Friday, December 31, 2010

Celebrate the New Year with Bridge of Light!

Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Rod Trevaskus and
licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Happy New Year! Welcome the new year with Bridge of Light, a new winter holiday honoring LGBT culture.
Rainbow Arch candle holder

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.

Each candle stands for a spiritual principle and its expression in the lives and history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The candles are intended to provide a starting point for individual and group meditations on these principles:

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)

Together these colors form a rainbow, a time-honored symbol of a bridge between two worlds: heaven and earth, East and West, male and female, queer and non-queer.

The principles are beautifully expressed in a new benediction prayer written for Bridge of Light by Yewtree of the Dance of the Elements Blog. Yewtree (Yvonne Aburrow) is a Unitarian and a Wiccan who has written four books on mythology and folklore. She completed an MA in contemporary religions and spiritualities at Bath Spa University in the United Kingdom. She offers this prayer:

Let us embody the values of the rainbow flag of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Red is the root of spirit, found in beloved community,
Orange is for Eros, the fire of spirit, the experience of erotic connection,
Yellow is for self-esteem, the strong core of spirit,
Green is for love, the heart of spirit, the verdant growth of the soul,
Blue is for self-expression, the voice of spirit, calling out for justice,
Purple is the eye of spirit, which sees inwardly with the eye of wisdom.
And all the colours together form the crown of spirit, the experience of spirituality.

Joe 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,” Perez says. “The annual winter ritual...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.” His most recent post on the subject is “Why I (still) celebrate the Bridge of Light.”

I worked with Perez last year to revise the principles last year based on my own meditations on colors and their connections to 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.

Perez 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.”

Bridge of Light continues to evolve. This year Yvonne suggested adding sacred foods, such as “rainbow-tinted marble cake maybe, or one food of each colour?”

I did some research and found an excellent list of “Foods that Fuel Your Chakras.” It can be readily adapted for Bridge of Light. Here is my summary based that list plus other sources. Let’s use it to find delicious ways to celebrate Bridge of Light:

1. Red/Root: Root vegetables (carrots, beets, potatoes, etc.), protein-rich foods, sweet and spicy tastes.

2. Orange/Fire: Foods growing from ground-level to 2 feet (melons, strawberries, squash, etc.), sweet and salty tastes.

3. Yellow/Core: Foods growing 2-6 feet above the ground (grains, sunflower seeds etc.), bitter and minty tastes.

4. Green/Heart: Green leafy vegetables (broccoli, spinach, green tea, etc.), sour and savory tastes.

5. Blue/Voice: Food that grows 6 feet or more above ground (apples, oranges, avocadoes, etc.), sour and salty tastes.

6. Purple/Eye: Dark purple foods (blueberries, purple grapes, red wine, etc.), subtle tastes (poppyseed, lavender, etc.).

7. All colors/Crown: Fasting. Instead of eating, inhale incense and smudging herbs such as sage.

For those interested in learning more about the chakras, 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.

Happy Bridge of Light, everybody! Be renewed and refreshed as the New Year begins! May 2011 bring everyone peace, health and prosperity!

___
PS. Each principle has a “Correspondence in LGBT History” according to the “Revisions to Bridge of Light” by Joe Perez. Here’s my quick summary of the historical connections. The full history is online at:
http://www.integrallygay.com/2009/12/revisions-to-bridge-of-light.html

1. Red/Root: Same-sex love and eroticism in paganism and other pre-patriarchical spiritualities (starting 10,000 BCE)

2. Orange/Fire: Same-sex love and eroticism in the stories and myths of the ancient world, including Gilgamesh and Enkidu, Jonathan and David, Naomi and Ruth. (starting 5000 BCE)

3. Yellow/Core: Same-sex love and eroticism in world religions such as Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Confucianism (starting 500 BCE)

4. Green/Heart: Same-sex love and eroticism and gender role defiance in modern times, including secular philosophy, women’s suffrage and abolition (starting 1500 CE)

5. Blue/Voice: Same-sex love and eroticism and gender role evolution in Romanticism, Transcendentialism and other late modern movements (starting 1800)

6. Purple/Eye: Pluralistic expressions of sexuality and gender with feminist, queer and LGBT liberation movements (starting 1950)

7. All colors/Crown: Same-sex love and eroticism now and in the future.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

David and Jonathan: Love between men in the Bible


For a new version of this article, click this link at Qspirit.net:
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

___
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

___

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.

________
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
___

Icons of Jonathan and David and many others are available on cards, plaques, T-shirts, mugs, candles, mugs, and more at Trinity Stores




Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Holy Innocents Day: Queer 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, and I love Loreena McKennitt’s version from her “Midwinter Night’s Dream” album (video below).

The slaughter of the innocents also has a LGBT connection. Last year’s post about Holy Innocents Day 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.

The genocide of queer people is also explored in our previous post, “Ex-Gay movement as genocide.” The ex-gay movement fits the definition of genocide as outlined by the United Nations, according to startling new scholarship that may help prevent mass murder.Most people think of genocide as mass murder of a group, but the “social death” inflicted on LGBT people by the ex-gay movement is a form of genocide that can lead to mass murder, according to a ground-breaking article by professors Sue E. Spivey and Christine M. Robinson of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Edited highlights from comments last year 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."

KittKatt said...
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.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

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



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.

_________
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.
_________

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





Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Jesus in Love Blog!

“Madonna MMIX” by Ryan Obermeyer, 2009

The Jesus in Love Blog wishes everyone a merry Christmas with “Madonna MMIX,” a holiday artwork by Ryan Obermeyer, and links to all our best Christmas posts.

A Madonna and child are formed by spiraling red ribbons that suggest Christmas ribbons, striped candy canes and AIDS ribbons.

Obermeyer, a multimedia artist based in Austin, Texas, created the photo as the holiday benefit card for AIDS Services of Austin last year.

“This piece was particularly challenging as I was trying to conceive an image that represented the holiday season while not singularly addressing any religion or observance,” he says. “The image does suggest the Virgin with Christ, although the halo does not appear on the printed card.”

His website has a cool extra info page with reference photos showing how he made this ingenious and beautiful image.

Special thanks to Clayton Gibson of the MyOutSpirit Blog for introducing me to Ryan Obermeyer’s art.

Click the headlines below to enjoy more queer cheer and Christmas highlights from the Jesus in Love Blog.

Good (gay?) King Wenceslas 

There’s good reason to believe that Good King Wenceslas was gay. Yes, the king in the Christmas carol. Many details in the carol are pious fiction, but historical research documents the love between the king and his page Podiven. More info






Lesbian couple portrays Madonna (Photo by Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin)

The Madonna and her female lover are portrayed by a real lesbian couple, seven months’ pregnant through artificial insemination in “Annunciation” by Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin.




Lesbian Madonna, lover and son affirm Christmas (Painting by Becki Jayne Harrelson)

Two lesbian mothers cuddle the Christ child in “Madonna, Lover and Son” by Becki Jayne Harrelson.




Transwoman Jesus tells Christmas story

Jesus’ angelic birth highlights the holiness of EVERY birth in the following scene from the controversial new play “Jesus, Queen of Heaven” by transsexual Jo Clfford.




Conservatives blast inclusive Christmas card

Conservatives attack an Episcopal bishop’s gender-bending Christmas card because it shows a multi-racial trio of female Magi visiting the baby Jesus and his mother (“Epiphany” by Janet McKenzie).





Inclusive Christmas tree: Anti-gay DVDs become ornaments

DVDs against same-sex marriage are being recycled now as decorations for the inclusive Christmas tree of Minnesota artist Lucinda Naylor.



Can you imagine? A gay Nativity scene


Video and commentary on Amsterdam’s gay Nativity scene with live actors

Gay and lesbian nativity scenes show love makes a family
What if the child of God was born to a lesbian or gay couple? Because, after all, LOVE makes a family, including the Holy Family.


Queer Christian humor: What did the lesbian Madonna say to the dog in the gingerbread house?



Animals symbolize peace at Christmas, so the Jesus in Love Blog gladly dedicates a special post to animals.


Alternative Christmas art shown
Nine artists mix Christmas imagery with a progressive vision of GLBT rights, racial and gender justice, and a world without war, poverty or pollution


Christmas offering: Give to Jesus In Love Blog
The Jesus in Love Blog is collecting a Christmas offering to support LGBT spirituality and the arts. Your $10 gift pays for 60 visits to our blog and lets one person get our newsletter for a year.

May God be born anew
in unlikely places
this holiday season!

With love from
Kittredge Cherry

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