Out of the hospital

I am now fresh out of the hospital for a staph infection (and other assorted challenges and unpleasantries … “I really got my money’s worth” said my doctor on my multi-day, multi-diagnosis ER visit and hospital stay). If I missed you at A Different Light… my heartfelt apologies. If I missed you on Until or Integral Christian or wherever… I have been out of commission and look forward to being in touch soon. If you’ve been in Seattle lately, or sent me an email, etc., ditto with love.

I will, God permitting, be making a NPR Interview for the Seattle market tomorrow. Listen to Dave Beck’s show tomorrow afternoon, KUOW 94.9 (Public Radio) on Soulfully Gay. And I’ll be seeing a few of you this Saturday at 7:30 PM at Elliott Bay Books. Looking forward to it

Letter from a reader of Soulfully Gay

Adam writes:

I am a gay man and the son of a minister. He is of the UCC denomination but only jumped on the “open and affirming” movement when I came out. I bought your book today, and just finished the God is Gay chapter. I have always identified my resentment toward organized religion, and my father, separately: but after reading this chapter, specifically T.I.O.B.G, stuff fizzled up in my inner being that I didn’t even know was there. (I cried for probably the 5th time in 10 years)

I just want to say thanks…and I haven’t even finsihed the book (though at the rate I am going, I will be done tomorrow). I recently started my own intense self reflection and spiritual journey. I really connect.

 

BTW- I think the harmonious way you phrase otherwise difficult stuff makes you a poet—-in a sense. 🙂 

Enjoy the book, Adam. T.I.O.B.G. gets “finished” as a concept in the Deeper Connections chapter and modeled in “Bridge of Light”, so the whole book continues the T.I.O.B.G. meditation in a sense. And blessings on your journey.

Letter from a reader of Soulfully Gay

A new Zaadz friend writes:

I’m sending you this message because I have just started reading Soulfully Gay. I cannot really explain how pleased I am that there are people like you out in the Universe writing books such as this. I’ve been interested and studying Wilber’s Integral thought for about 2 years now. Even though I understand about 1/4 of what he has to say I find it fits, and fits very well.

So, I checked out your website and saw you had a Zaadz profile and wanted to say hello as well as send you a friend request.

Letter from a reader of Soulfully Gay

A Ken Wilber fan writes:

In Atlanta – here studying at the Center For Disease Control for another week long intensive (The Institute for HIV Prevention Leadership).

Riding in an SUV with a local friend (I’m a Maui resident) just to get out and about. We’re riding in the car and I begin explaining Ken Wilber and Integral “Life”, how it’s the first time I thought about getting another Master’s Degree – now that courses are being offered, etc (like many – he’s never heard of it)

I ask him to stop at “Outwrite” – a gay bookstore/coffee shop at 10pm. We walk in and right before our eyes, in full display is your book. We both reach for it at the same time (seeing the word “integral”). I love it when shit like that happens… (my friend finds it spooky/wierd)

Your book is making it hard for me to continue my studies for the week – I just want to immerse myself in it – like diving into Maui’s waters. (So glad you had “integral” on the cover – normally a rainbow cross would have made me just roll my eyes,………….hmm “May I speak to the sarcastic self” hehe)

Just a reminder, folks. I am not responsible for either the book’s subtitle (which includes the word integral) or the graphic on the front cover or the book’s wonderful rainbow-colored spine. All kudos or boos are due to the publisher, Integral Books/Shambhala.

Although I considered various titles during the writing process (including, at one point, “Queer Eye of Spirit” and at another point, “God is Gay”), by the time I submitted the manuscript to Ken Wilber it had the title “Soulfully Gay” which stuck the whole way through.

Letter from a reader of Soulfully Gay

Dear Joe,

Last week I was at Barnes & Noble, had just finished my latte and my book, Eat Pray Love (great), was walking out of the store glancing at books on a table display, and saw the words “Soul,” “Gay,” and “Integral,” so of course your book just jumped off the shelf into my hands. I stood there reading Ken Wilber’s amazing Forward and bought the book immediately, as I am a lesbian and a Ken Wilber nut. I finished reading it a couple of days ago and was extremely impressed.

I live in Denver, Colorado. I went to Southern Methodist University in Dallas, got a couple of master’s in Sacred Music and Choral Conducting, spent four years as a full-time minister of music at a large church in Houston, was fired for being gay in 1967, went back to school to become a freelance court reporter, which lasted for 30 years, and I’m now 67 and four years into retirement.

Do you remember in Boomeritis when Ken says that people have spurts of growth in their 20s and also after retirement (geeks and geezers)? Well, I’m one of the geezers. Meanwhile, I helped start Denver PFLAG in 1980, and later formed and conducted four gay choruses: the PFLAG Festival Chorus, the Denver Women’s Chorus, the Celebration ’90 Festival Chorus (a world chorus for the Gay Games in Vancouver in 1990), and Harmony: a Colorado Chorale. I stopped conducting 12 years ago, but still go to all the concerts.

My lover Judith and I met in PFLAG and have been together 24 years this month, and we’ve also been involved in Soulforce at their demonstrations in Denver for the Episcopalians, Washington D.C. for the Catholic bishops, and Colorado Springs for Focus on the Family twice.

Several years ago we both read Grace and Grit. I thought it was one of the best books I had ever read, but several years later Judith read in the newspaper that Ken Wilber was appearing at Tattered Cover Book Store in downtown Denver to sign his novel Boomeritis, so we jumped at the chance to meet him. I took that book with me to the mountains as a summer read, and it blew my mind and, as they say, the rest is history. I organized a group of my friends (18 actually showed up) to discuss the book twice, then I read A Theory of Everything, A Brief History of Everything, One Taste, A Simple Feeling of Being, The Marriage of Sense and Soul, The Essential Ken Wilber, and most recently Integral Spirituality.

That last one is a tough one, but we just finished a discussion group that took it on… So it’s easy to see why I related so much to your book. I have also lost many friends to aids and have four very good friends who are still living with it and doing very well…

…My life has classically passed through all the stages, Christianity for 27 years, nothing for 13 years, Science of Mind for 15 or 20 years, and then Ken stepped in and blew it all to hell. And now….maybe Integral. I hope so. Anyway, thanks for writing Soulfully Gay. I did appreciate it so much…

And I will take your book with me to the Meetup group this Wednesday, June 6, and suggest that they may want to read it. I’ve met thousands of gay men in my work with PFLAG and all the choruses over the years, but your book gave me some new insights into gay men about things that most people don’t have the guts or gumption to talk about in public, at least not to women. I did notice that it was almost entirely about men, and I wondered if you have had much contact with lesbians on your path.

[signed]
Alice

Alice…

Thanks for permission to reprint your letter. To address your last question, I realize that Soulfully Gay is primarily about my experiences as a gay man so there’s not much that’s directly related to the experiences of others as such.

As for whether I’ve encountered lesbians on my path: yes, but not enough. (I tend to have more women friends in my life the more I’m engaged in social service work, which has been on and off.) I want to eventually do a follow-up book which will explore more richly the various experiences of women, lesbians, bisexuals, the transgendered, and other sexual minorities and gender outlaws. There’s still a lot of room for me to grow in my understanding of human nature by encountering “otherness” and growing together in friendship and love.