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
The Necessary Corollary
The necessary corollary of affirming pleasure is that incarnation in the flesh is a thing to be honored, relished, and celebrated. Such an affirmation directly challenges the dualistic notion that the soul and body are separate, even conflicting, entities. Body and soul are not in opposition. The body is good.
It's a kindness to others to show your body and to enjoy seeing the bodies of others. Because our sexual awareness is tied into vision and objectification, we males especially long to see others' bodies. We feel frustrated when we can't satisfy our curiosity. For gay men, nudity is an affirmation of us as curious bodies. It feels good to go bare chested. It feels good to see other men shirtless. It reminds us we're in pleasure-loving flesh. Nudity is good.
People clothe themselves for decoration and for protection from the elements (these days including unfiltered U.V. radiation). Clothes are wonderful. One of the joys of being gay is often knowing how to dress well: to adorn oneself and others in ways that create beauty and interest. People also clothe themselves for protection from other people's judgment and sexual interest. Clothing can enhance attractiveness by hiding flaws. Though that kind of thinking supports the notion there are such things as flaws. The obsession with hiding our bodies causes untold suffering, unhappiness, and frustration. Baring all allows these anxieties to abate. Naked, we forget to be ashamed of our bodies.
In our all-male world, we seldom worry about being raped if we show our bodies. In the straight world, this is a real concern. Women are raped in part because sexually repressed, angry males rebel against the competitive, hierarchical system designed to restrict sex to alpha males through the dynamic of women's selectivity. Rapists force themselves on women who are helpless or whom they imagine to be "asking for it" by making themselves attractive. Modesty is both a mechanism of self-defense for women and a demonstration of power and ownership by dominant males. (Middle-eastern cultures that veil women and seclude them from public view demonstrate this in the extreme.)
In a very practical way, feeling good about one's body and showing it proudly--and appropriately, of course--helps self-esteem, allays neurosis and anxiety, and motivates one to take good care of oneself. Concern with the body is not foolish vanity; rather, it is good stewardship over one's place in creation. Taking care of yourself and sharing your success in that endeavor with others is a simple, practical way of creating beauty and improving a little piece of the world. Appropriate nudity is a dramatization and demonstration of God's primordial "Behold, it is good."
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