Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bridge of Light honors GLBT spirit at New Years



Welcome the new year with Bridge of Light, a new holiday honoring GLBT culture.

People celebrate Bridge of Light by lighting six candles, one for each color of the rainbow flag, on New Year’s Eve -- or from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, one candle per day.

I’m doing Bridge of Light for the first time this year, and I encourage others to join me.

Each candle stands for a universal principle and its expression in the lives and history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people:

1. Red - The Root of Spirit (Community)
2. Orange - The Fire of Spirit (Eros)
3. Yellow - The Core of Spirit (Self-Esteem)
4. Green - The Heart of Spirit (Love)
5. Blue - The Voice of Spirit (Self-Expression and Justice)
6. Purple - The Eye of Spirit (Wisdom)
7. All Candles - The Crown of Spirit (Spirituality)

The candles are intended to provide a starting point for individual and group meditations on the meaning of spirituality in our lives.

I worked with Joe Perez, the founder of Bridge of Light, to revise the principles this month. You can read our discussions at the Gay Spirituality Blog. We’re open to future revisions, so let us know what you think!

Perez, author of “Soulfully Gay,” founded Bridge of Light in 2004. It has obvious parallels to Kwanzaa, the African-American cultural holiday started by Ron Karenga in 1966.

“Bridge of Light is an interfaith and omni-denominational cultural and spiritual tradition,” he says. “The annual winter ritual (now in its fifth year) has helped to draw attention to the positive contributions made by members of the LGBT community in the areas of spiritual growth, inner transformation, and religious leadership.”

He posted a lovely tribute to me on his Integrally Gay blog: “With special thanks to Kittredge Cherry, for sharing with me her meditations on the chakras and their connections to the colors of the rainbow flag. Her ideas are largely incorporated in these fully revised guidelines for 2009 Bridge of Light rituals.”

I have spent years doing healing meditations based on the chakras, the energy centers of the human body. The seven chakras are associated with the colors of the spectrum, much like the rainbow flag. For me as a lesbian, it’s been a powerful experience to integrate my personal healing meditations with the rainbow flag of the GLBT community.

Author Carolyn Myss connects the seven chakras with the seven sacraments of the church in her book “Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing.” It’s a great book for anybody who seeks healing, regardless of religious faith.

I also recommend a CD set of meditations based on the chakras, “Activating Your Chakras Through the Light Rays.” It’s definitely “new age,” but it’s the best of its kind. I’ve played it countless times, and I’m celebrating Bridge of Light by listening to one meditation each night this week.

I ran out of time and cash before I could buy myself a rainbow candle holder for Bridge of Light this year. I added it to my Wish List at Amazon.com -- in case anybody out there would like to buy one for me. I hope to take photos of my new candle holder for Bridge of Light posts on this blog in the future.

Happy Bridge of Light, everybody!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

David and Jonathan: Love between men in the Bible

David and Jonathan window (detail) from St. Mark's Portobello, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1882

Love between men is celebrated in the Bible with the story of David and Jonathan. They lived about 3,000 years ago, but they still inspire LGBT people of faith -- and many others. David’s feast day is today (Dec. 29).

The two men met when David was a ruddy young shepherd.  Jonathan, a courageous warrior, had returned victorious from battle.  Jonathan was the eldest son of Saul, Israel’s first king. David was taken to see King Saul right after beheading the Philistine giant Goliath. Scholars estimate that David was about 18 and Jonathan was at least 10 years older.

Jonathan fell in love at first sight of the handsome young hero. As the Bible says, “The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David.” Their story gets more chapters in the Bible than any other human love story.

David, the second king of Israel, was an acclaimed warrior, musician and poet. He is credited with composing many of the psalms in the Bible. The gospel genealogies list David as an ancestor of Jesus.

The modern idea of sexual orientation didn’t exist in Biblical times, but the powerful love story of Jonathan and David in 1 and 2 Samuel suggests that same-sex couples are affirmed and blessed by God.

Sixteeenth-century Spanish mystic John of the Cross is one of the many writers who used their same-sex love as a model for divine love. “The love Jonathan bore for David was so intimate that it knitted his soul to David's. If the love of one man for another was that strong, what will be the tie caused through the soul's love for God, the Bridegroom?” John of hte Cross asked in “The Spiritual Canticle.”

Artists throughout the ages have tried to capture the drama and passion of their story, beginning with the moment that David and Jonathan met.  A beautiful romantic version of their first meeting appears on their stained-glass window at St. Mark's Portobello, a Scottish Episcopal church in Edinburgh. The inscription states, “The soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David” (1 Samuel 18:1).

David and Jonathan window from St. Mark's Portobello, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1882

Created in 1882, the window has a dedication at the bottom: “In loving memory of George Frederick Paterson of Castle Huntly who died at Portobello, 30th Sept. 1890, aged 33.” All that is known about Paterson is that he was in the army and unmarried. The window was paid for by "a friend."

“Jonathan Greeting David, after David killed Goliath” by Gottfried Bernhard Goez, 1708-1774 (Wikimedia Commons)

Soon after David and Jonathan met, the two men expressed their commitment by making a covenant with each other. The dramatic moment is described in 1 Samuel 18:3-4: “Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that he was wearing, and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.”

California artist Ryan Grant Long emphasizes the homoeroticism of the gesture as Jonathan strips off his robe and wraps it around David with a kiss on the neck in the image at the top of this post. For more about Long, see my previous post Artist paints history's gay couples.

“David and Jonathan” by Ryan Grant Long

Artist Brandon Buehring imagined both men stripped bare in a private encounter between Jonathan and David in his “Legendary Love: A Queer History Project.” He uses pencil sketches and essays “to remind queer people and our allies of our sacred birthright as healers, educators, truth-tellers, spiritual leaders, warriors and artists.” The project features 20 sketches of queer historical and mythological figures from many cultures around the world. He has a M.Ed. degree in counseling with an LGBT emphasis from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. He works in higher education administration as well as being a freelance illustrator based in Northampton, Massachusetts.

“Jonathan and David” by Brandon Buehring

A more traditional view is presented by 16th-century Italian painter Cima da Conegliano. In both images David is still carrying the head of Goliath as he bonds with his new friend Jonathan, hinting at the union of violence and eroticism.

“David and Jonathan” by Italian painter Cima da Conegliano, 1505-1510 (Wikimedia Commons)
“Jonathan Made
a Covenant with David”
by Trudie Barreras
Collection of
City of Light /
First Metropolitan
Community Church
of Atlanta

In contrast New Mexico artist Trudie Barreras shows the new friends both putting aside their armor to make a covenant with each other (left).

The Bible chronicles the ups and downs of David and Jonathan’s relationship over the next 15 years, including tears and kisses. King Saul is jealous of David's popularity and keeps trying to kill him, while his son Jonathan rescues his friend in various ways. An 18th-century German “friendship medal” (below) captures another highlight as Jonathan pledges to David, “I will do the desires of your heart” (“Ich will die thun was dein Herz begehrt”) from 1 Samuel 20:4.

German friendship medal of Jonathan and David by Philipp Heinrich Müller, c.1710 (Wikimedia Commons)

Other artists focus on a dramatic moment that came later when Jonathan met David at a pile (or "ezel") of stone to warn him that Saul intended to kill him. An 1860 woodcut by German artist Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld illustrates that tearful farewell scene from 1 Samuel 20: 41-42:

"Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most. Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’”

“David and Jonathan” woodcut for "Die Bibel in Bildern", 1860, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (Wikimedia Commons)

Detail from "David and Jonathan
at the Stone Ezel"
by Edward Hicks
Another version of the farewell scene was painted by American folk artist and Quaker minister Edward Hicks in 1847.  In both paintings a boy can be seen carrying away their weapons.  In the lower right Hicks places a scene of the Good Samaritan rescuing a downtrodden man.  Interestingly, the Jonathan and David window at St. Mark's Portobello is also paired with a window showing the Good Samaritan.

"David and Jonathan at the Stone Ezel" by Edward Hicks, 1847

David and Jonathan became so close that it looked like someday they would rule Israel together. But that day never came because Jonathan was killed in battle. David mourned deeply for him with a famous lament.

There are many translations of 2 Samuel 1:26, each one expressing how the love between Jonathan and David was “greater than,” “more wonderful than,” “deeper than” or otherwise “surpassing the love of women.”

I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
you were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
more wonderful than that of women.

The love between the two men is honored in a golden icon by Brother Robert Lentz. Unlike most images of Jonathan and David, the Lentz icon shows Christ above blessing their relationship. It is one of 10 Lentz icons that sparked a controversy in 2005 when conservative Roman Catholic leaders accused Lentz of glorifying sin.

Jonathan and David by Br. Robert Lentz, OFM
www.trinitystores.com

Contemporary gay Israeli artist Adi Nes gives shocking clarity to David and Jonathan by using images of homoeroticism and homelessness to subvert stereotypes about people in the Bible. The triumph of David over Goliath is often used to symbolize Israel’s military victories over its enemies, but Nes chooses to depict David as a vulnerable youth with a crutch, leaning on another young man for love and support. Dirty and unkempt, they embrace beneath an industrial overpass covered by graffiti. They look battered, perhaps from a gay bashing. The tender moment suggests the scenes when “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David” or when “they kissed each other and wept together.” (For more about Adi Nes, see my previous post “Gay Israeli artist Adi Nes humanizes Bible stories. “

“Untitled (David and Jonathan)” by Adi Nes

Gay-positive Bible scholars have written extensively about the relationship between David and Jonathan. The classic book on the subject is “Jonathan Loved David: Homosexuality in Biblical Times” by Thomas Horner.

Jonathan and David embrace.
Manuscript illustration, circa 1300
La Somme le roy
The love between the two men is also celebrated in literature, including the poem “The Meeting of David and Jonathan” by 19th-century English poet John Addington Symonds. He is known as an early advocate of male love (homosexuality) and wrote many poems inspired by his own homosexual affairs. In “The Meeting of David and Jonathan” he writes:

There by an ancient holm-oak huge and tough,
Clasping the firm rock with gnarled roots and rough,
He stayed their steps; and in his arms of strength
Took David, and for sore love found at length
Solace in speech, and pressure, and the breath
Wherewith the mouth of yearning winnoweth
Hearts overcharged for utterance. In that kiss
Soul unto soul was knit and bliss to bliss.

The full poem appears in “Many Moods: A Volume of Verse” by Symonds.

It’s impossible to know whether David and Jonathan expressed their love sexually. Some consider David to be bisexual, since the Hebrew scriptures also recount how he committed adultery with Bathsheba and later made her one of his eight wives. There is no doubt that many people today do honor David and Jonathan as gay saints.

Their story is used by contemporary LGBT Christians to counteract conservatives who claim that the Bible condemns homosexuality. The “David loved Jonathan” billboard below is part of the Would Jesus Discriminate project sponsored by Metropolitan Community Churches. It states boldly, “David loved Jonathan more than women. II Samuel 1:26.” For more info on the billboards, see our previous post, “Billboards show gay-friendly Jesus.”

David loved Jonathan billboard from GLBT Christian billboards from WouldJesusDiscriminte.com and WouldJesusDiscriminte.org

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Related links:

David and Jonathan: Why did God focus on their intimate partnership? (GayChristian101)

Homosexuality and Tradition: David and Jonathan (Pharsea’s World)

David the Prophet and Jonathan, His Lover (Queer Saints and Martyrs - And Others)

David y Jonatán: El amor entre hombres en la Biblia (Santos Queer)

Bible story of David and Jonathan’s first meeting: 1 Samuel 18

Bible story of Jonathan’s death: 2 Samuel 1

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Special thanks to Ruth Innes for the photo and info on the stained-glass window at St. Mark's Portobello.

Special thanks to Mitch Gould, curator of LeavesOfGrass.org, for introducing me to David and Jonathan at the Stone Ezel by Edward Hicks.  It is part of their project on LGBT Quaker history.

Special thanks to Kevin Elphick for pointing out the quote from John of the Cross.

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This post is part of the LGBT Saints series at the Jesus in Love Blog. Saints and holy people of special interest to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people and our allies are covered on appropriate dates throughout the year.

Copyright © Kittredge Cherry. All rights reserved.
http://www.jesusinlove.blogspot.com/
Jesus in Love Blog on LGBT spirituality and the arts
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Icons of Jonathan and David and many others are available on cards, plaques, T-shirts, mugs, candles, mugs, and more at Trinity Stores




Monday, December 28, 2009

Holy Innocents Day: GLBT genocide?


Massacre of the Innocents by Giotto from Wikimedia Commons

Today is Holy Innocents Day, honoring the baby boys killed by King Herod in order to avoid losing his throne to the newborn Jesus, the king foretold by the Magi.

Coventry Carol, the solemn Christmas carol based on this tragedy, has long been a favorite of mine, but I never saw any GLBT connection to the slaughter of the innocents until this month when the Jesus in Love Blog received a lot of comments on the theme.

I was surprised when my post “New Play: Transwoman Jesus tells Christmas story” led to a flurry of comments about female infanticide and selective abortion of unborn lesbians, gays and transgenders. The threat of this kind of “massacre of the innocents” is real and it provokes real fear and rage. Today I’m posting highlights from that discussion, in honor of Holy Innocents Day.

The Biblical story of the slaughter of the innocents (Matthew 2:16-18) has a silver lining: Jesus escapes. His parents got him out of Bethlehem before the massacre. To me, the message is that people may try to systematically destroy groups through infanticide and genocide, but it’s not 100 percent effective. Somebody always escapes.

Edited highlights from the comments here at the Jesus in Love Blog:

Turtle Woman said...
I have another theory that many children of god were born, but the girls were killed. Thus, patriarchy killed many girl messiahs along the way. Think about it.

KittKatt said…
I once read a moving short story by feminist Christian Reta Finger about how Jesus was born a girl in ancient Palestine and was killed soon after birth.

pennyjane said...
the story of the murdered female Jesus really does hit home. i fear, sometimes, that modern science will discover a cause for transsexualism and offer a "solution" to pregnant mothers...perhaps the option of a pill that would bring the mind and body into congruence while yet in the womb. what mother wouldn't accept that option? (poof) the end of us.

for some...perhaps most...it would seem like progress....to me, it's more like genocide.

what would Jesus do?

Turtle Woman said...
I believe infanticide is widespread in patriarchal cultures that value boys, but hate girls. The one-child policy in China, the use of amniocentesis in India to destroy girl children before they are born, and of course, ancient Israel where women were not even valued as much a livestock.

So Rita Finger's idea of the destruction of women messiahs is very real to me. I believe men kill women and girls, and that patriarchy tries in every way to destroy female spiritual leaders or even the birth of "the daughter of god."

pennyjane said...
the idea of the failed messiah...the murdered female Jesus...is not new to me. there is a woman in my bible study class who often speaks of God's great plan being peppered with failures: an abraham who didn't hear the angel on moriah; a moses who chickened out from lack of faith in aaron; a david who missed...etc.

all these things would take a re-do...so it's not that odd a thought that God gave us first a female messiah, one joseph couldn't reconcile with mary's story....so...murdered.

KittKatt said...
pj, I never thought of how MARY might have had a female child before Jesus. Interesting idea! I had heard that other good, holy women might have given birth to previous female Messiahs who were killed before they could be recognized.

Well, I must say I am surprised at how much passion some of you feel about infanticide/selective abortion of female and transgender infants. I’ve also heard that some scientists are looking for a “gay gene” in order to abort embryos that carry it.

pennyjane said...
the genocide i spoke of is real, at least in my mind. i know that there are different people seeking the "cause" of transsexualism. i've seen certain reports about certain periods of time in the womb when "hormone spashes" occurr that might influence gender identity.

my fear is real. i fear that if these times are identified the next step would be to "correct" the results of the splashes, to bring the body and mind into congruence prior to birth conscienciousness. i don't see that as becoming anything but a routine, accepted medical practice in the not so distant future. that could, in fact....be the end of us...transsexuals.

the idea saddens me deeply. i wrote a story about the last transsexual once. i called it "last bus to trinidad." the "apocalypic" herolding of the post-transsexual period of earth history.

i don't want to do away with us...i think we're worth keeping.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Saint John: The man Jesus loved?

Christ the Bridegroom, Br. Robert Lentz, OFM, © 1985.
Acrylic and gold leaf, 18” x 12.” Courtesy of www.trinitystores.com. (800.699.4482)



Many believe that John the Evangelist was Jesus’ “beloved disciple” -- and possibly his gay lover. His feast day is today (Dec. 27).

John was an apostle of Jesus and is the presumed author of the Biblical Gospel of John, Book of Revelation and Epistles of John.

Reputable Bible scholars have explored the controversial idea that Jesus and John were lovers. An excellent analysis is included in “The Man Jesus Loved: Homoerotic Narratives from the New Testament” by Theodore Jennings, Biblical theology professor at Chicago Theological Seminary. He finds the evidence “inconclusive” as to whether the beloved disciple was John, but it leaves no doubt that Jesus had a male lover.

“A close reading of the texts in which the beloved disciple appears supports the hypothesis that the relationship between him and Jesus may be understood as that of lovers. As it happens, both Jesus and the beloved are male, meaning that their relationship may be said to be, in modern terms, a ‘homosexual’ relationship,” Jennings writes (p. 34).

The love between John and Jesus is illustrated in the icon above, “Christ the Bridegroom,” by Robert Lentz, a Franciscan friar known for his innovative icons. Author-priest Henri Nouwen, famous but struggling with a secret gay identity, commissioned it in 1983. He asked for an icon that symbolized the act of offering his own sexuality and affection to Christ. Research and reflection led Lentz to paint Christ being embraced by his beloved disciple John, based on an icon from medieval Crete.

“Henri used it to come to grips with his own homosexuality,” Lentz said in an interview for my book “Art That Dares,” which includes this icon and the story behind it. “I was told he carried it with him everywhere and it was one of the most precious things in his life.” Nouwen’s goal was celibacy and he did not come out publicly as gay before his death in 1996. The icon takes the Biblical theme of Christ as bridegroom and joins it to the medieval motif of Christ with St. John. The resulting image expresses their intimate friendship with exquisite subtlety.

I also wrote about John as the beloved disciple in my novels “Jesus in Love” and “At the Cross.” I consider John to be one of the gay saints.  In honor of John’s feast day, I post this scene from “Jesus in Love: A Novel.” Jesus, the narrator, remembers the day he met John:

I became distracted by the not unwelcome presence of somebody standing close behind me, closer than necessary in the loosely packed crowd. I sensed that it was John, and spun around to see him planted there like a tall cedar tree. He leaned against me, eyes flashing. “I can’t wait for the Messiah to come. I’ve seen him in visions.”

“Really? Tell me what you remember.” It was exciting to find someone who was aware of God’s efforts to communicate.

“The Messiah is like a gentle lamb who sits on a throne with a rainbow around it. And yet his eyes flame with fire, and a sharp sword comes out of his mouth to strike down evildoers.”

“The truth is large,” I said.

“Are you saying my vision isn’t true?” he challenged.

“No, I’m not saying that. I expect that you will see more.”

When John smiled, his faced crinkled into a fascinating landscape of wrinkles. His eyes felt black and mysterious like the midnight sky as they roamed over me. “Do you want a prayer partner tonight?” he asked.

If anyone else had asked, I would have said no, but I looked again at John’s handsome, bejeweled soul and his long, sinewy body.

“Sure,” I agreed impulsively.

Only then did I notice that the Baptist had finished preaching. John steered me toward the caves where the Baptist and his inner circle of disciples lived. Lower-ranking disciples were ready with water vessels and towels to assist everyone with ritual purification before we ate a spartan meal of locusts and wild honey. One of them approached me.

“Wash up, and we’ll get together after supper,” John said as we parted.

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This post is part of the GLBT Saints series at the Jesus in Love Blog. Saints and holy people of special interest to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people and our allies are covered on appropriate dates throughout the year.
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Icons of Christ the Bridegroom, John the Evangelist and many others are available on cards, plaques, T-shirts, mugs, candles, mugs, and more at Trinity Stores

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Good (Gay?) King Wenceslas

St. Wenceslaus (Vaclav) and Podiven, his Assistant
By Lewis Williams, SFO. © 2007
Courtesy of www.trinitystores.com (800.699.4482)
Collection of the Living Circle, Chicago, IL



 There’s good reason to believe that Good King Wenceslas was gay. Yes, the king in the Christmas carol.

Saint Wenceslaus I (907–935) was duke of Bohemia (now the Czech Republic). The carol is based on a legend about Wenceslaus and his loyal page Podiven. According to the story, it was a bitterly cold night when they went out to give alms to the poor on the Feast of St. Stephen, Dec. 26. Podiven could not walk any farther on his bare, frozen feet, so Wenceslas urged him to follow in his footsteps. His footprints in the snow stayed miraculously warm, allowing the pair to continue safely together.

Many details in the Christmas carol are pious fiction, but the king and his page are both grounded in historical truth. Dennis O’Neill, author of “Passionate Holiness,” shared with this blog his unpublished research about the loving relationship between Wenceslaus and Podiven.

The earliest accounts of Wenceslaus’ life mention his page -- but not the woman who supposedly gave birth to his son in more recent versions. An account written in the late 10th or early 11th century describes the young man who was a “worthy page” and “chamber valet” to Wenceslaus.

It says that Wenceslaus used to wake his page in the middle of the night to join him in doing charitable works. The page is described as “a youth from among his valets who, of all his servants, was the most trustworthy in secret matters. The saint himself truly loved him during his lifetime.”

Wenceslaus was murdered in a coup by his brother at the door of a church on Sept. 28 in the year 935. The records say that Podiven “was often overcome by grief, sorrowing for days on end.” The brother also had Podiven killed to stop him from spreading stories of the saintly Wenceslaus. Both Wenceslaus and his beloved Podiven are buried at St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague.

The icon above was painted by New Mexico artist Lewis Williams of the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO). It is dedicated to the memory of Father Larry Craig, a Chicago priest known for service to the Latino community and prison ministry. Before his death in 2006, Father Craig used to stand outside the Cook County Jail at night, giving sandwiches and bus passes to surprised inmates who had just been released. He served as the model for Podiven’s face in this icon.

I hope that these facts warm your heart this Christmas and whenever you hear or sing the Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas.” Here are links to two versions of the song on YouTube:

Male voices: The Irish Rovers

Female voice: Loreena McKennitt from “A Midwinter Night’s Dream

Merry Christmas, everybody!
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This post is part of the GLBT Saints series at the Jesus in Love Blog. Saints and holy people of special interest to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people and our allies are covered on appropriate dates throughout the year.

The Wenceslaus and Podiven icon and many others are available on cards, plaques, T-shirts, mugs, candles, mugs, and more at Trinity Stores

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Alternative Christmas art shown

AltXmasArt, a groundbreaking exhibit of alternative Christmas art, is now showing here at the Jesus in Love Blog.

Nine artists mix Christmas imagery with a progressive vision of GLBT rights, racial and gender justice, and a world without war, poverty or pollution. Each image has a seasonal reflection by lesbian Christian author Kittredge Cherry.

AltXmasArt was first posted in December 2008, but it’s worth another look. Many people feel left out of the traditional Christmas scenes, but AltXmasArt breaks the stereotypes and shows Christ for ALL of us -- gay and straight, bisexual and transgender, male and female, black and white, rich and poor. I hope that it will inspire you.

The series offers a superb fusion of high-quality art, deep spirituality and socio-political commentary. Surprising variations on the traditional Nativity scene include black madonnas, lesbian madonnas, father-and-son scenes of Jesus and Joseph, and a multi-racial trio of female Magi.

Two favorites from the series have been posted here earlier this month. To see the rest, you’ll have to use this quick guide with links to the whole series:



Annunciation” by Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin







La Anunciación (The Annuciation)” by Armando Lopez







Mother of God: Mother of the Streets” by Brother Robert Lentz







Black Madonna - Mitochondrial Eve” by David Hewson







The Holy Family” by Janet McKenzie







San José (Saint Joseph)” by Armando Lopez







Joseph and the Christ Child” by Father John Giuliani







Mary Most Holy Mother of All Nations” by Father William Hart McNichols







Pacha Mama Healing the Earth” by David Hewson







Epiphany” by Janet McKenzie







Radiant Baby” by Keith Haring







Madonna, Lover, and Son” by Becki Jayne Harrelson




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If you like this art, you’ll also enjoy “Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More” by Kittredge Cherry. The book is filled with color images by 11 contemporary artists. Five artists from AltXmasArt are featured in the book. The artists tell the stories behind their images and a lively introduction puts them into political and historical context, exploring issues of blasphemy and artistic freedom.