Freedom of Religion


Contact Us

Table of Contents

Search Site

home  Home


~

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

The Reincarnation of Edward Carpenter

The Gay Succession

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



Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness



In the modern liberal democratic world, we have a right to choose our religions and to believe anything about religion we want.

The basis of gay rights in America is specifically the freedom of religion guarantee of the First Amendment. In coming out openly gay and being good people who are interested in spirituality and the meaning of life and seeking to create community around us, we are in fact making up a religion of homosexuality. 

If citizens have a right to choose whatever religion they want, no matter how nutty, and if they can choose religions that object to homosexuality on a moral basis, then homosexual citizens have a right to choose a religion that encourages homosexuality on a spiritual basis. We have a right to make up our religion just as much as Fundamentalist Christians make up theirs.

Since the objection to homosexuality is primarily religious, it has no place outside the churches. Homosexuals have a right to disagree with conservative Christians over the interpretation of the anti-gay texts in the Bible, just as much as Protestants can disagree with Roman Catholics about the authority of the Pope. If they can have splinter sects of Christianity, then we can be a sect of a pro-gay, life-positive religion. This is homosexuality as religion. And so laws against homosexuality are unconstitutional and un-American because they discriminate between people on the basis of their religious beliefs.


Time To Wake Up

It's time we redefine "God." It's time to create a God who lives with us, who struggles with us to love life, to love it even while we suffer, accepting the good and the bad as different faces of reality. It's time for a God who works with us to deal with the problems of life, not one who  causes the problems to test us, as he tested Job, or to punish us, as he punished Adam and Eve, for the satisfaction of his immense ego.

The conclusion to reach is not: there is no God. But rather: God is the consciousness that is me. Each of us has to say: "What I am is consciousness experiencing itself and willing its own expansion and evolution." All the stuff that I think of as my ego and my precious self is just a distraction from the realization I am God observing my creation from a particular perspective and declaring, unconditionally, "It is good."

We are God acting in the world. How else can God do anything except through human beings? The Sun cannot change things on Earth except by evolving conscious beings who understand their role as carriers of consciousness and can manipulate matter to serve consciousness. God effects change on earth by our behavior. As we realize we are God creating the universe, we can relax our resistance and create a better world.

To the extent that we can get back to that simple consciousness, we let go of the distractions and let the will to evolve operate. The will to evolve is what human beings experience as love. True love is the will to put another's spiritual growth before our own out of appreciation of who the other really is.

The call to remember that you are a momentary manifestation of God is God calling to himself: "Time to wake up."

Time to change how we think. Time to love our life wholeheartedly. We can't waste our life wishing we were somebody else, somebody we are not. We can't waste our life feeling guilty or perverted about who we are, regretting we are not normal, regretting we don't have children, or that we look like what we do and not like a dream we have. We can't waste our life wishing that it was different people who have made us their friends and loved us and taken us to their beds. It's time to be glad of everything that has happened to us.

During the times of agony and crisis--the times we most need to remind ourself to love life--of course, we experience the pain. You do not say "I like it" when it is awful. But we can say: "This is part of life; this is what I'm getting to experience as my world. It is great even though I'm hurt and crying."

Loving life means looking back on everything that's happened to us and seeing that it was wonderful because it has made us who we are--along with all our intentions and motivations to make things different. The point of the whole universal process, from our perspective, is for us to have the experience we are having. This is the "punch line" of life, the "Secret of the Ages."

The act of choosing your life includes choosing being gay. It does not mean surrender and acquiescence--though that might be called for in the end. It means active participation in the way the universe is manifesting itself to you, and as you. It means recognizing and embracing the karmic patterns that intersect as your life, accepting the possibility of heartbreak and death as part of being human, accepting old age as part of life, accepting that too many of your friends have died. Finally, it means accepting the joy and beauty that are yours because you are alive.

The Bodhisattva saves himself and all beings by taking on himself the suffering of the world. That is to say that in order not to suffer, you must embrace suffering. For when you can say yes to it, it isn't suffering.  The little summary of hippie countercultural wisdom, The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment says: "When you learn to love Hell, you will be in Heaven."

Heaven Now

The point is to experience the world as heaven, so that you can say yes to experience. That is the mechanism by which transformation is achieved. This is the secret. See things differently, and they will become different. See the world as great, and it will be great. Do not live for heaven in the future. Get heaven now. Then maybe you will have it after death too; at least, you will have had it.

Heaven, after all, is an attitude: this experience that I am having right now--no matter what its contents--is, in fact, God enjoying being alive. Heaven is the Sun shining on all that it has given birth to, and--in us--being pleased with what it's become. For us, our homosexuality is our experience of heaven.


This essay is excerpted from the book Gay Spirituality
This excerpted was preceded by a section titled Being Gay is a Blessing
And it is continued in a section titled The Gay Agenda

rainbow line

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.

 back to top


BACK to Toby's home page


valid html

Visitors