Table of Contents
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
THE FOURTH QUILL, a
novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil
CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: Reclaiming Our Queer Spirituality Through Story
Books on Gay Spirituality:
Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The
Dimensional Structure of
Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"
The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the "Statement of Spirituality"
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
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
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.
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.
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
SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of
Human Consciousness was published in 2000. His Lammy-nominated
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
back to top