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Amazon.com Review

Amazon Exclusive Essay: God Believes in Love by Gene Robinson

Perhaps you are the aunt or uncle of a young woman who has been living her life with another woman, and now you're invited to their wedding, and although you love her, you're not sure how you feel about marriage for two women. Or maybe the co-worker who came out to you a couple of years back has now invited you to his wedding to another man, and you're not sure if you should go, being uncomfortable with the whole notion of gay marriage. Perhaps you're a member of a church in a denomination that now blesses same sex unions, but can't understand how, as a Christian, your church can officially approve of and support such a relationship. Or maybe you want your denomination to be more accepting of gay men and lesbians and their relationships, but you don't know what arguments to use in convincing your fellow parishioners that this would be a good thing. Maybe you are gay or lesbian yourself, but can't seem to find the words which would help your resistant parents or judgmental sibling in accepting you and your beloved partner, and you're looking for a book to give them which would answer their misgivings about you and your relationship. You may feel that changing the definition of marriage after thousands of years is a risky and unwise thing to do. Or perhaps you have a desire simply to learn more about this social change phenomenon which seems to be sweeping the nation and its religious institutions.

Maybe you're concerned that gay marriage threatens the separation of church and state and is a threat to your church and what you believe. You think of yourself as being somewhat supportive of gay people, but this "marriage thing" goes a little too far, and you're looking for help in sorting through the religious, legal and social issues raised by the affirmation of gay relationships. After all, isn't it better for children to be raised by a mother and a father? And doesn't the Bible clearly condemn homosexuality? And you don't have time to read one of the books which deals with only one aspect of this issue.

I wrote God Believes in Love: Straight Talk about Gay Marriage just for you!

There's a lot to sort through in this issue that seems to be sweeping the country, and arousing fierce passions in its wake. I have tried to imagine a conversation between me and you. In countless conversations I've had with people just like you, I have heard and understood the legitimate concerns and questions you have about gay marriage, and each one of those concerns/questions becomes the subject of a chapter in the book. Using good theology, reasoned secular arguments and a respectful tone, I have attempted to make the case that citizens of the United States and members of religious communities should be supportive of this development in our common life.

While I may not convince you of the rightness of gay marriage, I at least hope to open your minds and hearts to the possibility that this could be a responsible, godly and wise development. I even think it might make it possible for you to go to that gay wedding you've been invited to, with joy and appreciation for the love exhibited between these two people. Because in the end, God believes in love!


“Personal, well-written, and well-argued . . . its greatest hope for success lies in soothing the troubled hearts of young people questioning their conflicting identities.”
Louisville Courier-Journal
“An invitation to recognize the power and possibility of marriage for all people . . . Written with a pastoral heart and considerable academic insight, Robinson effectively argues the importance and value of strong marriages . . . a thoughtful theological approach.”

“A family-friendly, easy to read book that explains the necessity of gay marriage to the masses . . . courageous . . . erudite . . . conveys complicated principles with ease.”

“Conversational and essayistic . . . methodically argued, cogently and brightly written, structured as chapter-length responses to commonly voiced questions about, and objections to, same-sex marriage . . . consistently Christian but also pervasively liberal.”
The Boston Globe

“[A] mix of reasoned logic, personal experiences, church teachings, and social science . . . The underlying tone is one of compassion and genuine hope for meaningful shift toward acceptance of same-sex unions . . . gentle with moments of humor . . . a solid entrance into the LGBT-affirming worldview.”
Publishers Weekly
“Reasoned . . . Robinson's strength is his willingness to see these questions from another perspective . . . Sober and well-structured.”

“Couldn’t be more timely, nor more authoritative . . . Robinson does yeoman’s work at arguing [the gay-marriage debate] concisely.”

About Gene Robinson
“My friend, Bishop Gene Robinson, has long been a voice for equality—not with anger or vitriol, but with compassion and faith. He has been guided by the simple precept that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us.”
—President Barack Obama
“For someone in the eye of the storm buffeting our beloved Anglican Communion, Gene Robinson is so serene; he is not a wild-eyed belligerent campaigner. I was so surprised at his generosity towards those who have denigrated him and worse. Gene Robinson is a wonderful human being, and I am proud to belong to the same church as he.”
—Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Nobel Peace Laureate

“Gene Robinson is no revolutionary: he upholds marriage as a sacred covenant, but knows the same covenant theology can include same-sex partnerships too. For living this truth he has been scapegoated—not for being the first gay bishop, but the first honest one. By God’s grace he had stayed strong, still trying to love his enemies into friends. One day the Church will understand what it owes him.”
—The Very Rev. Jeffrey John
Dean, St. Alban’s Cathedral, England

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307957888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307957887
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #704,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Anne Rice on September 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To say that this book is important is an understatement. Sadly, too many today don't know that there are in fact thousands and thousands of gay Christians, and many churches in which gays are welcomed, and where gay clergy are welcomed, and where same sex marriage can be celebrated. In spite of tremendous hostility and prejudice on the part of some Christians, gay Christians are not about to give up on their faith in their God or their faith in their churches. Gene Robinson made history when he became the first gay bishop appointed by the Episcopal Church in America, and in this gentle, and beautifully written book he makes the case for the Christian acceptance of Same Sex Marriage, in the name of love. Very well worth reading. This is an excellent book to give as a gift to gay Christians who may be struggling in hostile communities, and to Christian parents of gay children who are not finding support in their churches. ---- It is my opinion that gays are winning the battle for acceptance in America on all levels, and soon the persecution they are suffering now will be a thing of the past. Highly recommended.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Paul Mcguire on September 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a bisexual catholic in a loving relationship with another bisexual catholic, I struggled long and hard to come to terms with my sexuality and whether it was against my faith. But just because I am at peace doesn't mean that my family members are just as easily able to come to the same conclusions.

This book is important because it provides a clear critique of most of the arguments raised by religious individuals to say that same-sex marriage is wrong. The book begins with a section about the author's own story, and how he ultimately came to find love with a man. It then discusses the key bible verses that are often used to attack LGBT individuals in more detail than I have seen in many places.

The next section looks at the key messages of the bible and how Jesus would likely preach acceptance of LGBT individuals based on his reaching out to the marginalized in society. For the rest of the book, he looks at various arguments often made for why same-sex marriage is an attack on traditional marriage. In the end, he notes that in a society where straight couples are finding marriage to be outdated, we should be supporting efforts of the LGBT community to expand access to marriage rather than preventing it.

The book is very well written and easy to get through quickly. I suspect I will return to key sections of the book over time to remind myself of some of the arguments made. What I also loved about the book was how it explained many aspects of the Christian faith in ways that I had not really understood before but made perfect sense to me. If you are struggling with reconciling your faith with your own sexuality, this book serves as a great way to shed some of the shame that may have been thrust upon you by your family or your church. Or, if you are trying to decide if you can accept your gay son, daughter, relative, or neighbor, this book will affirm for you that God would want nothing less from you.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bob Lind on October 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Since he was appointed to be the first openly-gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, Gene Robinson has been forced into a position of being both a figurehead and a spokesperson in the LGBT community, and it is the latter that he tackles superbly in his new book. Robinson takes on not just the religious arguments against gay marriage, but also common misconceptions about same-sex parenting, scriptural passages most assume condemn homosexuality, as well as the pressures that closeted gays and lesbians deal with every day in trying to avoid confrontations about their sexuality.

I have read more "gays vs. religion" books than I can possibly count, but none have done a better job of clearly and concisely addressing all of the issues that make for common misunderstandings about gay men or lesbians. In a remarkably straightforward manner, Robinson uses relatable metaphors and realistic scenarios to demonstrate the foolishness of most of the primary arguments against gay marriage, as well as making a strong argument why "civil unions" - or even actual marriages observed only on a state level - are simply not good enough. This is absolutely an affirming, well-constructed and valuable read, which I recommend highly to all readers. Five stars out of five.

- Bob Lind, Echo Magazine
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. Braswell on November 14, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Because I am new at reading a kindle book, I had a short list that I could choose from - not knowing how to get to the entire group of selections. This book was the first one on the list and, as an Episcopalian, I decided to read what the Bishop had to say. Initially, I thought that gay marriage was just not necessary. These people had advantages of same sex couples - wasn't that enough? So many people live outside marriage these days that I felt that it was a lot of "hot air" over nothing.

Bishop Robinson led me to see from his own point of view that many gay men wanted the sacrament of marriage. This put a different perspective on the matter. He approaches this matter in a most logical way and convinced me that he had the correct opinion. If gay and lesbian people want to marry, I would be glad to vote for that option. I have changed my view after hearing someone who has experienced this life style voice his opinion. I would encourage everyone to read this book AND with an open mind.
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