Getting Life in Perspective

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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

SECRET MATTER: updated, revised & expanded edition from Lethe Press with Afterword by Mark Jordan

GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE: A romance novel set in the 1980s and the 1890s.

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

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

CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: Reclaiming Our Queer Spirituality Through Story


About ordering

Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series

  Articles and Excerpts:

Read Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness

Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"

The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate

Why gay people should NOT Marry

Wedding Cake Liberation

Gay Marriage in Texas

What's ironic

Shame on the American People

The "highest form of love"

Second March on Washington

A Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality

 The cause of homosexuality

The origins of homophobia

Q&A about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness

What is homosexuality?

What is Gay Spirituality?

My three messages

What Jesus said about Gay Rights

Queering religion

Common Experiences Unique to Gay Men

Is there a "uniquely gay perspective"?

The purpose of homosexuality

The Reincarnation of Edward Carpenter

The Gay Succession

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

Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium

Easton Mountain Retreat Center

Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism

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

"It's Always About You"

The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara

Avalokiteshvara at the Baths.

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

Meditation Practice

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

Curious Bodies

What Toby Johnson Believes

The Joseph Campbell Connection

Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy

The Nature of Religion

What's true about Religion

Being Gay is a Blessing

Drawing Long Straws

Freedom of Religion

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

 "The Evolution of Gay Identity"

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

 Eckhart's Eye

Let Me Tell You a Secret

Religious Articulations of the Secret

The Collective Unconscious

Driving as Spiritual Practice


Historicity as Myth


No Stealing

Next Step in Evolution

The New Myth

The Moulting of the Holy Ghost

Gaia is a Bodhisattva

The Hero's Journey as archetype

Marian Doctrines: Immaculate Conception & Assumption

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

The mystical experience at the Servites'  Castle in Riverside

The Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis

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

The Secret of the Clear Light

Understanding the Clear Light

Mobius Strip

Finding Your Tiger Face

How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated

In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke

Karellen was a homosexual

About Alien Abduction

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

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

More about Gay Mental Health

Psych Tech Training

The Rainbow Flag

Ideas for gay mythic stories

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 Sterling Houston

About Michael Stevens

Our friend Tom Nash

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
At the conclusion of this book, the protagonist Rick Carton is deeply moved by a religious folk song by John Foley and the St. Louis Jesuit Seminarians, called "Wood Hath Hope." Here's a link to a YouTube video of that song. Wood Hath Hope

A Gay Fantastical Romance Novel

Getting Life in Perspective

Getting Life
in Perspective

Lethe Press Paperback,
288 pages, $18.00
ISBN 978-1-59021-126-7

Toby Johnson's beloved "gay spiritual, fantastical romance novel" is back in print.

Sweet, sexy, wise and thoroughly entertaining, this mytho-historical novel, featuring two lovable apparitions from late 1800s America, interweaves a heart-warming story of youthful romance and adventure with an ageless life-affirming and gay-positive spiritual message 
     ...along with just a touch of the Twilight Zone.

Here's a link to this book's listings at

Getting Life in Perspective: A Fantastical Romance

Also from amazon: the audiobook read by Alex Backham

Getting Life in Perspective is available from the author (signed, if you'd like)
at retail price but with free postage--and can be purchased by credit card
through Paypal.  

Getting Life in Perspective is also available from

“There is a fresh naivete in [Toby Johnson’s] style that rings pleasantly in the ear, like the memory of a ‘boy’s book’ enthusiastically devoured at age 12. Against the sour punk of so much of today’s gay male fiction, Getting Life in Perspective is a treat.”    —Marvin Shaw, reviewer

“What can I say? This magical creation made me cry and laugh and muse and‚ more significantly, it made me remember the essential innocence, spirit and purpose of love. Love always presents a unique personal view; if allowed, it can expand perspective beyond mere imagination‚ Getting Life in Perspective jump starts memory, gives rebirth to hope and literally sings. It is an irreverent-reverent chant to love.”    —Wil Biggers, White Crane Journal

“The narrator of this clever and fast-moving novel creates two characters who tell their story of gay life and relationships the way it might have been in turn of the century America. Weaving the spiritual messages of Edward Carpenter and Joseph Campbell into the plot adds a provocative and timely theme… a thoughtful book as well as simply great good fun.” —Michael Shernoff, gay therapist     

Rainbow Reviews wrote:

“Getting Life in Perspective” by Toby Johnson is an amazing novel. With everything from Walt Whitman to Joseph Campbell to the mystics of the Far East, this story is dense with teachings, philosophies, and life lessons. It truly has the potential to change your life.

This book is about gay spirituality and gay sexuality and the universal life experience. It is told in an engaging and emotional way. The characters are vivid, the environment colorful, and the events totally believable.

There are many layers within this story. It is wonderful how the author creates two different eras ~ 1890s and the 1980s; yet, these separate times emphasize the commonality/ the universality of all eras.

Within this book is the story of two gay young men finding themselves and their love in the 1890s. They tell their story to a gay man living in the 1980s who is struggling to come to terms with his own mortality and the AIDS epidemic to help illuminate his own life. All this is told in a way to help enlighten the reader’s connection with the universal themes of life, love, mortality, sexuality, and spirituality.

It should be noted that because of the serious way the author treats the subject matter, this book is not for anyone desiring a light, escapist read; but, for those willing to make the effort, it is very rewarding!

                                                                    --Review by Matthew

Steve Williams, a British reviewer, loved Getting Life in Perspective. Here's an excerpt from his review

A Powerful Romance

Particularly successful is the relationship between the two spirits of Tom and Ben.

Their association, starting as far back as the 1890’s, is an enduring love affair that survives minor indiscretions on each character’s part, and seems unshackled by the confines of mortal time, sustained by a true and fundamental bond between the two, a kind of emotional depth that is scant in most literature today.

What was most fulfilling was that, in having the character of Rick, our modern novelist, look back into the lives of these two creations, the reassurance could be found that, yes, this was something as achievable now as it was then, that a bond could be forged as strong as theirs, and so the trick is played: the reader becomes the student just like the character Rick himself does, his omniscience over his characters turning on its head as they take on a life of their own, and teach him what he needs most to know.

Tackling Hard Issues

In Getting Life in Perspective we find a story that tackles sexuality – not just homosexuality, but what underpins all primal energies in the human psyche – and which has countless references to Joseph Campbell, to the Hindu faith, and to such poetic mystics as Walt Whitman, and for anyone looking for an introduction into such metaphysics, this book, with its lovely allegories, would be an excellent place to start.

For once, this is not a story trapped in the apparent superficiality of gay culture, but rather a novel that celebrates the thinking man’s brand of decadence, and as such, it is perhaps possible to say that, in time, this title from Lethe Press… might become a classic amongst gay fiction, and maybe even fiction as a whole.


rainbow line

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 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. Both books are available now from Lethe Press.

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