Editor's Note Bo Young
Feature Section: The Word
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In The Beginning Was The Word...
This issue of White Crane is devoted to the idea of "The Word" which is to say, inspired writing as it relates to faith and spirituality for gay people... sometimes called "scripture."
It might be argued that only the Torah, the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagivagita, the sutras to name a few, qualify as scripture. But there are people for whom Tom Spanbauer's The Man Who Fell In Love With the Moon or Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass were epiphanies to which they return again and again for solace, inspiration and guidance. What other use should there be for scripture? As is the wont of gay people as "in-betweens" we are far more inclined to look for and perceive similarities than disparities, connections over disconnects. We are equally inclined to find beauty and inspiration from the most unusual sources.
Some spiritual paths, such as Native Americans have no written tradition to speak of, and yet their oral traditions, many of which are now being transcribed, inspire tens of thousands of individuals or more. Pictures painted on an animal hide preserve a history that is most often relayed orally, generation to generation, from the mouths of elders. Socrates suggested that language... the word... died in silence--or in the immutability of writing.
For some of us, the standard texts have become like going to a dry well for water and we have turned to other sources for inspiration. Some have taken a closer look at those old forms and found new, sometimes alternate meaning and readings, like John Boswell's brilliant Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality.
We have such an individual in this issue in an interview with Neil Douglas Klotz, author of Prayers of the Cosmos, Desert Wisdom and The Hidden Gospel by Chicago writer/editor/poet Dan Vera. Just as "liberal" and "politically correct" have become pejoratives in the political arena, "New Age" has become the stone to throw in the spiritual world. Klotz' radical ("of, proceeding from, or pertaining to the root or foundation"...as in Radical Faerie) re-reading of scripture, particularly the words of Jesus has managed to offend both ends of the spectrum, liberal and conservative--so he must be doing something right.
Mostly when it comes to Biblical interpretation I am reminded of a conversation I had with Klotz's interlocutor, Dan Vera. When it comes to the Bible or any of the above referenced materials he rather succinctly put it to me, "It's poetry... get over it." But we don't want to get over anything in this issue: we want to go into it. So we will take a look at "scripture" from this angle as well as from another foreign tongue: science. Here we have the classic conflict of reason over myth, head over heart and never the twain shall meet. Or so the story goes. In this writer's personal opinion one simply illuminates the other.
And finally, in this issue we will have poetry as well. Usually we offer the poetry pages to the readership, but for this issue we made a decision to include some of the more inspirational poetry that has come from various sources, both biblical and secular. We are particularly pleased to offer the interview with Jesus scholar Neil Douglas Klotz, an essay on Faith by novelist Patricia Nell Warren, the poetic vision of philosopher and mystic Andrew Ramer and the wisdom of John Burnside, Harry Hay's life partner of more than 35 years... inspired writers all.
So we will have inspiration derived from both have poetry and science. We will have comment on existing "scripture" and words that might also serve modern scripture as well as suggested further reading.
...In the end, the point is: what it says to you.
New York City
Last update Dec 15 2000