Epiphany: A Christian's Change of Heart & Mind over Same-Sex Marriage Hardcover – Apr 26 2016
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"Michael Coren’s Epiphany is a wonderfully revealing read – an epiphany in itself. The 'shout line' as we say in show business is right wing Catholic apologist does 180º switch over same-sex marriage and finds himself despised and excoriated by his coreligionists. It would be tempting for a degenerate atheist like me gloatingly welcome this lost sheep that now is found and to crow about scales falling from eyes. But the honesty of Coren’s soul-searching journey is much more subtle and graduated than that. He emerges as perhaps more faithful and devout a Christian at the book's close than he was when first we meet him, a convinced, dogmatic believer in all tenets of the Church – most especially and headline-grabbingly – its rulings on gay life and love.
Impressively Coren didn't change his mind because of any gay feelings of his own, or the coming out of a beloved son or daughter, but purely through an examination of what Christianity might mean by enjoining its followers to love. Sensible people are puzzled by biblical excuses for disallowing same-sex sex partnership or marriage: we have long tired of listing instructions from that book which are much more clear and just as bewilderingly silly (except in terms of outmoded social-anthropological taboo) – diet, clothing, slavery, the necessity for the genital mutilation of male babies especially, which is something of an obsession, harped upon many many more times than the lying of one man with another. We know that it is not only the devil who can quote scripture to his advantage - the Pharisee and Zealot is just as capable – and anyone who believes in moral honesty and clear thinking wants to hear something better than a quotation from St. Paul or Deuteronomy as a reason to deny people of the same gender the right to live and love together.
Michael Coren for many years seems to have believed that obedience (as the Mother of Churches has long taught) is a moral quality and an ethical duty in and of itself. So for many years he not only obeyed, but went to bat for the Vatican on a number of issues, becoming in his native Canada the go-to man for a ready quote on anything from abortion coeducation, from homosexuality to women priests. The moment he examined one weak link, in this case the gay marriage issue, he found the whole chain of obedience seemed to fall apart. But not, crucially his love of Christ and his need to worship, pray and live a life of Christian faith. So he as it were crossed the floor of the house and sat with the Anglicans. Interesting that as I write, the primate and bishops of the Episcopalian Church in the United States have found that their acceptance of same sex marriage has caused their collective wrists to be slapped by His Grace of Canterbury as a rather unconvincing sop to the intolerant African wing of the communion.
The most memorable parts of the book show the quite shocking and vituperative response to Coren's volte face. In all my years of writing or talking about religion and churches from time to time, I have never received a tithe of the hate-filled vilification that fell on him the moment he made known his change of mind. It is entirely to his credit that Coren was not swerved from his course or moved to give back in frothing, vengeful kind.
I urge anyone interested in the conjunction of faith and free thought to read this engrossing and fascinating book." –Stephen Fry
"Fearless. Unpredictable. Funny. Never boring. There's nobody and nothing like Michael Coren in journalism anywhere." –David Frum
"By turns witty, angry, rueful and moving, Michael Coren's passionate foray into theology and contemporary society is a hugely valuable contribution to the Church's rethinking of its approach to sexual morality." –Rev. Prof. Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church in the University of Oxford.
"A thoughtful, humane and honest book that deepens our joy that love is for everyone." –Canon Mark Oakley, Chancellor, St Paul’s Cathedral, London
About the Author
Michael Coren is the best-selling author of fifteen books, including biographies of G.K. Chesterton, H.G. Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, as well as Why Catholics Are Right, Heresy, and Hatred. He has contributed to the Dictionary of National Biography and several other anthologies, and his journalism is published in many countries and in more than a dozen languages. The author lives in Toronto.
Top Customer Reviews
Michael has been hurt deeply by people he respects and loves because his taking a stand that is opposed by his Roman Catholic and Evangelical friends and colleagues. He as ostracized and dumped. A strong point that he makes is how his previously supportive sphere of influence turned on him, not only on the gay affirming stand BUT ON EVERYTHING HE STANDS FOR! This is totally consistent with how people are treated. If one disagree with the group on one cherished topic, then they oppose you or, at best, totally ignore you.
I'm sorry that Michael takes a stand in the name of compassion and inclusion and I applaud his willingness to pay dearly for what he believes.
One flaw in this book is that Michael ventures into speculative grounds to support his stand, e.g., in speculating that Jonathan and King David were same-sex lovers. It may be true and it may not be true. The Bible does not state it explicitly. By doing that, he actually weakens his other more biblically sound theological arguments.
If Michael had stood only on bibically defensible grounds, I would have given it 5/5. As it is, 4/5. In any case, it's a courageous book and I hope more people who are gay affirming would be as courageous as he. Too many are keeping silent for sake of peace or protection of themselves.
The book starts out with a biographical chapter in which Michael chronicles the events and encounters which led to his change of heart and mind and the reaction with which that was met in church and society at large, the good, the not-so-good, and the downright ugly.
Chapter Two, in my opinion, is the heart of Michael's new book. As someone who specialized in biblical studies (Old Testament), I will admit to a certain bias. Michael presents current scholarship on biblical hermeneutics, on the so-called homoerotic passages in Scripture, as well as the so-called clobber passages in readily accessible language, clear and convincing progression of argument, and a consummate author's finesse that prevents even the seasoned biblical reader from putting the book down.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A revealing and well written story of, as the title says, 'a Christian's change of heart' toward gays & lesbians.Published 15 days ago by MEL
Interesting read of Michael Coren's change of mind on what it means to be a inclusive Christian community.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Intelligent but easy to read book. An interesting read for everyone. Every Christian should read the chapter on biblical exegesis.Published 4 months ago by Wes Rann Swinfen
Too long winded and repetitive. There was no need and nothing to be gained by condemning Catholic priests. If the author now accepts gay marriage what is the issue? Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ron
A well thought out and composed book. A sad reflection on Christianity and the utter hatred portrayed. I particularly liked the in depth research done by the author.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
So, all you have to do is write a book, and you're forgiven--as easy as ordering a second cup of coffee. It doesn't work that way, Mr Coren. Read morePublished 5 months ago by xmanforever
Every Canadian knows the name Michael Coren but watching his career over the last couple of years has been like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Allan Ruhl