These days sexual sin is far less about sex and far more about the misuse of power and exploitation of vulnerability. It’s time to redraw the ethical map. But how should a contemporary Christian ethic of sexuality be formulated? Marvin Ellison, a pioneer in contemporary Christian rethinking of sexuality and sexual ethics, uses a series of provocative questions to increase readers’ skills and confidence for engaging in ethical deliberation about sexuality. Students and all adults will welcome this book for enabling their personal clarity, approach to relationships, and mindful participation in respectful moral debate.
Christians since early in their history have gotten sex wrong. The result is our present culture where sexual oppression and abuse abound. Fortunately, ethicists like Marvin M. Ellison envision a liberative sexual ethics rooted in the very principles of faith by carefully listening to the voices of those relegated to the margins. His latest book, Making Love Just, is required reading for all who wish to move the present discourse on sexual justice forward.
—Miguel A. De La Torre, professor of social ethics and Latino/a studies, Iliff School of Theology
This excellent book is a must-read for anyone seeking a progressive, principled, and provocative guide to Christian sexual ethics. In moving us from ‘just making love’ to ‘making love just,’ Marvin Ellison addresses difficult and complex issues head-on, ranging from polyamory to same-sex domestic abuse. LGBTQ folks will find this book especially helpful, whether in the classroom, congregation, bedroom, or beyond.
—Patrick S. Cheng, professor, Episcopal Divinity School
Making Love Just is an eloquent and comprehensive guide to doing liberative sexual ethics for human and planetary good. While Ellison finds the Christian tradition is in many respects a noble tradition to preserve and promote, when it comes to the dynamic processes of sex and sexuality over time, he pursues its spirited critique and transformation. In solidarity with the sexually abused, exploited and vulnerable, he raises astute moral questions and demonstrates the difficult process of discerning what is just and loving in sex, gender and family issues—and to delight in taking a stand with others on controversial matters of sexual justice.
—Marilyn J. Legge, associate professor of Christian ethics, Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto
Ellison here urges a profoundly loving re-call to compassionate conversation to all who would claim to exemplify ‘the unfathomable love of Christ.’ With courageous intellectual boldness and a gentle pastoral heart, Making Love Just readily provides a theologically grounded ethic way beyond perplexity and into the sacred realm of precious and life giving relational possibility. What a timely scholarly gift this book offers to those ever anxious to doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly.
—Jenny Plane Te Paa, lecturer in global Anglican studies, race politics, and theological education, St. Johns College, Auckland, New Zealand
Faith leaders across traditions are calling for a new sexual ethic focused on personal relationships and social justice rather than particular sexual acts. . . . Marvin Ellison’s latest book . . . provides such a helpful guide for the theologian, seminarian, and person of faith who is seeking to understand and integrate a truly redemptive Christian ethic of sexuality.
—Debra Haffner, cofounder and president, Religious Institute
Marvin Ellison weaves many wise voices, including his own, into a ‘liberating method of ethical discernment.’ This book starts new, necessary conversations. The welcome result is justice-love and a safer world. Read and heed!
—Mary E. Hunt, cofounder and codirector, Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER)
In advocating for a sex-positive transformation of Christian approaches to sexual ethics, Ellison offers here a challenging and much needed discussion of many of the thorny issues that plague contemporary conversations about sexuality. By helping readers to reframe the questions, Ellison opens up entrenched debates about what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ to new avenues of discourse that privilege justice, human dignity, and relationships of equality and mutual respect. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in questions of human sexuality.
—Rebecca Todd Peters, associate professor of religious studies, Elon University
Remarkably written, Ellison gives us a gift of sex-positive approaches to Christian sexual ethics. Weaving the analytic with sincere attention to tears in our communities crying for hope, Making Love Just exposes the truth in our traditions that silences sex talk and dishonors bodies and sexualities by breaking forth new streams of thought with liberating clarity, method, and purpose. This book meets us at our point of need with a prophetic tongue and transformative embrace. You must read this book! It paves a brave path of healing grace, wholeness, and safer spirituality for us all!
—Melanie L. Harris, assistant professor, Texas Christian University
Marvin M. Ellison is Willard S. Bass Professor of Christian Ethics at Bangor Theological Seminary, Maine. He received his doctorate from Union Theological Seminary, New York City, and is an ordained Presbyterian minister. Principal author of the 1991 Presbyterian sexuality study, his works, among others, include Same-Sex Marriage? A Christian Ethical Analysis, and, with coeditor Kelly Brown Douglas, Sexuality and the Sacred.