Queering Religion


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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

Is there a "uniquely gay perspective"?

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




A very queer religion




Queering religion cannot mean getting queers to be religious, i.e., getting us to go back to church/synagogue/temple/mosque/etc., to believe in the popular myths and to accept the authority of religious officials.

Queering religion has to mean recognizing the multiplicity of voices and perspectives around the world, rising above one's religion of origin to look at it as but one tradition among many.

For so many of us that tradition has been Christianity, and in that regard, such a higher, outsider, perspective--what is loosely called "spirituality"--allows for a simple response to the history of Church and bible-based oppression: It's all myth anyway, take what's meaningful to you and leave the rest behind.

That's queering religion: to understand it, not to "believe" in it. That frees you from religion while showing you what it was really about in the first place, and so "enlightening" you to the nature of consciousness and the nature of "God," as a clue to who you really are as a conscious entity asking questions about the nature of your existence.

The point of the mythological traditions is to raise people's vision above just everyday and selfish concerns and to inspire compassion. The proper goal of religion isn't to be right, but to be loving and kind. If the bible says homosexuals should be stoned, it's evidence the bible's outdated and inadequate for addressing issues of contemporary life.

You don't need to explain the "texts of terror," those verses in the Bible that get quoted out of context to justify condemnation of homosexuality as inevitable because it is "God's will." You can just tear those pages out of the book.

Actually you might find it would be simpler to just save the one page with Jesus's Golden Rule on it and throw away all the rest. That's probably what Jesus himself would have done.

The message to be learned from observing the anti-gay attitudes and behavior of the Christian churches is that it's time to move on. Let's throw the baby out with the bathwater because the reason the water is fouled is that the baby has died and the body's putrefying and deserves a respectful burial.

It's not enough to queer Christianity by seeking the original meanings or discovering that Jesus would have been pro-gay if he'd had the words to speak about such issues--though, of course, that IS true. Christianity is but one voice in the conversation about spiritual meaning--and it's got a very old-timey accent.


You've got to queer religion itself.
All of us, gay and straight, need a new spiritual paradigm that makes sense in the modern world and speaks with a modern, enlightened voice.

This, I think, is what "gay spirituality" is about AND what the human race is evolving toward.

The "new myth" is the story of what religion and myth have been in the history of the evolution of consciousness. We can understand these things to have been metaphors about consciousness.

This realization is: 1) a higher order myth, 2) a real queering--in the sense of despoiling--of religion and traditional notions of religious authority, and 3) ironically, the salvation of religion as a high culture art form.

If religion and myth are in competition with science to describe the external material world, religion will necessarily lose. If the new understanding of religion and myth is the scientific tool to describe the structures of deep consciousness in the interior, "spiritual" world, then religion and science work side by side to further evolution and expansion of consciousness.

For all of this is fundamentally about the Universe waking up to itself.

In a very parallel and deeply meaningful way, I think, being queer is about waking up to yourself. Nobody identifies as gay or queer without having waked up in some way, that is, having understood the clues their lives are giving them about their own interior experience of consciousness.

Being queer, being gay gives us the proverbial leg up for understanding and moving into the new myth that is the cutting edge of evolving consciousness.

It's being One with the evolving universe; being One with the Big Bang; being One with "God."

The way to queer religion is to be God.

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Read Toby Johnson's article on the Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality, i.e., the two separate thrusts of gay people's innate religiousness: 1) reforming the traditional churches to accept gay/queer members AND 2) creating a whole new vision of spiritual meaning.

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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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