part 3: descending below all things
This blog post is the third section of a seven part essay called “Finding the Queer Christ in Mormonism.” I’ll be posting a new section of this essay every Monday for the next five Mondays until the entire essay is published.
(You can read the first section of this essay here, and the second section here).
“(T)o ‘queer’ something is to engage with a methodology that challenges and disrupts the status quo. Like the function of the court jester or the subversive traditions of Mardi Gras, to ‘queer’ something is to turn convention and authority on its head. It is about seeing things in a different light and reclaiming voices and sources that previously had been ignored, silenced, or discarded.”
–Rev. Patrick Cheng, Queer Theologian, From his book “Radical Love.”
“All issues of liberation are queer issues.”
“(H)e hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.”
Continuing our story of the Queer Christ, after participating in the grand act of the Queer Creation, and after having his words be misunderstood by the cisgender straight men who wrote the Old Testament, Jehovah decided to come down from the heavens to set things straight. (Or perhaps more accurately, to set things queer).
“(Jesus Christ) is God himself coming into the very depths of human existence,” explains black theologian James Cone.
Many black theologians have argued that God through Christ descended among the oppressed Jews to free them from the oppressive Romans.
Can Christ descend among those that are queer to free us from the oppression of a homoantagonistic and transantagonistic society?
“Many LGBT people can relate to the hurt and humiliation that Jesus experienced on the cross,” explains art historian Kittredge Cherry. “I have come to the conclusion that the queer Christ images are more than a reaction. They are a revelation.”
An important aspect of the doctrine of the Queer Christ is that, despite being God incarnate, He is one of us. He is Joseph’s son, a working man, born in a simple manger.
He suffered as we suffer. He, like us, is one of the oppressed. And through His sufferings and teachings, He has taught us how we should reach out to all those who are marginalized. His message is one of liberation.
Our Queer Christ actively fights against the boundaries of His day. He touches the supposedly unholy and unclean, speaks with Samaritans, ignores Sabbath-based restrictions, heals despite the criticism of the ruling class, lets prostitutes wash his feet, eats and drinks with the despised and marginalized, teaches others to clothe the naked and house the homeless, and goes after that one lost sheep.
In some ways, we could say that our Queer Christ made our actions holy by participating in them with us. He came to teach us radical love for humanity as a whole, and a willingness to even give up our own lives in the fight against the oppressive powers that be.
An introduction to liberation theology.
An introduction to black liberation theology.
Art historian Kittredge Cherry explaining more on the value in comparing the suffering of Christ to the suffering of the LGBTQIA community.
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