Yeah… not really. It’s a shocking title though, huh?
While looking at an article on a new book which re-tells Jesus’ life (as Jesus as the narrator) in a very sexual way (including both gay and straight and spiritual sexual relationships) and later looking up more information on the book, I ran across a wonderful artist.
While I personally (and I stress the word “personally”) think the book on Jesus’ wacky sexual escapades is nothing more than heresy at its worst, I am already in love with at least one piece of art created by artist Becki Jayne Harrelson.
A few days ago, I posted a lengthy commentary on the extreme rates of homelessness among LGBT youth in America. In the commentary, I got a little preachy (like I’ll probably do again this time) and included a passage from Scripture: Matthew 25:34-46 (Jesus’ “least of these” sermon).
The piece (to the right) I have just fallen in love with by Harrelson, The Crucifixion of Christ (oil on canvas, 78″ W x 68″ H), is absolutely, without a question, a perfect, strong representation of exactly what I feel Christ was meaning to tell those persons listening to his “least of these” sermon.
On her website, Harrelson states in a narrative of the work:
When you view The Crucifixion of Christ, you miss the primary point if you think I’m saying Jesus was gay. Look at the word FAGGOT on the cross. You could substitute the word NIGGER, JEW BOY, HONKIE, REDNECK or BITCH—it all means the same. Anytime anyone rises up in condemnation, hatred or violence against another, Christ is crucified.
I chose the word FAGGOT because today, gays are socially-acceptable and religiously-justifiable targets for hate. And, just like gays, Jesus was made a hate target in his time because he dared to be different, to tell his understanding of the truth even though his words and his position defied the religious establishment.
We all are created by God to be who we are, including gays and lesbians. It’s just as natural and spiritually correct to be gay as it is to be left-handed.
Take a good look at Harrelson’s painting. Take another good read at her narrative on it. Now… read again the Scripture from Matthew 25: 34-46 NRSV:
“…Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and we did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Do you hear anything? Feel anything? You should… even if you aren’t a Christian.
Because this message is so strong, it transcends lines of faith and lines of belief. Whatever you do to “the least” of our world’s family, you do to God… and you do to Jesus. If you aren’t the religious type, the message is similar: Whatever you do to “the least” of our world’s family, you do to someone else… for each person is inextricably bound to another; we are all interconnected and interdependent upon each other. When one is hurt, all are hurt. As Wilbur depended on Charlotte and her web, we all depend on each other for life, for joy, for happiness & survival… a huge web of humanity.
Whatever you do to “the least,” you do also to Christ. This painting is such a perfect portrayal of this teaching.
Before now, I don’t think I could have ever really named a “favorite” piece of art… at least not any that weren’t a part of everyone’s favorites (David, The Last Supper, The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, etc.). I can now say that The Crucifixion of Christ is my favorite piece of art… without a doubt.
People ask me how I could have held on to my belief in Christ after being rejected by His church. Look at the painting and you’ll find your answer. When I suffer, Christ suffers. When I am happy, Christ is happy. When I cry, Christ cries. When I am called a “fag,” Christ hears it directed toward him as well. When politicians and the government tell me I’m not equal, they say it also to Christ. That is why I still believe. Christ truly is a “Personal Saviour.” He’s with you every day, all the time and He’ll never forsake you.