Sex and the Sacred: Gay Identity and Spiritual Growth
Dr. Daniel A. Helminiak covers very familiar ground in Sex and the Sacred: Gay Identity and Spiritual Growth. In fact, the problem with the book is a terrible sense of been there/done that - and the fact most of the book consists of his reprinted magazine articles doesn’t quite help alleviate the sense of deja vu.
Dr. Helminiak’s basic premise is having the LGBT community reclaim a sense of Christian spirituality that has been denied them by the usual meanies (the Vatican, fundamentalist factions and homophobic society in general). This is basically a Christian text - Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist traditions are touched upon lightly (a bit too lightly, particularly in regard to Muslim intolerance to gays).
What emerges is basically a chant of "Yes, you can!" to the LGBT readers who feel there is (pardon the expression) no way in Hell they can be part of a Christian community. Dr. Helminiak offers various interpretations of the Bible (particularly the New Testament) to question the good book’s perceived homophobia. Much of what he presents has been presented elsewhere: the corruption of interpretations, the social circumstances surrounding the authors of the sacred texts, and the machinations of the early Christian leaders in realigning the Bible to fit their political needs.
The book is not badly written, but at the same time it breaks little new ground. Anyone familiar with considerations of Christian history (either in regard to gay traditions or not) will recognize much of what is being presented here. The problem, sadly, is that Sex and the Sacred breaks no new ground. It emerges (more bad puns, sorry) as preaching to the converted - the LGBT community in search of spiritual mooring will appreciate the author’s efforts, but the bigots who are denying them this right won’t care - and won’t be reading this, any way.
by Dr. Daniel A. Helminiak
Haworth Press, $16.95, 236 pages