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Christian Faith and Same-Sex Attraction: Eastern Orthodox Reflections

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Father Thomas Hopko draws on the wisdom of the Orthodox Christian Church and the Holy Scriptures to help us understand same-sex attraction, with both compassion and clarity. Combining theological and pastoral insights, this small gem will aid pastors, those who experience same-sex desires, and anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the nature of our identity and our sexu Father Thomas Hopko draws on the wisdom of the Orthodox Christian Church and the Holy Scriptures to help us understand same-sex attraction, with both compassion and clarity. Combining theological and pastoral insights, this small gem will aid pastors, those who experience same-sex desires, and anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the nature of our identity and our sexuality. This book is in reality a primer on how to overcome the passions through the traditional Christian ascetic struggle, which of course applies to everyone...". In a winsomely accessible manner, he draws on the treasures of Orthodoxy to invite all of us to move from disputation to reflection, and from there to the wholeness for which we are created by God."Richard John Neuhaus, Editor-in-Chief of First Things..". The argument is closely reasoned and touches on many aspects of this issue that are often ignored in popular presentations...A provocative book that will surely help everyone who reads it!"Timothy George is dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and an executive editor of Christianity Today.


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Father Thomas Hopko draws on the wisdom of the Orthodox Christian Church and the Holy Scriptures to help us understand same-sex attraction, with both compassion and clarity. Combining theological and pastoral insights, this small gem will aid pastors, those who experience same-sex desires, and anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the nature of our identity and our sexu Father Thomas Hopko draws on the wisdom of the Orthodox Christian Church and the Holy Scriptures to help us understand same-sex attraction, with both compassion and clarity. Combining theological and pastoral insights, this small gem will aid pastors, those who experience same-sex desires, and anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the nature of our identity and our sexuality. This book is in reality a primer on how to overcome the passions through the traditional Christian ascetic struggle, which of course applies to everyone...". In a winsomely accessible manner, he draws on the treasures of Orthodoxy to invite all of us to move from disputation to reflection, and from there to the wholeness for which we are created by God."Richard John Neuhaus, Editor-in-Chief of First Things..". The argument is closely reasoned and touches on many aspects of this issue that are often ignored in popular presentations...A provocative book that will surely help everyone who reads it!"Timothy George is dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and an executive editor of Christianity Today.

30 review for Christian Faith and Same-Sex Attraction: Eastern Orthodox Reflections

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kristie

    Hopko accurately presents the Orthodox Church’s view on same-sex attraction. He does not address the harder questions such as whether or not the church calls for those with same-sex attraction (not bisexual) to remain unmarried for their whole lives as celibates (are they really called to a life of celibacy? Is this a reasonable expectation?). How does the church deal with society’s ostracizing of lgbt+ people? Does the church need to take responsibility for the actions of those who call themsel Hopko accurately presents the Orthodox Church’s view on same-sex attraction. He does not address the harder questions such as whether or not the church calls for those with same-sex attraction (not bisexual) to remain unmarried for their whole lives as celibates (are they really called to a life of celibacy? Is this a reasonable expectation?). How does the church deal with society’s ostracizing of lgbt+ people? Does the church need to take responsibility for the actions of those who call themselves members of the faith who try to strip or prevent lgbt+ people from their rights and privileges in society (even if the church, according to Hopko, advocates for their civil rights). In other words, does the church need to take responsibility for the undesired effect of their doctrine that same-sex sexual actions are sinful?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    This book provides a clear teaching on Orthodoxy's view of same-sex attraction, but it also provides some amazingly concise apologies of other, critical beliefs. I would recommend the book to anybody who wants a good idea of Orthodoxy's teachings regarding same sex attraction. I would recommend the first chapter to anybody. This book provides a clear teaching on Orthodoxy's view of same-sex attraction, but it also provides some amazingly concise apologies of other, critical beliefs. I would recommend the book to anybody who wants a good idea of Orthodoxy's teachings regarding same sex attraction. I would recommend the first chapter to anybody.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rebekah Morgan

    Not terrible but obviously a book written by a straight person for straight people, as if The Gays are a strange anthropological exhibit.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Fr. Thomas Reeves

    Thoughtful and well-written. Especially helpful were chapters 21 - "Same-Sex Attraction and Theology" and chapter 22 - "Same-Sex Attraction and Religion". Father Tom has an extremely gracious approach and brings out the good that can often exist in any kind of human relationship. He is also clear about "what the church has always believed everywhere" in regards to the subject matter at hand and the teaching of Holy Scripture. He interacts a bit with the scriptures, but the strength of the book i Thoughtful and well-written. Especially helpful were chapters 21 - "Same-Sex Attraction and Theology" and chapter 22 - "Same-Sex Attraction and Religion". Father Tom has an extremely gracious approach and brings out the good that can often exist in any kind of human relationship. He is also clear about "what the church has always believed everywhere" in regards to the subject matter at hand and the teaching of Holy Scripture. He interacts a bit with the scriptures, but the strength of the book is his theological and historic understanding of being made in God's Image, the context of human relationships, and the effects of the rebellion of humanity on all mankind and the entire created order. While this is a helpful book in many ways, this is not a book I would hand out to most parishioners unless they were already familiar with Eastern Orthodoxy and the particular commitments of this tradition. I am very familiar with Father Tom Hopko (I have listened to almost all of his Podcasts on Ancient Faith Radio) and have found him a helpful and grounded teacher both scripturally and historically. That said, there are times where his applications seem over-stated or are a bit too reductionistic in some areas (And I am suspecting this is true even within Eastern Orthodoxy and in regards to the teaching of other historic Christian traditions). This is not unique to Father Tom but is often a tendency within Eastern Orthodoxy (even though, they often disagree with one another). Father Tom often has a very clear idea regarding "what the Eastern Orthodox Church believes" although, I am fairly certain that there is often much more debate and nuance within Eastern "Catholic" Churches than often Father Tom allows (especially in the application of certain agreed-upon truths).

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    The topic of religion and same-sex attraction is rife with deep emotions. As such, it can be difficult to discuss the topic of religion, including Christianity, and same-sex attraction. Fr. Thomas Hopko delicately and thoroughly navigates the topic of Christian faith and same-sex attraction throughout the passage of this book. This does not mean it was an easy read; I doubt any book on this topic would be. It does mean that Fr. Thomas Hopko wrote with kindness and love emanating from the pages a The topic of religion and same-sex attraction is rife with deep emotions. As such, it can be difficult to discuss the topic of religion, including Christianity, and same-sex attraction. Fr. Thomas Hopko delicately and thoroughly navigates the topic of Christian faith and same-sex attraction throughout the passage of this book. This does not mean it was an easy read; I doubt any book on this topic would be. It does mean that Fr. Thomas Hopko wrote with kindness and love emanating from the pages as he explores the topic within the context of Christian faith, both for people who experience same-sex attraction and those who do not. The content of the book does not comfortably fit into the paradigm of mainstream cultural talking points. Thus, many who read this might find points they had not considered, as well as guidance for Christians to integrate into their daily lives. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn about Christian faith and same-sex attraction. As with anything that discusses such sensitive topics, I recommend that those who read the book do so with an open heart and mind. The audiobook version was well read, and at two and a half hours, it is convenient to fit this audiobook into a schedule.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kelbert McFarland

    Father Thomas leads the reader on a journey into the Orthodox approach to dealing with all of the passions, specifically same sex attraction. I mention all the passions because the reader will quickly see that Fr. Tom doesn’t place more importance on this particular passion. But one will quickly see the purpose of the book is to explain how not fulfilling this particular passion employs the very same methods that the Church has passed down for years to deal with all the passions. The writer goes Father Thomas leads the reader on a journey into the Orthodox approach to dealing with all of the passions, specifically same sex attraction. I mention all the passions because the reader will quickly see that Fr. Tom doesn’t place more importance on this particular passion. But one will quickly see the purpose of the book is to explain how not fulfilling this particular passion employs the very same methods that the Church has passed down for years to deal with all the passions. The writer goes on to mention some of the “issues” that arise in society and in Churches today when trying to navigate down the road of how to relate and approach one who either has same sex attraction or is actually fulfilling that passion in a way that the Church would not bless. I’d recommend this book to all pastors and even those who may not contend with this particular passion but may not be able to overcome the passion that they are dealing with. What the Church has given to one, it gives to all. The answer is always found in Christ and in HIs Body. I was not disappointed in the way Fr. Thomas explained the Church’s teaching and thinking towards same sex attraction and I believe many would benefit from reading this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    This pastor has extensive experience counselling people with same-sex attraction and writes about the relationship between identity and sexuality and how our passions can be mitigated by the ascetic disciplines. This is not a “cure” approach, but suggests that discipleship—for every Christian—includes self-denial and training in virtue, including sexual virtues.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

    Okay, I'm not Eastern Orthodox, and I'm not going to change my mind on whether same-sex attractions are okay just because Father Thomas tells me to. That said, I felt Thomas Hopko did a good job of being as kind and caring as possible, while holding himself to a very narrow interpretation of Tradition and Scripture. The following assertion was unbelievably narrow: "[T]here is not the remotest insinuation in the Bible or church history, for example, that Jonathon and David, Naomi and Ruth, Sergius Okay, I'm not Eastern Orthodox, and I'm not going to change my mind on whether same-sex attractions are okay just because Father Thomas tells me to. That said, I felt Thomas Hopko did a good job of being as kind and caring as possible, while holding himself to a very narrow interpretation of Tradition and Scripture. The following assertion was unbelievably narrow: "[T]here is not the remotest insinuation in the Bible or church history, for example, that Jonathon and David, Naomi and Ruth, Sergius and Bacchus, Basil the Great and Gregory the Theologian, or John Chrisostom and Olympia ever had sexual intercourse with each other in any form" (p. 70). Not the remotest insinuation? Has he read First and Second Samuel? Does he know about the story of Sergius and Bacchus that's printed in the Catholic Encyclopedia? Do the Eastern Orthodox have some other Bible and church history? I was also amused by his insistence that only "face-to-face knowing" in a heterosexual marriage is metaphorically representative of God's love for humanity (p. 80). Meaning, I guess, that God is a missionary man.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Serena Pridgen

    Christians and Same Sex Attraction written by Father Thomas Hopko is written to show the Orthodox view of same sex attraction, and what is acceptable in the eyes of the church. Unlike other books Ive seen Father Hopko doesnt condemn anyone. He gives a good reminder that unmarried heterosexual couple are to follow many of the same guidelines that homosexual couples do. Father Hopko uses scrpture and tradition and his experiences to make his points. My favorite chapter was chapter five as father H Christians and Same Sex Attraction written by Father Thomas Hopko is written to show the Orthodox view of same sex attraction, and what is acceptable in the eyes of the church. Unlike other books Ive seen Father Hopko doesnt condemn anyone. He gives a good reminder that unmarried heterosexual couple are to follow many of the same guidelines that homosexual couples do. Father Hopko uses scrpture and tradition and his experiences to make his points. My favorite chapter was chapter five as father Hopko reminds us that those with SSA are still good people and still made in the image of God. The chapters of this book are quite short, and due to that some might prefer a print copy as opposed to the audio book version, others may prefer to get to listen to the short chapters. If you are one of those people who wants to read or listen to one more chapter before bed you will probably find yourself finishing it. The chapters flow well and Jonah Martin is a clear and concise narrator. whatever your reason for picking up this book I hope you will enjoy it as much as i did.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Samantha (AK)

    This is the second edition of the book that Fr. Thomas Hopko of blessed memory first wrote in 2006, and includes a prologue that was unfortunately dropped from the 1st edition, among some other small changes and updates to reflect a decade's passing. Carefully presented, and heavy with footnotes, Fr. Thomas Hopko explores and explains same-sex (and opposite-sex) attraction in the broader context of the Eastern Orthodox understanding of our fallen world, sin, ascetic struggle, and redemption. I thi This is the second edition of the book that Fr. Thomas Hopko of blessed memory first wrote in 2006, and includes a prologue that was unfortunately dropped from the 1st edition, among some other small changes and updates to reflect a decade's passing. Carefully presented, and heavy with footnotes, Fr. Thomas Hopko explores and explains same-sex (and opposite-sex) attraction in the broader context of the Eastern Orthodox understanding of our fallen world, sin, ascetic struggle, and redemption. I think that Fr. Thomas has herein done about the best that anyone possibly could. That said, this is a difficult subject. And I think that it is a difficult book for anyone in the laity to read because within the EO understanding, we are all co-strugglers, co-sinners in this life, and all sinful activity is dealt with in the same way: with patience, struggle, and love. Reflective, carefully researched, and lovingly presented, this is a book I've probably needed to read for a while.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Fr. Matthew

    In addressing "same-sex attraction," Fr. Hopko gives a very thorough, yet concise, presentation. This is well-written book for anyone interested in understanding the Orthodox Christian approach to same-sex attraction, pastoral care, and theology. Definitely a standard text to be kept nearby, re-read often, and recommended to others. In addressing "same-sex attraction," Fr. Hopko gives a very thorough, yet concise, presentation. This is well-written book for anyone interested in understanding the Orthodox Christian approach to same-sex attraction, pastoral care, and theology. Definitely a standard text to be kept nearby, re-read often, and recommended to others.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Gonser-adams

    Eastern Orthordox Reflections by Fr. Thomas Hopko. Excellent and thought provoking. 5 stars.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kealani

    Affirmation of humanity Crisp and fluid presentation of a deft treatise on divine love addressing the ultimate self_love and it's pastoral care within the Orthodox worldview Affirmation of humanity Crisp and fluid presentation of a deft treatise on divine love addressing the ultimate self_love and it's pastoral care within the Orthodox worldview

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sujit Thomas

    A book on a very relevant topic. Filled with pastoral compassion and timeless truth. Must read for any pastor / priest in the present society.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  17. 5 out of 5

    Clark Wilson

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alexandru Ciucurescu

    A great book that explains to our contemporary society the true christian view of homosexuality, in a loving and caring manner.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nobo-ok

  20. 5 out of 5

    Delia

  21. 4 out of 5

    Doni

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ashraf Bashir

  23. 4 out of 5

    DBA OSB

  24. 5 out of 5

    Marcia

  25. 4 out of 5

    David Kinasevych

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  27. 5 out of 5

    George Fattah

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stacey Armstrong

  29. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  30. 5 out of 5

    NormaCenva

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