Being Gay is a Blessing


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Also on this website:

Toby Johnson's books:

GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness

GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe

SECRET MATTER: updated, revised & expanded edition from Lethe Press with Afterword by Mark Jordan

GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE: A romance novel set in the 1980s and the 1890s.

THE FOURTH QUILL, a novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil

TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams

CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: Reclaiming Our Queer Spirituality Through Story

PLAGUE: A NOVEL ABOUT HEALING.

About ordering


Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series


  Articles and Excerpts:

Read Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness

Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"


The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate

Why gay people should NOT Marry

Wedding Cake Liberation

Gay Marriage in Texas

What's ironic

Shame on the American People

The "highest form of love"

Second March on Washington


A Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality

 The cause of homosexuality

The origins of homophobia

Q&A about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness

What is homosexuality?

What is Gay Spirituality?

My three messages

What Jesus said about Gay Rights

Queering religion

Common Experiences Unique to Gay Men

The purpose of homosexuality

Interview on the Nature of Homosexuality

What the Bible Says about Homosexuality

Mesosexual Ideal for Straight Men

Varieties of Gay Spirituality

Waves of Gay Liberation Activity

Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium


Easton Mountain Retreat Center

Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism

The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the  "Statement of Spirituality"


"It's Always About You"

The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara

Avalokiteshvara at the Baths.

You're Not A Wave

What is Enlightenment?

What is reincarnation?

How many lifetimes in an ego?


Emptiness & Religious Ideas

Experiencing experiencing experiencing

Going into the Light

Meditations for a Funeral

Meditation Practice

The way to get to heaven

Buddha's father was right



Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal

The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika

Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva

John Boswell was Immanuel Kant

The Two Loves


Curious Bodies

What Toby Johnson Believes

The Joseph Campbell Connection

Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy

The Nature of Religion

What's true about Religion

Being Gay is a Blessing

Drawing Long Straws

Freedom of Religion

The Gay Agenda

Gay Saintliness

Gay Spiritual Functions

The subtle workings of the spirit in gay men's lives.

The Sinfulness of Homosexuality

Proposal for a study of gay nondualism

Priestly Sexuality


 "The Evolution of Gay Identity"

"St. John of the Cross &
the Dark Night of the Soul."

 Eckhart's Eye

Let Me Tell You a Secret

Religious Articulations of the Secret

The Collective Unconscious

Driving as Spiritual Practice

Meditation

Historicity as Myth

Pilgrimage

No Stealing


Next Step in Evolution

The New Myth

The Moulting of the Holy Ghost

Gaia is a Bodhisattva

The Hero's Journey as archetype

Marian Doctrines: Immaculate Conception & Assumption


Teenage Prostitution and the Nature of Evil

Allah Hu: "God is present here"
 
Adam and Steve

The Life is in the Blood

Gay retirement and the "freelance monastery"

Seeing with Different Eyes


The mystical experience at the Servites'  Castle in Riverside

The Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis


The Techniques Of The World Saviors

Part 1: Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby
Part 2:
The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara
Part 3:
Jesus and the Resurrection
Part 4:
A Course in Miracles


The Secret of the Clear Light

Understanding the Clear Light

Mobius Strip

Finding Your Tiger Face

How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated


In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke

Karellen was a homosexual

About Alien Abduction

What are you looking for in a gay science fiction novel?


The D.A.F.O.D.I.L. Alliance

More about Gay Mental Health

Psych Tech Training

The Rainbow Flag

Ideas for gay mythic stories

Kip and Toby, Activists


Toby's friend and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.

Harry Hay, Founder of the gay movement

About Hay and The New Myth

About Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the first man to really "come out"

About Michael Talbot, gay mystic

About Fr. Bernard Lynch

About Richard Baltzell

About Guy Mannheimer

About David Weyrauch

About Dennis Paddie

About Ask the Fire

About Arthur Evans

About Christopher Larkin

About Sterling Houston

About Michael Stevens

Our friend Tom Nash


 
Book Reviews


Be Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook

Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer

The Way Out by Christopher L  Nutter
The Gay Disciple by John Henson

Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry

Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth A. Burr

Extinguishing the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois


Over Coffee: A conversation For Gay Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson

Dark Knowledge by Kenneth Low

Janet Planet by Eleanor Lerman

The Kairos by Paul E. Hartman

Wrestling with Jesus by D.K.Maylor

Kali Rising by Rudolph Ballentine

The Missing Myth by Gilles Herrada

The Secret of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook

The Scar Letters: A Novel by Richard Alther

The Future is Queer by Labonte & Schimel

Missing Mary by Charlene Spretnak

Gay Spirituality 101 by Joe Perez

Cut Hand: A Nineteeth Century Love Story on the American Frontier by Mark Wildyr

Radiomen by Eleanor Lerman

Nights at Rizzoli by Felice Picano

The Key to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo

The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar

Occam’s Razor by David Duncan

Grace and Demion by Mel White

Gay Men and The New Way Forward by Raymond L. Rigoglioso

The Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by Samuel Avery

The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love by Perry Brass

Being Gay is a Blessing

Being gay is a blessing, a higher incarnation, a better way to be. These are notions many of us, especially men involved in the gay spirituality movement, may believe deeply, but seldom say out loud. Perhaps because we are especially sensitive to the problems that follow when one group claims superiority over another, we do not claim superiority over normal heterosexuals. But at certain moments--perhaps in meditation or prayer, perhaps in sexual arousal, perhaps at a gay bar or a political fundraiser or social event--we realize just how wonderful our lives are and how blessed we are to be gay.


This discovery is an important part of spiritual maturation. As we understand how blessed we are, we begin to put out those good vibes. We can forgive the world. We can accept things as they are with all the pain and loss that goes with being human. And when we do that we change the world.

Gay orientation is participation in one of the great thoughts of the planet. We resonate with the lives of all the homosexuals who have lived before us. And we transform their lives by the way we live ours. We affect all the people around us. The world is a different place since gay liberation. No matter how hard anti-gay forces try to prevent it, gay identity has appeared and is changing the world. That is why, as individual gay people, we have a moral responsibility to participate positively in this worldwide change we are creating.

When you discover that your being gay is the longest straw you ever drew in your life, then you can put out all good intentions. You can love your life--even while you suffer.

The specifics of our lives may be horrific, like AIDS. But that is the point. To love what is unlovable is to transform it. This is how we participate in the evolution of consciousness.

Being a higher incarnation isn't better. The long straw of gay identity implies sensitivity and vulnerability to other people, and, even, responsibility and expectation of heroic virtue. Being a higher incarnation, in the metaphor of Mahayana Buddhism, may mean being a bodhisattva.


Transformation Of Religion


Religion teaches acceptance and resignation to Divine Will, but all too often it also teaches resistance to the way things are, i.e., to the so-called human condition. Roman Catholicism teaches that the urges of the flesh and the things that give pleasure to the body are sinful and punishable by being burned alive everlastingly. Buddhism teaches that love of life and enjoyment of the senses causes continuing rebirth into life after life of suffering. Protestantism teaches that human beings are all miserable sinners only worthy in God's eyes because we are cloaked in the grace of Jesus's sacrificial death. These are not declarations of the wisdom of choosing things the way they are and participating in the beauty and growth of the world.

Religion inadvertently ends up being about unhappiness not happiness, figuring out who is to blame, not understanding and feeling compassion for other people's struggle. That is not the wisdom to glean from the mythological vision that has come down to us. And it is not a wisdom to be perpetuated.

With the transformation of our understanding of religion we can see that the sex-negative, body-negative, life-denying, punitive notions in religion need to be let go of to fall into the past--like the persecution of witches or approval of slavery.

Like the rose that would bend to the pruning knife, mainstream American Christianity should welcome the challenge gay people pose. Here is its chance to transform its attitude and beliefs about the mythologies of the past and to reorient itself back to the teachings of Jesus about love and compassion. It's time to give up Jesus as medieval God and to embrace Jesus--and Avalokiteshvara--as symbols of how humans can relate to one another, all as loving neighbors, all as different manifestations of the same Self of Earth.

The message of the myths is that we can make up our own religion. Indeed, we have to. We may do that, of course, by joining a Church or by becoming a student of a Master and accepting everything we're told. But we do it, not because it is the One True Church or because the Master is right. We do it because we choose to follow this path because we like how it makes us feel. We may also do it by studying various religions and selecting the metaphors that seem life-affirming and meaningful to us. We make up our own religion in order to feel good about our life.

God doesn't care what religion we are. God just keeps shining. We're the ones who have to choose how we think about God--or whether we even do.




This essay is excerpted from GAY SPIRITUALITY.
It continues with the next excerpt titled Freedom of Religion




Christian de la Huerta, author of Coming Out Spiritually: The Next Step, identifies ten spiritual functions of gay and lesbian people.

 





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Toby Johnson, PhD is author of eight books: three non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of his teacher and "wise old man," Joseph Campbell to modern-day social and religious problems, three gay genre novels that dramatize spiritual issues at the heart of gay identity, and two books on gay men's spiritualities and the mystical experience of homosexuality. In addition to the novels featured elsewhere in this web site, Johnson is author of IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD and THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET (Revised edition): AN APPRECIATION OF JOSEPH CAMPBELL.

Johnson's Lammy Award winning book GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness was published in 2000. His Lammy-nominated book  GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe was published by Alyson in 2003. Both books are available now from Lethe Press.

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