Sex and the Sacred: Gay Identity and Spiritual Growth

Sex and the Sacred: Gay Identity and Spiritual Growth

by Daniel A Helminiak, David Welton

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ISBN-10: 1560233419

ISBN-13: 9781560233411

Pub. Date: 05/28/2006

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

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


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

Product Details

Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents


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


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


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 ofEthics

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

"Complementarity" and Sexual Anatomy

The Nuances of Catholic Teaching

The Supremacy of Conscience

Catholicism's Conflicted Openness to Gays and Lesbians

Catholic Gay Ministries

The Inevitable Change

Chapter 12. Gay Marriage: A Response to the Vatican

The Identification of Sexuality with Its Procreative Function

Inconclusive Religious Arguments Against Same-Sex Relationships

Misrepresentation of Social-Science Findings About Same-Sex Families

Misguided Concern About the Social Order

A Position Built on Sand and Blind Faith

A Valid Consideration: Concern for the Children

Civil Union versus Sacred Marriage

Marriage As a Sacrament

The Reorganization of Society

The Genius of Roman Catholicism and the Salvation of the Nations

Chapter 13. Why Biblical Literalism Is Not Christian

The Identity Theft of Christianity

A Matter of Theology

Literal Interpretation and Reliance on the Bible Alone

Taking History Seriously

"God's Word" As Political Ideology

The Essence of Christianity

A Lesson from the Council of Nicaea

Implications for All of Christianity

Chapter 14. The Bible, Homosexuality, and Christianity

An Array of Ethical Opinions

A Deeper Analysis

Intimations for a New Christianity


Chapter 15. Gay Bashing and 9/11 Terrorism: Religious Perversion

The Religious Root of Violence

The Strangled Soul of Religion

Shaken from Dogmatic Slumber

The Positive Effects of the Tragedy

Toward a Global Community

Resurgence of the Spiritual

Appendix. A Statement of Spirituality


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