Jan Phillips' quest has taken her into and out of a religious convent, across the country on a Honda motorcycle, and around the world on a one-woman peace pilgrimage. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Livingkindness Foundation, which created a Learning Center in Nigeria and supports anti-racist creative projects by black women in the U.S.
Jan is the author of eleven award-winning books and a thought leader who bridges spiritual intelligence, evolutionary creativity, and social transformation. She has taught in over 25 countries, and has published work in the New York Times, Ms., Newsday, People, Parade Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, Spirituality and Health, Science of Mind, National Catholic Reporter, Sun Magazine. Still on Fire: Field Notes from a Queer Mystic is her first memoir.
About the book and her inspiration for writing it.
Being Gay. And Catholic. And Suicidal
Experiences in the Convent
Religion vs. Spirituality
Marginalization and Homophobia
What is a Queer Mystic?
What's next for Jan Phillips?
STILL ON FIRE: FIELD NOTES FROM A QUEER MYSTIC
Jan Phillips was a devoted Catholic who wanted nothing more than to be a nun and who joyously entered the convent at 18. Two years later, she was dismissed for “a disposition unsuited to religious life, with excessive and exclusive friendships.” She was lesbian. She had always known it. “It was being homosexual that made me want to kill myself [at 12]. As far as I knew, there was nothing worse than being queer. They were perverts, sinners, hated by God, hated by just about everyone. Lezzies, bull dykes, fags, queers, lesbos―all damned, and there I was, one of them.”
Still on Fire is a memoir of religious wounding and spiritual healing, of judgment and forgiveness, and of social activism in a world that is in our hands. Phillips traveled the globe on a one-woman peace pilgrimage, raised the consciousness of women, faced her privilege on a trip to India, and is working to dismantle structural racism. Her The Livingkindness Foundation supports schoolchildren in Nigeria. “Any spirituality that does not bring about more justice, more social awareness, more right action in the world is a lame and impotent excuse for faith … My action for justice is my spirituality.” Over the years, Phillips created a life of love, service, community, and prayer. She evolved her understanding of God and came to see herself―and all of us―as the light of the world. “Had I not been born gay … my heart would not have broken in half, would not have opened itself to Love Supreme, would not have been tenderized by life’s bitter pounding.” She tells the story of her life with humor and compassion, sharing her poetry, songs, and photos along the way.
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