Coming Out Spiritually
is structured by author Christian de la Huerta's idea that gay people have traditionally assumed 10 spiritual roles or archetypes, and continue to assume them today. These include, among others, "creator of beauty," "mediator," "shaman," and "healer." This understanding of gay people's spirituality draws on a number of religious traditions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Sufism, and Taoism. After establishing his theoretical understanding of gay spirituality, de la Huerta suggests spiritual practices (ranging from meditation to healing to Sufi dancing) that can help readers achieve greater spiritual integrity. Perhaps the most interesting passages in the book consider how sex itself can express spiritual devotion. "When we learn to reunite sex and Spirit in our lives, we will experience change and healing beyond our wildest dreams," de la Huerta writes. Coming Out Spiritually
describes a mode of spirituality that has previously been explored in the work of Andrew Harvey and Matthew Fox, among others. Christian de la Huerta is equally passionate, and his message--that the coming-out process, when understood in spiritual terms, never ends--is an important one. This book may be a bit confusing to gay people just beginning to come out. (Like Harvey and Fox, de la Huerta sometimes uses jargon that obscures his arguments.) For gay people who have a pretty good sense of who they are, however, Coming Out Spiritually
can be an important resource for continuing the process of learning to live honestly with their desires. --Michael Joseph Gross
From Publishers Weekly
For many years, de la Huerta contends, gays and lesbians have been forced by organized religion to separate their sexual identities from their spiritual identities. The resulting spiritual fragmentation, according to the author, has been devastating to the gay community. De la Huerta, the founder and executive director of Q-Spirit, an international network of gays and lesbians focusing on spirituality, encourages "queers" (a term he uses to refer to gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people, in spite of its offensiveness to some people) to engage in "practical experimentation" of their spirituality. He states that his "desire is to inspire a sense of wonderment, purpose, service, and mission in the gay community. It is now time for us to consciously reclaim and reinvent the roles we have played." To that end, his first chapter names 10 roles that queers have historically played, arguing that the spiritual function and value of these roles need to be recognized. For example, de la Huerta notes that, throughout history, queers have played the role of shaman and priest. He lists several examples of ancient religious functionaries, such as the female agule ("like men") and the male okule ("like women") mediums of the Lugbara tribe of East Africa. In his second chapter, de la Huerta explores various methodsAyoga, meditation, psychotherapy, Qi Gong and the labyrinthAthat enable a person to encounter his or her own spiritual depths. Chapter three focuses on sexuality as an expression of spirituality. "When we learn to reunite sex and Spirit in our lives," he says, "we will experience change and healing beyond our wildest dreams." In the final chapter, de la Huerta contends that coming out spiritually is a culmination of the journey of self-discovery. He notes that coming out means healing old wounds and moving beyond old identities as spiritually fragmented victims to embrace oneself as one really is: "empowered, compassionate, loving, ready to make a difference in the world, and fully able to embrace the totality of life." Appendices offer an overview of the world's spiritual traditions, a resource guide of spiritual organizations and a list of books, audios and videos. De la Huerta's beautifully crafted prose and his passionate desire to help queers come out spiritually mark this book as an extraordinary achievement. (June)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.