Rev. Kittredge Cherry is a lesbian Christian author, minister and art historian who offers gay-friendly spiritual resources at JesusInLove.org. She blogs at the Jesus in Love Blog and edits the Jesus in Love Newsletter on queer spirituality and the arts. Ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), Kitt was at the forefront of the homosexuality debates at the National Council of Churches (USA) and the World Council of Churches as MCC’s National Ecumenical Officer.
Kitt’s ministry began at MCC San Francisco, where she served as program director and organized the church’s first annual women’s retreat. Women’s participation tripled under her leadership. She then became an executive at MCC’s international headquarters. As part of her ecumenical work, Kitt organized dramatic demonstrations for justice in the church, including Hands Around the God-Box at the offices of the National Council of Churches and the take-over of an NCC meeting when members voted to deny observer status to MCC.
Kitt handled media relations for The Wedding, a spectacular group blessing of 6,000 lesbian and gay couples at the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Rights. She served as clergy in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community for seven years until Chronic Fatigue Syndrome forced her into a more contemplative life.
One of Kitt’s biological and spiritual ancestors is John Donne, the 17th century English poet and clergyman who wrote, “No man is an island.” Kitt was born and raised in Iowa. She met her life partner, Audrey, when they were both students at the University of Iowa. After earning degrees in journalism and art history, Kitt worked as a newspaper reporter and studied in Japan on a Rotary International Journalism Scholarship. She was baptized at age 25 at an interdenominational church in Japan. She went on to earn a Master of Divinity degree from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California.
Kitt’s books include Jesus in Love: At the Cross (AndroGyne Press, 2008), Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More (AndroGyne Press, 2007), Jesus in Love: A Novel (AndroGyne Press, 2006), Equal Rites: Lesbian and Gay Worship, Ceremonies and Celebrations (co-edited with Zalmon Sherwood; Westminster/John Knox Press, 1995), Hide and Speak: A Coming Out Guide (HarperSanFrancisco, 1991; AndroGyne Press, 2006) and Womansword: What Japanese Words Say About Women (Kodansha International, revised edition 2002). The New York Times Book Review praised her “very graceful, erudite” writing style and her poetry has won several awards. Art That Dares was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. She has also written for Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal. Kitt and Audrey live in Los Angeles.
Much of Kitt’s recent work focuses on the gay Jesus and queer Christ. Right-wing Christian bloggers labeled Kitt “a hyper-homosexual revisionist” and denounced her books as “garbage,” “insanity” and “a blatant act defamation and blasphemy.” JesusInLove.org regularly gets hate mail with warnings such as, “Gays are not wanted in the kingdom of Christ! They are cast into the lake of fire.”
Kitt believes that this kind of religious bigotry is exactly why the queer Christ is needed. “Christ’s story is for everyone, but queer people often feel left out because conservatives use Christian rhetoric to justify hate and discrimination,” she says. “Some of Christ’s followers preach hate, but Christ loved everyone, including sexual outcasts.”
(This biographical statement provided by Kittredge Cherry.)