My illustrated article on queer Christian art appears in the new issue of Tikkun, a major interfaith magazine on politics, spirituality and culture.
“Take Back Jesus: The Queer Christ Arises for the Good of All” is in the March-April 2008 issue of Tikkun. It’s on newsstands now.
Tikkun is a widely respected progressive magazine and is affiliated with the Network of Spiritual Progressives. Tikkun received the Utne Reader Independent Press Award for spiritual coverage in 2006.
In the article, I explain the need for alternative iconography that includes those who are left out when God is presented as a straight, white man. My experiences as a lesbian minister and art historian have shown that many people are longing for spiritually progressive images of the divine -- while others violently oppose it. Artists are rising to the occasion by creating a more diverse range of religious art.
My Tikkun article strikes a note of hope: “Queer Christ images can liberate everyone. For too long people have been in bondage to conservative interpretations of Christianity’s central figure. Without a broader vision, humanity is likely to continue down the destructive path of hatred, war, economic exploitation, and ecological destruction. Now it’s time to take back Jesus—not just for gays, but for the good of all.”
The point is illustrated in Tikkun by four artists. Jesus is shown in gay settings by Swedish photographer Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin and New York painter F. Douglas Blanchard. Becki Jayne Harrelson of Atlanta, GA, paints a lesbian Madonna, while Janet McKenzie of Vermont shows a crucified female Christ Mother.
All four images are also included in my new book, Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More. The book tells the stories of 11 contemporary artists whose art shines a spiritual light on justice for women and LGBT people.
Kittredge Cherry blogs at the Jesus in Love Blog and edits the Jesus in Love Newsletter on queer spirituality and the arts. She is the force behind JesusInLove.org, a website that features progressive spiritual resources, including the growing number of books and art based on the gay Jesus and queer Christ.