Christian Mysticism's Queer Flame

Spirituality in the Lives of Contemporary Gay Men

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Michael Bernard Kelly
  • New York, NY: 
    Routledge
    , August
     2018.
     280 pages.
     $140.00.
     Hardcover.
    ISBN
    9781138562127.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Joseph Goh forthcoming.

Description

Is the Christian mystical tradition a relic of another time, shaped by celibates for celibates, unable to engage meaningfully with people of our time who embrace their corporeality and sexuality as crucial aspects of their journey towards union with God? This book reflects in serious theological depth and detail on the spiritual and sexual journeys of gay men of mature and committed Christian faith, employing the Christian mystical tradition as the lens and the interlocutor in this process. 

This study examines the major themes and stages of the mystical tradition as outlined by Evelyn Underhill, but also including more recent work by Ruth Burrows, Thomas Merton and Constance Fitzgerald. Using methods of qualitative research, it then considers the texts of in-depth interviews conducted with men, most of whom are theologians or spiritual leaders with a deep Catholic faith, and all of whom are openly, self-affirmingly gay. Finally, it employs Ricoeur’s hermeneutical theory to engage in a creative theological conversation between the traditional mystical stages and themes and these men’s lives, as described in their interviews.

This is a unique study that brings together ancient spirituality with contemporary lived religion. As such, it will be of interest to scholars of religious studies, theology, Christian mysticism and spirituality, and queer studies. It will be of particular interest to those teach spiritual direction and to all who seek new ways to engage with the spiritual lives of LGBTIQ+ people.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Michael Kelly is Adjunct Research Associate at Monash University’s Centre for Religious Studies, Australia. Over the past twenty years he has led retreats, spoken at conferences, lectured at universities and published essays and papers in Australia, the UK and the USA. He is the author/presenter of The Erotic Contemplative video-lecture series and his book, Seduced by Grace (2011), is held and used in a number of universities.

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