|Jesus is a young man of today|
in a detail from the first painting
in Douglas Blanchard's
gay Passion series
A gay vision of Christ’s Passion starts this Sunday here at the Jesus in Love Blog. New posts will run daily from Palm Sunday through Easter.
All 24 paintings in Douglas Blanchard’s “The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision” will be posted here with newly expanded and improved commentary by Kittredge Cherry and short Bible passages.
“The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision” by Douglas Blanchard, at JHS Gallery in Taos, NM (Photo by Dorie Hagler)
Artist Douglas Blanchard paints Jesus as a young gay man of today in a modern city. He takes the most important narrative in Western culture and rescues it from fundamentalists and also from over-familiarity. The series shines a queer light on Jesus’ final days, including the arrest, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection.
Click the titles below to view individual paintings and text in the series. Links will be added as the series is posted.
1. Son of Man (Human One) 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
24. The Trinity
Click here to see the whole Gay Passion series in order
The Holy Week posts are timed so that Christ dies on Good Friday and rises again on Easter itself. Blanchard, a gay painter based in New York, and Cherry, a lesbian author and art historian in Los Angeles, plan to turn this series into a book.
Your comments on the gay Passion series are strongly encouraged to help ensure that the book version addresses the issues that are most important to readers.
Blanchard’s images show Jesus being jeered by fundamentalists, tortured by Marine look-alikes and rising again to enjoy homoerotic moments with God and friends. He faces forms of rejection that feel familiar to contemporary lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. He stands up to priests, businessmen, lawyers, and soldiers—all of whom look eerily similar to the people holding those jobs today.
"The Passion of Christ:
A Gay Vision
“The purpose of reflecting on the Passion is not necessarily to worship Christ, but to remember with compassion the endless crosses upon which people continue to be crucified, and to seek a way to move from suffering to freedom,” Cherry said.
She was ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches and served as its national ecumenical officer. In 2005 she created Jesus in Love to support LGBT spirituality and the arts and show God’s love for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. It has grown to include a popular blog, e-newsletter and website.
“Christ’s story is for everyone, but queer people often feel left out because conservatives use Christian rhetoric to justify hate and discrimination,” she said.
Blanchard, an Episcopalian “agnostic believer” who teaches college art history, spent four years painting the gay Passion. He started in summer 2001, but it took on new meaning on Sept. 11 when hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center near his studio on New York’s Lower East Side.
“I understand that a lot of people rediscovered religious faith after September 11th. I had the opposite reaction,” Blanchard said. “I was horrified by the religious motivation of those attacks.” He used the paintings to address this conflict, concluding that Christ’s resurrection reverses the “grim arithmetic of power.”
|Prints and cards|
of Blanchard's Passion
Selections from Blanchard’s Passion appear in “Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More” by Kittredge Cherry. “Art That Dares,” a Lambda Literary Award finalist, is filled with color images by 11 contemporary artists from the U.S. and Europe.
The New York Times Book Review praised Cherry’s “very graceful, erudite” writing style. She has written six books, including “Equal Rites: Lesbian and Gay Worship, Ceremonies, and Celebrations” and “Jesus in Love: A Novel.”
Related links for “The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision”:
*Prints and greeting cards
“Stations of the Cross: The Struggle for LGBT Equality” by Mary Button with commentary by Kittredge Cherry
Excerpts from "Jesus in Love: At the Cross" by Kittredge Cherry
Trans Passion narrative by Anarchist Reverend Shannon Kearns
Made In God's Image: Stations of the Cross for Inclusive and Affirming Communities by Rev. Janine C. Stock
Copyright © Kittredge Cherry. All rights reserved.
Jesus in Love Blog on LGBT spirituality and the arts
This post is part of the Queer Christ series series by Kittredge Cherry at the Jesus in Love Blog. The series gathers together visions of the queer Christ as presented by artists, writers, theologians and others.