Many good people, in good faith, while sympathising with the ethical and ecclesiastical situation of lesbian and gay Christians, still regard homosexuality as unnatural.
Other good people, in just as good faith, defend homosexuality on grounds of personal plight and involuntary sexual orientation – with private misgivings that this defence may also be applied to paedophilia.
This little book provides not only a useful argument for a more merciful reading of Scripture than that usually employed to condemn same-sex relationships, but also a philosophical analysis of the nature of ‘nature’.
Finding that all, and only, those relationships which are harmonious can be considered natural, the author invites us to only say the Word, that we may all be healed.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
I believe this book crosses many boundaries. It is insightful for the lay person in its examination of relationships within the bible, it is honest. It tackles awkward questions in terms of abusive relationships which we've all experienced throughout life in general, whether gay, heterosexual or even asexual. It does not preach nor romanticise, but asks the reader for tolerance and an open mind. It certainly made me reassess personal difficult relationships I've experienced, and above all it gives rise to examine basic human kindness. If we are indeed God's creatures we are not here to be judged we are here to be considerate of each other in the truest sense. ~ CH, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Only-Say-Word-Affirming-ebook/dp/B00AFRQVTW
Being a devourer of novels, of the kind that grab you and carry you away, I admit that I approached "Only Say the Word" with a mixture of fear and curiosity. The author, inspired by an episode in the Gospel from which is derived the title of the book, accompanies the reader in a sophisticated network of reflections on homosexuality (in particular), on violence, or child abuse, through an extremely eclectic and original approach of cultural references ranging from ethics to spirituality, from philosophy to metaphysics, from philology to biblical exegesis. Not always easy to follow the flourishes of the author, of course, but it is certainly to the credit of McManus that he choses not to let himself be carried away into intellectual pedantry, and instead presents himself and his opinions with a pleasant balance of erudition, humility, openness to dialogue and irony. Creative writing is not lacking: into the nonfiction prose the author interweaves a "rainbow of churches", one for each colour of Pride, seven different denominations presented on the basis of how the gay community is welcomed inside. A book that requires careful reading and some little effort from the reader, but which at the same time offers a new way, firstly logical and rational, then spiritual, of tackling issues that, commonly regarded as taboo, are often set aside. ~ Luca, http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/616917311
`Only Say The Word' - Affirming Gay and Lesbian Love - is a short book which has both academic scholarship and personal reflection woven through it. The title comes from the story of the Jesus healing the slave of the Roman Centurion: Jesus doesn't need to go to the house for it is enough for him to `say the word' and the slave will be healed. McManus engages in an exegesis of this story to argue that the relationship may have been more than simple centurion and slave. I'm unconvinced by the argument, as I am by others which try to find parallels of modern same-sex relationships in the ancient texts of the Bible. I wonder if this form of textual probing says more about our current sexualised mindset (we do want to know if someone is gay or not, and if they are who are they having sex with!) than about the text itself. The argument of the book is that the Bible does say the word of affirmation to lgbt people; and a later analysis of `natural and unnatural' drives the point home.
The sections of the book I enjoyed most are, first, `A Cloud of Witnesses' where McManus presents an A to Z of lgbt people who were afraid to come out: this is compassionate and creative writing which I found moving. Second, throughout the book McManus describes a rainbow of church congregations or gatherings - from the red to the blue church - where there is more or less affirmation of the lgbt Christian. These are insightful and oftentimes wickedly funny. And an Affirmation Scotland Gathering is included!
Alan McManus describes himself in his book as a member of Affirmation Scotland, and AS Chaplain Lindsay Biddle contributes a Foreword. ~ Blair , http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/B00AFRQVTW
In Only Say the Word: Affirming Gay and Lesbian Love, Dr. Alan McManus offers a unique queer interpretation of a few traditional Christian stories. He raises questions that require moving beyond the surface understandings, and he provides a deeper, fresh view of how these stories can be read.
As a gay Catholic McManus speaks to his own faith and spirituality in his journey toward personal acceptance and his search for acceptance for himself and other gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and transgender persons within the Church. In slightly more than one hundred pages the author engages the reader in a conversation that will continue beyond the final chapter. ~ Rev. Dr. John W. Mann, http://www.changingattitudeireland.org/
It is a really good book. I know it may be help me more in the future. Only say the word!! ~ Weber , http://www.amazon.com/Only-Say-Word-Affirming-Lesbian/product-reviews/1780993099
This is a very different book, its intent is to offer forward a more merciful reading of scripture and theology that affirms homosexuality rather than suffering or rejecting homosexuality. In the book we are introduced to a rainbow of churches, each church preceding a chapter that offers forward a different perspective of reception that gay or lesbian people may come across. These are all quite readily recognised positions – these short introductions to the rainbow churches are quite interesting in themselves given they are written in the first person with gentle commentary on issues that may be at heart here. From these we then move onto more considered arguments, discussions or contemplations that help to develop the feelings and understandings of those from the gay community as they endeavour to make understood the position they are often in…
I'm not sure the book entirely achieved its aim of "Affirming Gay & Lesbian Love" but for me the most moving piece is the ABC of the Cloud of Witnesses we encounter in the Violet Church on page 54. This is something that for me should be read and reflected on by everyone, regardless of gender or opinion, and makes this book important because if we can't be moved by this then there is something fundamentally wrong with how we understand the command to love others as ourselves. ~ Melanie Carroll, http://www.thegoodbookstall.org.uk/review/9781780993096/alan-mcmanus/only-say-the-word/
‘Only Say The Word’ – Affirming Gay and Lesbian Love – is a short book which has both academic scholarship and personal reflection woven through it. The title comes from the story of the Jesus healing the slave of the Roman Centurion: Jesus doesn’t need to go to the house for it is enough for him to ‘say the word’ and the slave will be healed. McManus engages in an exegesis of this story to argue that the relationship may have been more than simple centurion and slave. I’m unconvinced by the argument, as I am by others which try to find parallels of modern same-sex relationships in the ancient texts of the Bible. I wonder if this form of textual probing says more about our current sexualised mindset (we do ...want to know if someone is gay or not, and if they are who are they having sex with!) than about the text itself. The argument of the book, however, is that the Bible does say the word of healing and affirmation to lgbt people; and a later analysis of ‘natural and unnatural’ drives the point home.
The sections of the book I enjoyed most are, first, ‘A Cloud of Witnesses’ where McManus presents an A to Z of lgbt people who were afraid to come out: this is compassionate and creative writing which I found moving. Second, throughout the book McManus describes a rainbow of church congregations or gatherings – from the red to the blue church – where there is more or less affirmation of lgbt Christians. These are insightful and oftentimes wickedly funny. And an Affirmation Scotland Gathering is included!
Alan McManus describes himself in his book as a member of Affirmation Scotland, and our AS Chaplain Lindsay Biddle contributes a Foreword. There is going to be a launch of the book in Glasgow University Chapel on Friday 5th April 2013 at 7pm at an event called ‘A Cloud of Witnesses.’ Books will not be on sale at it, but can be bought from Amazon and signed on the night. ~ Revd Blair Robertson, http://www.affirmationscotland.org.uk/contact.htm
Essendo io un divoratore di romanzi, di quelli che ti prendono e ti portano via, ammetto di essermi avvicinato con un misto di timore e curiosità a "Only Say the Word". L'autore, prendendo spunto da un episodio del Vangelo da cui deriva anche il titolo del libro, accompagna il lettore in una sofisticata rete di riflessioni sull'omosessualità (in primis), sulla violenza matrimoniale, o la pedofilia, attraverso un approccio originale e quantomai eclettico fatto di riferimenti culturali che spaziano dall'etica alla spiritualità, dalla filosofia alla metafisica, dalla filologia all'esegesi biblica. Non sempre facile seguire i voli pindarici dell'autore, certo, ma una nota di merito va sicuramente alla scelta di McManus di non lasciarsi andare alla pedanteria intellettuale, e invece di presentare se stesso e le sue opinioni con un piacevole equilibrio tra erudizione, umiltà, apertura al dialogo e ironia. Non manca la scrittura creativa: alla prosa saggistica l'autore intreccia un "arcobaleno di chiese", una per ogni colore del Pride, sette denominazioni diverse presentate in base a come viene accolta la comunità omosessuale al loro interno. Un libro che richiede una lettura attenta e un piccolo sforzo al lettore, ma che allo stesso tempo regala un nuovo modo, prima logico e razionale, poi spirituale, di affrontare temi che, considerati tabù, vengono spesso e volentieri accantonati. ~ Luca, http://www.amazon.it/Only-Say-Word-Affirming-ebook/dp/B00AFRQVTW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1370453627&sr=8-2&keywords=Only+Say+the+Word%3A+Affirming+Gay+and+Lesbian+Love
"Sweeping aside centuries of hypocrisy, Alan McManus shines a light on the motives of biblical scholars in their approach to the most important religious question of the day. So many words have been written about homosexuality - these words are actually worth reading." ~ The Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of the Episcopal Cathdral Church of St Mary the Virgin, Glasgow, Scotland, Private communication to author