Browsing: Eros and God

November – December, 2007

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“Among other common lies, we have the silent lie-the deception which one conveys by simply keeping still and concealing the truth. Many obstinate truth mongers indulge in this dissipation, imagining that if they speak no lie, they lie not at all … There is no art to a silent lie. It is timid and shabby.” Mark Twain (1882)

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PLANTED MODESTLY in the middle of this new study is its pithiest assertion: “Simply put, in urban America, being gay comes with a gym membership.” Of course this is an overstatement, but it expresses the extent to which working out has become a significant part of everyday life for many gay men.

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IMAGINE WRITING a letter to your most brilliant teacher. Then imagine writing to your emperor, a man with the power of life and death over his subjects. These intimidating circumstances form the background for the correspondence between Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, … and Marcus Cornelius Fronto …

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EDITOR KEVIN BENTLEY, wielding the laid-back wisdom of some bohemian writing instructor, assigned the contributors to his latest anthology a deceptively simple task: write a story involving gay sex and good books. Have fun, kids; follow your bliss! His class responded with the memoirs and short stories that comprise Sex by the Book …

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Matthew could have included the story of the centurion and his pais simply to illustrate that Jesus reached out to “outsiders.” Jews of first-century Palestine would have considered the centurion a detestable foreigner, regardless of his relationship with the pais. But the contextual and linguistic factors present the possibility of an intimate physical and emotional relationship between this Roman soldier and his “servant.”

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THERE IS a growing literature attesting to the terrors and gothic comedies of growing up gay in the American South. With his memoir Kevin Sessums has produced a masterpiece that outshines all other contributions to this genre since Truman Capote’s Other Voices, Other Rooms, and it will surely endure as one of the pre-eminent accounts.

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… [the] “war on Christmas,” Gibson charged, is really a “war on Christianity.” This theme emerged more explicitly in 2006. Vision America’s Rick Scarborough convened a conference titled “War on Christians and the Values Voters in 2006,” where speakers denounced “moral relativism,” “hedonism” and “Christophobia.” Not surprisingly, several speakers denounced the “gay agenda.” …

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FRIENDS OF COLEMAN DOWELL must have endured more than most. Edmund White knew Dowell well and has done much to sponsor his writings since the novelist’s suicide in 1985. He provides a preface to Eugene Hayworth’s new book, Fever Vision, that illustrates just how bleak Dowell’s companionship could be.

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… The editors of Queer Voices from Japan assembled the book to allow Japan’s sexual minorities past and present to speak for themselves. …

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