Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gay Holy Week series starts Sunday

A queer version of Christ’s Passion will run in daily installments from Palm Sunday (March 28) through Easter (April 4) here at the Jesus in Love Blog.

Each daily post features GLBT Christian art and an excerpt from “Jesus in Love: At the Cross,” a novel about a bisexual Christ by lesbian author Kittredge Cherry. Jesus is in love with his disciple John and faces religious homophobia in the selections from “At the Cross.”

The eight-day series covers Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, and Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection. The dramatic events of Christ’s Passion happen in the context of a gay love story between Jesus and John. Jesus has today’s queer sensibilities and psychological sophistication as he reveals experiences that may have led to the first Easter.

“I’m doing the Holy Week series to make Christ more accessible to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and our allies,” said Cherry, founder of The website promotes artistic and religious freedom by supporting spirituality and the arts for GLBT people and their allies.

“Christ’s story is for everyone, but GLBT people often feel left out because conservatives use Christian rhetoric to justify hate and discrimination,” she said.

The online Holy Week series includes art by F. Douglas Blanchard, Becki Jayne Harrelson, William Hart McNichols, Corinne Quinones, Gary Speziale and Dirk Vanden.

Some conservatives labeled Cherry “a hyper-homosexual revisionist” because of the gay love story between Jesus and John. However, her books follow the Biblical text and standard Christian doctrine while speculating on Christ’s erotic inner life.

“I get hate mail with warnings such as, ‘Gays are not wanted in the kingdom of Christ!’ This kind of religious bigotry is exactly why the queer Christ is needed,” Cherry said.

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 Mel White, founder of Soulforce, says, “Kittredge Cherry has broken through the stained-glass barrier… a classic re-telling of the greatest story ever told.”

“At the Cross” grows out of Cherry’s own spiritual journey and her experiences as a minister in the LGBT community. She was ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches and served as national ecumenical officer. One of her primary duties was promoting dialogue on homosexuality at the National Council of Churches (USA) and the World Council of Churches. Her previous books include “Art That Dares,” “Equal Rites” and “Hide and Speak.” The New York Times Book Review praised her “very graceful, erudite” writing style.

The Holy Week blog series includes art from “The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision,” a compelling set of 24 paintings by New York artist F. Douglas Blanchard. The controversial “faggot crucifixion” by Atlanta artist Becki Jayne Harrelson is also featured, along with drawings by New York artist Gary Speziale. They are among 11 contemporary artists from the United States and Europe who are profiled in Cherry’s book “Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More.”

Update: Click here to view the entire Holy Week series.

No comments: