William J. Cataldi, aka pup is a Christian Taoist, gay, male, Leatherman who lives in Chelsea, New York City. All of these facts heavily influence the nature of the book. Stories are offered, oftentimes with explicit sexual content, to illustrate and to bring to life important and subtle concepts. This book is for anyone who can tolerate explicit sexual descriptions.
Sex and God and Other Essays explores the bipolar tension of base and high aspects of human life. The author discusses animal earthliness-Godly gravitas, lust-romance, resentment-acceptance, pain-pleasure, and a host of other bipolar tensions in twenty-five essays, four short stories and one poem. He seeks to show that a good human life embraces its wholeness, encompassing everything from the animal depths of its libido to the spiritual crest of its soul. In the process, he reaches surprising conclusions on a variety of topics—social, political, philosophical, literary, psychological, and spiritual.
“. . . the blood and gore of life are as inextricable from human life as they are from animal life. After all—and this is of crucial importance—human beings are animals.”
“In the new world, homosexuals must never forget: We live by permission only—by heterosexual permission.”
— Mutual Resentment and Acceptance
“‘. . . I’m sick of being momma’s good little boy. I’m sick of virtue, and honesty, and goodness, and honor, and high sentiment, and intellect, and endlessly striving to live up to the impossible dreams. I just want to be a piece of human garbage. . . .’”
—Humanity’s Fatal Flaw
“ God forgave the boy, instantaneously, when Christ died on the cross.”
—The Doctrine of Voices
“He sent Bill some long letters in which he described graduating high school in Ithaca, New York, at seventeen and telling his folks he was gay. His parents were devout Christians, so they promptly kicked him out of the house.”
—A Man Is a Beautiful Thing
“Love is not primarily about affiliation, fondness, eagerness to please, eagerness to protect, romance, yearning, desire, lust, pleasure, or anything else people have ascribed to it. Love is knowledge. Anything that can be said about a particular love is a function of the lover’s knowledge of the beloved.”
—The Death of Christ
(5-Star) Highly recommended!
By Ryan Sullivan on November 22, 2015
I recently finished reading “Sex and God,” and was impressed not only with the range and talent of this writer, but with the depth of thinking in every essay and the fresh and striking ideas I encountered. The author’s passionate examination of the high and low in our nature, and his conviction that an appreciation for both is crucial to our spiritual progress, is compelling enough from the start. But while the book examines suffering and pain in great detail in some parts (and the necessity of pain and suffering), ultimately this struck me as a positive and hopeful book–one born out of compassion for people and a love of listening to others, and a concern for the pursuit of happiness and a better life. Another fun surprise: even aside from the intriguing philosophical essays (which encourage constant dialogue with the reader’s own ideas and beliefs), the short stories are also tremendous, with characters and plots unlike any I’ve encountered before (which is saying something, considering I’m a professional editor who reads hundreds of works of fiction and nonfiction a year).
(5-Star) A Perfect Blend
By Michael Mitchell (Illustrator Artist) on February 9, 2017
This is the perfect combination of a stimulating beach read and a thoughtful, challenging philosophy text. Several of the essays in this book left me examining the author's perspective and re-examining my own. I was especially altered by the binary tensions of right and wrong explored in the volumn's final essay, "The Death of Christ". I suspect that most Western minds would find Cataldi's rationals disorienting. I found them liberating. As for his short stories, they are uniformly engaging. I found myself consuming only a few pages at a time to make the tales last longer. I miss some of it's characters still. This is the mark of a book that get's a second reading. And perhaps a third!