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
THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET:
An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell
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
Cutting edge realization
What Anatman means
The Myth of the Wanderer
Change: Source of Suffering & of Bliss
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
Love Together: Longtime Male Couples on Healthy Intimacy and Communication by Tim Clausen
War Between Materialism and Spiritual by Jean-Michel Bitar
The Serpent's Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion by Jeffrey J. Kripal
Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion
by Jeffrey J. Kripal
The Invitation to Love by Darren Pierre
Brain, Consciousness, and God: A Lonerganian Integration by Daniel A Helminiak
A Walk with Four Spiritual Guides by Andrew Harvey
Can Christians Be Saved? by Stephenson & Rhodes
The Lost Secrets of the Ancient Mystery Schools by Stephenson & Rhodes
Keys to Spiritual Being: Energy Meditation and Synchronization Exercises by Adrian Ravarour
In Walt We Trust by John Marsh
Solomon's Tantric Song by Rollan McCleary
A Special Illumination by Rollan McCleary
Aelred's Sin by Lawrence Scott
Fruit Basket by Payam Ghassemlou
Internal Landscapes by John Ollom
Princes & Pumpkins by David Hatfield Sparks
Yes by Brad Boney
Blood of the Goddess by William Schindler
Sanctity & Male Desire by Donald Boisvert
Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom by Jeffrey Kripal
Evolving Dharma by Jay Michaelson
Jesus in Salome's Lot by Brett W. Gillette
Scissors, Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson
When I was in the Marianist novitiate, called Marynook, in the town of Galesville, in southwestern Wisconsin, I learned to see "God in nature."
The novitiate was part spiritual retreat, part Bible school, part prayer session, part choir practice, part farm labor, part year-long summer camp.
The class of 18 year old boys, though we were devoting our lives to God in youthful zeal were still boys and needed to be kept entertained. We were occasionally taken on adventures and outings, mostly long hikes.
One of our regular destinations was Brady's Bluff in Perrot State Park on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River in a town named Trempealeau.
Here's a text I wrote about that experience when I was in college.
…and there I had a special hiding place where I would go when I could get away from the others. It was a long gully up the side of a red sandstone mountain. A path ascended to the end of the gully and then turned steeply and continued up the opposite side. There was a great, flat rock at the turning point. And I would go there and sit and I would watch the trees that rose up on all sides around me, and I could feel the importance of that valley. I knew if this place, this secret place of mine, were to vanish, if it were to disappear, then the world would collapse. For so many things depended up its being there. Here the world breathed; these trees were its fingers reaching up to heaven. And on each leaf I saw resting the same fierce light of importance, each vein of each leaf held the world together. And I sat on my rock, which was an altar, and I sang songs and whispered psalms. And I knew that doing this I was entering into the importance of the place. I was keeping a few people from oblivion, I was merging with the trees around me, becoming as important as they. I was alive.
A few years out of the Marianists and going to college at Saint Louis University—on the western bank of that same great river, but some 500 miles to the south—I read Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces and learned about "world-navels," the holy places around the Earth where God was thought to come into the world. I recognized that gully in the side of Brady's Bluff was, for me, such a world-navel.
Indeed, everywhere is world-navel, just like everywhere is where the Big Bang happened.
And that "fierce importance" rests on everything. That phrase comes from C.S. Lewis's wonderful spiritual/sci-fi novel Perelandra. (For more about the mystical message in Perelandra, click here.)
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
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