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
America and the Religion of No Religion
By Jeffrey J. Kripal
University of Chicago Press,
576 pages, Trade paperback, $20
Available from amazon.com
Reviewed by Toby Johnson, author of The Myth of the Great Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell
Toby Johnson writes:Book description:
Jeffrey J. Kripal is a wonderful, engaging writer with a sense of humor and a talent for telling stories--and retelling stories--so they take on so much more meaning.
Esalen: American and the Religion of No Religion is a very big, thick book. It's a little intimidating. But it reads so easily and is so interesting I found I was disappointed when I finally finished. I'd have liked to have had the presentation go on.
The book is structured around the history of the Esalen Institute in Big Sur along the California coast, but it's about so much more than just Esalen. That's partly because Esalen proved to be very influential in West Coast thinking and then worldwide culture. So a discussion of Esalen includes all those issues of the last half of the 20th Century that are roughly called New Age and/or Countercultural. Esalen was a part of the transformation of how modern culture understands religion. The subtitle of the book is "America and the Religion of No Religion."
The Religion of No Religion is the modern religion now. The popular term in social media is "Spiritual, not religious." Kripal writes about very heady stuff, but I found it easy to read and easy to understand. I've also read Kripal's The Serpent's Gift, and found it really enlightening. I resonate with his idea of a "gnosticism" that comes from the study of religion from over and above. Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion is wonderful both for its broad generalizations about meaning and the evolution of consciousness and for its minute details and intriguing stories of the history of the land and people that constituted Esalen.
On a personal note, let me add that the expression "The Religion of No Religion" was coined by Professor Frederic Spiegelberg. This Sanscrit scholar and professor of Comparative Religions was one of the founders of the California Institute of Asian Studies, now the California Institute of Integral Studies. This is the private, free-standing graduate school in San Francisco from which I received by Masters ("Philosophy and Religion") and my Doctoral ("Integral Counseling and Psychotherapy") degrees in the late 1970s. I have a very minor personal connection to Dr. Spiegelberg from the brief period in which he came back to be interim President of C.I.A.S. after the sudden death of the "Great Teacher"/guru-like President of the Institute, Haridas Chaudhuri. Both Dr. Spiegelberg and Dr. Chaudhuri play significant roles in Jeffrey Kripal's history of Esalen. I've written about that personal experience and the more "magical/mystical" implications on the page: Early Years in San Francisco AND Dr. SpielgelbergRead Toby Johnson's review of The Serpent's Gift by Jeffrey J. Kripal
Toby Johnson's book The Myth of the Great Secret refers to this "Religion of No Religion" as the "meta-myth," the myth of myth and argues that this is what Joseph Campbell's idea of the "New Myth" results in.
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