Sex and the Sacred : Gay Identity and Spiritual Growth book cover
1st Edition

Sex and the Sacred
Gay Identity and Spiritual Growth

ISBN 9781560233428
Published April 20, 2006 by Routledge
260 Pages

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Book Description

A down-to-earth look at the spiritual power of sex

Sex and the Sacred examines the spiritual dimension of human sexuality in a way that is free of religious affiliation but still open to traditional religion and belief in God. Dr. Daniel Helminiak, author of the best-selling What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality, looks at the relationship between sexuality and spirituality, first, from a humanistic perspective and, then, a more familiar Christian point of view. In particular, he encourages LGBTI people to reclaim their spiritual heritage without apology. This unique book emphasizes spiritual commitment as an essential facet of LGBTI/queer consciousness and addresses such burning themes as coming out, the importance of self-acceptance, gay marriage, gay bashing, and the ethics of gay sex.

Sex and the Sacred combines a psychological approach to spirituality with common sense and compassion, inspiring a break from moralistic religion and an understanding of what true spirituality means. The book applies this understanding to Christian topics such as the Bible, Fundamentalism, and the future of Christianity, and shows how coming out was an issue for Jesus, how homosexual experience relates to the Christian Trinity, and how Western Civilization became so sex-negative.

Sex and the Sacred presents in the end a radical vision of Christianity open to all people. Religious leaders of all denominations, educators, counselors, members of the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender community, non-religious spiritual seekers, and anyone interested in the relationship between spirituality and sexuality will find this book enlightening and uplifting.

Sex and the Sacred examines:

  • the spiritual drive that is built into human sexuality
  • the standard religious arguments against gay marriage
  • a sustained argument that Biblical Fundamentalism is not Christian
  • spiritual lessons from the AIDS epidemic
  • the right and wrong of sex—queer and otherwise
  • homosexuality in Catholic teaching and practice
  • sexual ethics without religion
  • a vision for a renewed Christianity within a global community

Table of Contents

  • The Cover Art: A Gay Spiritual Journey (Heather L. Marrs)
  • Foreword (Moderator Troy D. Perry)
  • Preface and Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. The Spiritual Dimension of the Lesbian and Gay Experience
  • The Senseless Burden of a Bad Conscience
  • The Meaning of “Spiritual”
  • The Inner Push Toward Spiritual Growth
  • Coming Out As a Spiritual Exercise
  • Love As a Spiritual Exercise
  • Gay Strength, Virtue, Wisdom, and Spiritual Growth
  • Detours from the Spiritual Path
  • The Tug-of-War Between Religion and Spirituality
  • Spirituality Without God or Religion
  • Chapter 2. A Spiritual Lesson from the AIDS Epidemic
  • A Humanist Spirituality
  • The Spiritual Dimension of the Gay and Lesbian Experience
  • Nontheist Gay Spirituality in the Face of Death
  • Final Considerations
  • Chapter 3. Sexuality and Spirituality: Friends, Not Foes
  • Positive Attitudes
  • Negative Attitudes
  • Reemerging Positive Attitudes
  • Renewed Interest in Spirituality
  • Integration of Body, Psyche, and Spirit
  • Embodied Spirituality
  • Means of Integration
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 4. Sexual Self-Acceptance and Spiritual Growth
  • Spiritual Development and Human Development
  • Sexual Self-Acceptance and Self-Esteem
  • Sexuality and the Handicapped
  • Acceptance of One’s Homosexuality and Self-Esteem
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 5. Sexual Pathways to Spiritual Growth
  • Sexual Arousal and Orgasm: Focus on the Individual
  • Loving Another Person: Focus on the Couple
  • The Pollyanna Effect: Focus on the Human Family and the Cosmos
  • Loneliness, That Endless Yearning: Focus on the Infinite
  • The Goodness of Creation: Enter Belief in God
  • Sexual Fulfillment in God: Enter Concern for Union with God
  • Summary About Sexuality and Spirituality
  • Chapter 6. Sexual Ethics Without Religion
  • The True Nature of Ethics
  • Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Dimensions of Human Sexuality
  • Ethical Guidelines
  • The Personal and Interpersonal Nature of Human Sexuality
  • The Social Implications of Human Sexuality
  • The Promise of Ethical Living
  • Chapter 7. The Right and Wrong of Sex, Queer and Otherwise
  • The Challenge of Ethics for the Gay Community
  • Reasons to Consider Sexual Ethics
  • Gay Is Good
  • Science-Based Ethics
  • One’s Personal Best
  • Ethical Guidelines
  • The Ethical Attitude
  • Chapter 8. The Spiritual Crisis in Religion and Society
  • The Sad Record of Religion and Violence
  • The Political Side of Religion
  • Religion, Spirituality, and the Current Dilemma
  • Humanity As Inherently Spiritual
  • Built-In Requirements of Spiritual Fulfillment
  • Science That Is Open to God
  • A Spiritual Response to Religiously Motivated Violence
  • Chapter 9. Jesus: A Model for Coming Out
  • Mark’s Picture of Jesus
  • Jesus As God Incarnate in Later Christianity
  • Jesus’ Self-Understanding
  • Jesus’ Claim to Unprecedented Authority
  • Jesus’ “Crisis of Identity”
  • Jesus’ Experience of Being Himself
  • Jesus As Everyman—and Everywoman
  • The Lesson of Mark and Jesus
  • Chapter 10. The Trinitarian Vocation of the Gay Community
  • Christian Belief About the Trinity
  • Human Relationships Within the Gay Community
  • The Gay Community As Trinitarian
  • The Vocation of Gay Christians
  • Chapter 11. Homosexuality in Catholic Teaching and Practice
  • The Heterosexual Issue: Birth Control
  • The Nature of Sex
  • “Comple

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Daniel A Helminiak