Sunday, June 14, 2009


Another review at Amazon: Amos Lassen writes
Continuing the Discusson
Tobias Haller looks at the conflict over homosexuality in the Anglican Church and shows that the church is "able to provide for and support faithful and loving relationships between persons of the same sex". He looks at scripture as well as the traditions of the Jewish and Christian religions and uses reason in looking at and dealing with fellow-Christians. Taking into account marriage, procreation, union, and society as well as Christ and the church, he gives an argument for the inclusion of the GLBT community.

Everything Haller writes is sound and reasonable. He maintains that inclusion is consistent with the Anglican tradition and this is seen if we examine scripture closely.

One does not have to agree with Haller but no one can deny that he brings a fresh and thoughtful approach to the subject. Nor does Haller avoid the sensitive as he writes about sexuality, sexual acts and the reality of same-sex couples. He is sensitive and honest but this is not an easy read. It says a lot and it is quite thorough. The book is slim but it is packed full of information. It is a scholarly and spiritual discussion that brings together theology, scripture, anthropology and law and above all else, reason.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Some new reviews have appeared at Amazon.

John P. Plummer writes:
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.
and Karekin M Yarian had this to say:
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.
Finally, Ginny in DC/NVa said:
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!