Also on this website:
SPIRITUALITY: The Role of
Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness
Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature
of God and the Universe
LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE
A NOVEL ABOUT HEALING.
Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate
Shame on the American People
cause of homosexuality
What Jesus said about Gay
The purpose of homosexuality
of Gay Spirituality
Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality
as Artistic Medium
"It's Always About You"
Not A Wave
The myth of the
Toby Johnson Believes
The Joseph Campbell Connection,
The Nature of Religion
"The Evolution of Gay Identity"
"St. John of the Cross &
Dark Night of the Soul."
Avalokiteshvara at the Baths.
Prostitution and the Nature of Evil
retirement and the "freelance monastery"
Seeing with Different Eyes
experience at the Servites' Castle in Riverside
Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis
The Techniques Of The World Saviors
Part 1: Brer Rabbit and the
Part 2: The
Part 3: Jesus
and the Resurrection
Part 4: A
Course in Miracles
Secret of the Clear Light
Understanding the Clear Light
Finding YourTiger Face
Souls Get Reincarnated
and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.
Why "Gay" Spirituality?
"spirituality" has a variety of meanings.
One of the important meanings is "technique." That is, spiritualities
are techniques and methods of religious practice that aim at altering
and transforming human personality in order to achieve harmony with
In that sense, spiritualities are like artistic media: pastel,
watercolor, oil, acrylic, collage, etc. These are not at odds with one
another. They simply have different effects. And different artists are
drawn to and talented in the various different media. In that sense,
then, they represent different ways of "spirit" manifesting itself in
time and space.
Different people respond to different spiritualities.
Women, for instance, would be particularly resonant to ideas about time
and change, to images of the moon, to fluctuations in feelings, and the
cyclic flow of life. These are manifestations in consciousness of the
dynamics of menstruation.
Heterosexual men are particularly resonant to ideas
conquest, strength, competition, winning the race. These flow out of
the heterosexual male mind. They reflect men's experience of sex.
Gay men respond to ideas and images of beauty and
Gay men are less likely to feel comfortable with competition.
Christianity has a particularly straight male
in its spirituality and imagery. The "saint" denies his feelings,
strives to conquer himself, to compete with other men to be right in
his thinking about divine truth, pushes himself to achieve the goal of
afterlife in heaven, does not succumb to the temptations of beauty and
A "gay spirituality" then might seem inconsistent
mainstream methods of Christianity. Gay consciousness does not focus as
much on duality and conflict, on self-control and subjugation of
feelings, on reproduction of offspring and responsibility to future
These aren't at odds with each other, anymore than
painting with pastel. But they ARE different.
In fact, the male dominant tendency to see
difference causes the Christian male-dominated worldview to interpret
homosexuality and gay consciousness as a threat.
One of the major contributions to the evolution of
consciousness that gay identity offers is the vision of different
perspectives. Straight people would do well to learn that the so-called
"straight perspective" is just one possibile way of viewing the world.
And traditionally this perspective has caused an awful lot of the
suffering and "evil" in the world. Indeed, one might argue that the
teachings of Jesus were really all about getting beyond those male
dominant ideas about competition and conquest, replacing them with
feelings of compassion, sympathy, and love.
The answer then to "why gay spirituality?" is that
traits in consciousness result in gay people's seeing the world--and
God--differently. Gay people (and gay men are different from lesbians
in this regard) need gay spiritual images to resonate with in their
We need a God who isn't patriarchal and demanding--like
straight male boss--or rule giving, but is loving and maternal. We need
a God who isn't so concerned with reproducing offspring and keeping
procreation in control for the sake of genetic purity, and who IS
concerned about the beauty of the world and the pleasure that
embodiment can proffer.
Why gay spirituality? For all gay people, by virtue of being aware of
being gay (men perhaps a little more than women), being gay is THE most
significant thing about who one is. Whether one is happy with it or
not, that one is gay colors every experience. You're always aware of
it. Nobody ever forgets they're gay. Since that is such a major aspect
of our consciousness, our religious and spiritual experiences should
arise out of that context in such a way as to improve and enhance our
experience of life.
Our spiritual practice should arise from our gayness. Our spiritual
wisdom--our understanding of the world and of the meaning and purpose
of life--should arise from our gayness. Because, in fact, it does,
whether we know it or acknowledge it.
Homosexuality is a kind of religious vocation, a "calling," that seems
impossible not to answer to. In the mythic terms of religion, this
calling is the voice of God telling you who you should love and bond
with, your soul showing you how to follow your destiny.
To not understand one's homosexuality as a religious experience is to
miss the best part of it. Our homosexuality is the eye with which we
see God. And, in Meister
Eckhart's famous aphorism, "the eye with which I see God is the eye
with which God sees me." That is, how we deal with our homosexuality is
how God will see us. That we transform our homosexuality into something
life-affirming, life- and love-fulfilling, participating, contributing
to the evolution of human consciousness is how we "prove ourselves to
God." (read more about what Toby Johnson thinks "God"
of Gay Spirituality
Toby Johnson, PhD is
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
elsewhere in this web site, Johnson is author of IN SEARCH OF GOD IN
THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD and THE
THE GREAT SECRET (Revised edition): AN APPRECIATION OF JOSEPH
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.
to Toby's home