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Sex and the Sacred : Gay Identity and Spiritual Growth - Daniel A. Helminiak

Sex and the Sacred

Gay Identity and Spiritual Growth

Paperback Published: 20th April 2006
ISBN: 9781560233428
Number Of Pages: 260

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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

The Cover Art: A Gay Spiritual Journeyp. xiii
Forewordp. xv
Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
The Spiritual Dimension of the Lesbian and Gay Experiencep. 1
The Senseless Burden of a Bad Consciencep. 1
The Meaning of "Spiritual"p. 2
The Inner Push Toward Spiritual Growthp. 4
Coming Out As a Spiritual Exercisep. 5
Love As a Spiritual Exercisep. 6
Gay Strength, Virtue, Wisdom, and Spiritual Growthp. 8
Detours from the Spiritual Pathp. 9
The Tug-of-War Between Religion and Spiritualityp. 9
Spirituality Without God or Religionp. 10
A Spiritual Lesson from the AIDS Epidemicp. 13
A Humanist Spiritualityp. 15
The Spiritual Dimension of the Gay and Lesbian Experiencep. 22
Nontheist Gay Spirituality in the Face of Deathp. 24
Final Considerationsp. 31
Sexuality and Spirituality: Friends, Not Foesp. 35
Positive Attitudesp. 35
Negative Attitudesp. 37
Reemerging Positive Attitudesp. 40
Renewed Interest in Spiritualityp. 41
Integration of Body, Psyche, and Spiritp. 43
Embodied Spiritualityp. 46
Learns of Integrationp. 49
Conclusionp. 50
Sexual Self-Acceptance and Spiritual Growthp. 53
Spiritual Development and Human Developmentp. 55
Sexual Self-Acceptance and Self-Esteemp. 59
Sexuality and the Handicappedp. 61
Acceptance of One's Homosexuality and Self-Esteemp. 63
Conclusionp. 64
Sexual Pathways to Spiritual Growthp. 65
Sexual Arousal and Orgasm: Focus on the Individualp. 67
Loving Another Person: Focus on the Couplep. 69
The Pollyanna Effect: Focus on the Human Family and the Cosmosp. 70
Loneliness, That Endless Yearning: Focus on the Infinitep. 74
The Goodness of Creation: Enter Belief in Godp. 75
Sexual Fulfillment in God: Enter Concern for Union with Godp. 76
Summary About Sexuality and Spiritualityp. 79
Sexual Ethics Without Religionp. 81
The True Nature of Ethicsp. 82
Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Dimensions of Human Sexualityp. 82
Ethical Guidelinesp. 83
The Personal and Interpersonal Nature of Human Sexualityp. 84
The Social Implications of Human Sexualityp. 85
The Promise of Ethical Livingp. 86
The Right and Wrong of Sex, Queer and Otherwisep. 87
The Challenge of Ethics for the Gay Communityp. 87
Reasons to Consider Sexual Ethicsp. 88
Gay Is Goodp. 90
Science-Based Ethicsp. 91
One's Personal Bestp. 94
Ethical Guidelinesp. 96
The Ethical Attitudep. 98
The Spiritual Crisis in Religion and Societyp. 99
The Sad Record of Religion and Violencep. 100
The Political Side of Religionp. 101
Religion, Spirituality, and the Current Dilemmap. 102
Humanity As Inherently Spiritualp. 104
Built-In Requirements of Spiritual Fulfillmentp. 105
Science That Is Open to Godp. 107
A Spiritual Response to Religiously Motivated Violencep. 108
Jesus: A Model for Coming Outp. 111
Mark's Picture of Jesusp. 112
Jesus As God Incarnate in Later Christianityp. 112
Jesus' Self-Understandingp. 114
Jesus' Claim to Unprecedented Authorityp. 117
Jesus' "Crisis of Identity"p. 118
Jesus' Experience of Being Himselfp. 119
Jesus As Everyman-and Everywomanp. 122
The Lesson of Mark and Jesusp. 126
The Trinitarian Vocation of the Gay Communityp. 129
Christian Belief About the Trinityp. 130
Human Relationships Within the Gay Communityp. 132
The Gay Community As Trinitarianp. 136
The Vocation of Gay Christiansp. 139
Homosexuality in Catholic Teaching and Practicep. 143
The Heterosexual Issue: Birth Controlp. 144
The Nature of Sexp. 144
"Complementarity" and Sexual Anatomyp. 146
The Nuances of Catholic Teachingp. 146
The Supremacy of Consciencep. 148
Catholicism's Conflicted Openness to Gays and Lesbiansp. 149
Catholic Gay Ministriesp. 150
The Inevitable Changep. 151
Gay Marriage: A Response to the Vaticanp. 153
The Identification of Sexuality with Procreationp. 154
Inconclusive Religious Arguments Against Same-Sex Relationshipsp. 155
Misrepresentation of Social-Science Findings About Same-Sex Familiesp. 156
Misguided Concern About the Social Orderp. 157
A Position Built on Sand and Blind Faithp. 158
A Valid Consideration: Concern for the Childrenp. 158
Civil Union versus Sacred Marriagep. 159
Marriage As a Sacramentp. 160
The Reorganization of Societyp. 162
The Genius of Roman Catholicism and the Salvation of the Nationsp. 162
Why Biblical Literalism Is Not Christianp. 165
The Identity Theft of Christianityp. 166
A Matter of Theologyp. 168
Literal Interpretation and Reliance on the Bible Alonep. 170
Taking History Seriouslyp. 172
"God's Word" As Political Ideologyp. 173
The Essence of Christianityp. 175
A Lesson from the Council of Nicaeap. 179
Implications for All of Christianityp. 184
The Bible, Homosexuality, and Christianityp. 187
An Array of Ethical Opinionsp. 188
A Deeper Analysisp. 193
Intimations for a New Christianityp. 196
An Ecumenical Christianityp. 199
Conclusionp. 200
Gay Bashing and 9/11 Terrorism: Religious Perversionp. 203
The Religious Root of Violencep. 204
The Strangled Soul of Religionp. 205
Shaken from Dogmatic Slumberp. 206
The Positive Effects of the Tragedyp. 206
Toward a Global Communityp. 208
Resurgence of the Spiritualp. 209
A Statement of Spiritualityp. 211
Indexp. 213
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781560233428
ISBN-10: 1560233427
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 260
Published: 20th April 2006
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.32 x 14.61  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.41
Edition Number: 1