Friday, April 08, 2011

1. The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision

1. The Son of Man with Job and Isaiah (from The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision) by Douglas Blanchard

“The Spirit of God is upon me, because God has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, and has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” -- Luke 4:18

Jesus was one of us, a real human being. He loved everybody, even his enemies. And yet some say that LGBT people don’t belong in the story of Jesus Christ. There’s black Jesus, Asian Jesus -- and now gay Jesus to heal the hate and discrimination done in Christ’s name. This is the story of a Jesus who emphasized his humanity by calling himself the Human One.* He didn’t look very gay. He could pass for straight. Everyone found him attractive. He was fully in the present, yet felt kinship with the ancient prophets Job and Isaiah who knew about suffering. He wanted to serve God by healing people and setting them free. Here we remember his last days, his death and his resurrection. Jesus was a child of God who embodied love so completely that he transcended death. But while it was all happening, people didn’t understand. Society rejected him.

Jesus, show me how you lived and loved.

Next: 2. Jesus Enters the City
*Human One is an inclusive translation for “Son of Man.”

Bible background
Isaiah 61:1 - prophecy quoted by Jesus
This is part of a series based on “The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision,” a set of 24 paintings by Douglas Blanchard, with text by Kittredge Cherry

Click to go to the beginning
or view the whole series.

Here is a list of the series so far. Click the titles to go to each post.
1. The Human One (Son of Man) with Job and Isaiah
2. Jesus Enters the City 
3. Jesus Drives Out the Money Changers
4. Jesus Preaches in the Temple
5. The Last Supper
6. Jesus Prays Alone
7. Jesus Is Arrested
8. Jesus Before the Priests
9. Jesus Before the Magistrate
10. Jesus Before the People
11. Jesus Before the Soldiers
12. Jesus Is Beaten
13. Jesus Goes to His Execution
14. Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross
15. Jesus Dies
16. Jesus Is Buried
17. Jesus Among the Dead
18. Jesus Rises
19. Jesus Appears to Mary
20. Jesus Appears at Emmaus
21. Jesus Appears to His Friends
22. Jesus Returns to God
23. The Holy Spirit Arrives

Coming soon:
24. The Trinity

Scripture quotation is from the Inclusive Language Lectionary (Year C), copyright © 1985-88 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

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Trudie said...

What is vitally important as we reflect on the events of Jesus’ passion in the modern context is the total identification of this person who claimed to be God With Us for ALL the outcasts and oppressed. The particular categories of “the lowest of the low” will change from age to age. The love of God for them will not. In order to be able to experience and benefit from that love, though, we need to identify with the Lover. Jesus did that, and proclaimed it with his every action up to and including accepting torture and death rather than denying his identification with God and all of us. I am really looking forward to this series.

Audrey said...

I love this series of paintings by Doug Blanchard, and cry every day that I don't own more of them!!
What I found most amazing when I attended the show in Taos in 2007, was the impact modern clothing had on me. Seeing all the characters in the passion in regular American street clothes just made it all the more real for me, and the more meaningful. In the Renaissance and in Medieval Europe, the clothing was from the era as well.

Terence Weldon said...

Thanks for this series, Kitt. I have placed a post and link at Queering the Church, and aim to to the same for each daily instalment.

What I love about the text from Luke that you use to open the series, is that is comes right at the beginning of Christ's public ministry, and can be read as the keynote address for his entire message, as I reflected on at Preach the Good News for LGBT Christians

KittKatt said...

Obviously all of you are in tune with the message of Jesus, and I appreciate your comments, Trudie, Audrey and Terry.

Trudie, love for ALL is the heart of Jesus message, and I’m glad that I am able to communicate it here. He indeed identified with the outcasts… while also managing to see the humanity of the rich and even those who crucified him.

Audrey, you highlight an important aspect of this series when you emphasize the contemporary clothing. Doug Blanchard presented Jesus as gay AND contemporary -- both aspects are critical to the impact of this art. In many cases you would never know that Jesus is gay just from looking at these paintings, but the 21st-century clothing and location are striking in most of the paintings. I tried to match Doug’s style by making the text sound contemporary too, using up-to-date language and examples. I hope that someday you do come to own more of these amazing paintings.

Terry, thank you for announcing this series on your blog. Your offer to link to each daily installment is most generous. I’m glad that you appreciate my choice of scriptures to accompany this first painting. You correctly identified that it was chosen because Jesus himself chose to use this quote from Isaiah to open his ministry. Because of your comment, I decided to add a reference to the original passage from Isaiah that Jesus was paraphrasing. It’s interesting to me that Doug chose to open the series with such a challenging painting, forcing the thoughtful viewer to wonder about Jesus’ connections to the ancient prophets Isaiah and Job.