Friday, April 22, 2016

Butch Makeover Planned For Queer Jesus





It becomes clear when researching masculinity studies that the most famous (and arguably most influential) man in Western history is being essentially ignored, as study after study re-treads familiar ground about masculinity while acknowledging other men of history and mythology. Further digging reveals that some American Christians are currently most concerned with his image. “Real men” apparently are staying away from churches in droves, and “queer Jesus” is stated as a significant reason. Apparently the sonofabitch just isn’t as brash, brave, bold and bullying as an attractive messiah should be, and recruiters are concerned.

While I’m certain their definition of Queer Jesus departs radically from mine by virtue of more than a capitalized "Q", the general idea has been kicking around for ages so let's run with the idea. Old-school borscht belt comics reminded us that a Leftie Jewish boy of 32 who’s still single and at home with his mother should ring some bells. Gayish irreverance of course might read “disciples and Mary Magdalene” as “fuck-buddies and a hooker for a fag hag”...perspective being everything after all. As it is in Topeka, so it must have been in Israel. Not quite, but not quite out of the realm of possibility.

Talking Dirty About Jesus


Religious theorists-cum-academics have traditionally been most comfortable with a neutered / asexual Jesus. While superficially non-homophobic, the idea is actually there to reinforce the sex-negative propaganda it promotes. It’s deservedly losing currency with all who value sex as sacred, as some female colleagues attempt to insert “recently discovered" and highly suspect "evidence” supportive of female inclusion in a new but nonetheless heterosexist scenario.  It may not be such a tough sell either, being in effect fundamentally homophobic: a carnal Jesus who is most definitely not a queer Jesus is one recruitment strategy that might just fly in the 21st Century.


Christian fundamentalists don’t pay much attention to their messiah these days anyhow. They just don't seem to like him. We know the reason: his relatively sound messages aren’t hateful or competitive enough for the times. They're devoid of the broad and violent strokes that contemporary ignorance demands of a man. And "Anyhow it didn’t end well for him did it?" is often cited as a reason to be nothing like Jesus Christ.  In a world of manly winners and faggy losers, the unfortunate demise of Jesus makes him unquotably irrelevant as things now stand. Religious authority (and religious authorship) now seemingly belongs in the hands of crackers and evangelizing bigots when it comes to God’s alleged Word, and you can’t sell ethics in a trailer park anyhow. All the more reason then to deconstruct Queer Jesus, with no apologies for objectification.

First, and foremost, is he fuckable? If your tastes run to lean and vaguely hippie Mediterranean, then yes. A fine specimen of the type, actually. One who’s not likely to indulge in extreme manscaping or blowing his wad at the gym. Image wise, pre-Europeanization art suggests he didn’t quite have the shoulders and chest of a linebacker. He certainly manned-up at the temple, but the incident was pre-planned so he doesn’t score as a rageaholic on steroids. In short, there's not a lot to work with for a knockout online dating profile of the hyper-masculine kind, but testosterone-wise all seems fine if that's a concern.

Jesus As The Thinking Man's Boyfriend?


Going to character, he presents as loving, kind and essentially gentle, with a not-unattractive edge: he doesn’t undercut his intellect with a grab for the niceness vote. Generous in giving offense and nobody’s pushover, he clearly understands the power of forgiveness and the value of loyalty. Whether or not these qualities signify a secure and sexy masculinity is entirely point-of-view dependent. I’d argue for the affirmative. 

While Queer Jesus may or may not be everybody's ideal boyfriend he tends to look significantly better from a holistic perspective. More than a just piece of ass with a Messiah Complex, he’s certainly able to hold his own when viewed from outside a sacred-vs-profane argument. Essentially mythological, little objective biographical truth about the man can be assembled from any sources. But you can say exactly the same thing about love's reality – especially when juxtaposed with the easily-busted romantic delusions we all indulge in with no regard for proof or critical objectivity. If all things are relative, then Jesus in toto just might be more real than many things we hold to be of value. And then again - when we're not over-thinking things - the thought that we'd like a boyfriend who's just like Jesus Christ might just be our clearer-thinking self kicking in.

The parallels we share with the life and early death of Queer Jesus are stark and confronting. With AIDS in the rear view mirror and irrational hatred on all the road signs ahead, queers don’t find it too difficult to see in Queer Jesus a fellow traveler if not a spiritual entity. As we often wallow in our own imagined crucifixions, isn't there a secret yearning that we too will be resurrected?  Christians on the other hand seem to be becoming increasingly uncomfortable with their own overarching concept of passion and martyrdom: taking one for the team apparently isn’t any big deal in the post-modern (and post-Truth) masculinity stakes.

We’re told times are tough. Looks like the queer Jesus disliked by some churches may just have to man up, get a job and be a whole lot more competitive and gosh...normal. He’s been reinvented before and he’ll be reinvented again, but for right now he’s being subtly told to just grow a pair or fuck off out of church. 

It's all sounding very familiar.


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