“For, in the first place, when you assemble as a church, I hear that there are divisions (σχίσματα) among you; and I partly believe it, for there must be differences/factions (αἱρέσεις) among you in order that those who are genuine/proven (δόκιμοι) among you may be recognized.” (1 Cor 11: 18-19)
Some “divisions“ occured amongst us just recently, regarding an article published in the online-journal, “The Wheel,“ by His Eminence, Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, touching (in part) on the “hot-button“ topic of homosexuality. In this article, Metropolitan Kallistos cautiously raises questions about present-day, pastoral approaches to homosexuals, – without, however, pretending to have answers to these questions. He simply raises questions, which, as he writes, cause us “difficulty“ in our today, in light of the changes that have occurred in society, with regard to (homo)sexuality and our perception thereof. Nonetheless, his article has prompted some of us, in the “Orthodox“ blogosphere, entirely to discount his legitimacy as an Orthodox theologian; as if articulating questions were unorthodox; as if being Orthodox was about having all the answers, and excluded those of us who have questions.
But regardless of all that, – regardless of the “Orthodoxy,“ in general, of posing questions, which I do affirm, because without questions we do not receive answers, – I’d like to make another point on this Father’s Day, about our attitude to this wonderful “father“ of our Orthodox “church-family“ in the 21st c., Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, who has brought so many to the Orthodox Church through his erudite and yet accessible works. I’d like to say that, perhaps we could offer him the “benefit of the doubt,“ even if his questions sit uneasy with us, challenging our love and loyalty to him as one of “ours,“ as one of our own. Because, as the Apostle says above, we “must“ have these challenges, these “differences“ amongst us, that we may be “proven“ as genuine, i.e., loving, followers of our Lord, rather than disrupting our unity and abandoning one another at the drop of a hat; for example, for merely asking questions. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13: 35). So “let us love one another, that we may with one mind confess Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” And let us explore the questions, without discounting those who pose them, in the Spirit of Christ, Who has all the answers, as we do not. Amen!