Friday, March 18, 2016

Gay Passion of Christ series starts Sunday

“The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision” by Douglas Blanchard on display (Photo by Dorie Hagler)

A gay vision of Christ’s Passion starts this Sunday here at the Jesus in Love Blog. New posts will run daily from Palm Sunday through Easter.

All 24 paintings in Douglas Blanchard’s “The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision” will be posted here with commentary by Kittredge Cherry and short Bible passages.

The paintings present Jesus as a contemporary gay man in a modern city as he lives out the dramatic events of Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, and his arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection. The paintings and reflections are also available as a book.

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Gay Passion of Christ series starts Sunday on Jesus in Love blog at Q Spirit

Click the titles below to view individual paintings and text in the series. Links will be added as the series is posted.

1. Son of Man (Human One) with Job and Isaiah
2. Jesus Enters the City
3. Jesus Drives Out the Money Changers
4. Jesus Preaches in the Temple
5. The Last Supper
6. Jesus Prays Alone
7. Jesus Is Arrested
8. Jesus Before the Priests
9. Jesus Before the Magistrate
10. Jesus Before the People
11. Jesus Before the Soldiers
12. Jesus Is Beaten
13. Jesus Goes to His Execution
14. Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross
15. Jesus Dies
16. Jesus Is Buried
17. Jesus Among the Dead
18. Jesus Rises
19. Jesus Appears to Mary
20. Jesus Appears at Emmaus
21. Jesus Appears to His Friends
22. Jesus Returns to God
23. The Holy Spirit Arrives
24. The Trinity

Click here to donate to support the gay Passion series at Jesus in Love

See all 24 paintings

The Holy Week posts are timed so that Christ dies on Good Friday and rises again on Easter itself.

"The Passion of Christ:
A Gay Vision
Blanchard’s images show Jesus being jeered by fundamentalists, tortured by Marine look-alikes and rising again to enjoy homoerotic moments with God and friends. He stands up to priests, businessmen, lawyers, and soldiers—all of whom look eerily similar to the people holding those jobs today. His surprisingly diverse friends join him on a journey from suffering to freedom.

Blanchard, a gay painter based in New York, and Cherry, a lesbian author and art historian in Los Angeles, have turned this series into a book. “The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision” with Blanchard's paintings and Cherry's text was be published in fall 2014 by Apocryphile Press.

“We are sharing the gay Passion series to make Christ more accessible to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and our allies,” said Cherry, founder of The website promotes artistic and religious freedom by supporting LGBT spirituality and the arts. “Christ’s story is for everyone, but queer people often feel left out because conservatives use Christian rhetoric to justify hate and discrimination,” she said.

Cherry was ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches and served as its National Ecumenical Officer, advocating for LGBT rights at the National Council of Churches and World Council of Churches. In 2005 she created Jesus in Love to support LGBT spirituality and the arts and show God’s love for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. It has grown to include a popular blog, e-newsletter and website. She earned degrees in journalism and art history from the University of Iowa, and a master of divinity degree from Pacific School of Religion.

“These powerful paintings break the deadly illusion that Jesus belongs exclusively to a particular time or group,” says author Kittredge Cherry, a minister and art historian. “The paintings and the book that I wrote about them have been attacked as blasphemy by conservative Christians. But we refuse to concede Jesus to those who act like they own the copyright on Christ, then use him as a weapon to dominate others. The gay Passion of Christ is intended to broaden, not limit how Jesus is perceived. ”

Blanchard teaches art and art history at the Bronx Community College of the City University of New York. He was confirmed in the Episcopal Church in 1982 and remains an active Episcopalian and self-described “very agnostic believer.” He earned a BFA in painting from the Kansas City Art Institute, an MA in art history from Washington University in St. Louis, and an MFA cum laude from the New York Academy of Art.

He spent four years painting the gay Passion. He started in summer 2001, but it took on new meaning on Sept. 11 when hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center near his studio on New York’s Lower East Side. He used the series to grapple with his own faith struggles as a New Yorker who witnessed the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The gay Jesus himself appears surprisingly accessible in Blanchard’s art. “Christ is one of us in my pictures,” Blanchard in the book's introduction. “In His sufferings, I want to show Him as someone who experiences and understands fully what it is like to be an unwelcome outsider.”

Each of the Passion pictures is oil on wood panel, 18 inches by 14 inches.  Some originals are available for purchase.

Reproductions of the Passion paintings are available as greeting cards and prints in a variety of sizes and formats online at Fine Art America.

Selections from Blanchard’s Passion also appear in “Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More” by Kittredge Cherry. A Lambda Literary Award finalist, the book is filled with color images by 11 contemporary artists from the U.S. and Europe.

The New York Times Book Review praised Cherry’s “very graceful, erudite” writing style. She has written seven books, including “Equal Rites: Lesbian and Gay Worship, Ceremonies, and Celebrations” and “Jesus in Love: A Novel.”

Related links for “The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision”:

*Book website

*Prints and greeting cards

* "Artist Doug Blanchard's haunting contemporary paintings of the Passion of Christ are an emotional reminder of the courage it takes to resist the powers that be."

*Facebook u-turns to allow gay Jesus crucifixion ad (Gay Star News)
Other links:

“Stations of the Cross: The Struggle for LGBT Equality” by Mary Button with commentary by Kittredge Cherry

Excerpts from "Jesus in Love: At the Cross" by Kittredge Cherry

This post is part of the Queer Christ series series by Kittredge Cherry at the Jesus in Love Blog. The series gathers together visions of the queer Christ as presented by artists, writers, theologians and others.

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

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