Saying Goodbye to John and Mary by Peter Grahame
Jesus Christ was human, so he must have had sexual feelings, but maybe he was so enlightened that his attractions were not limited to a single gender.
The bisexuality of Jesus is a new subject being explored by a variety of artists and authors. For example, I wrote about it in my novel, Jesus in Love, and photographer Peter Grahame explores it in his photo montage Saying Goodbye to John and Mary.
Jesus, John and Mary embrace in a naked trio with bread and chalice in the foreground of Grahame’s richly symbolic image. A future scene appears in the background, where Jesus rises while Mary carries a child of light and flowers multiply around John.
In the text accompanying the image, Grahame writes:
“The night before he was to die, after his last supper with the twelve andGrahame contacted me from his studio in New Mexico after he discovered Jesus in Love, my fictional autobiography of a bisexual Jesus. “You make Jesus seem like some sweet guy I just met!” Grahame wrote to me while he was reading the novel.
before going to the garden's hilltop to pray, Jesus expressed his deepest most
profound Love to Mary and to John, the two he loved more than his own soul.
And Mary brought forth his daughter.
And John brought forth his word.”
I felt an immediate kinship with Grahame’s art. His specialty is “transformational, iconographic” male nude photos. He has compiled many of them into a beautiful book called Contemplations of the Heart: A Book of Male Spirit. It’s a gem with poetic text, glossy pages and a wide variety of male nudes all set in a spiritual context.
Although it was created as a gay men’s meditation book, Contemplations of the Heart also moved and inspired me, a lesbian. I was caught off-guard by the appealing, authentic and spiritual qualities of the photos. I've often thought that women’s bodies are objectified in western culture, but this book made me see that men have been subjected to equally strange misrepresentations in pornography and popular culture. Grahame’s nudes are a relief and a blessing.
“The book is about self image, and its intention is to help alleviate self hatred and internalized homophobia,” Grahame says. “The images are sensuous but not overly erotic and present guys of all shapes, sizes, colors and ages (all over 18.)”
Contemplations of the Heart began as a couple of hand-bound volumes that Grahame passed around to men on gay retreats, straight retreats and even at a Native people’s ceremony where it was blessed by a two-spirit elder. Their encouragement led to publication in its current hardcover form. Now Grahame is working on his next book, which will focus on queer spirit archetypes and further explore the sacred feminine.
Grahame lets viewers figure out his symbolism for themselves, but he did offer this reflection on his bisexual Jesus image: “In the back Jesus ascends to ever-new adventures in the cosmos, leaving his legacy behind... as each and every one of us will also do... what will our spiritual legacy be? It’s up to each of us.”
Click here for more of Peter Grahame’s work at the Jesus in Love Blog.