Tuesday, June 26, 2012

HuffPost runs our Rainbow Christ Prayer

Detail from “Christ and the Two Marys” by William Holman Hunt (Wikimedia Commons)

Huffington Post just published the new Rainbow Christ Prayer that I co-wrote with gay theologian Patrick Cheng. See it now at this link:


(Update on July 7, 2012: The backlash came when Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, a conservative Christian hate group posted an attack titled Blasphemy 101: ‘Lesbian Christian’ Kittredge Cherry Offers ‘Rainbow Christ Prayer.’ Click here for more info.)

The prayer matches the colors of the rainbow flag with models of the queer Christ and spiritual principles expressed in LGBT history culture. It grows out of the seven models of the queer Christ from Patrick’s new book From Sin to Amazing Grace: Discovering the Queer Christ.

In the article that goes with the prayer, I also discuss the history of the rainbow flag as a symbol of LGBT pride. Our Rainbow Christ Prayer is generating discussion on Facebook about the need to expand beyond the name LGBT to include the full spectrum of human diversity.

Related link:
Rainbow Christ Prayer: LGBT flag reveals the queer Christ

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rainbow Christ Prayer: LGBT flag reveals the queer Christ

Colors of the rainbow flag reveal the many faces of the queer Christ in the following Rainbow Christ Prayer by lesbian Christian author Kittredge Cherry and gay theologian Patrick S. Cheng.

Rainbow flags are flying around the world in June for LGBT Pride Month. Rainbows are also an important symbol in many religious traditions. The Rainbow Christ Prayer honors the spiritual values of the LGBT movement.

For a new version of this article, click this link to Qspirit.net:
Rainbow Christ Prayer: LGBT flag reveals the queer Christ

The prayer matches the colors of the rainbow flag with the seven models of the queer Christ from Patrick Cheng’s book “From Sin to Amazing Grace: Discovering the Queer Christ.”

The prayer has been translated into 10 languages: Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Polish, Portuguese and Russian.

Progressive Christians believe that homosexuality is not a sin. Scholars say that the Bible does not condemn loving same-sex relationships. Therefore churches should accept and affirm LGBT people. The Rainbow Christ Prayer grows out of the understanding that LGBT people are a natural part of God’s creation.

Let us pray...

Rainbow Christ, you embody all the colors of the world. Rainbows serve as bridges between different realms: heaven and earth, east and west, queer and non-queer. Inspire us to remember the values expressed in the rainbow flag of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

Red is for life, the root of spirit. Living and Self-Loving Christ, you are our Root. Free us from shame and grant us the grace of healthy pride so we can follow our own inner light. With the red stripe in the rainbow, we give thanks that God created us just the way we are.

Orange is for sexuality, the fire of spirit. Erotic Christ, you are our Fire, the Word made flesh. Free us from exploitation and grant us the grace of mutual relationships. With the orange stripe in the rainbow, kindle a fire of passion in us.

Yellow is for self-esteem, the core of spirit. Out Christ, you are our Core. Free us from closets of secrecy and give us the guts and grace to come out. With the yellow stripe in the rainbow, build our confidence.

Green is for love, the heart of spirit. Transgressive Outlaw Christ, you are our Heart, breaking rules out of love. In a world obsessed with purity, you touch the sick and eat with outcasts. Free us from conformity and grant us the grace of deviance. With the green stripe in the rainbow, fill our hearts with untamed compassion for all beings.

Blue is for self-expression, the voice of spirit. Liberator Christ, you are our Voice, speaking out against all forms of oppression. Free us from apathy and grant us the grace of activism. With the blue stripe in the rainbow, motivate us to call for justice.

Violet is for vision, the wisdom of spirit. Interconnected Christ, you are our Wisdom, creating and sustaining the universe. Free us from isolation and grant us the grace of interdependence. With the violet stripe in the rainbow, connect us with others and with the whole creation.

Rainbow colors come together to make one light, the crown of universal consciousness. Hybrid and All-Encompassing Christ, you are our Crown, both human and divine. Free us from rigid categories and grant us the grace of interwoven identities. With the rainbow, lead us beyond black-and-white thinking to experience the whole spectrum of life.

Rainbow Christ, you light up the world. You make rainbows as a promise to support all life on earth. In the rainbow space, we can see all the hidden connections between sexualities, genders and races. Like the rainbow, may we embody all the colors of the world! Amen.

Detail from “Christ and the Two Marys” by William Holman Hunt (Wikimedia Commons)

I got the idea for the Rainbow Christ Prayer as I reflected on Patrick Cheng’s models of the queer Christ. Patrick and I each spent years developing the ideas expressed in the Rainbow Christ Prayer. It incorporates rainbow symbolism from queer culture, from Christian tradition and from the Buddhist/Hindu concept of chakras, the seven colored energy centers of the human body. The prayer is ideal for use when lighting candles in a rainbow candle holder.

Kittredge Cherry with Rainbow Candles (photo by Audrey)

The Rainbow Christ Prayer has been welcomed and used by many progressive Christian communities and denounced as blasphemy by conservatives at Americans for Truth About Homosexuality.)

I first wrote about linking the colors of the rainbow flag to queer spirituality in my 2009 reflection on Bridge of Light, a winter holiday honoring LGBT culture. Meanwhile Patrick was working on his models of the queer Christ based on LGBT experience. In 2010 he presented five models of the queer Christ in his essay “Rethinking Sin and Grace for LGBT People” at the Jesus in Love Blog (and as a chapter in the book “Sexuality and the Sacred: Sources for Theological Reflection.”)

In a moment of inspiration I realized that Patrick’s various queer Christ models matched the colors of the rainbow flag. Patrick and I joined forces and the Rainbow Christ Prayer was born.

 Patrick Cheng and Kittredge Cherry

With wonderful synchronicity, Patrick had already added two more queer Christ models, so he now had seven models to match the seven principles from Bridge of Light. He wrote a detailed explanation of all seven models in his book “From Sin to Amazing Grace: Discovering the Queer Christ,” published in spring 2012 by Seabury Books. The following year Patrick authored “Rainbow Theology: Bridging Race, Sexuality, and Spirit.”

For more on the history and meaning of the rainbow flag, see my Huffington Post article Rainbow Christ Prayer honors LGBT spirituality.

Gay spirituality author Joe Perez helped lay the groundwork for this prayer in 2004 when he founded the interfaith and omni-denominational winter ritual known as Bridge of Light. People celebrate Bridge of Light by lighting candles, one for every color of the rainbow flag. Each color corresponds to a universal spiritual principle that is expressed in LGBT history and culture. I worked with Joe to revise the Bridge of Light guidelines based on my on own meditations on the chakras and their connections to the colors of the rainbow flag.

The symbolism of the rainbow resonates far beyond the LGBT flag. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the rainbow stands for God’s promise to support all life on earth. It plays an important role in the story of Noah’s Ark. After the flood, God places a rainbow in the sky, saying, “Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” (Genesis 9:15-16). In the Book of Revelation, a rainbow encircles the throne of Christ in heaven.

Image credit: “Stained-glass Rainbow Flag with Cross (Baner enfys gwydr lliw gyda Chroes)” by Andrew Craig Williams
Related links:

Rainbow Christ Prayer translated into 10 languages

Rainbow Christ Prayer goes nationwide at churches, schools and events (2014)

Rethinking Sin and Grace for LGBT People by Patrick Cheng (Jesus in Love)

Welcome the New Year with Bridge of Light by Kittredge Cherry (Jesus in Love)

Rainbow Christ Prayer at Huffington Post

Rainbow Christ Prayer short version

Rainbow flag (Wikipedia)

Patrick Cheng's website and Twitter feed

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.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My first LGBT Pride march, 1986

Kittredge Cherry, second from right, at the Lesbian and Gay Freedom Day Parade in San Francisco, on June 29, 1986. Her partner Audrey is third from right.

One of the happiest days of my life was my first lesbian and gay freedom march in June 1986. (Back then, 26 years ago, we didn’t yet use the terms “LGBT” or “Pride.”)

My partner Audrey and I had recently moved to San Francisco after a rough coming-out process with our families and friends. We found a new lesbian- and gay-affirming community by joining Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco. But we were still afraid when our new friends invited us to march in the Freedom Day parade with them. We were held back by the years spent hiding our love in closets of shame. We told our friends that we would watch the parade from the sidelines.

When the big day came, I was stunned to see queer people of all kinds proudly marching by the hundred while thousands more clapped and cheered. The people in the parade showed me a seemingly endless variety of ways to be gay, from “dykes on bikes” to outrageous drag queens. News reports estimated the crowd at 100,000. It seemed like LGBT people had taken over the whole city, marching down Market Street while rainbow flags hung from the street lights all the way to City Hall.

Then we saw our friends approach with the Metropolitan Community Church banner. Audrey and I couldn’t watch from the curb any longer. We decided together instantly: “Let’s go!”

We ran into the street and grabbed the banner. My heart soared. A friend snapped a photo to record our joy. It truly was Freedom Day, the day that this lesbian broke free of shame and learned to let her love shine.

The smile on my face says it all: I'm free to be me!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Stonewall's LGBT history painted: Interview with Sandow Birk

“The Battle of Stonewall - 1969” by Sandow Birk

Queer people battle police in paintings of the Stonewall riots by California artist Sandow Birk. His monumental art honors the 1969 Stonewall uprising that launched the modern LGBT civil rights movement.

Sandow Birk
“As an artist, the Stonewall Riots were the perfect subject -- transvestites battling cops in riot gear on horses?! Who doesn't want to paint that?! Drama, chaos, and social justice all in one go!” Birk says in my interview with him below.

Birk did extensive research and used the techniques of classic historical painting to put Stonewall into heroic context in a big way. The oil paintings in his Stonewall series are enormous, measuring up to 10 feet wide. These monumental paintings honor LGBT history and inspire the ongoing struggle for liberation. The importance of the subject is matched by the talent of the artist to create masterpieces for our time. They show that the contemporary LGBT rights movement is part of a glorious history of humans fighting for freedom, equality and justice.

When LGBT people fought back against police harassment at New York City’s Stonewall Inn in June 1969, it was the first time that queer people rebelled against government persecution of homosexuality. LGBT Pride Month is celebrated every June to commemorate Stonewall.

“The riots are one of the turning points in American (if not, world) history and I’m absolutely sure there will be a monument on the Mall in Washington DC for Stonewall in the future,” Birk says.

”Portrait of Jim Fouratt and Craig Rodwell (Stonewall 1969)” by Sandow Birk

Before Stonewall, police often raided gay bars, where customers submitted willingly to arrest. The Stonewall Inn catered to the poorest and most marginalized queer people: drag queens, transgenders, hustlers and homeless youth.

Witnesses disagree about who was the first to defy the police raid in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969. It was either a drag queen or a butch lesbian. Soon the crowd was pelting the officers with coins, bottles, bricks and the like. News of the uprising spread quickly. Hundreds gathered on the street and a riot-control police unit arrived. Violence continued as some chanted, “Gay power!” That night 13 people were arrested and some hospitalized. Disturbances continued for five days, getting national attention and sparking a movement that continues to the present.

“June 29, 1969 (Stonewall)” by Sandow Birk

Birk painted the series in 1999 for the 30th anniversary of Stonewall, and his Stonewall paintings have continued to gain stature. Theys have been exhibited in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The series goes beyond the Stonewall rebellion to portray scenes of customers relaxing inside the Stonewall Inn and later events inspired by Stonewall. These include the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights and a 1998 candlelight vigil for Matthew Shepard, who was murdered in a high-profile gay bashing.

"The Candlelight Vigil for Matthew Shepard (NYC Oct. 19, 1998)” by Sandow Birk

The crown jewel of the series, “The Battle of Stonewall - 1969” (top), was purchased by the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California for its permanent collection in 2008. The artist puts modern figures into a composition based on the classic painting “The Battle of Mons-en-Pévèle - 1304” by 19th-century French artist Charles Philippe Lariviere. It shows the 1304 battle between the French and the Flemish. In both cases, the physically superior side attacked those who were considered weaker, but the underdogs won and gained their freedom. Birk updates the scene, replacing swords with police batons and turning flags into “Gay Power” banners. The knight in shining armor is replaced by a drag queen in mascara and high heels.

“The Battle of Mons-en-Pévèle - 1304” by Charles Philippe Larivière (Wikipedia)

Birk’s art frequently addresses social issues, such as war, inner-city violence and prisons. Based in Los Angeles, Birk is a graduate of the Otis/Parson's Art Institute. He received an NEA International Travel Grant to Mexico City in 1995 to study mural painting, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996, and a Fulbright Fellowship for painting to Rio de Janeiro for 1997. In 1999 he was awarded a Getty Fellowship for painting, followed by a City of Los Angeles (COLA) Fellowship in 2001. In 2007 he was an artist in residence at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, and at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2008. He collaborated on an award-winning new book and film version of Dante’s Divine Comedy, in which Dante and Virgil wander in the afterlife, discussing faith and philosophy with historical figures. His most recent work is American Qur'an, an ongoing project to hand-transcribe the entire Qur’an and illuminate the text with relevant scenes from contemporary American life.

Birk discusses his Stonewall series in the following interview with art historian Kittredge Cherry, author of “Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More.”

Kittredge Cherry: What were you doing when Stonewall happened back in June 1969? What impact did Stonewall have on you?

Sandow Birk: I'm not that old. I was 6 years old when the Stonewall Riots happened and I had no idea they were going on. I was living in suburban Los Angeles and learning to ride a skateboard. The first similar thing I remember was the Sex Pistols tour in America making it onto the nightly news when I was 15 or 16 and it blowing my mind. I was instantly super into punk rock and it changed my life - for the better.

But the Stonewall Riots have since become really important for me - as an artist and as an American. The riots are one of the turning points in American (if not, world) History and I'm absolutely sure there will be a monument on the Mall in Washington DC for Stonewall in the future. It might take a generation or two or three, but it has to happen. It is the last segment of American society who is still not "created equal", and it's been 236 years since the Constitution was written. It's time.

KC: What did you hope to communicate by creating monumental-sized paintings of the lesbian and gay rights struggle in the context of great art from history?

SB: I have to admit that I sort of stumbled on the Stonewall Riots and then really took them to heart. As a straight kid growing up I had never heard of them, of course, and then when searching for something contemporary and at the same "historic" as a theme for my first show in New York, I sort of stumbled on Stonewall and started learning more about it. The more I learned the more fascinated I became, both with the Riots and struggle for Civil Rights in America. As an artist, the Stonewall Riots were the perfect subject - transvestites battling cops in riot gear on horses?! Who doesn't want to paint that?! Drama, chaos, and social justice all in one go! It's a perfect and valid subject and I keep meaning to go back to it. But in the more serious sense, the idea that the civil rights struggle was still going on - that was something I hadn't really considered, that there was something I could do and be involved in and believe and paint about. It was an interesting project for me as it took my artwork from being about the history of art and painting in our times, to being about those things and more, about social justice in our times. And it's been something I've remained interested in as an artist in the world today.

KC: How many paintings are in the series? I have seen the 8 on your website plus "The Provocation." 

SB: I believe there were about 15 or 16 works in the whole series, which was all shown at once in New York over the 30th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in the summer of 1999. They were shown at the Earl McGrath Gallery on 57th St. Besides the paintings you mentioned, there were a series of small ink drawings and wall panel texts that were meant to be taken as a whole in the exhibition. The exhibition was meant as if it was an actual historical exhibit about the events, albeit with humor and history and the idea of 20th Century History Painting combining into an odd, hopefully thought-provoking show.

KC: Your Stonewall series has a photojournalistic quality. Are these real individuals in real scenes that actually happened as pictured? What process did you use to ensure historical accuracy?

SB: The idea of "historical accuracy" in the role of painting in contemporary times was actually the crux of the concept of the show for me. I had done a series of paintings about a fictional war in California that were basically spoofs of the idea of History painting being worthwhile in contemporary Los Angeles. But with the Stonewall paintings I was actually asking myself, what if I attempted to do "serious" History paintings in the 20th/21st Century? Is that possible? So I spent a lot of time in attempting to do just that - paint history. I went to the places in West Village where the events occurred and took photos and did sketches. I contacted people who had been there and researched as much as I could. I even got fashion magazines from 1969 and painted the characters in my paintings dressed in the clothes of the time. One example I remember is that a lot of the oral history of the beginning of the riots mentions beer bottles and cans being thrown. So I looked up what beer would have been served at the bars in the Village in 1969 and made sure I used Rolling Rock and Schlitz cans in the paintings.

KC: I know that "The Battle of Stonewall" borrows design elements from "The Battle of Mons-en-Pévèle" by Larivière. Do all your Stonewall paintings include references to great art from history? What other works are these based on?

SB: Not all of my works are based on historical artworks but many of them are. Since one of my main concerns as a contemporary artist was really dealing with the idea of what History Painting might be at the turn of the 21st Century, I was always looking back to what History Painting was and how I could tie the glories and the tropes and the bombast of 18th and 19th Century History Painting into the events of our own lives, to reconsider how painting might remain relevant. So I liked when I could find traditional History Painting compositions from the past to use as frameworks to create new works about our own times, so that the connection between the past and the history of painting were evident in my own works. The fact that the painting by Larviere is rather unknown isn't important, but by using his composition what I hoped to convey was that - even if you don't know Larviere - one would get the sense that my own painting is coming out of that tradition.

KC: How does the Stonewall series relate to your current work such as the American Qur'an project?

SB: It doesn't really, except in the slow, pondering, step-by-step evolution of an artist that I'm not going to bore you with here. There are similar issues, but it would be too long to go into right now, and they mostly involve my interest in social issues, in artworks from the past that relate to our own times, and to themes and ideas that have been overlooked in America yet are crucial to understanding our country today.

Images courtesy of Koplin Del Rio Gallery, Culver City, CA
Related links:
Artist’s website: SandowBirk.com

Sandow Birk page at Amazon.com

Sacto museum acquires Stonewall piece (ebar.com)

History Repeats Itself – Stonewall Museum Art Piece (adium.me)

Saints of Stonewall launched LGBT rights movement (Jesus in Love)

Book: “Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution” by David Carter

Book: “Stonewall” by Martin Bauml Duberman

Video: “American Experience: Stonewall Uprising

This post is part of the Artists series by Kittredge Cherry at the Jesus in Love Blog. The series profiles artists who use lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and queer spiritual and religious imagery.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Trinity Sunday: Gay Passion of Christ series ends

24. The Trinity (from The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision) by Douglas Blanchard

“The grace of the Sovereign Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” -- 2 Corinthians 13:14 (Inclusive Language Lectionary)

An angelic figure blesses two men holding hands in “The Trinity,” the last image of 24 paintings in “The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision” by Douglas Blanchard. The painting can stand alone to affirm the holiness of gay couples, but it also serves as a meditation on the Christian Trinity: one God in three persons. Churches celebrate the Trinity on Trinity Sunday, which is today (June 3) this year. The trio gathers around a table set with milk, honey, and fruit, references to the Promised Land. The man draped in red reaches toward the viewer, inviting us to join them in the sunny garden. An arch in the background hints at the gate of heaven.

For a new version of this article, click this link to Qspirit.net:
Trinity Sunday: Holy Spirit blesses same-sex couple as Gay Passion of Christ series ends

“The Trinity” shows the transformation in Jesus (and the viewer) after experiencing Christ’s Passion. We move from the dark prison of the first painting to a bright land of promise, out of the closet, into the streets, and on to holy bliss. The artist has said that he intended this to be “a little glimpse of salvation, of the reward of the faithful.”

The winged woman in the golden robe is the same Holy Spirit who arrived in the previous painting. Viewers will be forgiven for wondering which man is Jesus. Blanchard, who is so adept at painting individual faces, gives the same face to all three, even the female Holy Spirit. The artist does this on purpose to emphasize the three-in-one nature of God. BOTH men have haloes and marks of crucifixion on their wrists.

One clue to their identities comes from the way the figures direct their attention. Both the Holy Spirit and the man in blue turn to look at the man in red. Their body language suggests that he is Jesus, the focus of this series, the one who just completed his heroic Passion journey. Like Jesus in the first painting of this series, the man in red gazes straight out from the image, meeting the eyes of the viewer His upper torso is naked, revealing the wound in his side and a radiant, muscular body. Surely this man is Jesus.

The Bible often says that Jesus will ascend to heaven and sit at the right hand of God. By that reckoning, the man in blue must be God, but he is not the usual Father figure of traditional Trinitarian imagery. He doesn’t look like “the Lord” and certainly not like Jesus’ father. In Blanchard’s universe, God’s identification with humanity is so complete that he and Jesus both share the crucifixion wounds. God and Jesus are identical young lovers in a mystic same-sex marriage. Mission accomplished, they sit together side by side in radical equality. As the historical Christian creeds say, they are “of one substance” and “coeternal, and coequal.”

They wear colors that reinforce the Trinity concept. Their red, blue and yellow robes are the three primary colors that, when mixed, create the full spectrum of white light. Red, blue and yellow flowers blossom around them. These are common, garden-variety plants: geraniums, irises -- and dandelions! Even weeds are welcome at the feet of Christ. The natural setting and generic robes give it a timeless quality, but there are hints of contemporary life in the glass pitcher and honey jar. The man on the right wears a modern t-shirt under his blue robe.

The holy gay wedding imagery is especially revolutionary because of its placement in the Blanchard’s Passion sequence. After the Ascension and Pentecost, the final position normally goes to the Last Judgment. Traditional images show Jesus sending sinners to hell and the righteous to heaven. Conservative Christians like to imagine homosexuals among the damned. But Blanchard eschews the crime-based model. He found a model for this painting in a separate branch of art history: Andrei Rublev’s great Byzantine icon “Trinity,” which shows the three angels at Abraham’s table. Blanchard’s Passion ends not with judgment, but with love. Jesus and God are not on thrones and they are not judging anybody. This too has a Biblical foundation. Roman 8:34 says, “Who then will condemn us? No one -- for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us” (New Living Translation).

The symbolism of this painting can be better understood by considering it as a pair with the first painting, Son of Man. The opening image is also a kind of Trinity. The two paintings that start and end the series have much in common. Unlike the rest of the series, their titles are theological concepts. Both have a disjointed sense of time, mixing modern and ancient dress. Both show Jesus gazing directly into the eyes of the viewer. The first and last images are brackets or bookends that enclose and uphold the thrilling account of events in Christ’s life.

The term “Trinity” is never used in the Bible, although it is implied. The Trinity is admittedly a mystery, which naturally makes it rather queer. The Trinity has inspired queer theologians to reflect on the omnigendered or genderqueer nature of God, encompassing both male and female as in Blanchard’s paintings.

Understanding of Christian symbolism is not necessary to enjoy this painting. Any group of three can be a trinity. A lot of LGBT people (and others) just plain like “The Trinity,” without seeing it as Christian at all. For example, it was chosen to illustrate the concept of gay friendship on the cover of White Crane Journal: Gay Wisdom and Culture in summer 2007. The painting ends the series as a kind of blessing or benediction, encouraging viewers to carry the vision onward and live with passion in every sense of the word.

“So then the Sovereign Jesus, after speaking to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.” -- Mark 16:19 (Inclusive Language Lectionary)

What is the gay vision of heaven? The Holy Spirit inspires each person to see visions of God in his or her own way. Look, the Holy Spirit celebrates two men who love each other! She looks like an angel as She protects the male couple. Are the men Jesus and God? No names can fully express the omnigendered Trinity of Love, Lover, and Beloved… or Mind, Body, and Spirit. God is madly in love with everybody. God promised to lead people out of injustice and into a good land flowing with milk and honey. We can travel the same journey that Christ traveled. Opening to the joy and pain of the world, we can experience all of creation as our body -- the body of Christ. As queer as it sounds, we can create our own land of milk and honey. As Jesus often said, heaven is among us and within us. Now that we have seen a gay vision of Christ’s Passion, we are free to move forward with love.

Jesus, thank you for giving me a new vision!

Related links:

Celebrate the Feast of the (Queer) Holy Trinity (Queering the Church)

The Genderqueer Trinity (Queering the Church)

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. For the whole series, click here.

Scripture quotations are from the Inclusive Language Lectionary, copyright © 1985-88 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.