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  • Joly Fahim

OCCM Webinar: Sexuality and Society – Defining Love in Modern Times by Fr. Samuel Varghese

Updated: Mar 22, 2022

Joly Fahim | 14 February 2021

Joly is a graduate student studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Houston. In this post, she summarizes the OCCM webinar led by Fr. Samuel Varghese, which discussed love in modern times.

  1. God’s Design

  2. God is the determiner of reality. Therefore, what God says is reality is what we must accept. Deviations from this reality is corrected through repentance to bring it back into accordance with God

  3. In Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:23-24, God begins to describe the reality of the nature of male and female relationships. When Eve was created, it is evident through these verses that there something salvific about marriage

  4. God reiterates this complementariness message in the old testament in Mark 10:6-9

  5. Our Identity

  6. We are made in the image of God

  7. All humans are endowed with the capacity for love and good

  8. All humans possess freedom to choose how these capacities are utilized

  9. These two elements allow us to be like God

  10. Christian Identity

  11. In Galatians 3:26-28, St. Paul highlights that there are no limitations on becoming like God. This is highlighted in our baptismal liturgy in the it is the same regardless of gender

  12. The above, however, is not a denial of gender, yet it points that we all share the same access to salvation

  13. Effects of the Fall

  14. Disorder

  15. There is distinction from God and creation and between man and woman

  16. Our resemblance to God has also been obscured due to sin

  17. Sin is a perversion of the things God gave us to use (ex. Love)

  18. Issues Related to the Fall

  19. Sexual addiction, pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex, homosexuality, pornography, abuse, identity and gender

  20. Realities of Christian Struggle after the Fall

  21. Deny yourselves

  22. This is mentioned in Matthew 16:24-26 where denying ourselves is the path towards Christ-likeness

  23. Joy in Trials

  24. In James 1:3-4, our struggles and temptations are chances to follow Christ

  25. Abba Anthony also mentions that “without temptations, no one can be saved”

  26. Satan tries all of us and nourishes the sins which the soul goes towards. We must then ask God not “why me?” but “How must I react?”

  27. Lacking One Thing

  28. In Mark 10:17-22, like Christ tells the man what to do so he can gain salvation, we must correct those we love to help them gain salvation

  29. Judgement within the Church

  30. In 1 Corinthians 5, St. Paul says it is not a kindness to individuals to say that this is the way they are. It is a kindness to them to allow them to gain God’s mercy

  31. Language of Love: The Greek

  32. Eros

  33. The romantic love which, when perverted, leads to sin

  34. Phileo

  35. Brotherly love

  36. This type of love was used in John 21 when Christ asked “Do you love me?”

  37. Agape

  38. The love we must achieve to even those who hate us

  39. Christ used this in Matthew 5: 43-48 when He said “Love your enemies” and additionally in John 15:13 and John 13:34-35

  40. Homosexuality

  41. When it comes to homosexuality, St Paul highlights in 1 Corinthians 6:9-12 that although “all things are lawful”, “not all things are helpful” and this verse is yet another reiteration of the nature of relationships which God intended

  42. In Romans 1:22-27, it says the “God gave them up to dishonorable passions” where God will not take away your free will, yet being in a spiritual environment is what allows us to repent

  43. Gender

  44. World Health Organization Definition

  45. The WHO defines gender as a social construct. However, as a Christian, this is not truly what gender is as evident from our reproductive organs and capabilities

  46. Why is Transgender Equality Important?/ How to Respect Non-Binary people

  47. Because unrighteous treatment of individuals living in sin does not conform to our ideals as Christians since we all live in sin (ex. Being denied critical care, being fired from a job, etc.)

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