of systemic racism and consider whether homosexuality is truly sinful.  Basically, Durbin and others like him are setting themselves up to be the arbiter of what is the correct view to take on everything, including patriarchy, white supremacy, and LGBTQ+.  And if you disagree, they call you a wolf, say you’re antichrist, say you’re in sin, call you a “slut,” accuse you of “homolust,” call you a Marxist, and say that you need to be “disciplined” if you won’t take their “correction.” And they do it all with hipster beards and tattoos.

Hate is filling our churches as Trumpism takes over

What’s going on right now has a lot in common with the early 20th century German church.  I do my research and see lots of parallels.  Yesterday I discovered one of these hate-filled preachers named Jeff Durbin is saying crap like the following:

He’s calling me a slut who opens her legs to Marx, Engels, Soros….  I’ve seen clips of other videos he posts, and they’re full of hateful tirades against people he doesn’t even know because they disagree with him.

And this is hardly the only guy.  Some googling and reading of blog posts reveals a whole lot of pushback in the churches to people they call “woke” and “social justice warriors.”  They sound like Nazis with their patriarchal white supremacy, which includes derision for those who support gay marriage (like Durbin here, who uses the term “homolust”).  I don’t just see this on Evangelical websites, but on Orthodox ones as well.

You go into comment sections, you watch videos, you read news articles, and you’ll find a lot of people saying that these people are in “sin” and need to “repent”–and if they don’t, that they need to be tossed out of the church!

I’ve read the Bible numerous times.  I’ve studied the words of Christ.  I know what Christianity is, and this ain’t it.  It is the spirit of antichrist–yet they say *we* are the spirit of antichrist.

Trumpism is taking over everything: the GOP, the church.  It’s a poison that keeps spreading.  He didn’t start it by any means, but he’s given them carte blanche to say these things openly.  These are dangerous times; I study history, and I’ve seen what this leads to.  These were all Nazi beliefs: patriarchy, white supremacy, homophobia, anti-Semitic theories (such as Illuminati, New World Order, and the constant slander against George Soros).

The Nazis promised the churches that they would bring back “Christian” ideals, that they could pray in schools again, etc.  The German church embraced Naziism the same way that the modern churches are embracing this anti-woke philosophy.  They were so deluded that they saw Christ in the Nazis.  Let’s not make the same mistake.

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