queer god de amorQueer God de Amor (Disruptive Cartographers: Doing Theology Latinatamenta)
by Miguel H. Díaz


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Toby Johnson's books:

Toby's books are available as ebooks from smashwords.com, the Apple iBookstore, etc.


Finding Your Own True Myth - The Myth of the Great Secret III

FINDING YOUR OWN TRUE MYTH: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell: The Myth of the Great Secret III


Finding God

FINDING GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD: The Journey Expanded


Gay Spirituality

GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness


Gay Perspective


GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe


Secret Matter


SECRET MATTER, a sci-fi novel with wonderful "aliens" with an Afterword by Mark Jordan


Getting Life

GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE:  A Fantastical Gay Romance set in two different time periods


The Fourth Quill

THE FOURTH QUILL, a novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil




Two Spirits
TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams



charmed lives
CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: GaySpirit in Storytelling, a collaboration with Steve Berman and some 30 other writers


Myth of the Great Secret


THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell


In Search of God


IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD: A Mystical Journey



Unpublished manuscripts


About ordering


Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series


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  Articles and Excerpts:

Review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness


Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"


About Liberty Books, the Lesbian/Gay Bookstore for Austin, 1986-1996 with a list of topics in August LGBT History


The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate


A Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality


Why gay people should NOT Marry


The Scriptural Basis for Same Sex Marriage


Toby and Kip Get Married


Wedding Cake Liberation


Gay Marriage in Texas


What's ironic



Shame on the American People


The "highest form of love"


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Gay Consciousness


Why homosexuality is a sin


The cause of homosexuality


The origins of homophobia


Advice to Future Gay Historians


Q&A about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness


What is homosexuality?


What is Gay Spirituality?


My three messages


What is Gay Perspective?


What Jesus said about Gay Rights


Myths, Salvation and the Great Secret with Rich Grzesiak


Queering religion


Common Experiences Unique to Gay Men


Is there a "uniquely gay perspective"?


The purpose of homosexuality


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


The Gay Succession


Wouldn’t You Like to Be Uranian?


The Reincarnation of Edward Carpenter


Queer men, myths and Reincarnation


Was I (or you) at Stonewall?


Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium


Easton Mountain Retreat Center


Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism


The Mysticism of Andrew Harvey


The upsidedown book on MSNBC


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Enlightenment


"It's Always About You"



The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara


Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara


The Nature of Suffering and The Four Quills


You're Not A Wave



Joseph Campbell Talks about Aging



Toby's Experience of Zen



What is Enlightenment?



What is reincarnation?


What happens at Death?


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



What Anatman means



Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal



The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika



A Funny Story: The Rug Salesmen of Istanbul



Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva



John Boswell was Immanuel Kant



Cutting edge realization



The Myth of the Wanderer



Change: Source of Suffering & of Bliss



World Navel



What the Vows Really Mean



Manifesting from the Subtle Realms



The Three-layer Cake & the Multiverse


The est Training and Personal Intention



Effective Dreaming in Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven



Drawing a Long Straw: Ketamine at the Mann Ranch


Alan Watts & Multiple Solipsism


How I Learned Chakra Meditation


Je ne Regrette Rien



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Gay Spirituality


Curious Bodies


What Toby Johnson Believes


The Joseph Campbell Connection


The Mann Ranch (& Rich Gabrielson)


Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy


The Two Loves


The Nature of Religion


What's true about Religion


Being Gay is a Blessing


Drawing Long Straws


Freedom of Religion


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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


Having a Church to Leave


Harold Cole on Beauty


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Marian Doctrines: Immaculate Conception & Assumption


Not lashed to the prayer-post


Monastic or Chaste Homosexuality


The Monastic Schedule: a whimsy


Is It Time to Grow Up? Confronting the Aging Process


Notes on Licking  (July, 1984)


Redeem Orlando


Gay Consciousness changing the world by Shokti LoveStar


Alexander Renault interviews Toby Johnson



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Mystical Vision


"The Evolution of Gay Identity"


"St. John of the Cross & the Dark Night of the Soul."


Avalokiteshvara at the Baths


 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


Sex with God


Merging Religion and Sex


Revolution Through Consciousness Change: GSV 2019


God as Metaphor


More Metaphors for God


A non-personal metaphor God


Jesus and the Wedding Feast


Tonglen in the Radisson Varanasi


The Closet of Horrors


What is Truth?



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The Hero's Journey


The Hero's Journey as archetype -- GSV 2016


The  Gay Hero Journey (shortened)


You're On Your Own


Superheroes


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Seeing Differently


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


Facing the Edge: AIDS as an occasion for spiritual wisdom


What are you looking for in a gay science fiction novel?


A Different Take on Leathersex


Seeing Pornography Differently


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The Vision


The mystical experience at the Servites'  Castle in Riverside


A  Most Remarkable Synchronicity in Riverside


The Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis


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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


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The Secret of the Clear Light


Understanding the Clear Light


Mobius Strip


Finding Your Tiger Face


How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated


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Joseph Campbell, the Hero's Journey, and the modern Gay Hero-- a five part presentation on YouTube


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About Alien Abduction


In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke


Karellen was a homosexual


The D.A.F.O.D.I.L. Alliance


Intersections with the movie When We Rise


More about Gay Mental Health


Psych Tech Training


Toby at the California Institute


The Rainbow Flag


Ideas for gay mythic stories


My first Peace March


Toby Marotta & Sons of Harvard


Toby Marotta's Politics of Homosexuality


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People


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 Mark Thompson


About Sterling Houston


About Michael Stevens


The Alamo Business Council


Our friend Tom Nash


Our friend Cliff Douglas


Second March on Washington


The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the "Statement of Spirituality"


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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


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


Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom by Jeffrey Kripal


Evolving Dharma by Jay Michaelson


Jesus in Salome's Lot by Brett W. Gillette


The Man Who Loved Birds by Fenton Johnson


The Vatican Murders by Lucien Gregoire


"Sex Camp" by Brian McNaught


Out & About with Brewer & Berg
Episode One: Searching for a New Mythology


The Soul Beneath the Skin by David Nimmons


Out on Holy Ground by Donald Boisvert


The Revotutionary Psychology of Gay-Centeredness by Mitch Walker


Out There by Perry Brass


The Crucifixion of Hyacinth by Geoff Puterbaugh


The Silence of Sodom by Mark D Jordan


It's Never About What It's About by Krandall Kraus and Paul Borja


ReCreations, edited by Catherine Lake


Gospel: A Novel by WIlton Barnhard


Keeping Faith: A Skeptic’s Journey by Fenton Johnson


Dating the Greek Gods by Brad Gooch


Telling Truths in Church by Mark D. Jordan


The Substance of God by Perry Brass


The Tomcat Chronicles by Jack Nichols


10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Improve Their Lives by Joe Kort


Jesus and the Shamanic Tradition of Same Sex Love by Will Roscoe


The Third Appearance by Walter Starcke


The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann


Surviving and Thriving After a Life-Threatening Diagnosis by Bev Hall


Men, Homosexuality, and the Gods by Ronald Long

An Interview with Ron Long


Queering Creole Spiritual Traditons by Randy Conner & David Sparks

An Interview with Randy Conner


Pain, Sex and Time by Gerald Heard


Sex and the Sacred by Daniel Helminiak


Blessing Same-Sex Unions by Mark Jordan


Rising Up by Joe Perez


Soulfully Gay by Joe Perez


That Undeniable Longing by Mark Tedesco


Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman


Wisdom for the Soul by Larry Chang


MM4M a DVD by Bruce Grether


Double Cross by David Ranan


The Transcended Christian by Daniel Helminiak


Jesus in Love by Kittredge Cherry


In the Eye of the Storm by Gene Robinson


The Starry Dynamo by Sven Davisson


Life in Paradox by Fr Paul Murray


Spirituality for Our Global Community by Daniel Helminiak


Gay & Healthy in a Sick Society by Robert A. Minor


Coming Out: Irish Gay Experiences by Glen O'Brien


Queering Christ by Robert Goss


Skipping Towards Gomorrah by Dan Savage


The Flesh of the Word by Richard A Rosato


Catland by David Garrett Izzo


Tantra for Gay Men by Bruce Anderson


Yoga & the Path of the Urban Mystic by Darren Main


Simple Grace by Malcolm Boyd


Seventy Times Seven by Salvatore Sapienza


What Does "Queer" Mean Anyway? by Chris Bartlett


Critique of Patriarchal Reasoning by Arthur Evans


Gift of the Soul by Dale Colclasure & David Jensen


Legend of the Raibow Warriors by Steven McFadden


The Liar's Prayer by Gregory Flood


Lovely are the Messengers by Daniel Plasman


The Human Core of Spirituality by Daniel Helminiak


3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke


Religion and the Human Sciences by Daniel Helminiak


Only the Good Parts by Daniel Curzon


Four Short Reviews of Books with a Message


Life Interrupted by Michael Parise


Confessions of a Murdered Pope by Lucien Gregoire


The Stargazer's Embassy by Eleanor Lerman


Conscious Living, Conscious Aging by Ron Pevny


Footprints Through the Desert by Joshua Kauffman


True Religion by J.L. Weinberg


The Mediterranean Universe by John Newmeyer


Everything is God by Jay Michaelson


Reflection by Dennis Merritt


Everywhere Home by Fenton Johnson


Hard Lesson by James Gaston


God vs Gay? by Jay Michaelson


The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path by Jay Michaelson


Roxie & Fred by Richard Alther


Not the Son He Expected by Tim Clausen


The 9 Realities of Stardust by Bruce P. Grether


The Afterlife Revolution by Anne & Whitley Strieber


AIDS Shaman: Queer Spirit Awakening by Shokti Lovestar


Facing the Truth of Your Life by Merle Yost


The Super Natural by Whitley Strieber & Jeffrey J Kripal


Secret Body by Jeffrey J Kripal


In Hitler's House by Jonathan Lane


Walking on Glory by Edward Swift


The Paradox of Porn by Don Shewey


Is Heaven for Real? by Lucien Gregoire


In Search of Lost Lives by Michael Goddart


Queer Magic by Tomas Prower


God in Your Body by Jay Michaelson


Science Whispering Spirit by Gary Preuss


Friends of Dorothy by Dee Michel


New by Whitley Strieber


Developing Supersensible Perception by Shelli Renee Joye

Sage Sapien by Johnson Chong


Tarot of the Future by Arthur Rosengarten


Brothers Across Time by Brad Boney


Impresario of Castro Street by Marc Huestis


Deathless by Andrew Ramer


The Pagan Heart of the West, Vol 1 by Randy P. Conner


Practical Tantra by William Schindler


The Flip by Jeffrey J. Kripal


A New World by Whitley Strieber


Bernhard & LightWing by Damien Rowse


The Mountains of Paris by David Oates


Trust Truth by Trudie Barreras


How to be an Excellent Human Being by Bill Meacham


The Deviant's War by Eric Cervini


What Is the Grass by Mark Doty


Sex with God by Suzanne DeWitt Hall


The Sum of All the Pieces by Paul Bradford


All the Time in the World by J. Lee Graham


Jonas and the Mountain by Janis Harper


Two Hearts Dancing by Eli Andrew Ramer


Where's My Pizza? by Larry Armstead II


A New Now by Michael Goddart


Heavenly Homos, Etc by Jan Haen


The Erotic Contemplative by Michael Bernard Kelly


Our Time by Chuck Forester


Queer God de Amor by Miguel H. Diaz


Scissors, Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson




Toby Johnson's Books on Gay Men's Spiritualities:




Gay
Perspective cover
Gay Perspective

Things Our [Homo]sexuality
Tells Us about the
Nature of God and
the Universe


Gay Perspective audiobook
Gay Perspective is available as an audiobook narrated by Matthew Whitfield. Click here







Gay
Spirituality cover
Gay Spirituality

Gay Identity and 
the Transformation of
Human Consciousness



gay-spirituality-audiobook
Gay Spirituality   is now available as an audiobook, beautifully narrated by John Sipple. Click here








charmed lives
Charmed Lives: Gay Spirit in Storytelling

edited by
Toby Johnson
& Steve Berman







secret matter
Secret Matter

Lammy Award Winner for Gay Science Fiction

updated







Getting Life
Getting Life in Perspective

A Fantastical Romance





Getting
Life in Perspective audiobook
Getting Life in Perspective is available as an audiobook narrated by Alex Beckham. Click here 






The Fourth Quill

The Fourth Quill

originally published as PLAGUE




johnson-the-fourth-quill-audiobook
The Fourth Quill is available as an audiobook, narrated by Jimmie Moreland. Click here






Two
Two Spirits: A Story of Life with the Navajo

with Walter L. Williams




Two Spirits
audiobookTwo Spirits  is available as an audiobook  narrated by Arthur Raymond. Click here






Finding Your Own True Myth - The Myth of the Great Secret III
Finding Your Own True Myth: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell

The Myth of the Great Secret III








In
Search of God in the Sexual Underworld
In Search of God  in the Sexual Underworld






Finding God
Finding God In The Sexual Underworld: The Journey Expanded

2020 Revised Version










The Myth of the Great Secret II

The Myth of the Great Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell.

This was the second edition of this book.




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Toby Johnson's titles are available in other ebook formats from Smashwords.


Queering the Mysticism of
Saint John of the Cross


Our Time

Queer God de Amor


by Miguel H. Díaz

Fordham University Press; 1st edition (September 13, 2022)

160 pages, paperback, $25.95

ISBN: ‎ 978-1531502485


Available from Amazon in print and digital

Queer God de Amor

5 stars

Description:

Queer God de Amor
explores the mystery of God and the relationship between divine and human persons. It does so by turning to the sixteenth-century writings of John of the Cross on mystical union with God and the metaphor of sexual relationship that he uses to describe this union. Juan’s mystical theology, which highlights the notion of God as lover and God’s erotic-like relationship with human persons, provides a fitting source for rethinking the Christian doctrine of God, in John’s own words, as “un no sé qué,” “an I know not what.”

In critical conversations with contemporary queer theologies, it retrieves from John a preferential option for human sexuality as an experience in daily life that is rich with possibilities for re-sourcing and imagining the Christian doctrine of God. Consistent with other liberating perspectives, it outs God from heteronormative closets and restores human sexuality as a resource for theology. This outing of divine queerness―that is, the ineffability of divine life―helps to align reflections on the mystery of God with the faith experiences of queer Catholics. By engaging Juan de la Cruz through queer Latinx eyes, Miguel Díaz continues the objective of this series to disrupt the cartography of theology latinamente.

"This creative and stimulating exploration of San Juan de la Cruz's ‘Living Flame of Love’ will help the reader re-imagine the possible intimacy of God, self, and sexuality. Building on San Juan’s awareness of erotic experience as a potential opening to the divine, Díaz highlights how queer, Latiná, and Catholic approaches to the mystery of sexual love might lead us into deeper relationship with our Queer God de Amor."
—Brian Flanagan, President, College Theology Society


With this intensely scholarly and profoundly personal book Miguel Díaz has set a radical trajectory for a fresh grace-filled flowering of our understanding of God and the divine gift of sexuality, capable of consigning to history the damage inflicted by centuries of brutal legalism, sin, and shame. His fresh interpretations of the mystical and sensual writings of John of the Cross offer reassurance to those who believe in an omnisexual God who embraces all, is always and ever, the lover and beloved of all.
—Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland, author, Quo Vadis? Collegiality in Canon Law



Review:


For traditional Catholics, the unusually erotic imagery in the poetry of St John of the Cross is confusing. It must be symbolic and fantastical because John was a Carmelite monk with a vow of chastity, and so couldn't possibly have been sexual; he must have meant those words in a purely poetic way, and he couldn't have actually been talking about sex, he must have been talking about deep emotional bonds with God, like the emotional bonds in marriage. And when he wrote about his love for Jesus, as though it were sexual, he is poetically imagining himself as a woman. He wrote in Spanish which is a gender-inflected language.

Now Miguel H. Díaz, the John Courtney Murray, SJ, University Chair in Public Service at Loyola University Chicago, who served under President Barack Obama as the ninth U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, and himself a queer-identified man, seriously addresses the sexual imagery and discovers that St. John was, in the modern sense, queering God, i.e., overturning the sexual negativity in Christianity and honoring sexual, erotic feelings as meaningful analogues to the spiritual feelings of love of God.

Díaz first places his understanding of sexual feelings within the interrelational nature of the Trinity and explains how to understand the Trinity as God's self-communication and demonstrating that both divine and human persons are ecstatic and relational beings. Love—both divine and human—is about union with Christ as the beloved spouse, and "in union with Christ persons come to 'know' God, all that is not God, and all things in God."

This book is an important contribution to Catholic spirituality—if only because it takes the homosexual imagery seriously and honors queer sex as another acceptable and authentic model of God's love. The book is written by an official Catholic theologian. His words demand to be respected by other Catholic theologians. His interpretations of Catholic mystical theology allow for what we now would call homosexual/gay/queer feelings as potentially sacred and spiritual. Thus, he reclaims queer love as sacred and honorable. And he understands John's most famous idea—"the dark night of the soul"—as LGBTQ people's struggle to refind their religiousness after being alienated by the anti-gay forces in conventional Christianity. For Díaz, the rich emotional sentiments of LGBTQ people's love for their partners gives insight into their love for God. The experience of merging with your lover during sex is a metaphor for how the soul experiences merging with God in prayer and mystical ecstasy.

Reconciling Catholic doctrine and mystical experience is always a bit of a stretch. According to doctrine, God and creation are of totally different substances. Except maybe in what is called hypostatic union in Jesus, God and man can never combine; they are like apples and oranges at the level of metaphysics. But the experience of mystics—and of psychedelic voyagers—is that one becomes God, that the distinction between God and man disappears as God is realized to be the witness Self, the one who is always experiencing Itself as us.

With the metaphor of lovers merging in sexual union, the two people DO remain separate people; sex doesn't actually merge anybody. Tho' metaphorically, of course, that is what the offspring which intercourse produces is. And at the level of DNA this is true.

In the poem, "On a Dark Night," the lover and beloved are said to be united in the darkness—the unknowability:
Oh night, that was my guide
Oh night, more loving than the rising sun
Oh night, that joined the lover to the beloved one
Transforming each of them into the other.
I think what John is alluding to is the mystical insight that the man he is making love with—any man—IS Christ. That is what Jesus meant when he said: "what you do to the least, that you do to me." The great mystical insight is that God and man are One from the very start. In Hinduism: Tat tvam asi, Thou art That, Atman is Brahman, the Self is God. But that's not Christian doctrine and it ignores the fundamental myth of original sin.

There is another major theme in this book which I am not discussing at all, and that's "Doing Theology Latinatamenta."
This book is part of a series, called Disruptive Cartographers, which seek to acknowledge the roots and perspectives of Latinx and Hispanic cultures and contexts.
 


John of the Cross lived in al-Andalus, Andalusia— Islamic- influenced Spain—and wrote in Spanish.
This context was different from that of British ladies, like Evelyn Underhill who helped popularize Christian mysticism in the 50s, or "Oxford dons," like E. Allison Peers who did one of the major translations of John of the Cross's work.

Jesus of Juan de la Cruz
Díaz seeks to recontextual the saint as a flesh and blood Iberian man.

(The artwork for the cover, "Yolitzli" by Jesus CIMI Alvarado, is a self-portrait of the artist within his complex Chicanx culture bearing the Sacred Heart of Jesus.)









Good to have a Catholic theologian (who hasn't been burned at the stake) find the goodness in LGBTQ love: Our longing for a loving partner is a taste of our longing for oneness with God.

For Catholics to whom Church approbation is important, this book breaks from the past and gives a new way to understand homosexual feelings.

This is a good book that needs to be read. It is a big step in the right direction.

On the other hand, there's a lot of queering still to do. And there are other—less orthodox—spiritual writers (this reviewer included) who have found a much more mystical, and queerer, message in John of the Cross. Googling "St John of the Cross, gay" brings up a variety of websites—including Kitt Cherry's Qspirit.net—and articles, like mine, that outright call St. John gay, and explain the sexual imagery in the poems not just as disembodied imagery but as real physical sex, and offer techniques for experiencing the sacred life of God within sexual arousal and lovemaking. Gay/queer love is the love of equals—as Will Roscoe explains in Jesus and the Shamanic Tradition of Same-sex Love. It's that equality of lovers that is the mystical experience
"that joins the lover to the beloved one/ Transforming each of them into the other." This is also what jars with Catholic doctrine.

Miguel Díaz never looks beyond orthodox Catholicism; he doesn't identify sexual arousal with the awakening of the "life force"—kundalini—as in Hindu/Buddhist mythology or chi in Taoism. He doesn't discuss whether St John's mystical ecstasy included orgasm or whether during orgasm humans might experience oneness with God. He "queers" God without questioning if that necessarily redefines God entirely. He honors queer love as sacred without moving to the next step—which I think is what the poem "On A Dark Night" is actually about—that our making love with our beloved IS our experience of loving God and God loving us back.

And, by the way, Díaz never mentions Thomas Merton, the popular Catholic writer/Trappist monk whose autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain and book The Ascent to Truth were the introduction of St. John of the Cross to American Catholics in the 1950s. Merton seemed to emphasize the "suffering" and "darkness" in John's writing more than the ecstatic joyful love. (See below for quotes from John of the Cross) It was in that context that I, as a devout Catholic high school kid in the early 1960s, discovered John of the Cross and got way too deep into the
mortification, self-sacrifice, self-denial, and self-effacement (i.e., religious shame for being human) —that Catholic doctrine took way too deep for everybody!

(But these are not entirely bad traits, especially in a world that lionizes sociopaths—and perhaps they are even "naturally gay" traits, founded in generosity, compassion, and goodwill to others.)

Another theme in John of the Cross is the notion of "nothingness"; God is beyond words and ideas altogether. This is a mystical idea in Christianity that is contradictory to the popular devotion to Jesus as cosmic friend and personal savior. The experience of God is an experience of nothing. "Nothing, nothing, nothing, even on the Mount, nothing," says St. John. Díaz acknowldges this theme in
rethinking the Christian doctrine of God, in John’s own words, as “un no sé qué,” “an I know not what.”

The "nothingness," "emptiness," "unknowing" of apophatic mysticism (i.e., without words) is paralleled in Buddhism as sunyata. This is more a Buddhist notion than a Christian one: Anatta, "no-self," is one of the pearls of the Dharma: "nothing above, nothing below, not one square inch on which to stand."

Maybe it is too much to say that John of the Cross was a gay Buddhist, but you know…

Queer God de Amor is a wonderful book—and quite readable and interesting in spite of the obscurity of its main subject. It is an important first step, an opening up of Catholic spiritual theology. And it is just a first step.

Reviewed by Toby Johnson, author of Finding God in the Sexual Underworld, and other books and novels.


Read Toby Johnson's Saint John of the Cross and the Dark Night


Quotes from John of the Cross

Here are some heavy-duty verses from The Ascent of Mount Carmel

Strive always to prefer, not that which is easiest, but that which is most difficult;

    Not that which is most delectable, but that which is most unpleasing;
    Not that which gives most pleasure, but rather that which gives least;
    Not that which is restful, but that which is wearisome;
    Not that which is consolation, but rather that which is disconsolateness;
    Not that which is greatest, but that which is least;
    Not that which is loftiest and most precious, but that which is lowest and most despised;
    Not that which is a desire for anything, but that which is a desire for nothing;
    Strive to go about seeking not the best of temporal things, but the worst.
    Strive thus to desire to enter into complete detachment and emptiness and poverty, with respect to everything that is in the world, for Christ's sake.

Here's John talking about his paradoxical method:
    In order to arrive at having pleasure in everything, Desire to have pleasure in nothing.
    In order to arrive at possessing everything, Desire to possess nothing.
    In order to arrive at being everything, Desire to be nothing.
    In order to arrive at knowing everything, Desire to know nothing.
    In order to arrive at that wherein thou hast no pleasure, Thou must go by a way wherein thou hast no pleasure.
    In order to arrive at that which thou knowest not, Thou must go by a way that thou knowest not.
    In order to arrive at that which thou possessest not, Thou must go by a way that thou possessest not.
    In order to arrive at that which thou art not, Thou must go through that which thou art not.


When thy mind dwells upon anything, Thou art ceasing to cast thyself upon the All. For, in order to pass from the all to the All, Thou hast to deny thyself wholly in all. And, when thou comest to possess it wholly, Thou must possess it without desiring anything. For, if thou wilt have anything in having all, Thou hast not thy treasure purely in God.









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Toby Johnson, PhD is author of nine 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, four 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 and editor of a collection of "myths" of gay men's consciousness. 

Johnson's book GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness won a Lambda Literary Award in 2000.

His  GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our [Homo]sexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe was nominated for a Lammy in 2003. They remain in print.

FINDING YOUR OWN TRUE MYTH: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell: The Myth of the Great Secret III tells the story of Johnson's learning the real nature of religion and myth and discovering the spiritual qualities of gay male consciousness.

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