Saturday, 1 August 2009

McCLEARY, Rollan: A special illumination

Authority, Inspiration and Heresy in Gay Spirituality

Equinox Publishing, 2004
370 pages

Christian, Spirituality, Gay Spirituality

Gay Spirituality represents a hidden stream in Western thought that in the wake of Gay Liberation has finally declared itself and enlarged its borders. Since "coming out" in the 1970s against the background of a liberationist secularism that at first ignored it, expressions of gay spirituality are many and increasing. Beginning with especially gay theology within Christianity the phenomenon has reached everywhere from Buddhism to neo-paganism. But so far critical assessment of the movement is minimal to non existent. This lack is due to a refusal to regard the trend as more than a claim to rights and acceptance within religious circles as opposed to the more serious questioning of the self, of vision and of ethics. Gay Spirituality should be seen not just as supplementary to religion but a question directed at the heart of religion itself in which, at least historically, gay/queer people have often had an influential role. The controversy that is Gay Spirituality is thus a major one that anyone interested in religious issues can no longer afford to overlook. If Gay Spirituality does not disrupt religion as conservatives fear, it should be seen as a way forward, the gift to religion of "a special illumination." Rollan McCleary currently lives in Melbourne, Australia. He obtained his doctorate in gay spirituality from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. His recently published Signs for a Messiah (Hazard Press) examines various controversial issues surrounding Jesus such as astrological theories regarding his birth and contemporary questions regarding his sexuality.

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