Sep 29, 2013

Sep 15, 2013

Gay intimacy with Christ

Many thanks to Kittredge Cherry (again) for a collection of  stunning images from gay artist, Richard Stott. Read the full article and view more images at her superb blog, Jesus in Love.

This is only a partial image of one panting. For a full view and for Richard Stott's own reflections,  see Kittredge's Cherry's article at Jesus in Love Blog.

What makes these images so powerfully erotic and moving is the fact that it is the crucified Jesus from the cross who is embracing the other male figure, thereby making explicit much of the sublimated sexuality of Christian mysticism of the cross. As Storr points out in his reflections,  not everyone will feel drawn to relate to Jesus in such a mystical/erotic way and some will not feel drawn to Jesus at all in their search for the transcendent. But I have always felt a deep mystical love for the crucified and embodied Christ, so these paintings moved me deeply.

The painting below inspired me all through my Jesuit novitiate days  some 50 years ago. And while it is not on the same level of quality as Richard Stott's work, it still served as a powerful icon for the passionate love of the crucified heart of Jesus. In fact, it was used as a holy card in those days long ago, to further devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. But what a difference from Richard Stott's powerfully erotic, fully human paintings, in which the most intimately human areas of Christ's body are shown. This Jesus is engaged in passionate, suffering love with another wounded human being. He is not solitary in his suffering, but rapturously consumed by the Other. Stott has managed to capture the passionate, all consuming love of Jesus for a single individual, thereby making his love so much more concrete and personal, powerful and real. This is a suffering love that burns for each one of us personally, individually, sensuously, erotically. And since these images are of same sex couples, we cannot help relate the wounds of this sufferning Christ to the afflictions of gay people everywhere. The image below is of a lonely, isolated Christ, suffering in sadness and solitary, abandoned isolation. But it is not a passionate, erotic, Christ. Nonetheless, the painting served me well as a doorway into the divine heart of Jesus.

Back from the Wilderness

Finally, after nine weeks of intensive summer camp work with some wild and wonderful Czech kids, I've returned to some kind of normalcy. A very intense summer with young people in the throes of adolescence, I made so many strong connections among them, ties for life. Now it's back to the regular school year and hopefully i can begin reflecting on this blog again. But what I noticed after this nine week hiatus - in which I read almost nothing and kept up not a wit with world or church news - is that very little has changed over that period of time. It's as if I haven't been away at all. The world turns and turns. Some very interesting developments re: Pope Francis and gays, making it seem all the clearer that the man is a rare gift to the church, and making it even more clear that one good man in the papacy can't really do all that much in the short term when bucking against the prevailing ideology. But the power of his example is sending tremors and reverberations throughout the religious sphere. 

Double vision - which has been plaguing me for the past three months has cleared up about 70% and doctors say it should continue to improve, but will probably not go back to 100% normalcy. The problem is in the arteries in the brain, which is a warning to me about my lifestyle and the need to be cautious and change my diet, exercise, etc. I turn 70 in 3 months. All for now.