Defying the Darkness

Defying the Darkness


Defying the Darkness: Gay Theology in the Shadows by J. Michael Clark

first published in 1997, paperback


"Clark's work is original in that he has inserted himself precisely as a gay scholar in the midst of an ongoing conversation far larger than that of the gay world -- including ecofeminism, Judaism, and Native American spirituality -- and shows especially how queer theory and ecofeminism can illuminate each other". -- Richard L. Smith, author of AIDS, Gays, and the American Catholic Church (Pilgrim Press, 1994)

Defying the Darkness presents the profound reflections of gay theologian J. Michael Clark on the question of suffering and the search for meaning in the midst of uncertainty.

Clark begins by "naming the demons", primary among them homophobia, that threaten to undermine authentic existence. Using a canon that encompasses feminist, profeminist, and gay-affirmative writings, he sees theological authority as residing not only in Scripture but also in the lived experience of the community of faith -- including those, such as gay men and lesbians, who have been marginalized.

Sharing his own experiences with suffering and death, the author shows that to live fully one must "acknowledge and yet defy tragedy". Thus he shows how one travels from theodicy to ethics -- from facing the darkness to moving through it. He also demonstrates, thereby breaking important new ground in the field, how feminist theology and queer theory can illumine and enrich each other.

Finally, Clark emphasizes the need for hopefulness, expressing his own personal hope -- that gay men and lesbians will eventually come to live celebratory, embodied lives that reclaim their full spiritual potential.