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Reasonable and Holy: Engaging Same-Sexuality Paperback – 1 Mar 2009


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Amazon.com: 7 reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
invaluable contribution to the discussion 8 Jun. 2009
By John P. Plummer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tobias Haller's regular readers know they can reliably expect careful argument and beautiful prose. In this book, Father Haller does not disappoint, and provides a crucial contribution to the debates over same-sex relationships(and the full sacramental inclusion of those in such relationships) in the Anglican Communion, and in Christianity more broadly. Father Haller argues persuasively that an inclusive position is consistent with the church's tradition, and can be the result of taking our engagement with scripture seriously. All Christians, whether members of communities that have already taken steps toward inclusion or those still struggling, will benefit from this fine volume. With questions for discussion and other aids, it is appropriate for Sunday School classes and the like.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The most coherent defense of the liberal position 11 Aug. 2009
By G. F. de Leeuw - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book began as a series of blog responses by the author to the most credible conservative position. In an age where biblical scholars are not logicians, and theologians find the bible incoherent, Fr. Haller applies theology to a coherent view of the bible, using orthodox concepts to interrogate the conservative position.

Liberals and conservatives seem to talk past each other. He carefully builds a coherent conservative position that is defensible. He begins by clarifying, examining and interrogating the concept of complementarity. He discerns between purpose versus the ends of marriage. He examines the traditional and a more appropriate way of understanding procreation within marriage.

Fr. Haller interrogates the concept of "abomination" and what constitutes "porneia." He also convincingly shows that liberals do not "cherry pick" but that the foundational law is the one by which all other laws are judged. Haller reminds us that the purpose of scripture is to save; not to close people from the Gospel.

His strongest chapter is his chapter on Jesus, where he wonders What Would Jesus Do. Here he is completely convincing. On page 139 he offers a powerful paraphrase of Jesus' commands. His last chapter would be useful enough to offer those who still can't understand the progressive position.

There are some meta issues that would be beyond his scope. There are deep issues of semantics and linguistic taxonomies which most people do not address; further there isn't much of a discussion of homosexuality as a symbol. Nor is there much of a discussion of how we got to begin discussing this issue. That said, the book accomplishes its task: to offer a coherent theological justification for seeking God's work in our inevitable acceptance of those who have desires not traditionally seen by the church.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A Great Resource 10 Jun. 2009
By Ginny in DC/NVA - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Is it "reasonable" to think that Christians can accept same-sexual relationships as "holy"? Tobias Haller says yes - and he tells you why without resorting to shallow, angry or emotional dialog. This is exactly what I expected from Fr. Haller, for all the reasons provided by earlier reviewers.

Tobias Haller presents this book as a resource for the Anglican "listening process" on same-sexuality, and quite a gift it is. If your parish church is divided about these issues, or living in a tenuous don't-ask-don't-tell truce, this little book is organized for meaningful, adult spiritual education and discussion. If you don't think your parish is ready for a full series of classes, consider a seminar based on chapter 12, "Heirs of the Promise," with a couple of copies of this book available in the church lending library. Fr. Haller's scholarly approach to the usual questions and oft-quoted scripture won't fail to inform even the most radical on both sides of the same-sexuality debate.

As other reviewers have noted, this book isn't an easy read, even if you are familiar with the arguments and and modern biblical scholarship. The text is thoroughly readable - and the humor quite lovely - but you will stop to ponder many, many issues. And best of all, you will probably stop and think about the LGBT people in your life, and how they can be blessed and loved by God and the Christian community.

Now that you have the thoughtful comments, I'll add this pithy aside: if you support the LGBT community, Fr. Haller has provided you with a lot of well-researched information to combat biblical literalism and pull-quoting. You can even support one argument by citing the venerable Augustine of Hippo!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Reasonable, reflective and brilliant 8 Jun. 2009
By Dr. Gregory J. Tillett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This appears to be a slim paperback that should make easy reading. Except that it doesn't. Fr Tobias has written one of those increasingly rare (and annoying!) books that inspires questioning and demands reflection. Every time I begin to read more of it I find myself stalled at a word, a phrase, a question which requires thoughtful consideration, even some research in other works or, worse, some serious critical thinking. It's not at all the standard theologically and historically quasi- or semi- or totally illiterate case for the prosecution or the defence which the subject usually seems to inspire. Nor, like the standard works, is it mind-numbingly dull. Its approach is not only scholarly but spiritual, almost meditative. It blends theology and Scripture and history and anthropology and law with deep pastoral concern, and is pleasantly spiced with gentle wit. It applies gentle reason to a subject that more than many requires it.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Much needed contribution to the ongoing debates 4 Jun. 2009
By Karekin M. Yarian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Reasonable and Holy" could not be more aptly titled. Father Haller has created a monumental work with cogent argument, pastoral sensitivity, and a clear and logical framework. In the ongoing discussion of same-sexuality and the Church, too much is written from the same old biases using Scripture out of context and the reassertion of the same ill-formed arguments. Haller succeeds in bringing new energy and insight into dismantling these old arguments. Whether or not you agree with Haller's conclusions, there is no denying that he has contributed a fresh, sensitive and thorough approach. Bringing a concise and unflinching eye to Scriptural witness, he has illuminated details and nuances often overlooked in the ongoing debates.

This book is no easy read. It is dense and says much in it's few chapters. But a careful reading will prove extraordinarily rewarding. It is a work that I am certain to return to over and again. If you think you know what the Scripture has to say about same-sexuality, especially in the context of faithful long-term relationships between same-gendered partners, prepare the rethink your assumptions.

Father Haller's discussion of the subject of same-sexuality does not shy away from difficult topics nor from specifics about sexuality, sexual acts, or the realities of same-sex couples. It is uncompromising in its honesty and generous in its sensitivity. Yet if we in the Church are to develop a coherent theology in response to the issues of same-gender oriented individuals and/or couples, we cannot fail in such close examination. The author has surely succeeded in moving this discussion into a new and healthier place.

"Reasonable and Holy" will change hearts and minds. Of this, I have little doubt. But equally, it will quicken the hearts of those who already support the conclusions reached by Haller. This book will convince many that there is little substance left in the arguments against the inclusion and celebration of same-sex couples in the full life of the Church.
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