Tuesday, February 08, 2011

2010’s top 7 LGBT spiritual arts stories named

“Krishna and Christ,” artist unknown

Homoerotic love between Christ and Krishna became the top LGBT spiritual arts story for 2010, the Jesus in Love Blog announced today.

The story that got the most page views for the year at the blog was "What if Christ and Krishna made love?" It celebrates new art and poetry about possible gay connections between two of the world’s greatest teachers of love. The post was viewed more than 2,140 times during the year.

The top seven LGBT spiritual arts stories of the year were named today by lesbian Christian author Kittredge Cherry. She founded JesusInLove.org to promote LGBT spirituality and the arts with a blog, e-newsletter and related websites.

“2010 was an exciting year for queer spirituality and the arts,” Cherry says. “Gay-affirming visions of an erotic Christ balanced alarming reports of religion being used as a weapon against LGBT people during the year. Queer people and our allies found strength and inspiration in the erotic Christ, the queer Virgin of Guadalupe and LGBT saints and martyrs."

Here’s a round-up of the year’s top stories with links to the original posts at the Jesus in Love Blog:

1. What if Christ and Krishna made love?
"What if Christ and Krishna made love?" was the most popular story of 2010 with 2,140 page views. A possible gay relationship between two of the world's great religious teachers of love is explored in art and poetry, including the work of Brian Day and Alex Donis.

Most interesting photo of 2010
"Crucifix" by Elisabeth Olson Wallen
2. Erotic Christ/ Rethinking Sin and Grace for LGBT People Today
An essay on the Erotic Christ launched this blog’s major five-part series "Rethinking Sin and Grace for LGBT People Today" by gay Asian-American theologian Patrick Cheng. It was the year's second most popular story here with 1,241 page views. In the introductory post, Cheng wrote, “If the Erotic Christ is understood as God’s deepest desire to be in relationship with us, then sin – defined as what opposes the Erotic Christ – can be understood as exploitation, or the complete lack of mutuality or concern for the needs and desires, sexual or otherwise, of another person.” The photo for this post, "Crucifix" by Elisabeth Olson Wallen, was rated the most interesting photo of the year at Jesus in Love’s Flickr image archive.

3. Religious threats to LGBT people exposed in Jerusalem photos
Religion-based oppression of LGBT people is revealed in “Jerusalem,” a controversial new photo exhibit by Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin in Sweden. The year's third most popular story draws attention to the Christian, Jewish and Muslim scriptures that threaten queer people. Photos show local LGBT people in Jerusalem with homophobic texts projected on or near their bodies. "Tranny," a photo of a Jerusalem drag queen, was also the most popular image of the year at Jesus in Love’s Flickr image archive with 385 views.

4. Queer Lady of Guadalupe: artists reimagine an icon
Queer art based on Our Lady of Guadalupe brings a message of holy empowerment that speaks to LGBT people today. Artists Alma Lopez, Alex Donis and Jim Ru re-envisioned the Aztec version of the Virgin Mary in amazing ways, making Guadalupe the most popular saint of the year at the Jesus in Love Blog.

5. Ex-gay movement as genocide
Most people think of genocide as mass murder of a group, but scholars say the “social death” inflicted on LGBT people by the ex-gay movement is an early stage of genocide that can lead to mass murder. Visitors to the Jesus in Love Blog shared this startling post frequently with their friends on Facebook and other social media, making it the most shared story of the year. Ex-gay art by Christine Bakke and James Ingram is featured.

6. New paintings honor gay martyrs
Men killed in gay-bashing murders are honored in powerful new paintings by gay artist-philosopher Matthew Wettlaufer. This post generated the most comments of the year at the Jesus in Love Blog with 33 comments from 10 people. The post includes an interview with Wettlaufer along with his art. Wettlaufer painted Matthew Shepard (1976-98), a university student who was killed in Wyoming, and Allen Schindler (1969-92), a naval officer who was killed by two of his shipmates in Japan. Both were brutally beaten to death for being gay.

7. It Gets Better video: Message to LGBT youth
“It gets better” is the theme of a video message to LGBT youth from Jesus in Love founder Kittredge Cherry. Her heartfelt message became our most popular video of the year with more than 1,000 views. She made it for the It Gets Better Project, a new website where LGBT adults and allies can share stories of hope with LGBT youth.

Founded in 2005, Jesus In Love promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer spirituality and the arts. It supports artistic and religious freedom and teaches love for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or religious faith. “We specialize in new gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender art that is too queer for religious institutions and too religious for GLBT organizations,” Cherry says. She was ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches and served as its national ecumenical officer.

Jesus In Love has reached thousands of people all over the world, won many honors -- and gotten a lot of hate mail from religious conservatives.

“The ongoing religious bigotry proves that Jesus in Love is needed now as much as ever,” Cherry says. “Christian rhetoric is being misused to justify hate and discrimination against LGBT people, but Jesus taught love for all.”


Trudie said...

Too bad the artist of this delightful painting is "Unknown". I hope we will have many more artists in the future who will take the various religious traditions and interweave their richness in new visions that openly acknowledge the Divine Spirit of Eroticism. Thanks again for the various posts you have so beautifully summarized and classified for us at the beginning of 2011!

Kittredge Cherry said...

I was surprised that the piece about Christ and Krishna was Number One. It seems to be attracting many visitors through Google searches, even though it is probably not the most popular among the regulars in the "Jesus in Love community." In fact, right before I posted the list of top stories, a longtime supporter sent me an e-mail criticizing the picture of Jesus and Krishna embracing as "idolatry" that appeals to "some of inter-faith persuasion."

The erotic Christ piece from the LGBT theology series was probably a most popular among the regulars here.

It was fascinating to me to look back and see which posts were the most popular. This helps me decide what to blog about in the future.

Kittredge Cherry said...

“I must admit to being more than a bit wary of using "visions of an erotic Christ" to balance out the negatives….Why this need to sexualise Jesus and Our Lady?” asked somebody at Facebook when they read this post.

Here's my reply:
Jesus was fully human as well as fully divine, therefore he must have experienced all aspects of human feelings, including erotic longings. Gay-positive Christian images are needed now because conservatives are using religious rhetoric to ...justify discrimination against queer people. It is appropriate for Christians to explore Jesus’ same-sex attractions because in him God became flesh—a total, shocking identification with all people, including the sexually marginalized.
Christ’s story is for everyone, but queer people often feel left out because conservatives use Christian rhetoric to justify hate and discrimination,

Every community presents Jesus in their own way. There’s black Jesus, Asian Jesus -- and now queer Jesus to heal the damage being done by homophobes in Christ’s name. Many, myself included, experience these images as a blessing that enhances Christian faith by embodying God’s wildly inclusive love for all.

Ramapriya Ramanuja said...

Sorry to rain on your parade, but this is not homoerotic art at all. Surely you know that there are many cultures in which men hold hands without the slightest erotic intent. The image is in fact meant to express a mood of interfaith.

This is an image of Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Who is the master of every living entity in every universe, Who is the source of everything and Whose loving pastimes with the countless living entities who are not averse to Him are eternally manifest in the eternal Spiritual Sky. It also features one of His servants, Jesus Christ, who appeared on Earth to propagate His message according to the place and circumstances of the day.

Both of these personalities are way beyond the bodily conception of "enjoying" sex in any way that you are likely to grasp.

Kittredge Cherry said...

Homoeroticism, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Rasika, you may be correct about the artist's intent of conveying play tonic friendship since this image is reproduced on many Hindu web sites and I have not yet been able to identify the artist. However, I believe that the stories about Christ and Krishna offer evidence that they each had an erotic dimension.