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Is there such a thing as an American gay culture--a set of styles, values, and behaviors that arises not from ethnicity or religion but from sexual orientation? How is that culture transmitted? And how is it likely to survive the depredations of homophobia and AIDS? These questions are explored by Browning, a reporter for NPR.
Many Christians regard artistic taste as a matter of religious indifference, irrelevant to theological conviction. Brown insists otherwise, arguing that in responding to art, we may draw nearer to or pull away from God and other believers.Brown challenges Christian readers to cultivate an aesthetic discipline flexible enough to forge fresh ecumenical artistic styles but rigorous enough to ward off the cliches of kitsch, old and new.
Through his provocative and influential work, most notably The Culture of Desire and A Queer Geography, Frank Browning has proven himself to be an erudite and intellectual writer with deep insights into the fusion of culture and identity.<P> In his new book The Monk and the Skeptic, Browning examines the intersection of sexuality and religion through the framework of conversations between the author and a gay priest to discuss the nature of secular and spiritual friendship; religious thought on same-sex marriage; the relation of the body to God; the mission of charity enacted by the drag troop Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence; the biblical prohibitions on improper pleasures of the body; and the history of how the church has viewed the body and desire. Browning manages to bring in a host of influences to his discussion: Descartes, Locke, Greek Myth, Christian Myth, Buddhist myth, Harry Potter, St. Thomas Aquinas, as well as modern writers like Jeanette Winterson, John Boswell, and Daniel Mendelsohn. The result is an engaging, timely, and very modern discourse on how the self and sexuality has been interpreted throughout the ages.
The Author of the best-selling The Culture of Desire journeys into the minds of gay men in America and around the world to discover how their lives - and their desires - are shaped by the time, place, and culture in which they live.
Many modes of religious expression and experience have a markedly aesthetic component, even though aesthetic delight itself often appears to be free of moral or religious interests. In this ground-breaking work, Frank Burch Brown shows how aesthetics, no less than ethics, can play a central role in the study of religion and in the practice of theology.
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