Joe Perez is an Integral Thinker and teacher of World Evolutionary spirituality. He is the Editor-in-Chief of WE Spirituality and author of the groundbreaking memoir Soulfully Gay (Integral Books/Shambhala, 2007) and a work of cultural criticism, Rising Up (Lulu, 2006). Ken Wilber described Joe’s spiritual autobiography as ”perhaps the most astonishing, brilliant, and courageous look at the interface between individual belief and cultural values that has been written in our times. By a homosexual, or a heterosexual, or any other sexual I am aware of.”
Beginning in 2003, Joe ceased to identify exclusively with Roman Catholicism and began to describe his orientation as “catholic in the fullest sense of the word: open to truth wherever it can be found”. Inspired by the contemporary mystic Jim Marion, he re-framed his theological perspective as being that of an Integral Christian. By “Integral”, he means the inclusive and evolutionary world philosophy gaining ground at the leading edge of our culture. Joe’s book Soulfully Gay is one of the first memoirs in the tradition of World Evolutionary spirituality.
Perhaps Joe’s most important teaching is his theory of Homophilia which highlights and extends a notion from the “gay spirituality” discourse. In the new formulation, the nature of Spirit is Love which flows in Two Prime Directions: Heterophilia, other- or outer-directed love, and Homophilia, same- or inner-directed love. Or: “Heterophilia is the human being discovering its own divinity. Homophilia is the divine embracing its own humanity.” From this standpoint flows an understanding of same-sex love as an integral part of the structures of Reality itself, the practice of which is a valid spiritual path. In 2014, Joe published a small eBook, Gay Spirituality 101, describing the theory in more detail.
An Honors graduate of Harvard University in The Comparative Study of Religion with Philosophy as Allied Field, Joe has longstanding interests in social ethics and liberation theology. He has studied religion and the human sciences at The Divinity School at The University of Chicago, where he is one exam short of a Masters in Divinity. In past careers, Joe was a business writer, technical writer, and an Internet start-up executive. Since 2003, he has operated Writing Wolf, a firm specializing in career transitions. At the same time, he has maintained several blogs over the years from The Soulful Blogger to Awake, Alive & Aware. In addition to his main current project, WE Spirituality, he also maintains GaySpirituality.com and curates the Internet’s most popular destination for Gay Spirituality. He is the founder of Bridge of Light, a winter holiday for the LGBT community.
In 2010, Joe earned a Certificate in Integral Leadership from Pacific Integral/LIOS Graduate College of Saybrook University. He is also a Scholar-in-Residence at the Center for Integral Wisdom. In 2013, Joe completed a portion of a literary work called Kalen O’Tolán, which he hopes to someday publish in full. One of his research interests is in pursuing the possibility of creating a meta-framework called Lingua-U for locating a variety of sacred word traditions from many cultures. He continues to identify himself as an Integral Christian, but also simply as “Integral”.
Joe has a boyfriend and lives in Seattle. His taste in music is a little bit country and a little bit “part and whole”.
Note: You can find Joe Perez's new writings on WE Spirituality.