Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Blessed Bernardo de Hoyos: Mystical same-sex marriage with Jesus

For a new version of this article, click this link:

Blessed Bernardo de Hoyos: Mystical same-sex marriage with Jesus

“The Mystical Marriage of Blessed Fr. Bernardo de Hoyos y de Sena, SJ”

Blessed Bernardo Francisco de Hoyos y de Seña is an 18th-century Spanish priest who wrote vividly of his mystical gay marriage to Jesus. He was beatified in 2010 and his feast day is tomorrow (Nov. 29).

Bernardo (1711-1735) was 18 when he had a vision of marrying Jesus in a ceremony much like a human wedding. He described it this way:

Always holding my right hand, the Lord had me occupy the empty throne; then He fitted on my finger a gold ring.... “May this ring be an earnest of our love. You are Mine, and I am yours. You may call yourself and sign Bernardo de Jesus, thus, as I said to my spouse, Santa Teresa, you are Bernardo de Jesus and I am Jesus de Bernardo. My honor is yours; your honor is Mine. Consider My glory that of your Spouse; I will consider yours, that of My spouse. All Mine is yours, and all yours is Mine. What I am by nature you share by grace. You and I are one!”
(quoted from “The Visions of Bernard Francis De Hoyos, S.J.” by Henri Bechard, S.J.)

Bernardo’s vision inspired artist-priest William Hart McNichols to paint an icon of Bernardo’s wedding with Jesus.

“I was so taken with this profoundly beautiful account of Jesus’ mystical marriage with Bernardo, including all the symbols of a human wedding,” McNichols wrote.

Bernardo de Hoyos
(Wikimedia Commons)
Official Roman Catholic accounts emphasize how Bernardo went on to become “the first apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Spain,” but the church downplays the queer vision that inspired him. Bernardo’s marriage with Christ can justifiably be interpreted as a “gay Jesus” story.

Bernardo spent nine years in the Jesuit formation process and was ordained in January 1735. His pastoral ministry was cut short later that same year when he died of typhus on Nov. 29, 1735. Some call him a “boy saint” because he only lived to be 24. His dying words indicate that he felt the presence of his Spouse Jesus at the end. Bernardo’s last words were, “Oh, how good it is to dwell in the Heart of Jesus!”

After his death Bernardo’s reputation for holiness continued to grow, but church politics slowed his path to sainthood until recently. His beatification ceremony was held in April 2010 in the northwestern Spanish province of Valladolid, where Bernardo spent his entire life.

While the Catholic church refuses to bless same-sex marriages, the lives and visions of its own saints tell a far different story -- in which Christ the Bridegroom gladly joins himself in marriage with a man.

This article is available in Spanish at:

Beato Bernardo de Hoyos: El matrimonio místico entre personas del mismo sexo con Jesús (Santos Queer)
This post is part of the LGBT Saints series by Kittredge Cherry at the Jesus in Love Blog. Saints, martyrs, mystics, heroes, holy people, deities and religious figures of special interest to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and queer people and our allies are covered on appropriate dates throughout the year.

It is also 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.

Copyright © Kittredge Cherry. All rights reserved.
Jesus in Love Blog on LGBT spirituality and the arts

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Advent begins today: We seek your Word embodied

For a new version of this article, click this link to Qspirit.net:
Advent: Waiting for the queer face of God

Today marks the first day of Advent, a time of expectant waiting for Christ’s birth.

Let’s celebrate the first Sunday of Advent with an excerpt from “Rite for Advent” by Chris Glaser, published in Equal Rites: Lesbian and Gay Worship, Ceremonies, and Celebrations:

One: The closet may be a fertile place:
creativity bursts out of a lonely hell,
and from a closet fertilized with hope,
the spirit leaps from a monastic cell.

Many: Those born in darkness
have seen life.

One: Out of dark soil sprouts new life,
from darkness springs embodied hope.
Both stretch for the illumination
of the cosmic landscape.

Many: Those born in darkness
have seen life.

One: Dear God,

Many: We seek your Word embodied
in life rooted in fertile darkness.
In life stretching for illumination,
we await your transforming Word.

Image credit: Advent wreath from All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California by Susan Russell

Related links:

Advent resources (NGLTF Institute for Welcoming Resources)

Chris Glaser is a gay Christian minister, activist and author of LGBT spirituality books, including Coming Out to God: Prayers for Lesbians and Gay Men, Their Families and Friends. Here is an excerpt from his “Rite for Advent,” published in Equal Rites: Lesbian and Gay Worship, Ceremonies, and Celebrations:

This post is part of the LGBTQ Calendar series by Kittredge Cherry. The series celebrates religious and spiritual holidays, events in LGBTQ history, holy days, feast days, festivals, anniversaries, liturgical seasons and other occasions of special interest to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people of faith and our allies.

Copyright © Kittredge Cherry. All rights reserved.
Qspirit.net presents the Jesus in Love Blog on LGBTQ spirituality.

Friday, November 25, 2011

LGBT Nativity scene contest: Send your images!

Create a LGBT Nativity scene and send a photo to the Jesus in Love Blog! Your images will be posted here in December.

Let’s reimagine the Holy Family in liberating new ways. Because, after all, love makes a family.

Please email images to info@jesusinlove.org in jpeg format by Dec. 15.  Everyone can be a winner. Your queer Nativity scenes will be posted with your name or nickname and a link to your website.

Have fun mixing and matching the figures. Explore all the possibilities: Was there a gay couple among the shepherds? Maybe the three kings were drag kings? What if Jesus’ parents were a same-sex couple? Did Jesus have two mommies or two daddies? Ethnic, multiracial and non-white versions are especially encouraged. You may use any medium, including photos, drawings, paintings and computer graphics.

Your creations can empower people who have been excluded by church tradition, free viewers to experience the divine in new ways, and lead to a more just and loving world.

This is not necessarily about historical accuracy, but LGBT manger scenes they are true to the spirit of the Christmas story in the Bible: God’s child conceived in an extraordinary way and born into disreputable circumstances. Everyone should be able to see themselves in the Christmas story, including queer people and their families.

All submissions must respect the spirit of Christmas. The Jesus in Love Blog reserves the right to reject images that are unsuitable. Each entry must be the original work of the person submitting it. Submission of an image grants non-exclusive rights for it to be reproduced on the Jesus in Love Blog and related projects.

Click here to view the whole Queer Nativity series
Lesbian and gay Nativity scenes pictured here all come from the “Love Makes a Holy Family” series by Kittredge Cherry. They are available as Christmas cards at the Jesus in Love Store

For more about the lesbian and gay Nativity scenes, see our previous posts:

Gay and lesbian nativity scenes show love makes a family
(My reflection on how and why I started doing queer manger scenes)

Conservatives attack our lesbian and gay Nativity scenes

Video: Gay and lesbian manger scenes show love makes a family

Gay and lesbian Nativity cards

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from Jesus in Love Blog!

Happy Thanksgiving from Kittredge Cherry and the Jesus in Love Blog!

I give thanks for the many people who read and support this LGBT spirituality blog with their time, talent and resources. You are the best!

Let’s celebrate Thanksgiving with an excerpt from “Thanksgiving Rite” by Zalmon Sherwood, published in Equal Rites: Lesbian and Gay Worship, Ceremonies, and Celebrations:

Reader: With the rainbow we celebrate the vibrance and diversity of lesbian and gay pilgrims. We’re everywhere. Every day. And we are forever the pilgrims in this land.

All: Blessed be, blessed be. We’ve always been here. We always will be. Pilgrims in this land.

Reader: As gay and lesbian pilgrims, we believe it is a matter of faith to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. We believe in recognizing equally and loving all members of the human family, whatever their race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation, or physical or mental capacity. We believe the Earth, its creatures, and the universe are good, beautiful, and sacred parts of creation that must be protected and cared for. We believe that we are born to accept responsibility, to take a stand on vital issues, and to work to secure freedom, justice, and love for all persons.

All: We believe it is the divine power within us that gives us courage and stamina to face the truth and to live it, even to die for it. Let us go forth, continuing this celebration in the knowledge that we are pilgrims, that hope for a new world is in our hearts, that the struggle for justice is our calling. Let us greet each other with open arms, with heads held high. Grab hold of the future and change the world as pilgrims in this land.

Brilliant fall colors show in the photo of turning leaves at the top of the blog today. Artist Trudie Barreras made it into a beautiful watercolor painting.

Trudie will gladly paint YOUR favorite scene -- or a picture of your home. All she asks in return is that you send a gift ($25 suggested) to Kittredge Cherry for Jesus in Love.

Order your favorite scene by Dec. 1 for delivery by Christmas! Her watercolor scenes are done in a 9" x 12" format based on photos that you send. Contact us to order or get more info.

Trudie’s art and writing have appeared frequently here at the Jesus in Love Blog. She is a member of First Metropolitan Community Church of Atlanta. You can see more examples of her art at: http://www.schuylerart.com/art-by-trudie.html

Photo of turning leaves by Karen Matthews Grabill.
This post is part of the LGBT Holidays series by Kittredge Cherry at the Jesus in Love Blog. The series celebrates religious and spiritual holidays, holy days, feast days, festivals, anniversaries, liturgical seasons and other occasions of special interest to LGBT and queer people of faith and our allies.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Jesus in Love Blog hits Kindle e-book reader

This month the Jesus in Love Blog became one of the first LGBT religion / spirituality blogs available on the Kindle e-book reader.

Subscribe at this link and the blog will be auto-delivered wirelessly to your Kindle e-reader and updated throughout the day.

Even if you don’t have a Kindle, please click here to visit Kindle’s Jesus in Love Blog page and write a review of our blog. You will help new people find LGBT-friendly inspiration through Jesus in Love.

I’m excited to announce that I’m blogging on Kindle now because I believe that digital e-readers are the wave of the future. Someday I predict that almost all books, blogs and other periodicals will be delivered and read on portable electronic devices.

I myself haven’t moved into that paperless future yet because I don’t have a Kindle. But the price recently dropped to $79, so I added Kindle to my wish list.

I hope that a Jesus in Love supporter will give me a Kindle this holiday season. It will enable me to do a better job of promoting LGBT spirituality and the arts for future readers. Click here for my Amazon.com wish list with easy info on how to send it to me. You can get one for yourself too!

All Kindle blog subscriptions start with a 14-day free trial. The monthly price is 99 cents, of which I will receive 29 cents. You can cancel at any time during your 14-day free trial, and you will not be charged. Here’s how Kindle describes this blog:

The Jesus in Love Blog covers LGBT spirituality and the arts. It promotes artistic and religious freedom and teaches love for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or religious faith. The blog provides timely info and commentary on gay Jesus art and books, queer saints, controversial artists, holidays and other spiritual topics of interest to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people and our allies. Readers call it “one of the most refreshing voices I currently encounter online” and “the most radically progressive and life affirming Christian LGBT site on the Internet.”

The Jesus in Love Blog is written by lesbian Christian author Kittredge Cherry. She was ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches and served as its National Ecumenical Officer. Her books include “Equal Rites” and Lambda Literary Award finalist “Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More.” The New York Times Book Review praised her “very graceful, erudite” writing style.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Transgender Day of Remembrance: Nov. 20, 2011

For a new version of this article, click

Transgender Day of Remembrance: Spiritual resources

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Happy 6th birthday to Jesus in Love!

Today Jesus In Love celebrates six years of supporting LGBT spirituality and the arts. Jesus In Love promotes artistic and religious freedom and teaches love for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or religious faith.

Christian rhetoric is often misused to justify hate and discrimination against LGBT people, so I founded Jesus In Love to present a positive spiritual vision for queer people and our allies.

JesusInLove.org was launched on Nov. 17, 2005 with a news release titled “New Website Dares to Show Gay Jesus.” Since then it has grown to serve more people in more ways.

Traffic at our blog is up 60 percent this year, with 48,000 visits and 91,000 page views. Subscriptions to our free e-newsletter grew even faster and we recently surpassed 700 subscribers. Our content has also expanded beyond the original emphasis on the queer Christ, and now includes a wider variety of artists, holidays and our popular LGBT saints series.

We have won many honors -- and we also get a lot of hate mail from conservative Christians. A typical negative comment is, “Gays are not wanted in the kingdom of Christ! They are cast into the lake of fire.”

The ongoing religious bigotry proves that Jesus In Love is needed now as much as ever. Readers call it “the most radically progressive and life affirming Christian LGBT site on the Internet” and “one of the most refreshing voices I currently encounter online.”

Thank you for your support over the years. I look forward to another year of bringing joy and justice to LGBT people of faith and our supporters.

Image credit: Birthday cake from Eyehook.com.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

LGBTQ guide to AAR (American Academy of Religion) and SBL (Society of Biblical Literature) meeting 2011

A huge variety of LGBT and queer events are planned for the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the Society of Biblical Literature Nov. 19-22 in San Francisco.

Here is a handy guide to more than 30 major LGBTQ activities at AAR-SBL. The joint annual meeting is the largest gathering of biblical and religion scholars in the world with more than 11,000 attendees.

This list is a useful summary for those attending -- and a sneak-preview of the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer religious scholarship for those of us who can’t be there.

Beginning with AIDS, the Bible and church life, the conference will address every major world religion from various racial and ethnic perspectives. They will cover everything from queer Buddhist utopias and transsexual Mormons to Jesus the woman, intersex theology, castration in medieval Islamic society and AIDS at 30 in a queer San Francisco church.

It’s possible to do LGBTQ religious events almost non-stop for five days! Sometimes multiple events even overlap. I spent many happy hours digging through data to compile this comprehensive guide.

As one friend wrote, “Wow - that is so great that you will be consolidating all the LGBTQ sessions - very helpful! Your blog is going to become my go-to site for choosing where to go next :)”

Best wishes to the many friends of the Jesus in Love Blog who will be attending AAR-SBL!

Disclaimer: These events may be subject to change. Let me know if I missed anything!

Note: Session numbers begin with "A" for AAR and other letters for SBL.

Friday, Nov. 18
A18-100 Preconference Workshop: Overcoming Barriers to Underrepresented Scholarship: A Strategy and Action WorkshopFriday - 9:00 am-4:30 pm
Despite more than four decades of feminist, antiracist, queer, and other insurgent scholarship, this work and the scholars who produce it still face many barriers in the academy.

A18-301 Status of LGBTIQ Persons in the Profession Task Force Meeting
Friday - 6:00 pm-9:00 pm

M18-410 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Caucus of SBL
11/18/2011 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM

Saturday, Nov. 19
A19–100 Special Topics Forum: Beyond Identity Politics
Saturday — 9:00 am–11:30 am
How do queer people move beyond identity-based politics, and how can or should we do so? Sponsored by the Status of LGBTIQ Persons in the Profession Committee.
Laurel C. Schneider, Chicago Theological Seminary, Presiding
Mari E. Castellanos, United Church of Christ
Amanullah De Sondy, University of Miami
Jasbir Puar, Rutgers University
Sister Mora Lee D'Klined, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
Sister Pat N. Leather, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

A19-124 Buddhism in the West: Past and Present
Saturday - 9:00 am-11:30 am
Includes among others:
Ann Gleig, Millsaps College
"This Could Only Happen in California": Dharma Diversity and Queer Buddhist Utopias at the East Bay Meditation Center

A19–115 Gay Men and Religion Group: Theme: Scholars and Activists Talk Back: Responses to Mark Jordan’s Recruiting Young Love: How Christians Talk about Homosexuality (University of Chicago Press, 2011)
Saturday — 9:00 AM–11:30 AM
Jay E. Johnson, Pacific School of Religion, Presiding
Elizabeth Leung, Pacific School of Religion
James Mitulski, New Spirit Community Church, Berkeley, CA
Penny Nixon, Congregational Church of San Mateo
Sharon Groves, Human Rights Campaign
Randall Miller, Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund and Pacific School of Religion
Mark Jordan, Harvard University, Responding

A19–139 Special Topics Forum: LGBTIQ Mentoring Lunch
Saturday — 11:45 AM–12:45 PM

A19-229 Queer Studies in Religion Group: Theme: Implications of Jasbir K. Puar's Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (Next Wave: New Directions in Women's Studies) (Duke University Press, 2007) for the Study of Religion
Saturday - 1:00 pm-3:30 pm
Melissa M. Wilcox, Whitman College, Presiding
Rosemary R. Hicks, Tufts University
Joseph A. Marchal, Ball State University
Nayan Shah, University of California, San Diego
Brock Perry, Chicago Theological Seminary
Maia Kotrosits, Union Theological Seminary
Jasbir Puar, Rutgers University

P19-291 African Association for the Study of Religion
11/19/2011 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM
“There is Something In Me”: Narratives of Lesbian and Transgender Sangomas in Contemporary South Africa
Rachel Schneider Vlachos, Rice University

S19-214 Gender, Sexuality, and the Bible: Theme: Material Embodiments and Contemporary Practices
11/19/2011 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Gagnon's Unnatural Homosexual and Wittig's Monstrous Lesbian
Gillian Townsley, University of Otago
Looks at “The Bible and Homosexual Practice” by Robert Gagnon and “The Lesbian Body” by Monique Wittig

A19-302 Gender Theory, Intersectionality, and Justice Cluster
Saturday - 4:00 pm-6:30 pm
I am ___: Queer/Ethnic Identity in Contemporary Western Contexts
Jared Vazquez, Phillips Theological Seminary
“a way forward will be articulated for queer ethnic (namely Caribbean latina/os) people in the United States”

A19-305:  North American Religions Section: Theme: Rethinking Key Paradigms in American Religion: "Black Church," "Queering Religion," "Nature Religion," and "Material Culture"
Saturday - 4:00 pm-6:30 pm
Captive Bodies, Queer Religions: Scripting North American Religious Difference
Megan Goodwin, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

A19–405 LGBTIQ Scholars/Scholars of LGBTIQ Studies Reception
Saturday — 8:00 PM–10:00 PM

Sunday, Nov. 20
A20-131 Religion and Sexuality Consultation: Theme: Contesting Bodies, Configuring Sexuality
Sunday - 9:00 am-11:30 am
"I Am a Daughter of My Heavenly Father": Transsexual Mormons and Performed Gender Essentialism
Jill Peterfeso, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Sexual Diversity, Islamic Jurisprudence, and Sociality
Nadeem Mahomed, University of Johannesburg

A20–137 SWP, REM, and LGBTIQ Women’s Mentoring Lunch
Sunday  — 11:45 AM–12:45 PM
Sponsored by the Status of Women in the Profession Committee; Status of Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the Profession Committee, and the Status of LGBTIQ Persons in the Profession Committee

A20-233 Queer Studies in Religion Group and Religion and Cities Group: Theme: Queer Practices in San Francisco
Sunday - 1:00 pm-2:30 pm
L. Benjamin Rolsky, Drew University, Presiding

Sharon Fennema, Graduate Theological Union
Strategies of Theodicy in an Epidemic: Worship, HIV/AIDS, and the Intimacy of God at the Metropolitan Community Church, San Francisco
(Her research includes an interview with the author of this blog, Kittredge Cherry!)

Anthony Hoshaw, Chicago Theological Seminary
The Apostle Paul's "Queer Politics"?

Jeff Wilson, University of Waterloo
"All Beings are Equally Embraced by Amida Buddha": Jodo Shinshu Buddhism and Same-Sex Marriage in North America

Drew Bourn, Stanford University

A20-207 Religion and Politics Section: Theme: The Front Lines of the Culture Wars
Sunday - 1:00 pm-2:30 pm
Includes, among others:
Interreligious Activism in Support of Marriage Equality
Helene Slessarev-Jamir, Claremont School of Theology

A20-275 Lesbian-Feminisms in Conversation with Disability Studies
Sunday — 3:00 PM–4:30 PM
Marie Cartier, California State University, Northridge, Presiding

Julia Watts Belser, Missouri State University
Brides and Blemishes: Queering Women’s Disability in the Babylonian Talmud

Heike Peckruhn, Iliff School of Theology and University of Denver
Sensing Limitations and/in Constructive Body Theologies

Marion S. Grau, Graduate Theological Union
Redeeming Bodies: Cyborgs, Transhumanist Fantasies, Disability, and the Ends of Embodiment

Janet R. Jakobsen, Barnard College, Responding

A20-267 Black Theology Group: Theme: (In)Visible Lives: A Critical Conversation on Roger A. Sneed's Representations of Homosexuality: Black Liberation Theology and Cultural Criticism (Black Religion/Womanist Thought/Social Justice) (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)
Sunday - 3:00 pm-4:30 pm
Pamela Lightsey, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Presiding
Ronald Neal, Wake Forest University
Patrick S. Cheng, Episcopal Divinity School
Margaret Aymer, Interdenominational Theological Center
Almeda Wright, Pfeiffer University
Roger A. Sneed, Furman University

S20-335 Reading, Theory and the Bible: Theme: Judith Butler and Biblical Interpretation
11/20/2011 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Trans Formations: Judith Butler, David Reimer, and the Dance of King David
Teresa Hornsby, Drury University

A20-319 Gay Men and Religion Group: Theme: Slippery Texts/Queer Hermeneutics
Sunday — 5:00 PM–6:30 PM
W. Scott Haldeman, Chicago Theological Seminary, Presiding

Christopher Ashley, Union Theological Seminary
Practices of Discernment and Prophecy in Angels in America

Devan Hite, Chicago Theological Seminary
“That They Might Have Joy”: Toward a Postheteronormative, Gay Mormon Heremeneutic

Karen Bray, Drew University
Don’t Cry for Me Walter Brueggemann: Camp as Queer Lament

Catherine Roach, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Responding

A20-315 Bible, Theology, and Postmodernity Group
Sunday - 5:00 pm-6:30 pm
The Body of Christ as a Queer Community
Adriaan Van Klinken, Utrecht University

A20-328 Ritual Studies Group: Theme: Case Studies in Ritual Practice
Sunday - 5:00 pm-6:30 pm
Dismantling Gender: Between Ancient Gnostic Ritual and Modern Queer BDSM
Jonathan Cahana, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Monday, Nov. 21
A21-116 Gay Men and Religion Group and Lesbian-Feminist Issues and Religion Group:
Theme: Queer Eclipses: The Future of Gendered Sexual Identities in the Study of Religion
Monday — 9:00 AM–11:30 AM
Yvonne Zimmerman, Methodist Theological School, Ohio, Presiding

Thelathia Young, Emory University, Sara Rosenau, Drew University, and Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology
Intersectional Bodies: Disrupting Queerness in Religious Discourse

John Howell, University of Chicago
Stonewalled: Orthodoxy, Heresy, and Rhetorical Violence in the Gay Generation Gap

E. L. Kornegay, Chicago Theological Seminary
Baldwin on Top: Towards a Heteroanomalous Queer Calculus
Explores author James Baldwin's use of queerness to create radical inclusivity

Mary E. Hunt, Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual, and Patrick S. Cheng, Episcopal Divinity School, Responding

S21-228 LGBT/Queer Hermeneutics: Theme: Wisdom's Women
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM 11/21/2011
Robert von Thaden, Mercyhurst College, Presiding

Angela Yarber, Graduate Theological Union
Undulating the Holy: The Shulamite’s Dance and Queer Sexuality in Song of Songs 7:1-4

Melanie A. Howard, Princeton Theological Seminary
Wiles of the Wicked Transvestite: The Queering of Gender and Boundaries in 4Q184
A queer reading of documents from Qumran, 4Q184

Shannon McAlister, Catholic University of America
Jesus the Woman: Wisdom’s Gender-Bender in the Patristic and Medieval Interpretation of Luke 15:8-10

A21–315 Asian North American Religion, Culture, and Society Group: Theme: Coming Home: LGBTQ Asian Americans and Religious Communities
Monday — 4:00 PM–6:30 PM
Devin Singh, Yale University, Presiding
Michael Sepidoza Campos, Graduate Theological Union
Elizabeth Leung, Pacific School of Religion
Gina Masequesmay, California State University, Northridge
Su Yon Pak, Union Theological Seminary
Patrick S. Cheng, Episcopal Divinity School, Responding

A21-324 Lesbian-Feminist Issues and Religion Group: Theme: Borderlands and Lesbian Nation: Sacred Space?
Monday — 4:00 PM–6:30 PM
Many presentations in this session are based on Gloria Anzaldúa’s book Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza
Marie Cartier, Claremont Graduate University and California State University, Northridge, Presiding

Kathleen Douglass, Iliff School of Theology and University of Denver
Vibrating Spaces: Transformational Relating in Borderland Space

An Yountae, Drew University
Amor Fronterizo y el Renacimiento de la Tierra Madre: Dialectics of Love in the Borderland/Homeland

Margaret Robinson, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Your Borders are Not My Boundaries: A Fence-sitting Halfbreed Reads La Frontera

Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Iliff School of Theology and University of Denver
Must I be a Lesbian Feminist?: Borderlands as the Si(gh)te for a Queer Mestizo

A21-303 American Religion in the Age of AIDS
Monday - 4:00 pm-6:30 pm
Lynne Gerber, University of California, Berkeley
“Is Everyone Healed but Me?”: AIDS at Thirty in a Queer San Francisco Church

Amy Koehlinger, Florida State University
Passionate Play: Catholicism and Damien Ministries
Argues that Damien Ministries is best understood through the rubric of passionate, queer play.

Anthony Petro, New York University
After the Wrath of God: American Christians and the Biopolitics of AIDS

Mark Jordan, Harvard University

S21-302 Strategy Session for Non-Traditional Hermeneutics
11/21/2011 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Involves SBL's LGBT/Queer Hermeneutics program unit plus many others.

A21–401 Film: We Were Here: Voices from the AIDS Years in San Francisco
Monday — 8:00 PM–10:00 PM
The film documents the coming of what was called the “Gay Plague” in the early 1980s.

A21-400 Film: La Mission
Monday - 8:00 pm-10:00 pm
In San Francisco's Mission District, a macho father (played by Benjamin Bratt) struggles when he finds out that his son is gay.

Tuesday, Nov. 22
A22-124 Queer Studies in Religion Group: Theme: Queerly Rereading Texts and Traditions
Tuesday - 9:00 am-11:30 am
Thelathia Young, Emory University, Presiding

Ahmed Ragab, Harvard University
Bodies in Transformation: Castration and Castrates in Medieval Islamic Society

Jay Michaelson, Hebrew University
Queering Kabbalistic Gender Performance: Possibilities for a Contemporary Queer Theology

Lisa Brooks, University of Colorado
Karma as an "Apparatus": The Etiology of Queer Sexualities in Classical Ayurveda

Jessica A. Boon, Southern Methodist University
Intersex Theology?: Juana de la Cruz (1481–1534), Transgender Miracles, and Marian Authority

S22-125 Joint Session With: LGBT/Queer Hermeneutics, Disability Studies and Healthcare in the Bible and Near East: Theme: Intersections: Disability and Queer Theory in Conversation
11/22/2011 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Lynn Huber, Elon University, Presiding

David Tabb Stewart, California State University, Long Beach
Severe Bodies
The man who is a full castrato (Deut 23) and the woman with a prolapsed uterus (Num 5) have the most severely disabled sexual bodies in the Hebrew Bible.

Anna Rebecca Solevag, Universitetet i Oslo
No Nuts? No Problem! The Baptized Eunuch in Acts 8:26-40

Miranda N. Pillay, University of the Western Cape
Healing in the New Testament: Towards Integrating Individual and Societal Intervention Strategies in an AIDS Era

Deborah Creamer, Iliff School of Theology, Respondent

A22-121 Latina/o Religion, Culture, and Society Group: Theme: Hot Rods, Cool Music, and the Queering of Familia: Perspectives on the Film La Mission through Sexuality, Popular Religion, and Violence
Tuesday - 9:00 am-11:30 am
Elias Ortega-Aponte, Princeton University, Presiding
Wendy Arce, Graduate Theological Union
Patrick Reyes, Boston University
Raul Rico, Boston University
Orlando Espin, University of San Diego
Jacqueline Hidalgo, Williams College
UPDATE: A couple of readers asked Are the AAR-SBL presentations available in any way to people who can't attend?

The panels are usually not recorded or available in printed form, but abstracts of some of the papers are online now. Visit the AAR and SLB links below, go to the online program books and start searching. You can also try contacting the speakers directly.

It’s not easy to get access to this information. The Jesus in Love AAR-SBL guide offers a rare glimpse into the fairly private world of scholarship-in-the-making.

For more info, visit:

American Academy of Religion

Society of Biblical Literature

Here’s another resource for those who want to follow the latest research and scholarship of various LGBT theologians (and others).

Here are some of the LGBTQ books and films that will be discussed in depth at AAR 2011:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Queer theology of sainthood emerges on Episcopal Divinity School blog

My article “A Queer Theology of Sainthood Emerges” is today’s top story at 99 Brattle, the prestigious blog of the Episcopal Divinity School.

The article begins, “A queer theology of sainthood is emerging now as LGBT people seek and find alternative ways to lead loving lives. Saints have been criticized as tools for enforcing conformity, but the desire for LGBT saints is springing up from the grassroots -- and the need is largely being met by individuals, not religious institutions.”

I go on to consider LGBT saints from a viewpoint that is “queer” as defined by theologian Patrick Cheng in his book “Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology.” It can be an umbrella term for marginalized sexualities and gender identities. But Cheng explains that the term also denotes an attitude: “In recent years, the word ‘queer’ has been used by many LGBT people as a positive label that proudly embraces all that is transgressive or opposed to societal norms, particularly with respect to sexuality and gender identity.”

Read the whole article at this link:

I’m honored be among the renowned theologians and scholars at the 99 Brattle Blog, including Carter Heyward, Mary Hunt, Chris Glaser, Kwok Pui-lan, Patrick Cheng, Rita Nakashima Brock, and Toby Johnson.

The 99 Brattle Blog bills itself as “progressive theology and critical thinking to transform the world.” May the queer saints be with them!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Feminism and Religion Blog features Kittredge Cherry on LGBT saints

Logo for Feminism and Religion Blog by Jaysen Waller

My reflection on how feminism helps identify LGBT saints is the top story at the Feminism and Religion Blog today.

The article begins, “Feminists have criticized saints as top-down tools of the dominant morality, but as a lesbian Christian I find that sometimes the opposite is true. The desire for saints rises from the grassroots, and LGBT saints can shake up the status quo. Feminist theology is helping me in a quest for new models of sainthood that lead to LGBT and queer saints.”

I go on to explore how my LGBT Saints Series was influenced by feminist theologians and philosophers such as Elizabeth Stuart, Rosemary Radford Ruether and Mary Daly.  Read the whole article at this link:


I am honored to be a guest blogger among the renowned theologians and scholars at the Feminism and Religion Blog, including Starhawk, Carol Christ, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Mary Hunt, and Zsuzsanna Budapest. Look for more of my work there in the future.

The Feminism and Religion Blog explores feminism in religion and the intersection between scholarship, activism, and community. It was launched earlier this year because “important work in women’s studies in religion continues as more attention is paid to the intersection between gender, race, culture, and sexual identity, within feminism and religion.”

They also ran my pieces “Artemisia Gentileschi: Baroque artist and rape survivor painted strong Biblical women” and “Mary’s Feast Rooted in Lesbian Goddesses Diana and Artemis.” Here’s how the Feminism and Religion Blog describes me: “The following is a guest post written by Rev. Kittredge Cherry, lesbian Christian author and art historian who blogs about LGBT spirituality and the arts at the Jesus in Love Blog. Her books include Equal Rites and Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More.”

The Feminism and Religion Blog logo was designed by artist Jaysen Waller in the spirit of inclusivity. The image celebrates and encourages feminist voices in all religions, although it is impossible to name every tradition. The spiraling center has been designed to symbolize Goddess spirituality and the traditions are named in the order of their founding rather than East/West to avoid separatist and dualistic notions.

Special thanks to Xochitl Alvizo, my sponsor at the Feminism and Religion blog! She is a feminist theologian who is completing her doctorate at Boston University School of Theology.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

All Saints Day: Why we need LGBT saints

“The Forerunners of Christ with Saints and Martyrs” by Fra Angelico, 1428-30, Wikimedia Commons

LGBT saints are important because people are searching for alternative ways to lead loving lives. Churches have tried to control people by burying queer history. The LGBT saints show us not only THEIR place in history, but also OUR place -- because we are all saints who are meant to embody love. We can tap into the energy of our ancestors in faith. For some they become friends and helpers, working miracles as simple as a reminding us that “you are not alone.”

For a new version of this article, click this link to Qspirit.net:
Why we need LGBTQ saints: A queer theology of sainthood

On All Saints Day, I offer reflections on what I have learned by writing more than 40 profiles in the LGBT Saints Series over the past two years. This is my queer theology of sainthood.

At first I thought that LGBT saints were rare. Gradually I came to see that they are everywhere throughout all time and they are among us now. We have all met saints in our lives. They are ordinary people who are also extraordinary.

Sergius and Bacchus
by Robert Lentz
Who are the LGBT and queer saints? If you want specific names, visit the new LGBT Saints page that I’m launching today at http://jesusinlove.org/saints.php.

One of the greatest challenges has been to figure out who is a “saint” and who is “LGBT.” If the boundaries of sainthood are slippery, then the definition LGBT is even more fluid.

Most mainstream churches would not canonize any saints who were openly LGBT, so we must claim our own saints. It’s important to re-evaluate familiar figures as well as to recover those who have been lost and recognize the saints of our own time.

Traditional stories of the saints tend to be overly pious, presenting idealized super-heroes who seem distant and irrelevant. Saints have been used to get people to passively accept oppressive situations. Too often the saints have been put on a pedestal to glorify virginity and masochistic suffering. The emphasis on miracles disrespects nature, the ongoing miracle of life. Feminists have criticized saints as tools of the dominant morality, but for me the opposite is true: LGBT saints can shake up the status quo. We can restore the complex reality of saints whose lives are being hijacked by the hagiographies and hierarchy to enforce the status quo. Queer saints can help reclaim the wholeness, connecting sexuality and spirituality for the good of all.

Perpetua and Felicity
by Robert Lentz
I began writing about LGBT saints after finishing a series of books on the queer Christ (Jesus in Love novels and Art That Dares). Many people told me that they couldn’t relate to a gay Jesus, but they liked the idea that his followers were LGBT. Church leaders have used saints to impose control from the top down, but the desire for saints springs naturally from the grassroots. People are drawn to the presence of spiritual power in the lives of the saints, and their willingness to use that power for others, even at great cost to themselves. Saints attract others with the quality of their love, even though their personal lives may not be “saintly.”

I was aware of new research and art about LGBT saints, so I was shocked to discover that it was not easily available online. Largely due to the church’s crackdown on LGBT spirituality, much of it was buried under obscure code names like “images that challenge” -- if it was available on the Internet at all.

As an independent blogger, I am free to put LGBT saints out there where more people can find and benefit from them. I decided to uncover and highlight holy heroes and role models to inspire LGBT people of faith and our allies. The positive response quickly affirmed that people are hungry to connect with queer people of faith who have gone before.

What is a saint?
My definition of who qualifies as a “LGBT saint” continues to expand. First I included saints officially canonized by the church, but I soon discovered that many have achieved “sainthood” by popular acclaim. The church didn’t even have a formal canonization process for its first 1,000 years. Ultimately all believers, living and dead, can be called “saints,” a practice that began in the early church. Yes, we are all saints!

Dictionaries define a saint as “a holy person” or “an extremely virtuous person.” I rather like the concept of sainthood that emerged in comments on this blog during a discussion of the post “Artist shows sensuous gay saints.” Atlanta artist Trudie Barreras wrote: “My definition of saint has absolutely nothing to do with what the hierarchical church defines, and everything to do with the quality of love displayed.” Or, as gay author Toby Johnson commented, “Being a saint means creating more love in the world.”

Joan of Arc
by Robert Lentz
Sainthood comes in many different forms. Some become saints by leading an exemplary life, but the surest path to sainthood is to risk or lose one’s for the good of others. As Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13). Martyrs, from the Greek word for “to bear witness,” are a common type of saint.

Whether or not they died as martyrs, the lives of the saints were indeed difficult. Our lives are difficult too -- and that can become a point of connection. Like today’s LGBT Christians, the saints sometimes faced opposition from within the church. Some martyrs, including cross-dresser Joan of Arc, were killed not FOR the church, but BY the church!

What is LGBT?
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer did not exist as categories throughout most of the history in which the saints lived. A convenient way around this dilemma is to say that LGBT saints are those of special interest to LGBT people and our allies.

Harvey Milk
by Robert Lentz
Some deny the existence of historical LGBT saints because it’s almost impossible to prove their sexual activity. However, same-sex love does not have to be sexually consummated for someone to be honored as an LGBT saint. Deep love between two people of the same gender is enough. Homosexuality is more than sexual conduct. The American Psychological Association defines sexual orientation as “an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions.” The dominant Christian culture tried to suppress overt homosexuality, so any hint of homosexuality that survives in the historical record should be given extra significance. Many official saints were nuns or monks living in same-gender convents or monasteries.  Naturally their primary emotional attachments were to people of the same gender. Soon almost all saints seem LGBT!

Let us be inspired by the LGBT saints who surround us as a “great cloud of witnesses” and commit ourselves to our own queer paths toward sainthood.
Update on Nov. 12, 2011:
I have expanded on the ideas presented here by writing theological reflections based on feminist and queer theology at the following two blogs:

Feminism and Religion Blog: Feminism leads to a queer theology of sainthood

99 Brattle (Episcopal Divinity School blog): A queer theology of sainthood emerges
Related links:

LGBT Saints list at JesusInLove.org

Who are the "Queer Saints and Martyrs"? by Terence Weldon (Queering the Church)

LGBT-friendly memorial for All Saints, All Souls and Day of the Dead

An All Hallows' Eve Vigil to Begin Transgender Awareness Month by H. Adam Ackley (Huff Post)

LGBT litany of the saints: Harvey Milk, pray for us; Joan of Arc, pray for us... by Rachel Waltz

Santos Queer (LGBT Saints by Kittredge Cherry in Spanish / en español)

A Litany of All the Saints by James Kiefer

TrinityStores.com (innovative icons, including some LGBT saints)

Sanctity And Male Desire: A Gay Reading Of Saints by Donald Boisvert

Spitting at Dragons: Towards a Feminist Theology of Sainthood by Elizabeth Stuart

Passionate Holiness: Marginalized Christian Devotions for Distinctive People by Dennis O’Neill

Special thanks to CJ, Sage, Terence, Dennis, Liz, Trudie and Toby for comments and conversation that helped me develop this queer theology of sainthood.

New web pages show LGBT saints, holidays, artists and queer Christ

Today JesusInLove.org launches four major new web pages on LGBT saints, holidays, artists and the queer Christ. They are announced now for All Saints Day.

“We created the new pages to give people an easy way to find the LGBT spiritual resources that they want,” says Kittredge Cherry, founder of JesusInLove.org. The website promotes LGBT spirituality and the arts.

The new pages provide user-friendly lists of links to resources at the Jesus in Love Blog. The four pages are:

The LGBT Saints page honors 44 traditional Christian, alternative and interfaith saints, martyrs, mystics, heroes, holy people, deities and religious figures of special interest to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people and our allies. The page lists 29 traditional and 15 alternative figures from the LGBT Saints Series by lesbian Christian author Kittredge Cherry at the Jesus in Love Blog. People on the list include well known historical figures such as Jonathan and David and Joan of Arc, non-Christians such as Krishna and Rumi, and contemporary “saints” such as Harvey Milk. Visit the page at http://jesusinlove.org/saints.php

The Holidays page celebrates 66 religious and spiritual holidays, holy days, feast days, festivals, anniversaries, liturgical seasons and other occasions of special interest to LGBT and queer people of faith and our allies. The chronological list includes LGBT events such as Pride Month as well as queer interpretations of mainstream religious holidays such as Easter and Christmas. Visit the page at http://jesusinlove.org/holidays.php

The Queer Christ page begins with a short introduction that starts, “Every community presents Jesus in their own way. There’s black Jesus, Asian Jesus -- and now queer Jesus to heal the damage done in Christ’s name. The queer Christ embodies God’s wildly inclusive love for all.” The page features a list of links to 29 profiles of artists, writers, theologians and others who present the queer Christ. They include gay theologian Patrick Cheng, lesbian artist Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin, trans playwright Jo Clifford, and many more. Visit the page at http://jesusinlove.org/queer-christ.php

The Artists page highlights 33 artists who create LGBT and queer spiritual and religious images. Their art is needed now because conservatives are using religious rhetoric to justify discrimination against queer people. The page includes a wide variety of up-and-coming contemporary artists, historical figures such as Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, and controversial newsmakers such as Alma Lopez and David Wojnarowicz. Visit the page at http://jesusinlove.org/artists.php

All of these resource pages link to profiles and reflections written by Kittredge Cherry for the Jesus in Love Blog. The pages are works in progress and more material will be added later.

Jesus In Love promotes artistic and religious freedom and teaches love for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or religious faith. Founded by Cherry in 2005, it has grown to include a popular blog, e-newsletter, videos, image archive and an informal online community.