Two of my longstanding (by internet standards at least) blogging friends, the artist, Doug Blanchard, and the art historian, Kitt Cherry, have got together to publish the book of Doug's the Passion of the Christ series of paintings that I know well and greatly admire.
Here's the blurb:
Meet Jesus as a gay man of today in a contemporary city with The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision. In stunning new images, the modern Christ figure is jeered by fundamentalists, tortured by Marine lookalikes, and rises again to enjoy homoerotic moments with God. His surprisingly diverse friends join him on a journey from suffering to freedom. Readers call it "accessible but profound." Some are moved to tears. The 24 paintings in the gay Passion cover Jesus' final days, including his arrest, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection. A queer Passion is important now because Christianity is being used to justify hate and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Each image is accompanied by insightful commentary, plus a short prayer and scripture. If Jesus came back today, would he be crucified all over again? Would we even recognize him? See for yourself in the gay vision of the Passion.
I understand why Kitt and Doug are selling the project as being gay and homoerotic but the paintings would certainly retain their sizeable, artistic value without that particular pitch. So do not think that you have to enjoy looking at men with great abs to enjoy the book. Furthermore the only offence in the pictures is the violence that is done to Jesus and if you think otherwise you should seek out some therapy as you are most likely suppressing some personal, sexual identity issues that you really need to resolve for your own mental wellbeing.
What more important people than me have to say about the book:
"Disturbing, but ultimately glorious... Radically transforming..."
(Toby Johnson, religion scholar and author of Gay Spirituality)
"Transformative in the most profound sense of the word.... Whether you are religious or not, it is impossible to read The Passion of Christ without having your basic beliefs shaken and expanded." (Michael Bronski, Harvard prof., author of A Queer History of the United States)
"I was deeply moved by this retelling of the Easter story."
(Rev. Troy Perry, founder of Metropolitan Community Churches)
"Together the paintings and text forced me to see Jesus again... as a living, breathing, sensual son of man whom I want to know more intimately."
(Rev. Dr. Mel White, founder of Soulforce)
"Deeply effective and brings to life the Passion not only for the LGBT community but for all people struggling to find themselves in the narrative and make sense of their faith."
(Rev. Sharon Ferguson, chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement)
"This marvelous book will speak not only to LGBTIQ Christians, but also to anyone who is passionate about creating a more just world for the marginalized and excluded."
(Rev. Patrick S. Cheng, Episcopal Divinity School professor)
"The divine leaps from these pages into open hearts. Few will view this art and read these commentaries without weeping for injustice and committing to love."
(Mary Hunt, co-director, Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual)
"Not only is this a compellingly gay and much-needed re-visioning of the central Christian mystery. It also defiantly reaffirms our common humanity."
(Donald L. Boisvert, Concordia University religion professor)
"Here Kittredge Cherry and Douglas Blanchard make Jesus live. For new trials and times, new faces and places, challenging our conceptions, preconceptions, and misconceptions."
(S. Brent Plate, Hamilton College religion professor and author of Blasphemy: Art that Offends)
"A great contribution to art about Jesus. Paintings, interpretations, and afterword are all quite profound." (Rev. Chris Glaser, author of Coming Out as Sacrament)
"Fertile resources for reflection, meditation, study and prayer."
(Susannah Cornwall, research fellow in religion, University of Exeter)
"Provocative and powerful."
(Theodore Jennings, Chicago Theological Seminary professor)
"Could do with some babes with big boobies but other than that it's okay for an American book." (Professor MadPriest, Newcastle Upon Tyne School of Advanced Buffoonery)
Author Kittredge Cherry is an art historian who founded Jesus in Love, an online resource for LGBT spirituality and the arts. 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. She holds degrees in journalism and art history from the University of Iowa, and a master of divinity degree from Pacific School of Religion. Her books include Lambda Literary Award finalist Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More (AndroGyne Press), The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision (Apocrpyphile Press), Hide and Speak (HarperSanFrancisco) Womansword (Kodansha International) and her Jesus in Love novels. The New York Times Book Review praised her "very graceful, erudite" writing style. Based in Los Angeles, she writes about LGBT spirituality and the arts at Huffington Post and the Jesus in Love Blog.
Artist Douglas Blanchard teaches art and art history at the Bronx Community College of the City University of New York. He paints in a realistic figurative style to explore gay experience as well as classical mythology, history, and current events. Born and raised in Dallas, Blanchard earned a BFA in painting from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1981, an MA in art history from Washington University in St. Louis in 1986, and an MFA cum laude from the New York Academy of Art in 1993. He was confirmed in the Episcopal Church in 1982 and remains an active Episcopalian and self-described "very agnostic believer." He keeps a studio on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
The Passion series was exhibited at New York's Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in 2004 and JHS Gallery in Taos, New Mexico in 2007. His other work has been shown at a variety of galleries, including the New York Academy of Art.