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August 2015
Jesus in Love Newsletter
LGBT spirituality and the arts
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In This Issue
Erotic gay soul
Christa art
Holy fool Symeon
Publick Universal Friend
New books
Mary and Martha
Bearded woman saint
Boris and George
Artemisia Gentileschi

glbt spirituality & arts
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By holy coincidence, two artistic books came out recently on spiritual themes of gay love.  Current expressions of LGBTQ love arise in the lives of this month's saints, and the queer Christ is eternally new.
Erotic gay soul explored in two new books

Beauty by John Waiblinger

Male beauty, same-sex eroticism and the archetypal gay soul are explored in two new illustrated books. Chad Mitchell's poetry celebrates Christ the Bridegroom, the Sacred Heart, and the Son of Man in "HomoEros" with art by John Waiblinger.


John Ollom photo "Internal Landscapes" by John Ollom combines memoir, manifesto, poetry, images and info on his dance and choreography. Both books feature photography of semi-nude men and nature, prose steeped in Jungian psychology, and first-person poetry about gay love. More info


(Credit, left: "Beauty" by John Waiblinger. Right: photo from "Internal Landscapes" by John Ollom)  


( links for "HomoEros" and "Internal Landscape") 

Christa art exhibit celebrates female Christ

Female Christ figures by international artists are on display at the University of Winchester in England through Aug. 9.

"Celebrating Female Images of Christ/a" brings together women artists from across Europe to celebrate the ongoing heritage of Christ as a woman. More info

(Credit: "Christa" by Angie Devereux
Holy fool and hermit loved each other

Symeon and John by Jim Ru

Sixth-century Syrian monks Symeon and John were were joined in a same-sex union and lived together as desert-dwelling hermits for 29 years. After a tearful split-up, Symeon went on to become known as the Holy Fool of Emesa. More info 


(Credit: "Symeon and John" by Jim Ru

Jemima Wilkinson: Queer preacher reborn as "Publick Universal Friend" in 1776  
Jemima Wilkinson

Jemima Wilkinson was a queer American preacher who woke from a near-death experience in 1776 believing she was neither male nor female. She changed her name to the "Publick Universal Friend," fought for gender equality and founded an important religious community.


In 1776, the same year that America issued the Declaration of Independence, Wilkinson declared her own independence from gender.  This fascinating person died almost 200 years ago on July 1, 1819. More info 

New LGBT Christian books for August

"Intersex, Theology, and the Bible: Troubling Bodies in Church, Text, and Society" by Susannah Cornwall (editor)

"Hollywood Biblical Epics: Camp Spectacle and Queer Style from the Silent Era to the Modern Day" by Richard A. Lindsay
Summaries of new books
Mary and Martha: Sisters or lesbians?

Mary and Martha by Bernardino Luini
Mary and Martha of Bethany were two of Jesus' closest friends.  The Bible calls them "sisters" who lived together, but reading the Bible with queer eyes raises another possibility.  Maybe Mary and Martha were a lesbian couple.  

They formed a nontraditional family at a time when there was huge pressure for heterosexual marriage.  More info

(Credit: "Mary and Martha" by Bernardino Luini)
St. Wilgefortis: Bearded woman

Saint Wilgefortis
St. Wilgefortis prayed to avoid marriage to a pagan king -- and her prayers were answered when she grew a beard! 
People have honored this virgin martyr since the 14th century, but today some wonder about the queer causes behind her beard.  More info

(Credit: St. Wilgefortis sculpture in Prague, Curious Expeditions)
Saint Boris and George: United in love

St. Boris and George by Robert Lentz
Saint Boris, a popular medieval saint in Russia and Ukraine, loved George the Hungarian. As LGBT people continue to face discrimination in their homeland, may remembering the queer love between Boris and George help bring equality. The feast day of Saint Boris is July 24 -- the same day that same-sex marriage became legal in New York in 2011. More info

(Credit: "Saints Boris and George the Hungarian" by Robert Lentz)

Gentileschi shows strong Biblical women

Judith and Her Maidservant by Artemisia Gentileschi Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi inspires people with her paintings of strong Biblical women -- created despite the obstacles that she faced as a woman in 17th-century Italy.  Many queer people and our allies can relate to her battles against discrimination and sexual violence. More info


(Credit: "Judith and Her Maidservant" by Artemisia Gentileschi)

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Click to see recent highlights from the Jesus in Love Blog this month:
Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall: Four women reformers honored as saints

A new interview with queer theologian Robert Shore-Goss addressed the question "Was Jesus Gay?" at  

I close with a poem by Chad Mitchell from the "HomoEros" book reviewed today

Through him, with him, in him
the Bridegroom and the Beloved stand side by side.

Through him, with him, in him
is that realm to which the incense travels.

Through him, with him, in him
is that radiance which we, in this world, must learn to gather.

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Kittredge Cherry
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