Recently released Jesus in Love is said to be the first novel ever published about a queer Christ.
The controversial novel, published by AndroGyne Press, a new queer studies press in Berkeley, Calif., was written by a lesbian Christian who said she met the queer Christ in the depths of her own heart.
Kittredge Cherry turned to Christianity during a journalism scholarship to Japan. There, she "felt God reach out to me, just as I am, lesbian and all."
"As soon as I knew there was a God, I knew that God accepted homosexuality because otherwise God would not have bothered with me," Cherry says in her new book.
In the fiction, Cherry addresses Christ's sexuality and describes how Jesus reveals his relationships with John the beloved disciple, Mary Magdalene and the multi-gendered Holy Spirit.
"I wrote about a sexual Jesus because human beings are sexual, and he is bisexual-transgender because I did not want to limit Christ's sexuality to a single approach," Cherry writes in her novel. "I don't feel that I 'made' Jesus queer when I wrote Jesus in Love. During the writing process, Christ seemed to reveal this aspect of his all-encompassing self to me, not as a historical fact, but as a spiritual truth."
She further states that the "queer Christ" is a sign of hope amid a seeming war between Christians and gays as he represents everyone, including "the sexually marginalized."
Prior to the release of the novel, Cherry had worked for the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), a denomination that ministers primarily in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) community. Her ministry put her at the forefront of the sexuality debate at the National Council of Churches (USA) and the World Council of Churches.
Cherry recalls that in 1993, the NCC had voted to deny observer status to MCC.
Later, she launched the JesusInLove website in 2005, which drew controversy and media attention
Some consider her new novel blasphemy. Cherry argues that it presents the gospels in a way that people, mainly LGBT people, can relate to it, even if it means taking liberties to imagine that Biblical characters were attracted to people of the same sex or didn't fit into standard gender roles.