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Christian Faith and Same Sex Attraction: Eastern Orthodox Reflections Paperback – April 1, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Thomas Hopko is Dean Emeritus of St. Vladimir's Seminary and a retired professor of dogmatic theology. He has authored numerous works on all aspects of the Orthodox Church's faith and practice. His writings have been translated into 15 languages. He has also produced countless CDs and audiocassettes. Fr. Hopko is a world-renowned lecturer at various Orthodox and ecumenical forums.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Conciliar Press (March 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888212756
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888212754
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,104,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Below is a review of Fr. Hopko's book that was unfortunately received by the publisher after the book had already gone to press, and was therefore not included with the final publication. Dr. Elizabeth Stuart is a Professor of Christian Theology at the University of Winchester. She is also a lesbian and a leading UK theologian specializing in Queer Theology. I believe the review speaks eloquently to the value of this book for those on both sides of this emotionally-charged issue. Her review is as follows:

"Although I profoundly disagree with the stance taken towards homosexuality in this book I found it a delight to read. It is a careful, compassionate and comprehensive discussion of contemporary same-sex attraction from the perspective of the Orthodox tradition. It is informed by gay and lesbian theology and other alternative perspectives. I would recommend it to all who study or who are personally involved in the issues around same-sex relationships in the Christian tradition, perhaps particularly to those not part of the Orthodox tradition, for the rich theology of that tradition frames the debate in very different terms to those of other denominations. This book holds out the possibility of a debate which need not fracture the Church nor create alarming levels of animosity between Christians. For this reason alone, it is worth reading and engaging with."
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Format: Paperback
The Author: Father Tom Hopko, one of America's leading Orthodox theologians, author of many books, professor emeritus at St. Vladimir's Seminary.

Writing style: Succinct, clear, to the point. The whole book is just 126 pages, about half of those being notes.

Topic: The relationship between Orthodox Christianity, love, and same-sex attraction.

You will expect the author to scripturally and traditionally explain why same-sex genital relations are incompatible with Christianity. He does a good job of this, citing not only the Bible and Patristics but many current authors who disagree.

Father Tom also does a superb job of differentiating for Enlish-only readers, that Love has four components, Agape (charity), Storge (affection), Philia (fraternal love), and Eros (sex). He points out that in our fallen world, that it will be inevitable that many of us will have sinful passions of every sort, including an interest in same-sex pornia. He clearly separates this manifestation of God's providential permission from God's Essential Love.

In so doing, he shows that platonic same-sex love- in the form of agape, philia, and storge, is quite normal but argues convincingly that same-sex genital attraction joins a pantheon of other sinful desires, from gluttony to theft, as something we may have urges towards and even natures towards, but that we must deal with, not succumb to.

He then spends that last third of his monograph suggesting ways to live a Christian life and be welcome in the church and to deal with not only same-sex eros but a host of serious vices.

Perhaps his two most telling quotes are relegated to the footnotes.
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Many reviewers have stated that this book is a great book for anyone to read, but they didn't always point out why. Certainly if you have friends or family who are LGBT, this book is important to read. However this is a book on "human" sexuality. It will help you understand your own sexuality, no matter if you are married, single, celibate, non-celibate, etc. It is difficult to find such a well thought out, compassion and helpful (let alone short) book by such an experienced and authoritative source (such as Father Hopko) on human sexuality. Please take advantage of this book; it will help you in understanding yourself. Knowledge of self is a great place to start your path forward towards God.
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This was a delightful read and gave a solid Biblical understanding of why Same-sex marriage is wrong. And it did not condemn same-sex attraction. Many people struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction or even unwanted opposite-sex attraction, and the book provides helpful tools in the struggle to do, not just what we want, but what we want to want. The struggle is too hard alone and there are those who can walk along side in the struggle, the journey, many who have even struggled with the same issues.
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Absolutely loved this book, and it was truly helpful in understanding this topic from an orthodox viewpoint. In this very readable, short volume, Fr. Tom listens closely to our church fathers and brings their voices in to the framework of this discussion. I appreciate the framework he lays out from the beginning of the book, which makes it impossible, from a truly Christian point of view, to advocate or espouse the notion that same-sex attraction is the highest calling and destiny of human persons in light God's grace in Jesus.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The best review I can give is one that is already well known about it and probably on the book itself... It is so non-judgemental in its approach that even lesbian professors teach from it. However, just because its not mean, doesnt mean that it skirts or downplays the christian perspective. We have given this book over 10 times to religious friends (catholic, protestant and even non-religious) that are struggling with friends and family members that are questioning their sexual identity. Great book.
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