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October 2012
Jesus in Love Newsletter
LGBT spirituality and the arts
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In This Issue
Queer Saint Francis
Nouwen's struggle
Rainbow Jesus
Doctor Hildegard
Rumi, poet/mysic
Leviticus art
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Jesus in Love supports lesbian, gay, bi trans and queer  (LGBTQ) spirituality, with an emphasis on art and literature. It promotes artistic and religious freedom and teaches love for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. It is based on these beliefs: God loves all people, including sexual minorities. The creative process is sacred. The queer visions, especially the gay Jesus and LGBT saints, will free people to experience the divine in new ways and lead to a more just world.


Jesus in Love was founded by lesbian Christian author Kittredge Cherry as her personal gift to the world.  



I am thrilled to present ground-breaking material on how Francis of Assisi crossed gender boundaries. It's backed by solid historical research. Look for other beloved spiritual figures in this issue too.

Francis of Assisi's queer side revealed  
Francis and friend in cave by Jose Benlliure y Gil

Historical records reveal queer aspects of Francis of Assisi, whose feast day is today (Oct. 4).


When Francis was a young man, he had an unnamed male companion whom he dearly loved -- and who was written out of history after first biography. Other friars called Francis "Mother." He also liked to be greeted as "Lady Poverty." He allowed a widow to enter the male-only cloister, naming her "Brother Jacoba."  Evidence of these facts and more are in the thesis "Gender Liminality in the Franciscan Sources" by scholar Kevin Elphick. More info 


(Credit: Francis and the man he loved in "They shelter in a cave" by Josť Benlliure y Gil, 1926) 

Nouwen struggled with his homosexuality
Henri Nouwen by Robert Lentz


Henri Nouwen was a Catholic priest and bestselling author who wrestled with his homosexuality. Nouwen never discussed his gay sexual orientation in his 40 books, but he confided his conflict over it in private journals and conversations. Some say that this personal struggle added depth to his books such as "The Wounded Healer." More info 


(Credit: "Henri Nouwen" by Robert Lentz,


Jesus wears rainbow shroud in cover art

Gods for God cover of  Maisonneuve magazine Jesus is wrapped in a rainbow shroud in the cover photo for the new "Gays for God" issue of "Maisonneuve: A Quarterly of Arts, Opinion & Ideas."

The issue raises the questions: Was Jesus gay? And why should it be controversial to portray him as a gay man? More info 


(Credit: Maisonneuve magazine)  

Hildegard named doctor of the church

Hildegard of Bingen and Richardis by Lewis Williams
Medieval nun Hildegard of Bingen, considered a lesbian saint by some, will be declared a doctor of the church by Pope Benedict XVI on Oct. 7.

Hildegard was a mystic, poet, artist, composer, healer and scientist who wrote with passion about the Virgin Mary.  Some say she was a lesbian because of her attachment to women such as Richardis von Stade. More info

(Credit: "St. Hildegard of Bingen and Her Assistant Richardis" by Lewis Williams,
Same-sex love inspired Sufi poet Rumi
Rumi and Shams from
Rumi is a 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi mystic whose love for another man inspired some of the world's best poems and led to the creation of a new religious order, the whirling dervishes. It is well known that his poems were inspired by his love for another man, but the queer possibilities are rarely discussed. More info 


(Credit: Rumi and Shams from "Dervish Whirl,

Leviticus: Religion can lead to violence

Levticus by Ron Richard Baviello Angry eyes glare in "Leviticus" by artist Ron Richard Baviello. The painting is intended to make viewers think about how unquestioning religious faith can lead to hatred and violence against LGBT people are others. More info

(Credit: "Leviticus" by Ron Richard Baviello)
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Click to see recent highlights from the Jesus in Love


FannyAnn Eddy: Lesbian martyr in Africa "Silence creates vulnerability"    


Was Jesus married? 

Mychal Judge, gay saint of 9/11 - already in newsletter format 


Special for St. Francis Day:


Animal Blessing Prayer by Kittredge Cherry 


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I close with a quote from Persian poet and mystic Rumi:: "Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it." Amen!  

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