Thursday, July 03, 2008

Gay artist does inspiring Jesus art

Take Away the Cross by Dirk Vanden

A gay artist’s inspired paintings of a naked Jesus are the newest additions to the Jesus in Love library of glbt spiritual art.

The two images were painted by Dirk Vanden, who is also the author of three early gay novels.

Take Away the Cross shows Jesus dancing beneath a glorious sunburst in the midst of a cross. The crowd around Jesus includes portraits of Vanden’s friends, references to Michelangelo, and some of the artist’s favorite rock stars. Look for Buffy St. Marie, Janis Joplin, Paul McCartney, David Crosby, George Harrison, Gracie Slick, Neil Young, Neil Diamond, Paul Simon, John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Ecce Homo (Jumping Jesus) leaps for joy, with wings that carry him into the sky. [Correction from the artist added Nov. 6, 2008: "That is his long hair, spread out behind him as he flies, not wings - & not up to heaven! If he's back, he's here to stay. Actually, in my head as I painted him, he's jumping with joy to be free of the cross."]

Vanden painted these pictures in 1971, but they are still fresh. Now the artist is busy putting his latest gay Jesus ideas online. Click here to read his reflections on “Is Jesus Gay?”

Ecce Homo (Jumping Jesus) by Dirk Vanden

Kittredge Cherry blogs at the Jesus in Love Blog and edits the Jesus in Love Newsletter on queer spirituality and the arts. She offers GLBT and progressive spiritual resources at


Anonymous said...

That's cool that he painted these back in 1971. Admittedly, I was very young then but painting a gay Jesus even in the 70s makes him seem quite the visionary. It's still controversial to some today, but 30+ years ago--wow.

Anonymous said...

This site is very offensive and for you to even suggest that Jesus would engage in such filth as you do is unbelievable. Are we reading different bibles because in my Christian bible, homosexuality is abominable. Do you just convieniently skip over that part or something?! As a Christian you should be trying to overcome your homosexuality, not advertise it as if God approves of what you're doing. You're not only misleading people, you're proud of your depravity! A true Christian would never suggest Jesus was gay let alone imply he excuses your lifestyle. Gay Christian indeed!

Kittredge Cherry said...

Jesus himself did not say anything directly about homosexuality in the Bible. Scripture does not condemn loving, responsible homosexual relationships. There are many resources that fully explain the Bible and homosexuality. Here are a few that I recommend

Remember, Jesus said nothing directly about homosexuality, but he did say, “Do not judge, so that you will not be judged.” (Matthew 7:1)

Anonymous said...

what about 1cor6:9-10...a man/woman can/will have the struggle of sin and everyone's struggle is different. describing an individual as being a 'gay' christian cannot be accurate for such a person who comes to Christ seeks to be different from what the world offers, and allows the Holy Spirit to bring a renwing of the mind...struggle against temptation is one thing. living the sin is another: one who doesnt repent from sin whether it be the homosexual lifestyle or living an adulterous lifestyle and actively, unrepentantly lives this lifestyle or sinful lifestyl is impossible to truly be a Christian bc you have accepted a responsibility of living a higher expectation than those who surround you: God's expectation of you to not be consumed of the ways and thoughts of the world. we don't lean on our own understanding bc then we will always think we are right no matter's learning to love the individual and not the sin, and being able to let go of the sin to show that we've denied ourselves. God bless!

Kittredge Cherry said...

I am approving this anonymous, negative comment for posting as a “teachable moment.” First, it makes the homophobia visible to those who don’t know that it’s still out there. Second, it gives me a chance to say that the Bible does NOT condemn gays and lesbians!

My favorite resource on the subject is “Homosexuality: Not a Sin, Not a Sickness” by Rev. Don Eastman of Metropolitan Community Churches.

You can view it here:

Here is what it says about the scripture you quoted:

I Corinthians 6:9
Any consideration of New Testament statements on same-sex acts must carefully view the social context of the Greco-Roman culture in which Paul ministered. Prostitution and pederasty (sexual relationships of adult men with boys) were the most commonly known male same-sex acts.

In I Corinthians 6:9, Paul condemns those who are "effeminate" and "abusers of themselves with mankind," as translated in the King James version. Unfortunately, some new translations are worse, rendering these words "homosexuals." Recent scholarship unmasks the homophobia behind such mistranslations.

The first word - malakos, in the Greek text-which has been translated "effeminate" or "soft," most likely refers to someone who lacks discipline or moral control. The word is used elsewhere in the New Testament but never with reference to sexuality.

The second word, Arsenokoitai, occurs once each in I Corinthians and I Timothy (1:10), but nowhere else in other literature of the period. It is derived from two Greek words, one meaning, "males" and the other "beds", a euphemism for sexual intercourse. Other Greek words were commonly used to describe homosexual behavior but do not appear here. The larger context of I Corinthians 6 shows Paul extremely concerned with prostitution, so it is very possible he was referring to male prostitutes. But many experts now attempting to translate these words have reached a simple conclusion: their precise meaning is uncertain.

Scripture Study Conclusion…No Law Against Love

The rarity with which Paul discusses any form of same-sex behavior and the ambiguity in references attributed to him make it extremely unsound to conclude any sure position in the New Testament on homosexuality, especially in the context of loving, responsible relationships. Since any arguments must be made from silence, it is much more reliable to turn to great principles of the Gospel taught by Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. Do not judge others, lest you be judged. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love . . . against such there is no law.

One thing is abundantly clear, as Paul stated in Galatians 5:14:
"...the whole Law is fulfilled in one statement,

'You shall love your neighbor as yourself".