Gay Love Is God’s Love

God-sistine-chapelBy Joe Perez

Don’t tell me you don’t believe in God and therefore you don’t need to care about spirituality. Spirituality, as Paul Tillich tells us, is about our ultimate concerns. And everyone has ultimate concerns. Joseph Campbell once said words to the effect that half the world thinks their religious metaphors are literal truths and totally real and the other half things their religious metaphors are literal falsehoods and therefore totally false.

In fact, Campbell’s postmodern view from the mountaintop which allows him to dismiss the errors of the religious and secular alike is its own kind of illusion:  a pretense that the capacity for tolerance and peace and understanding and the sort of high-level abstract thinking about mythology exists is totally real and universal, whereas in fact it exists only as an artifact of complex developmental systems in which the worldviews of the traditional religionists and atheists each play important and valuable roles in themselves, and not merely as false versions to Campbell’s higher consciousness to be deconstructed or condescendingly embraced merely as means to an end.

Premodern, modern, and postmodern views of God each have ways of understanding the value and dignity of Spirit and Gay Love as playing an important role in the Divine, however it is conceived — as a Tradition-based belief system, as a scientifically-based understanding of the general systems of evolution within Nature, or as a postmodern embrace of virtually irreducible diversity and plurality.

There are ways of embracing the essential truth behind the notion that Gay Love is God’s Love whatever your worldview and in a way that respects the integrity of that worldview as offering a genuine platform for enlightened or awakened consciousness. Maybe you will say Gay is a face of God, or maybe you will prefer to say that Homophilic self-immanence is a fundamental drive of all evolving things, or maybe you will say the same essential truth in a different formulation. Whatever the exact phrasing, Gay Love is God’s Love must be the gay liberation movement’s next great mantra.

Photo: Wikimedia

It’s Time To Mold New Grooves In The Vessels Of Consciousness

pottery-handsBy Joe Perez

(Originally posted on Aug. 25, 2013.)

Sometimes great enthusiasm builds up in me for the future of the international Gay Community when I work on this website.

Why? Because the LGBTQ rights revolution which is sweeping Europe and North America is in the midst of molding the destiny of the entire world… and the time may be coming at last for Spirituality to shape The Movement in what has been a cause lacking in the fervor of spirit.

It makes sense when you think about it. Asia, Africa, Latin America, Oceania, the Middle East: with a few notable exceptions like China and Russia, the rest of the world is much more religious than the much more secularized Europe. The religionists in huge parts of the world are more conservative even than the religionists in the U.S., where I live.

All this means that religion is a huge part of the challenge facing gay and bi men and everyone else seeking to live authentically themselves and love who they choose. And religion is also a source of identity, strength, and hope for many people, gay and bi men definitely included.

Our role must not be to swerve around religion and hope that everybody in the world becomes an atheist overnight in order to justify The Cause. God forbid. The world has seen enough of atheist ideologies which promised liberation and only delivered another tyranny.

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Do You Believe In Psychics?

psychic-readingBy Joe Perez

When it comes to all things psychic, I am both believer and skeptic.But You Knew That Already: What a Psychic Can Teach You About Life (Rodale, 2005), a new memoir by openly gay 27-year-old clairvoyant Dougall Fraser, gives me many reasons for celebration as well as a few reservations.

Mystics have experienced the fundamental unity of all things. In the higher realms of existence, all distinctions between separate beings gradually disappear as we come to realize that unity. The awakening to interior spiritual awareness often coincides with paranormal intuitions about reality.

Researchers such as psychologist Susan Cook-Greuter of HarvardUniversity have studied the ways that people develop their sense of self, and they have identified a highly advanced interior state in which authentic psychic phenomena frequently occurs.

Cook-Greuter calls this mode of being the “unitive stage of ego development.” At this stage, peak spiritual experiences have become a habitual way of being and experiencing, and individuals have a high ability to concentrate on the goings on of their inner life.

At this advanced stage of growth, psychic intuitions frequently manifest as a general sense of oneness with another person. For example, you may be in the presence of somebody feeling a strong emotion. You may then experience a profound unity between yourself and the other. You don’t just feel empathy; in a sense, you actually are the other person.

Like many people who have attained a high stage of consciousness, Fraser frequently has genuine experiences of being one with others. He is also blessed with special gifts of being able to “read the energy” of others and gain startling insight into their past, present, and future.

Fraser didn’t navigate the territory of the numinous unity of existence by following the traditions of any particular religion. Instead, his psychic awakening happened spontaneously when he was a teenager at summer camp.

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What Do Gay Men Offer The Future Of Spirituality?

adeptIn “The Gay Man as Spiritual Adept”, published on BeliefNet, Toby Johnson examines the nature of Gay Spirituality:

“There is an enlightenment that goes with being gay, an understanding of the real meaning and message of religion. Not all gay people avail themselves of this enlightenment. Some are blinded to it by momentary attractions of the flesh and the glamour of a liberated gay life. Some are blinded by the guilt and confusion instilled in them by a homophobic society. And some are blinded by the misinformation perpetuated by institutionalized religion. Yet this spiritual enlightenment is there for us, if only we open our eyes.

Gay enlightenment comes, in part, from seeing the world from the perspective of an outsider. It comes also from bringing a different, less polarized, set of assumptions to the process of observing the world. And it comes, for most of us, from not being parents and thus not being caught up in rearing offspring and holding expectations for their lives. The various forms of what is called “gay spirituality” arise from–and facilitate–this enlightened stance. From this position, it is possible to understand what religion is really about in the “big picture.”

Because gay people are conditioned to step outside the assumptions of society to see sexuality in a more expansive way, we are blessed–and sometimes cursed–with this vanguard vision. If we can deal with this vision successfully, we can assist everybody in understanding the real message of religion.

In fact, it is by our issues that religious people are being tested on the real message of their faith: Do they obey the commandment to love their neighbor or do they give in to prejudice and homophobia? Can religious mentality keep up with cultural change?

It is in regard to our issues that the churches give themselves away. By appealing to homophobia, based in an outmoded view of human nature, instead of helping to cure it for everybody’s good, they show their failure to abide by the basic teachings they proclaim about love and compassion, they exemplify their inability to cope with the modern world, and they demonstrate (to us, at least) that they are not being led by divine guidance.”

Read more at BeliefNet.

Photo Credit: h.koppdelaney via Compfight cc

Gay Culture’s Over . . . What’s Next?

cloudy-night2By Joe Perez

Andrew Sullivan didn’t miss an opportunity for hyperbole in titling his latest essay, “The End of Gay Culture.”  Hyperbole aside, gay culture is alive and well. It’s just morphing into something new that hasn’t received a lot of attention . . . until Sullivan’s timely, important, and incisive essay.

I’ve never been a fan of the postmodern fad of rhetorically killing off gayness. Don’t expect me to chime in with the “ding dong gay culture is dead” meme, even as I find myself in nodding agreement with much of Sullivan’s assessment. Gayness isn’t ending; only a phase in the ongoing development of gay identity is.

Despite the title, Sullivan’s essay isn’t so much an obituary for gay culture as it is a thoughtful probing of the meaning of assimilation in the lives of gay men, lesbians, and other queer folks. The piece moves beyond abstractions and obtuse generalizations common in political discourse, offering many keen insights drawn from concrete examples of our ever changing cultural landscape.

We are witnessing a gradual evolution of gay culture from egocentric, rationalistic, and pluralistic centers of gravity toward a more integral consciousness.  That’s the shift described and elucidated by Sullivan, though he doesn’t use the precise language of STEAM. As I see it, these are the essay’s four most interesting themes:
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