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September 2013
Jesus in Love Newsletter
LGBT spirituality and the arts
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In This Issue
Intimacy with Christ
Bernard of Clairvaux and Malachy
Proud Jesus
Gay saint of 9/11
John Henry Newman and Ambrose St John
Mary's lesbian roots
Bayard Rustin
Krishna and Christ

glbt spirituality & arts
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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.  


Intimacy with God and each other can take endless forms, and many are celebrated in this month's newsletter. Christ appears in a gay artist's sensual paintings, at LGBT Pride parades, and in the lives of ancient and modern saints.
Gay artist paints "Intimacy with Christ"

Intimacy with Christ by Richard Stott

A gay man's intimacy with Christ is expressed in new art and writing by Richard Stott, a British minister and art therapist.


Three paintings emerged from his meditations on medieval Christian mystics, especially the poem "The Dark Night of the Soul."


"They reach towards the experience of a deep and intimate engagement with Christ," Stott says.  


"They are not about sex per se but there is an erotic aspect to them. Sexual desire, our desire for the other, to be close to them and entwined with them is, to my mind, an echo of our desire for God and God's desire for us." More info and images  


Detail from "Intimacy with Christ" triptych by Richard Stott 

Bernard of Clairvaux and Malachy: Honey-tongued abbot loved archbishop

Christ Embracing Bernard by Ribalta Bernard of Clairvaux by Rowan Lewgalon
Bernard of Clairvaux was a medieval French abbot who wrote homoerotic poetry about Jesus had a passionate same-sex friendship with the Irish archbishop Malachy of Armagh. Bernard is best known for founding 70 monasteries around Europe and for his mystical writings.  More info

(Left: "Christ Embracing St. Bernard of Clairvaux" by Francisco Ribalta. Right: "Bernard of Clairvaux" by Rowan Lewgalon.)

Proud Jesus blesses LGBT Pride parades

Jesus wore a rainbow sash to bless onlookers as he marched in the LGBT Pride Parade in Manchester, England in August.

The proud Jesus, feet tall, was made by Liberty Church in Blackpool. "Big Jesus was created as a symbol of God's desire, to communicate with, and love the LGBT communities," the church says. More info

(Credit: Jesus at Manchester Pride photo by Ruthie Sarah Johns)
Gay saint of 9/11: Mychal Judge
Mychal Judge icon by Fr. William McNichols

Father Mychal Judge, chaplain to New York firefighters and unofficial "gay saint," died helping others in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.


As people pray and petition for peace in Syria now, it is a good time to recall the gay priest who was killed while praying at the twin towers. More info 


(Credit: "Holy Passion Bearer Mychal Judge" by Father William Hart McNichols)
Newman shared a romantic friendship
John Henry Newman and Ambrose St. John


Blessed John Henry Newman, a 19th-century British scholar-cardinal, had a "romantic friendship" with Ambrose St. John. The two priests lived together for 32 years and share the same grave.    


After converting together to Catholicism, they studied together in Rome, where they were ordained at the same time. "From the first he loved me with an intensity of love, which was unaccountable," Newman recalled. More info  

Mary's feast has lesbian-goddess roots

Assumption of Mary by Guido Remi Mary's Feast of the Assumption is a major church holiday with lesbian roots.  It comes from an ancient Roman festival for woman-loving goddess Diana (Artemis), the virgin goddess of the moon and the hunt.   


There are many connections between these two "Queens of Heaven." More info  


(Credit: "Assumption of Mary" by Guido Remi)

Bayard Rustin: Gay saint of  civil rights
Bayard Rustin and Walter Naegle by Ryan Grant Long
Bayard Rustin was a black gay man and chief organizer of the 1963 civil rights March on Washington -- which marked its 50th anniversary in August.

Pushed into the background because he was openly gay in a homophobic era, Rustin has been called a "lost prophet."  More info

(Credit: "Bayard Rustin and Walter Naegle" by Ryan Grant Long)
What if Christ and Krishna made love?

Jesus and Lord Rama by Alex Donis
If Christ met Krishna, would there be conflict or kisses? They are two of the greatest teachers of love that the world has ever known. Would they speak of love, even make love?

The delightful queer possibilities are considered in the work of artistic visionaries like poet Brian Day and artist Alex Donis. Those who value love, sexuality and interfaith dialogue can find enlightenment in their work. A new poem from Day's forthcoming book "The Daring of Paradise" is included. More info

(Credit: "Jesus and Lord Rama" by Alex Donis)
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Thank you!

I close with a quote from Richard Stott's reflections on his "Intimacy with Christ" paintings:


"The faith of Christ that I experience isn't about separating myself off into some pristine spiritual sanctuary and escaping into a fantasy world. It is about bodies fully engaged together and giving oneself wholly to the other so as to become 'utterly real.'"

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