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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



Gay in the Life: Dr. Jack Miller
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

This article shared 7561 times since Wed Jul 9, 2014
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Dr. Jack Miller was ordained in 1974 and served as a priest for five years.

"Women made me aware of sexism," he said. "I realized that for me to continue in an official capacity in an organization that was perpetuating sexism was to be a part of the problem and definitely not a part of the solution."

So he left the Roman Catholic Church because it would not ordain women, and went on to recreate his own priesthood free of hierarchical hassles, he said.

"Being called to the bedside of an old dying man who felt condemned to hell because of masturbation… How can you undo that deep-seated guilt with the wave of your hand? The same hand that finds and gives pleasure through masturbation," Miller said.

When he was leaving the priesthood, Miller was invited into the hospice movement, after having been a hospital chaplain, thus he had seen the agony of death and dying.

"When I was invited into the hospice movement, I found a very different approach to death and dying," he said. "I then set out to establish a hospice training center in the Midwest. What evolved was my school: The Center for Education on Death & Dying, Inc., a 12-month program housed at Loyola University [in Chicago]."

Meanwhile, Miller had been hired by Cook County Hospital to establish a hospice for the indigent of the city of Chicago. "I was simultaneously involved in the beginnings of Chicago House. I named it 'Chicago House' and saw to it that a straight man was hired to head up the organization," Miller said. "I did not want AIDS exclusively identified as a gay disease. In the midst of all of this, my father had a stroke on our farm in Ohio. Eventually I wanted to go back home and be [with] my family."

As he was about to leave Chicago, Miller was given a $125,000 scholarship to pursue a Ph.D in psychology. "That enabled me to take the CEDD 12-month program and under the supervision of my doctoral committee telescope the 12 months into 12 weeks and test it on a group in Lima, Ohio," he said.

The results were transformational, he said.

Miller returned to Chicago in 1991 and began conducting The Phoenix Project.

Today he trains psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists to do this work.

"The Phoenix Project is an orchestrated rite of passage, which facilitates both emotional and spiritual growth," Miller said. "I lead people out of ordinary time into sacred time, [called] liminality, wherein they re-live their lives—reconnecting with buried wounds. They are enabled to open these wounds and release the poison through the exercise of creativity."

During The Phoenix Project's 12-week journey, through Sept. 20, participants will produce three major creative works around three of their buried wounds, he said. "This activity enables them to transform that energy on a deeper psychic level.

"At the journey's end, the participants publicly share one of their creative projects with invited guests, who then view all of the creative work in a gallery exhibit."


Age: 68

Neighborhood: Edgewater

Relationship status: Single

Job title: Psychologist

Background: He was born into an orphanage in Lackawanna, New York, and was adopted and then raised in Lima, Ohio. He recently returned to Chicago after taking The Phoenix Project around the world.

Favorite TV show: Downton Abbey

Favorite movie: Moulin Rouge

Four people ( living or dead ) who you'd like to invite to dinner: Jesus Christ, Carl Jung, Jacqueline Onassis and Maggie Smith

Little-known fact: "I'm actually an introvert and enjoy solitude."

This article shared 7561 times since Wed Jul 9, 2014
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