Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Okay I may tick some people off with what I’m about to say, but I’m having one of those “moments” so I’m going for it.  God does not hate gays any more than He hates adulterers, fornicators, hate mongers, gluttons or anyone else.  We are ALL fearfully and wonderfully made and we ALL are in need of Christ. 

With the Supreme Court Ruling I have seen a lot of “ugly” displayed by Christians.   I have unfriended a few, not because I agree with the ruling or somehow want to support something that goes completely against my deeply held belief system, but because we are called to be the hands and feet of Christ.  We are called to love our neighbors.  The Bible doesn’t differentiate between neighbors who follow Holy Scriptures and those who don’t.  When we prepare to receive the Eucharist we say a prayer that includes the phrase, “I believe that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God Who didst come into the world to save sinners OF WHOM I AM FIRST.” If I am first among sinners how can I turn on my brother or sister and throw hatred at them.  No, as the first among sinners I should embrace them and encourage them in the struggle.  

What am I saying?  Am I saying that we should just stay silent about this issue?  Am I saying that as long as we love Jesus we can do whatever we want?  Of course not!  But what I am saying is that we should love others with the love of Christ.  We should give to those in need.  We should live the Gospel of Christ and when we need to speak, we need to speak the truth IN LOVE.  How can we expect anyone to listen if we are speaking out of anger or fear?  How many times do we reinforce the belief that “God hates…” rather than reinforcing that God calls all to repentance…all to Himself out of great love.  He was not afraid of the prostitute or the publican.  He touched the blind and the lepers, the clean and unclean.  His compassion was deep and His love limitless.

I am not a theologian.  I am not a scholar.  I’m not even all that smart.  I’m sure many will have strong arguments against what I’m saying.  I won’t fight.  The Church does not support the direction the world is going or lifestyles many are living LGBT and straight, but the Church does support 100% the love and mercy of Christ and that is the faith I embrace.

June 28, 2015

To the Venerable Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America:

Dearly Beloved,

The recent ruling by the US Supreme Court on the legality of “same-sex marriages” has received much press coverage and has already caused some consternation about its implications and ramifications. But we Orthodox Christians must rest assured that the teaching of our Holy Church on the Mystery of Marriage remains the same as it has been for millennia.

Over the past few years, the Holy Synod of Bishops of our Orthodox Church in America has issued a number of statements outlining, detailing and clarifying the teaching of our Holy Faith on this matter in light of challenges from our American society.  These teachings remain in effect, in spite of the Supreme Court’s decision.  Links to these statements are provided below.

As we reflect on the Supreme Court’s ruling, we should thank Almighty God that we live in a country that allows us the First Amendment rights to worship freely, practice what we believe as Orthodox Christians, and live as examples of Christ our Savior and His love for others.

The ruling does not change the teaching of the Church, but it does remind us of the need to be Christ-like in our dealings with everyone. The state has the responsibility to enact laws that protect the rights of each individual.  The Church, while it does not bless “same-sex marriages” or view them as sacramental, does see the image of Christ in every individual, and his or her worth in the eyes of the Lord Who died upon the Cross for our salvation.

As the Orthodox Church in America, it is our responsibility to care for those who are in need, help those who are victims of prejudice, racism or persecution of any kind, and to provide for those who are sick, destitute, homeless or imprisoned.

The Church’s mission continues, and we have a great responsibility to be “all things to all people,” so that we all may be “one in Christ,” and hear on the last day, “Well done, good and faithful servant, you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.  Enter into the joy of your Lord” (Matthew 25:21).

With love in the Lord,

+ Tikhon
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Don't Go There

Have you ever seen your child about to cross the line and said these words, "don't go there!"?  Have you ever dropped that warning before the battle begins?  Sometimes it's successful and sometimes they have already "gone there" with their hearts and it is only that it has taken their mouths or actions a little longer to follow.  Often when I tell my kids to not "go there" it is more of a threat or a warning that they are getting too close to the line...to the point of no return...to the place where consequences will ensue.   We, as mamas, hear this from the Lord when we are about to reprimand our child about something petty because we're already "in a mood" or "lovingly" point out a fault in our husbands...again and again...perhaps speaking the truth, as we are told to do, but ignoring the part of the verse that reminds us to speak the truth IN LOVE. 

This past week I was speaking to my priest about some struggles within my family.  I heard the words "don't go there" come from his mouth, but it wasn't a threat or a warning, it was permission.  This really took me by surprise.  I had to think about this because, I will confess, I have a hard time not "going there" with my family.  The idea that I could have the permission to walk away was beyond my scope of understanding.  Of course I must still address the issues, but I don't necessarily have to put on the "Nazi mommy" hat and go to battle with my battling child.  Perhaps I could wait.  Waiting is such a foreign concept!  What would happen if I didn't shout "CHARGE" in my heart and prepare to deflect every argument, insult and excuse?  What if I went in looking at the situation as an opportunity to humble myself, even in...no...ESPECIALLY in my home. 

Image result for mother embracing her children clipartHow does a mother NOT "go there"?  We learn about putting on the full armor of God, but I think we often mistakenly think the armor is to protect us from getting hit with flaming arrows and stray bullets from our children, and possibly our husbands, rather than the enemy of man's soul.  When our children are young we are teaching them constantly, whether we mean to or not, how to sort out life and who we go to for help.  It isn't so much about being the perfect mother as it is about living in repentance in front of our children allowing them to see us on our knees in the midst of the chaos.  It isn't that we have to show them there are no struggles, but how to seek Christ within those struggles instead of lashing out or fighting against our own "troops".  By living in repentance and prayer, by struggling and seeking the guidance of Christ our Lord, we are teaching them how to put on the armor that is only strong because it is made by God so they have the hope of the resurrection and the world to come...that hope that strengthens faith which gives us the courage to follow Christ in humility and love. 

So, Dear Mamas, I give you permission to NOT "go there".  I give me permission to stay away from wherever "there" is as well.  Motherhood takes practice and often includes feeling like a failure.  We can feel like we must be a little mentally "off" because so many other moms seem to have it together.  Well, the best mom ever, the Theotokos, LOST Jesus when he was 12, and yet we certainly wouldn't classify her as a failure!  Be gentle with yourself and ask the Theotokos, the mother of all mothers, to pray on our behalf.  It is a hard road we travel but not one we must travel alone. 

Many are they who say of me,

“There is no help for him in God.” Selah

But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,

My glory and the One who lifts up my head.

I cried to the Lord with my voice,

And He heard me from His holy hill. (Ps. 3:2–4)

May God be glorified and keep us from "going there" that we may go to Him instead!