Fr. Patrick Reardon (http://www.allsaintsorthodox.org/pastor/bio.php) recently sent a pastoral letter on how to vote to members of his parish.  Since I am neither a member of his parish nor his diocese, I would normally ignore such things, except that this letter has been supported and forwarded to other Orthodox parishes.  As a result, a concerned friend on facebook asked me for a resources on other Orthodox viewpoints.  They then asked if I would allow them to share my response with others.  Here it is.  You may read Fr.

I was not able to attend the recent OTSA meeting which revolved around Orthodoxy and Politics.  This is particularly unfortunate because despite the apparently theological bias of much of my work, I am deeply interested in social issues which, in the United States, are often inherently political.  Unfortunately, this inherent politicization is part of why I have not written more extensively about social ethics.

A kind person--a virtuous person.  Between them, there is a big difference.  A kind person is kind because he or she accepts people as they are, covers them with kindness.  Kindness is beautiful, the most beautiful thing on this earth.  Virtuous people are activists, obsessed with the desire to impose their principles and goodness and easily condemning, destroying, hating... in this world there is a lot of virtue, and so little kindness.

-- Fr. Alexander Schmemann

For those unaware, a firestorm has been ignited over the decision of Bishop Matthias (OCA) of Chicago to no longer allow laity to hold the altar cloths at communion.  Apparently in his announcement of his decisions, he explicitly mentioned his discomfort that women had contact with sacred things.  While he denied this in a letter, it is women who bear the brunt of this decision, and who have no recourse (short of monasticism) to obtain the tonsure that might “rectify” their lay status.

A woman-centric hymn without reference to sexual sin.  How nice!

In boldness, look to God for help,
like women folk who dared:
To ask that Jesus heal a child,
that crumbs of grace be shared,
that outcast ones be welcomed
to the feast that God has prepared.

In boldness, lean on God for strength, 
and healing from disease,
of mind and body, hard and ill
whose bondage Jesus frees.
Reach out and touch the hem of Christ,
and gather spirit's ease.

In May 2004 I wrote a response to an article printed in The Word, the magazine of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocesan.  In it, I argue that Orthodox theology allows for the possibility of female priests.  In doing so, I was entering into a discussion with the likes of Mdm. Elisabeth Behr-Sigel, Metrs. Anthony Bloom and Kallistos Ware, Dr. Valerie Karras and Sr. Nonna Harrison, and Fr. Thomas Hopko, all of whom consider (or ‘considered,’ both Behr-Sigel and Bloom are of blessed memory) the topic an open question.

A group of students traveling in the Holy Land were given an afternoon to shop for souvenirs.  The reason for their shopping excursion was, in part, to allow one of their group leaders, a clergyman, time to visit the monastery of his namesake.  This monastery still retains its reputation for its members' historical contributions to Orthodox liturgical worship.  The clergyman shared his joyful visit on Facebook, to which someone commented that the students missed out by not going.  The clergyman quite honestly replied that part of the reason for his solitary trip was that half of the student

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