On the surface, Daniel Helminiak is Professor of Psychology at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, near Atlanta. This department of psychology is committed to the humanistic and transpersonal traditions, so Daniel is easily able to focus his research on spirituality--not as a religious concern but first and foremost as a built-in aspect of humanity. He considers his specialization to be the psychology of spirituality.
But there is more. Daniel is most widely known for his best-selling book "What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality." In two editions, it has sold over 100,000 copies and is translated into six languages. This book began as a hobby. Over a number of years, Daniel researched this book to work out his own issues, struggling with being Catholic and gay, and he wrote the book to share with others the solid conclusion that, taken on its own terms and read against its own historical and cultural context, the Bible simply does not condemn same-sex relationships as we understand them today. Unavoidably, then, Daniel became a controversial figure in today's culture wars, and human sexuality became another focus of his study. Every semester, he teaches the course on Human Sexuality at the University of West Georgia.
Daniel was well qualified to do that biblical research. After four years of graduate study in Rome--living in the Scots (not the American) College there, speaking Italian on the streets, and studying and passing oral exams in Latin--he was ordained a Catholic priest. After four more years of parish ministry in his hometown Pittsburgh, he moved into educational circles and in various ways served in active priestly ministry for 27 years. In the process, he earned a PhD in systematic theology at Boston College and Andover Newton Theological School.
Perhaps the most important event in Daniel's life was his being appointed teaching assistant to the Jesuit Professor Bernard J. F. Lonergan at Boston College. Lonergan is widely recognized as one of the great minds of Western civilization. Newsweek styled him as the Thomas Aquinas of the 20th Century. As Aquinas is renowned for integrating pagan Aristotelian thought with Christianity in the 13th Century, Lonergan worked out the integration of modern science with Christian thought for the third millennium. Lonergan's thought undergirds everything that Daniel thinks, says, and writes. Lonergan's analysis of human consciousness provides the core for Daniel's psychology of spirituality.
Daniel's intellectual journey has been entwined with his personal story--his having to deal with being gay, for example. Again, born and raised in the tight-knit Polish Catholic community of South Side, Pittsburgh, Daniel used that experience as a model for "Spirituality for Our Global Community." Or again, Daniel's lifelong practice of meditation and his ministry to the LGBT community resulted in "Meditation without Myth." Or again, Daniel's preaching to Dignity communities resulted in the essays of "The Transcended Christian."
And again, Daniel's years in Rome coincided with the Second Vatican Council, the worldwide meetings that Pope John XXIII called to "open the windows" and let some fresh air into the Catholic Church. So Daniel and his generation enthusiastically believed the Catholic Church would finally embrace contemporary science and culture. Unfortunately, that change did not occur. As Pope John Paul II relentlessly tightened up the system again, Daniel resigned his teaching position at the graduate Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio and moved to Austin to earn a second PhD, this time in psychology, at the University of Texas. There he was also trained in psychotherapy and named a Fellow of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, and later he was licensed as a Professional Counselor in the state of Georgia. He was also elected a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. At the University of West Georgia, enjoying "the freedom of the children of God" (Romans 8:21) on a non-religiously-controlled campus, he continues what he considers an educational ministry.
As a psychotherapist, social scientist, and theologian, as a teacher, lecturer, and author, Daniel integrates religion and psychology and, thus, suggests what wholesome human living means in a pluralistic and secularized world. This spiritual theme runs through all his books. His website is www.visionsofdaniel.net