Friday, April 14, 2006

Lesbian Jesus and the baby-dyke Ishmael

Okay, as a lesbian Christian who was raised keeping the Passover and has now been kicked out of most churches (“oh, a same sex couple? Let me get back to you”: I’m still waiting, buddy) what does Easter mean to me? For this year, I’ve decided it’s about becoming something different. Look at Jesus, who died a human but rose something which could understand and be all people (and also technically “a zombie” as this 'toon "Passion of the Zombies" will explain). So for me Jesus may have died a 33 year old Jewish guy but in my life (since all of humanity revolves around the fact that I would one day exist and now here I am) was resurrected a lesbian; actually kind of one of those nice earth-goddess lesbians who are just really calming to be around. (the patriarchal church cut those last versus after the fish dinner where Jesus told everyone; “later guys, I’m heading over to Mary’s and we are going to the Judean Wymyn’s Festival”)

This got me thinking about the corresponding symbolism by the lesbian writer Herman Melville (After reading Moby Dick, I decided that the two main characters Ishmael and Queequeg are actually women and a lesbian couple, that the book is a early lesbian classic and thus the writer, though regarded by the world as male, must also be a lesbian). Moby Dick, the great butch/femme relationship novel, uses the same symbolism as Easter: the three days of battle with the white whale before all is carried ito the sea of darkness. In Moby Dick, the butch heroine Queequeg, black and tattooed is “the other”, seen and judged based on appearance. Queequeg, however is the forgiving and generous spirit personified, even saving the life of one who scorns her. She turns her coffin, a symbol of death, into a sea chest, a symbol of ongoing life. It is this life that saves her baby-dyke Ishmael when all others have chosen to follow their blood and fury down into the darkness.

So, rebirth; walking away from all those fixations and obsessions, sounds like a good plan. Course this from the person who found another fencing club so I can fence on Good Friday and Easter Monday. But I will challenge myself to assume that not all straight guys are either active or dormant brain-washed jerks who are always moments from saying stupid things out loud (like the guy this week who told me with a puzzled look on his face that “yes, women are naturally better at changing diapers...it’s because they can multitask”). Sister Jesus says that all are equal and beautiful in their potential. Okay, I’ll go with that. But I am storing all my rage here in a can, just in case I need it later.

7 comments:

kathz said...

Happy Easter! There's a wonderful fifteenth century poem that sees the figure of Jesus as questing (wounded) knight. lover and nursing mother (with the world or humanity as the female beloved and the baby). I remember being startled by the stanza which goes like this:

My love is in her chamber: hold your peace!
Make ye no noise, but let her sleep.
My babe I would not were in disease,
I may not hear my dear child weep.
With my pap I shall her keep;
Ne marvel ye not though I tend her to:
This wound in my side had ne'er be so deep
But Quia amore langueo.

I reckon the poet wouldn't have been shocked - or even too surprised - by the idea of a lesbian Jesus - even a lesbian fencer Jesus. And if churches can't see that, there view of God seems sadly limited.

If you like the sound of that stanza and want to read the whole poem, there's a text on-line at: http://www.bartleby.com/101/24.html

(Quia amore langueo is something like "wherefore I languish for love".)

The sense of the masculinity of Jesus is quite a recent invention. Florence Nightingale in Cassandra wrote about the second coming of Christ as a woman while the artist Holman Hunt used Christina Rossetti to model the face of Jesus in his painting The Light of the World.

Happy Easter and enjoy your fencing.

kath

elizabeth said...

I dunno. I always thought Easter was when Laura Secord stocked those awesome chocolate eggs and left it at that.
But seiously - assuming Jesus was a male - I have a feeling that he regarded women much more highy than the Catholic (bla) Church wants us to believe.

NOTHING said...

lol that zombie cartoon was funny, i never thot about moby dick that way befor, o and im not a brain dead jerk(i think)then again iv come 2 the relization that i make a horible stariotipical guy, so im a bad example of a guy thats not a brain dead jerk

B.V. Brus said...

First of all, my wife is not a natural multitasker, nor do we intend to have any children, so the diaper-changing issue is moot. (Her sister and sister's wife, however, are expecting their first child is due in June. They're much better at multitasking.) So the sexist stereotyping thingy that you describe is ... um. Something. I forget what my point was. That happens every time I see a really hot chick.

Secondly, I need a copy of your prescription. Just when I thought my world was skewed enough, someone has to show me up...

Elizabeth McClung said...

Kathz: thanks for the link to the poem - even explict female imagry regarding mary is difficult (we never got a sermon on pregnancy for example).

Elizabeth: Now is the important time: post easter chocolate sales!!!!

Nothing: You're no brain dead jerk - but any ones you do find like that tend to make good zombies!

B.V. Brus - The problem isn't what I am on, but when I go off it (ohh look at all the pretty colours) - I just remember, the blue ones stop me from starting fires....

Mario said...

The whole Jesus as Zombie thing is genius. I wonder if it can be worked into Flying Spaghetti Monsterism. I mean, they worked in pirates. Zombies would make it perfect!

Michelle said...

haha! Jesus as Zombie. Classic. Oh, since leaving the church, all easter really means to me is Cadbury Eggs and Peeps.

And come on. You know Cadbury Eggs were designed by lesbians.