Homosexuality and Following Jesus

Paul Flaman        Author's Home Page

Toronto and New York: BPS Books [bpsbooks.com], Oct. 2011, 181 pages, ISBN 978-1-926645-78-0

 Endorsements                         Table of Contents                               Purchasing Information

 Focus of the Book and Why I Wrote it                                The Audience to be Reached



Endorsements (from inside the front cover of the book)

“Dr. Flaman has provided the church with some sound recommendations on how a Christian community is called to respond to this delicate issue, in much the same way Jesus related to the marginalized of his day: through a call to repentance and the provision of a place for healing not judgment. As someone who has lived with same-sex attraction for most of my adult life and who has always trusted in the love that Christ promises, I found Homosexuality and Following Jesus to be a very encouraging and thought-provoking work; it reinforces so much of what I myself have experienced and what I hope for others who struggle in this way.”

“For the Christian, the desire to ‘please’ God is ever present. Flaman, through his theological and pastoral perspectives, helps us move beyond an often sterile debate full of well-worn arguments, to enable a fuller listening for God as we live before him.”
–REV. SEAN LARKIN, Archbishop, United Anglican Church Province II

“Not everyone will agree with the position that Dr. Flaman presents in this book but they are sure to be challenged and to hear a gracious voice that wants to continue the conversation toward faithfulness to God.”
–REV. BRYAN CLARKE, Presbyterian/Reformed Christian Chaplain, University of Alberta,

“Homosexuality and Following Jesus explains how knowing and living the truth of Christ in love is the answer to the questions and difficulties faced by those who experience same-sex erotic attractions and those who care about and for them. Flaman integrates relevant gospel themes with the writings of biblical scholars, theologians, pastoral ministers (both Catholic and non-Catholic), and mental health professionals, as well as with Catholic teaching and with the testimonies of men and women who have personally experienced same-sex attractions. This book offers hope, showing how healing and virtue are possible.”
–PHILIP M. SUTTON, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist, and Clinical Social Worker; Editor, Journal of Human Sexuality; Director, International Federation for Therapeutic Choice

“In keeping with scripture, experience, and research findings on various aspects of homosexuality, Flaman develops a genuine Christian approach to this sensitive issue. This well-organized treatise addresses coping with same-sex erotic attractions and with enmity for those whose perspectives on this issue differ. Highly recommended for Christians and non-Christians alike.”
–EUGENE RATSOY, Eastern Orthodox Christian, Professor Emeritus of Education, University of Alberta

“Beginning with the example and teaching of Jesus, Dr. Flaman presents the reader with the opportunity to view homosexuality through a compassionate, healing, and biblical lens.”
–REV. STUART W. APPENHEIMER, Brighouse United Church, Richmond, B.C.

 “Paul Flaman’s book is a labor of love and his appreciation for the truth is evident. While many works examine the origins of same-sex attraction, the approaches to supporting those with SSA, or the Church’s teachings on SSA, Flaman uniquely explores how our approach to individuals with same-sex attraction must reflect the teachings and the love of Christ.”
–REV. PAUL CHECK, Executive Director of Courage International, a Catholic apostolate ministering to those with same-sex attractions and their loved ones

“This book, rooted in excellent scholarship and sound moral theology, is written from the heart, a heart full of Christlike love. We all can be thankful for Professor Flaman’s superb book.”
–WILLIAM E. MAY, Emeritus Professor of Moral Theology, Pontifical John Paul II Institute at the Catholic University of America, and Senior Research Fellow at the Culture of Life Foundation

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 1) Divisions and Unity
 2) A Proper Pastoral Approach to Homosexuality
 1) Healing and Homosexuality
 2) Healing and Identity
 3) Some Mistaken Views
 1) A Few Preliminary Considerations
 2) Sexual Immorality and the Virtue of Chastity
 3) A Few Additional Considerations
Further Reading

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Focus of the Book and Why  I Wrote  it

Homosexuality and related issues today are very sensitive and controversial.Today many, including many Catholics and other Christians, find these issues to be confusing.Some are not sure what to think or believe. What is written on homosexuality today presents a wide spectrum of views.This is also the case of works by various authors who identify their approach as Christian.Some of their conclusions contradict each other on related issues such as the biblical teaching on homosexuality, the morality of same-sex genital relations, whether or not homosexual persons can become heterosexual, whether or not two men or two women can legitimately get married, and so forth.With my book I hope to contribute to this literature by presenting a truly Christ-centered approach to homosexuality from beginning to end.I am not aware of any other book that does this. I have found exploring homosexuality in the light of following Jesus, who is the Light of the World, to be an enlightening experience.

Although the New Testament does not report Jesus as specifically addressing homosexuality, nevertheless, in this small book I have attempted to show that Jesus has much to say that is very relevant to considering the related issues and controversies.Indeed, his example and teaching help us to focus on what is most important.Consider, for example, his calling us to treat others the way we would like to be treated, to respond to the real needs of others in loving others as he loves us, to live according to the truth, to take up our crosses to find fullness of life, to avoid sexual immorality, to forgive and be reconciled and healed, and to bear much fruit that will last.By considering homosexuality in the light of such themes I attempt to help the reader appreciate that Jesus and his Gospel are “Good News” with regard to homosexuality, both for those who personally experience same-sex erotic attractions and others such as their family members, friends, pastors, counselors and teachers.

Homosexuality is an issue which has caused division in many countries, churches and families.This book addresses some ways that we can build unity and contribute to fulfilling Jesus' prayer "That all may be one."Among other things, this book is also meant to help readers appreciate better the views of a number of people who have a certain expertise and/or much experience with regard to homosexuality.This includes some biblical scholars, theologians, psychiatrists, psychologists, priests and other Christian ministers, as well as a number of men and women who have personally experienced homosexual desires. Quite a few experiences and insights of real men and women with same-sex erotic attractions are incorporated into the text to illustrate the relevance and realism of the Gospel for homosexuality.

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The Audience to be Reached

This book should appeal first of all to people with same-sex erotic attractions (whose number “is not negligible” according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2358), in particular those who are Christian or interested in looking more deeply at the issue of homosexuality in the light of Jesus.It should also be helpful for many others such as their family members and friends; Christian pastors, teachers, professors and counselors; and students at Catholic and other Christian colleges, universities and high schools.In addition, this book should be of interest to many others who are simply interested in looking at homosexuality in the light of what it means to be Christian, to follow Jesus. Besides many individuals, hopefully, many libraries including those at Catholic and other Christian colleges, universities, high schools, retreat centers and religious orders will buy the book, so that it can reach its intended audiences.The book is not written for children but should be of interest to many adults and some adolescents.

            I am a professor of morality and spirituality at a Catholic university college in the heart of a large secular university, and so am used to talking about homosexuality with students coming from a variety of backgrounds and holding a wide range of views, religious and other.Although this book has been peer reviewed and is based on a lot of research and intended to be carefully nuanced, it is certainly not written only for academics. Several people who have read this book have described it as very clear and well written.The text of the book is meant to develop a number of themes in a lucid and succinct manner.The related experiences of a number of men and women with homosexual inclinations are included to help readers see the relevance of what is said.This should also make the book more interesting for a wider audience.In the endnotes of the book, besides references to the sources I have used, I provide further explanations of certain points which may be of interest to some readers such as academics and other professionals.

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Purchasing Information (Paperback and E-Book)

The book can be ordered from any bookstore and is available on a number of online booksellers. Searching, e.g., with Google using the book title and author's name can help locate these and the one best suited to your needs such as where you want the book shipped. E.g., Amazon sells the book on its Canadian, U.S., and United Kingdom websites. See the backcover above  for the retail pricing of the book. This book is also available in a number of E-book formats such as Kindle, Kobo, Nook, e-PDF, E-Pub, etc.