Monday, February 04, 2008
New novel shows Passion of a queer Christ
A queer Christ lives out the Easter story of death and resurrection in my new novel Jesus in Love: At the Cross.
The book is being released in time for Ash Wednesday (Feb. 6), which begins the season of Lent when Christians remembering the sufferings of Jesus to prepare for Easter.
Jesus commits the ultimate act of love in At the Cross, a fictional autobiography of a bisexual Christ. The dramatic events of Christ’s Passion happen in the context of a gay love story between Jesus and his disciple John. The novel covers Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, and Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection, ending on Pentecost. Jesus has today’s queer sensibilities and psychological sophistication as he reveals the erotic, mystical experiences that may have led to the first Easter.
At the Cross is a sequel to the popular Jesus in Love: A Novel, but there’s no need to read the other book first. At the Cross stands alone in its own right.
Christ’s story is for everyone, but queer people often feel left out because conservatives use Christian rhetoric to justify hate and discrimination. I wrote At the Cross so more people could understand the powerful story of Jesus’ human struggles and how he rose above them. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people can relate to a queer Christ -- and so can many others.
The prequel, Jesus in Love, became a surprise hit with more mainstream readers after achieving success in the GLBT community. I receive fan mail from a diverse range of readers -- male and female, queer and straight, ranging from Roman Catholic priests to atheists and Jews. And I get hate mail from conservative Christians, too.
Books in the Jesus in Love series follow the Biblical text and standard Christian doctrine while speculating on Christ’s erotic inner life. The gay love story between Jesus and John has sparked controversy. Some conservatives labeled me “a hyper-homosexual revisionist.”
Meanwhile, secular literary critics and progressive Christians affirm the Jesus in Love series as “profound,” “spiritually mature” and “beautifully written.” Gay spirituality author Toby Johnson praises it as “a real tour de force in transforming traditional myth to modern consciousness.”
The Bay Area Reporter called it “revolutionary religious fiction” and syndicated book critic Richard Labonte hailed it as “a winsome affirmation of erotic love’s sacred potential.”
Mel White, founder of Soulforce, says, “Kitt Cherry has broken through the stained-glass barrier. This is not a prurient look at the sex life of Jesus, but a classic re-telling of the greatest story ever told.”
At the Cross grows out of my own spiritual journey and my experiences as a minister in the LGBT community. One of my duties was promoting dialogue on homosexuality at the National Council of Churches (U.S.A.) and the World Council of Churches as National Ecumenical Officer for Metropolitan Community Churches. I wrote At the Cross after Chronic Fatigue Syndrome forced me into a more contemplative life
My previous books include Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More, Equal Rites and Hide and Speak. The New York Times Book Review praised my “very graceful, erudite” writing style.
My website, JesusInLove.org, features the growing number of books and art based on the queer Christ. I blog here and edit the Jesus in Love Newsletter on queer spirituality and the arts.
At the Cross (ISBN 1933993421) is published by AndroGyne Press, a new queer studies press in Berkeley, CA. Ingram Book Group distributes it.
For more info on At the Cross, visit JesusInLove.org or AndroGyne Press.