could you talk some about gay jesus? i'm so interested and i want to know more!
- picture it like this: you are the disciple john, young and scrawny, living off of bread and dust. you have seen roman soldiers drag the poor through the streets, push the ill to the earth, point their swords at the weak, and your heart is a place of briars and thunder.
- then jesus shows up in capernaum one night, tangled hair and dark eyes, singing about love. he shows up on your doorstep smelling of rosewater and clay. he asks you and your brother for a loaf of bread, sits at your table, telling you not about how he invented the constellations but about how he spent half an hour today watching a group of children dance together in a marketplace. you feel the ache in your bones long before you realize it’s there, and when he places his hands on your shoulders, asking you to join him, no piece of you refuses.
- this is what it’s like traveling with him: plum trees bear fruit in the middle of winter, ice cold bodies of the dead turn hot and leap up laughing. he smears river mud on the blind and they see again. he presses a finger to the lips of the mute and suddenly poetry fall off their tongues. shackles melt and lions quiet and the sea unwilds into stillness and your heart which was once a drought in the face of unbelief becomes springwater pouring out the gospels anyway.
- one night after dinner, you slump over with exhaustion. jesus, grinning, tells you to lay your head on his chest. you do. you can feel his heartbeat through the linen of his clothes, steady and strong and so undeniably human even with all the divinity in his chest. he runs his fingers through your hair once, lightly. a calloused fingertip brushes your cheek and suddenly all the aching in your limbs evaporates. jesus leaves his arm wrapped around you. you never want to move again.
- you see how he looks at the roman centurion clutching the hand of his fever-wracked lover as if jesus and the centurion were two parts of the same soul. the centurion’s lover is a man with bright red hair. i am the light, jesus says before he presses his lips to the lover’s forehead.
- you remember the insults your parents spat out about men who lie with other men. you remember the boy you kissed by the well when you were sixteen, all the nights you spent shivering and praying on your dirt floor to the god you hadn’t met yet that you would wake in the morning better than you were now. you wonder if jesus can recite every plea you ever made.
- when he says your name, your blood fevers at the sound. you would risk pain and prison for that voice. you would risk yourself.
- the first time he calls you beloved, you have to tell him. the two of you are off by yourselves. you are knee-deep in a lake dragging your net through the water to catch fish for supper, and he is under the oak tree where you asked him to sit, sharing a story about an old weaver in nazareth who made cloths that were works of art within themselves. you pull up five fat, wriggling trout. he calls out, wonderful, beloved! and the net slips from your hands. you rush out of the water, fall to your knees in front of him. you haven’t finished the first syllable of forgive before he presses a finger to your lips.
- he says, when have i ever told you that love of any kind is something you should be afraid of? and then, smiling as he lowers his hand, do you think i have never been in love with a man?
- you know you don’t have to ask him for the kiss, but you do anyway, trembling as he brings you closer. his lips are chapped. he tastes of figs, sage, and moonlight. his laughter is in your mouth like wine, and you think of when he sang that love is the truest foundation of the universe, and you are free, you are free, you are free.