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October 2015
Jesus in Love Newsletter
LGBT spirituality and the arts
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In This Issue
Cosmic Christ
Sergius & Bacchus
Pope visit
Vida Scudder
October books
Annual newsletter fee
Kim Davis cartoon
Queer Saint Francis
MCC anniversary
Africa's lesbian martyr
Matthew Shepard
Rumi's same-sex love
Hildegard & Richardis
Tyler Clementi
Gay King Wenceslas
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From the latest LGBT Christian art to same-sex love between anicent saints, the October newsletter is packed with unconventional inspiraation, info and ideas. Invite a friend to read it!

Cosmic Christ art includes LGBT symbols

Cosmic Christ by Doyle Chappell
A Cosmic Christ appears with subtle LGBT symbolism in the work of Chicago artist Doyle Chappell. The phrase "Cosmic Christ" refers to Christ who is continually incarnated in all creation.  Chappell expands the concept by depicting Christ with pink triangles, rainbows and a diamond earring his left ear.

Chappell has done variations on the Cosmic Christ theme for years -- most recently in colorful windows dedicated Sept. 20 at A Church 4 Me Metropolitan Community Church in Chicago. More info
(Credit: "Cosmic Christ" by Doyle Chappell)
Sergius and Bacchus: Paired saints 

Sergius and Bacchus by Alessio Ciali Saints Sergius and Bacchus were third-century Roman soldiers, Christian martyrs and men who loved each other. Their close bond has been emphasized since the earliest accounts, and recent scholarship has revealed their homosexuality.  Scholar John Boswell names Sergius and Bacchus as one of the three primary pairs of same-sex lovers in the early church.  More info

(Credit: "Sergius and Saint Bacchus" by Alessio Ciani)
Pope's visit: mixed message on LGBT issue

Pope Francis' well-publicized visit to America in late September had mixed messages for LGBT people.  He met a former student who was openly gay, and an openly gay man did a Bible reading at a Papal Mass in New York. But he also met right-wing icon Kim Davis and used conservative code words. More info
Two-spirit Native Americans bridge gender
Unknown Mayan Couple by Ryan Long
Almost all Native American tribes traditionally recognized "two-spirit" people of mixed gender. Sometimes they played a spiritual role and appeared as sacred figures in rituals and myths. Artists have envisioned their same-sex love and depicted Christ and his beloved disciple as Aymara people.  More info

(Credit: "Uknown Mayan Couple" by Ryan Long)

Vida Scudder: Lesbian saint and teacher  

Vida Dutton Scudder

Vida Dutton Scudder (1861-1954) was a social reformer, Wellesley professor, prominent lesbian author -- and an official saint in the Episcopal Church.


For 35 years until her death, Scudder lived with author Florence Converse in a lesbian relationship. Scudder was active in the Social Gospel movement. Her spirituality went hand in hand with her social conscience and love of learning. More info 

RIP: John McNeill, pioneering gay priest

John McNeill Pioneering gay priest John J. McNeill died Sept. 22 in a Florida hospice at age 90.

He wrote the 1976 book "The Church and the Homosexual," helped found LGBT Catholic group Dignity, and was silenced by the Vatican for his LGBT ministry and advocacy.  He inspired countless LGBT people and allies.
More info
New LGBT Christian books for October

" The Courage to Be Queer" by Jeff Hood (theology)

" My Exodus: From Fear to Grace" by Alan Chambers (head of ex-gay group who closed it and apologized)

Summaries of new books
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Cartooon looks at Kim Davis controversy

Kim Davis by David Hayward Cartoons by David Hayward of Naked Pastor bring gentle, insightful LGBT-positive humor to the controversy over Kentucky clerk Kim Davis. She was jailed recently for refusing marriage licenses to same-sex couples because in her opinion it "conflicts with God's definition of marriage." More info

(Credit: "My Religious Beliefs" by David Hayward)
Queer side of St. Francis revealed

St. Francis and the Sultan by Robert Lentz
St Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata by Kevin Raye Larson Historical records reveal a queer side to Saint Francis of Assisi, one of the most beloved religious figures of all time. The 13th-century friar is celebrated for loving animals, hugging lepers, and praying for peace, but few know about his love for another man and his gender nonconformity. More info

(Left: "St. Francis and the Sultan" by Robert Lentz. Right: "St Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata" by Kevin Raye Larson)
History photos posted for MCC anniversary
1993 MCC General Conference
Metropolitan Community Churches marked 47 years of ministry in the LGBTQ community on Oct. 6, 1968. Photos from MCC history are posted for the anniversary, including Jesus in Love editor Kittredge Cherry celebrating communion at a 1993 General Conference. More info
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,

FannyAnn Eddy: Lesbian martyr in Africa

FannyAnn Eddy
FannyAnn Eddy was a major activist for LGBT rights in Africa. She testified at the United Nations and founded the Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association.

She was murdered on Sept. 29, 2004. Nobody was ever convicted of the crime. More info 
Gay martyr Matthew Shepard lives on
Passion of Matthew Shepard by William Hart McNichols

Matthew Shepard brought international attention to anti-gay hate crimes when he died Oct. 12, 1998. He was a 21-year-old gay student at the University of Wyoming at the time. 


Shepard has become a cultural icon, inspiring dozens of paintings, films, plays, songs and other artistic works. More info  


(Credit: "The Passion of Matthew Shepard" by William Hart McNichols)  

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.
He was born in 13th-century Afghanistan. More info 
(Credit: Rumi and Shams from "Dervish Whirl,
Hildegard and Richardis:
Medieval nuns who loved each other

Hildegard of Bingen and Richardis by Lewis Williams  Hildegard of Bingen was a brilliant medieval German mystic, poet, artist, composer, healer and scientist who wrote with passion about the Virgin Mary. Some say she was a lesbian because of her strong attachment to women, especially her personal assistant Richardis von Stade. More info

(Credit: "St. Hildegard of Bingen and Her Assistant Richardis" by Lewis Williams)

Tyler Clementi: Youth driven to suicide

Tyler Clementi, Jump by Louisa Bertman Tyler Clementi brought international attention to bullying-related suicide of LGBT youth when he jumped to his death on Sept. 22, 2010. 


Anti-LGBT politicians created the hostile environment that led to his death.  Artist Louisa Bertman makes visible the hateful voices in his head.  More info 


Wear purple on Oct. 15, 2015 to show support for young LGBT victims of bullying on Spirit Day


(Credit: "Tyler Clementi, Jump!" by Louisa Bertman)

Good (Gay?) King Wenceslas

St. Wencelaus and Podiven by Lewis Williams
There's good reason to believe that Good King Wenceslas was gay.  Yes, the king in the Christmas carol.
The carol is based on real historical figures, a Bohemian duke and his loyal page.  Author Dennis O'Neill researched the love between the two men.  More info
(Credit: "St. Wenceslaus and Podiven, his Assistant" by Lewis Williams,
Invite a friend: Jesus in Love Newsletter

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Invite your friends to read the Jesus in Love monthly newsletter on LGBT spirituality and the arts.

More people need to hear that God loves all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Forward this newsletter to a friend -- or share it on social media!
I close with a favorite quote from Rumi, a Sufi poet and mystic who was inspired by his love for another man:
Dance, when you're broken open.
Dance, if you've torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you're perfectly free.

May you join the Cosmic Christ in the dance of life!

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Kittredge Cherry
Publisher, Jesus In Love Newsletter
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