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Showing posts from November, 2009

The End is Near....to the Beginning

The disciples said to Jesus, "How will the end come?" Jesus said, "Have you already found the beginning, since you are looking for the end? Don't you realize that the end will be where the beginning is. Well done to the one who lives at the beginning: that one will know the end and will not taste death." Gospel of Thomas 18



What is the beginning? The beginning is the original mind, uncorrupted by society, beliefs, and norms. It is the realm of experience, not just beliefs. When Jesus spoke about the beginning, one cannot help but think of the Jewish story of creation. The man and the woman lived at one with nature, each other and the Divine. They were one with everything. The Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas contrasts those rapture people who write books about being stuck behind playing on end time fears. Jesus is not an apocalyptic preacher. Instead he is a mystic, calling those who would hear back unto oneness, which is the completion (end) as well as our b…

What if?

What if the Divine were within everything and all we had to do was see it? What if in seeing it we could see clearly? What if seeing clearly we were guided by our deepest selves? What if gnosis is simply seeing clearly? It is.

Thanksgiving and Experiment

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. My family and I are actually having ours today. Also, I am going to try an experiment...I am going to spend a month speaking of God/the Divine as female. I am curious what this may do in my consciousness.

Do you hear what I hear?

Jesus said, "I will give you what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what no hand has touched, what has not arisen in the human heart." Gospel of Thomas 17

I had believed in a spiritual realm but never really had any proof. That was until one summer night. A friend and I were leaving the city heading back to our small town. We were hit by an oncoming car. I remember looking down on the wreck. I saw the other person's car-its color and model. I saw the person get out of that car to check on us. I was watching from above in perfect peace. I realized that someone was there with me. I did not even bother to look at them, but simply told whoever it was that we were in a wreck. Then with an inner knowingness, I said, "I have to go back, don't I?" With a jolt I regained consciousness in the car. I saw the same person at my friends window checking on us. Sure enough he drove the car I saw from above. This was a moment that spoke to me of something more...not he…

Let there be war!

Jesus said, "Some folks think that I have come to spread peace upon the world. They do not know that I have come to spread struggles upon the earth: fire, sword, war. There will be five in a house: Three will struggle against two and two against three, father against son and son against father, and they will stand alone." Gospel of Thomas 16

Wait a minute! Did Jesus really say that? I thought that he was the prince of peace. Where is all the meek and mild stuff? Actually while this may come as a surprise to some people, this passage is very similar to one found in the gospels, who in turn took it from the Hebrew scriptures. At first reading, this really seems like a negative passage. Thoughts of converting the infidels by the sword, the inquisition, the crusades, and such. Actually the battle for the Gnostic is not outside ourselves. The struggle is within. We have received that seed of gnosis when we see the Divine within ourselves, other people, and indeed all of t…

No New Births

Jesus said, "When you see one who was not born of woman, fall on your faces and worship. That one is your Father." The Gospel of Thomas 15

And where do you find one not born of woman? Look within. That is where God is found.

Let us pray! - NOT

Jesus said to his disciples, "By fasting you will bring sin upon yourselves, by praying, you invite condemnation, and by giving to charity, you will harm your spirits. When you go into any area and walk around the land, when people welcome you in, eat whatever they serve you and heal the sick that are among them. After all, whatever goes into your mouth will not bring impurity to you; actually, it's what comes out of your mouth that will bring impurity." Gospel of Thomas 14

What immediately jumps out to me is that Jesus in this passage is answering the questions asked by the disciples in saying 6. At first one may ask why these things are bad. I also ask who is doing the condemning. I think the key is in the rest of the saying. When they go around others...I don't think Jesus is condemning fasting, praying, or giving to charity. I think it is wrong when done in front of others. Jesus is condemning the hypocrites who love to be seen doing spiritual things. I think of t…

Hey, I know you!

Jesus asked his disciples, "Tell me what I am like by comparing me to something." Simon Peter said, "You are like a equitable and just angel." Matthew said to him, "You are like a wise philosopher." Thomas said to him, "Teacher, my mouth is utterly unable to speak what you are like." Jesus said, "I am not your teacher. Because you have drunk from the fresh and bubbling spring that I have kept, you have become intoxicated." And he took him, and withdrew from the others, and spoke three things to him. When Thomas came back to the disciples they asked him, "What did Jesus tell you?" Thomas said to them, "If I tell you even one of the things he said to me, you will pick up rocks and stone me, and fire will come from the rocks and incinerate you." Gospel of Thomas 13

This is one of the most fascinating passages in the Gospel of Thomas in my opinion. The scene is similar to the ones found in the gospels, but it contains a…

Follow the Leader

The disciples said to Jesus, "We know that you will depart from us. Who is to be our leader?"
Jesus said to them, "Wherever you are, you are to go to James the righteous, for whose sake heaven and earth come into being."
Gospel of Thomas 12

This is one of those sayings that in my opinion say a lot for the Gospel of Thomas being an authentic early text. It reveals something that know about the early church that was later supplanted by Peter's role. We know that James was the leader of the church in Jerusalem and it was he who was reputed to have led the first council in Jerusalem rather than Peter who was claimed by Christians later as head and leader of the church i.e. the first Pope.
So how do we read this? Is this simply a statement of leadership of the fledgling movement? Well yes and no. Keep in mind that the churches of the first century were house churches...meaning they were meetings in peoples homes with many different people serving in different t…

Abracadabra-One into Two!

Jesus said, "The heavens will pass away, and the one above it will pass away also. Those who are dead are not alive, and the ones who are alive shall not die. When you used to eat what was dead, you made it come alive. When you dwell within the light, what will you do? When you were one, you became two. But when you are two, what will happen then? What will you do?" Gospel of Thomas 11

This passage is fun to mediate on. This contains the Gnostic message in a nutshell. It tells how we come to buy into the world's system with its values. The heavens in Gnostic mythology are the dwelling place of the Demiurge...the corrupter-who takes good things but corrupts them. Things like money systems that hurt the poor, the giant corporations who build their empires at the expense of the environment, and the ways we need to feel superior by putting others down, the way religions exclude...these are all evidence of some corruption...which mythologically we call the Demiurge. …

Gnosticism's Challenge

Gnosticism is not a purely mystical system. It has something to say to this world. It stands against the systems of the world that lie to us about who we are. It seeks to reveal the ways that dehumanize humanity through corporate greed, the ego, and religious systems that oppress.

We are Gnostics. We are people who believe that the Divine One resides within all of us. We serve God by serving others in love, compassion, and caring. God does not need our prayers, though we may offer them. God does not need our praise, though we may offer it. God is inside and outside of us. We have forgotten who we are as sons and daughters of God. God has sent messengers in many forms and ways to call us to remember who we are and where we came from. There are powers at work within and without that would have us forget and submit again to the yoke of slavery...the slavery of being asleep to injustice, uncharitable beliefs, and systems that oppress. We reject those systems and shout out....remember! Reme…

Come on baby, light my fire!

Jesus said, "I have lit this world on fire, and I am going to watch over it until it blazes." Gospel of Thomas 10

There was a seeker who wanted enlightenment, and so he traveled miles and mile to seek a teacher. He traveled up the highest mountain through rough terrain to seek this teacher's wisdom. He sat at the master's feet and spoke to him, "Master, I have come a long way through much troubles to be here. I am here to seek God." The Master was silent. This repeated itself several times. Finally, the teacher stood and walked over to the riverbank. He waved the student over. "Look at your reflection in the waters." The teacher said. The seeker looked at himself in the waters as he as told. Suddenly the master grabs the seeker's head and holds it under the water. He keeps holding it there, and the seeker begins to struggle. Finally, when the seeker is about to pass out, the Master pulls the man up. "When you seek God as mu…

A Dream

I dreamed last night that I was studying and teaching a Christian Vedanta. It was Christian in that it used the Christian and Gnostic scriptures and Jesus as a spiritual teacher. It taught Vedanta in that God was the deepest self of all things and that we needed that spiritual insight to truly perceive it. What was interesting was that in this dream I was teaching about all the various Christian scriptures and how they point to oneness...many of them ones that I had never considered in waking life.

Riding my John Deere

Jesus said, "There was a sower who took his bag of seeds and went out and began scattering them all around. Some of the seeds fell on the road, and the birds came around and ate them. Other seeds fell on the rocky area, they did not take root, and so did not produce any grain. Others seeds fell among the thorns, which choked out the seeds, and the worms came and ate them. The last batch fell on fertile soil; and it produced an excellent crop: they yielded sixty per measure and a hundred and twenty per measure." Gospel of Thomas 9

I am sure there are those of you who are familiar with this saying. It is also found in the New Testament gospels. The questions I begin with upon reading this is: Who is the sower? What do the seeds represent? I think the sower is us. We are the one planting seeds. The seeds are all good. There is nothing wrong with the seeds for them not to grow. It is where they are sowed that matters. So what are the seeds? I am not going to pos…

Is Gnosticism Dualist?

I must say that the title is loaded. It presupposes something that is patently false. Historical Gnosticism is not a monolith. Neither is contemporary Gnosticism. Dualism can be defined where there are two opposites that never meet...God vs. Satan/Demiurge or Spirit vs. Matter. Almost no Gnostics hold the Zoroastrian view of a Good power versus an equal Evil power. God is often described as the All. God emanated all that is and all things will eventually return to that source. Some Gnostics were nature negative, sadly. These particular Gnostics saw the divine spark within everything but that it was trapped there. However and thankfully that is not the only view, and many if not most Gnostics today reject that view. The other view is panentheistic, that all things exist within God. The spark of God is there...the material universe is not bad but rather impermanent. Nature has beauty, but nature can be vicious as well. Nature can inspire us in the majesty of the sky at su…

Got any live bait?

Jesus said, "Humanity can be seen to be like a wise fisherman who cast his net down into the sea. When he pulled it back up it was full of little fish. Among all the little fish there was a beautiful large fish. The fisherman threw all the little fish back into the sea, keeping only the large fish. If you are able to hear, hear this saying." Gospel of Thomas 8

What immediately jumps out to me about this passage is that is is not God who is the fisherman. God is not dividing the saved or unsaved or any such theology that many of us grew up hearing. The gospel of Matthew interprets the parable that way. But Thomas sees humanity as the fisherman. You and I. There was a marketplace of ideas. There were other ideas competing for my attention as well. My pain and sense of loss from fundamentalism brought me to other angry people who were negative towards religion. With this group, we often sat around talking and never really doing anything. We were coffee table philosophers-cynical…

Lionburgers on the grill!

Jesus said, "Blessed is the lion that the person eats, as the lion becomes human. How disgusting is the man that the lion eats, yet the lion will still become human."
Gospel of Thomas 7

I had an uncle who married young. He and his wife were in love and envisioned a happy future together. They were young and experimented with drugs. Sadly, he became addicted and that addiction ruined his relationships with his children, his wife left him after years of long suffering patience. Sadly, the man died due to his addiction. His son was in jail, and his daughter is currently wanted by the police. He died alone. The lion is our addictions. The lion in this passage is one's desires, attachments, addictions, obsessions and all those things that grip us. They could even be ones own opinions or religious beliefs when they grip so hard one no longer can respond with compassion. The human in this passage is the child of God. It is who you are. You are a son or daughter of God, who has f…

I know what you ate last summer!

His disciples came to Jesus and asked him, "Should we fast? What is the correct way we should pray? Should we give to charity? What kind of diet should we observe?" Jesus replied, "Do not lie, and don't do what it is that you hate. All things will be revealed in heaven. There is nothing that is hidden that will not be displayed, and there is nothing covered over that will not be uncovered." Gospel of Thomas 6

This is one of the sayings of Jesus that I can spend a lifetime or more with in contemplation. His disciples are ready to set up a religion. There should be a certain way and perhaps times to pray. There are dietary regulations and certain ways to do things. Of course doing such a thing then divides people into the us and them. There are those of us who do these things -we are the spiritual ones...and when we don't do them, we feel guilty. I lived many years in such a prison. It can easily lead to self-loathing and judgemental ism.

But Je…

THE CHARTER FOR COMPASSION

This is beautiful!

Where are you trying to hide that thing?

Jesus said, "Know what is right there in front of your face, and the stuff that is hidden from you will be revealed. There is nothing that is hidden away that will not be displayed, and there is nothing buried that will not be raised up." Gospel of Thomas 5

In spiritual practices such as contemplation, meditation, and lectio divina, a lot of crap comes up. Pardon my crudeness, but you know when you have acne pop up and eventually the head of it fills with puss? It is the same thing when you have a regular spiritual practice. Your junk comes up and you are better prepared to deal with it, and get to the root of it so that you may be healed. Your thoughts of hatred, jealousy, lust etc. all come up. And it does not just come up once! It comes up again and again until it is right up in your face. Now you have to deal with it. It is painful and may have to be cleaned out several times until you have let the issues go. With spiritual practice, our issues are out there...…

Vegetarian Lifestyle

It is nearing two months that I have adopted a vegetarian lifestyle. I was nervous at first if I was going to be able to follow through with it. Now it is second nature. I don't think twice about it. Occassionally an odd thought will fly through my head that I won't be able to eat something ever again, but it is so natural now.

Continuing to ask the baby...

In continuing to reflect on the passage about asking the infant seven days old (see previous blog entry), I cannot help but think of the ecstatic poetry of Rumi. His passion for God/truth was so much that he appeared drunk and a fool to many who would be too serious. He loved God so much that propriety and tradition was thrown aside. I can see this too in Jesus words. Jesus is the laughing Jesus calling us to holy innocence. Lay aside everything that would keep you from God....and in laying everything aside, you then find everything. This path is a path of joy!

Baby Talk

Jesus said, "The person who is very old won't waste a second in consulting an infant seven days old about the place of life, and he will live. For the many who are first will be last, and they will be one and the same." Gospel of Thomas 4

In the Jewish culture, a baby is circumcised on the eighth day after he is born. Here Jesus offers us a hilarious picture...the elderly asking a newborn about what it is all about. And yet Jesus challenges us with the notion that the baby is the wise one. Why? The baby is unprogrammed. He has not been told what is and what is not. He has not been indoctrinated by society, television, cultures and religion. The babe is a blank slate. He or she only knows what is. He does not worry about tomorrow or regret yesterday. The baby lives only in the present moment. This is baby dwells in oneness. The Gospel of Thomas challenges the reader again and again to go back to the beginning, not in a nostalgic way but rather in a way of li…

A Gift of Love

A Love Song to God

Would you be my lover?

A beautiful poem that I apply to God. The poem is written by Tagore. I feel it expresses the love relationship I have with God and hope to cultivate deeper. God as Lover pt 3

This is true my love
That the lightning flash of the light in your eyes
Makes the clouds in my heart explode and blaze.
This is true my love
That your sweet lips are red as a blushing bride.
This is true my love
That the tree of paradise flowers within you
That your footstep beat the rhythm of my soul
That the night sheds drops of dew at your sight
That the morning surrounds you with light from delight
That the touch of your hot breath intoxicates my soul.
This is true my love
That daylight hides in the dark of your hair
That your voice makes the world fall silent to hear your song
That the universe is nothing but your lovemaking.
This is true my love.

Have a seat in my trash heap.

If you come to know yourself, then you will be known, understanding that you are children of the Heavenly Father. But if you do not know yourself, then you live in squalor and poverty, and you are that squalor and poverty. Gospel of Thomas 3b

This is the second part of Saying 3. The first part of saying 3 ended with the reminder that the kingdom is within and without. Now Jesus takes it to the next level. The challenge is to know ourselves. This is a lifelong journey. Like peeling an onion, we take away layer after layer...only to find another layer. I believe that this first part is also a challenge to mindfulness. We are called to be mindful/in the moment when we do our everyday routine, but also to be mindful of emotions, thoughts, and feelings that pop up. For example, say you work with someone whom you do not really like. They come to you and ask a question and you are short with them. To know yourself, is to be aware of your feelings toward them-to step back and observe those fee…

Look! It's a bird! It's a plane!

Jesus said, "If someone who leads says to you, 'The Father's kingdom is in the sky' then the birds of the air will beat you there. If the leaders say to you, 'The Father's kingdom is in the depths of the sea.' Then the fish of the sea will be there before you. Actually, the kingdom is inside you and outside of you." Gospel of Thomas 3a

The first thing that jumps out at me is that it is the leaders who are pronouncing where the kingdom is found. How many preachers today have announced that many will be "left behind" in the rapture. They then say that the true believers will meet Jesus in the air. But here we have Jesus saying these leaders do not know what they are talking about. The kingdom is something we must find within ourselves and in all creation. The proponents of the rapture point to the end....to Armageddon. Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas points back to Eden. He points back to the mythical point where humanity was in union with each o…

Did you find it yet?

Jesus said, The one who looks should not cease looking until he finds. When he finds what he is looking for, he will be distressed. After being distressed, he will be surprised. Then that person will have dominion over all. Gospel of Thomas 2

A woman was cleaning house when she realized that her wedding ring had fallen off in the process. She searched high and low in the house. She began to panic, when she did not find it, double checking here and there for it, wondering how she would explain the loss to her husband. In exasperation, she sat down on the sofa, and in that moment of release, remembered she had put it in her pocket so she would not get any cleaner on it. In my own spiritual journey, I am constantly surprised. When I began this journey, I believed God was only outside of me. This view applied to others too....especially those I considered unbelievers. As time went on through the years I still sought God but found a still, small voice within.....when the big shift happened…

Did you hear what he said?

These are the obscure sayings of the living Jesus, that Didymus Judas Thomas transcribed. Whoever perceives the meaning of these sayings, will not taste death.Gospel of Thomas 1

This is the first saying in the Gospel of Thomas. It lets the reader know that the meanings of these sayings are not immediately evident...I believe they operate much like a Zen Koan...that these sayings are best meditated on. Didymus Judas Thomas is interesting in that both Didymus and Thomas both mean Twin. Whether or not Thomas wrote this is not the point..the point seems to be that we are called be twins of Jesus. Jesus, in the Thomas Christian tradition is free from the doctrines that surround him in many churches. He is much more like a zen master or yogi than an "only begotten". We are challenged to become awake by waking up to the meaning of these sayings. When we wake up we are truly able to experience life in all its beautiful fullness. You will not find in the GoT exclusivism or one-wayism …

Scriptures and the Gospel of Thomas

I took some pictures of the oak tree in my yard. The fall color explosion of leaves on the tree is gorgeous! I will try and post them today after I get them uploaded.

So I have been reading that new "scripture" called The Song of God and while there are a few good things in there...it is very odd. It contains a polemic against Christianity and Mormonism (which reflect the one who "received" the scripture's own history and bias). It contains a different story using stories from the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament) adding unusual twists. God in their story is an exalted man and exalted woman whom they call Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. They were once like us and they achieved Godhood. In fact there are innumerable divine beings ruling planets. We are God's literal spirit children (sounds very much like Mormonism). Jehovah/Yahweh is the demiurge. Lucifer is mislead. It all seems very much like an odd mixture of Mormonism, Christianity, and Gnosticis…

Seasons Change

The weather here seems to go back and forth between very warm to chilly and back again. I have decided to save a bit of energy and shut off the heat and air conditioning and allow the insulation to do its work. The house is very comfy.

This past weekend we re-arranged the house and my sunroom looks fantastic, and is now being enjoyed as a scenic reading room! I can look out on the trees and see the wind blowing and close my eyes imagining the breath of God blowing in those winds...there is no difference really... is there?

The Song of God

After that dream that is still hanging with me, I did a search for the words The Song of God. Oddly enough there are two scriptures entitled The Song of God. One is the Bhagavad-Gita (translated Song of God), an ancient scripture which I am familiar with. It is the story of Krishna and Arjuna. Arjuna is getting ready to go to battle and stops right before doing it. There are parts of it that are truly inspiring, but parts that are offensive to me. Krishna talks Arjuna into going ahead and going to war...that those he is going to kill are already dead and will be reincarnated anyway...and they will eventually be saved. I hope nobody takes that approach with me.

The other is something currently written. I have not read it, but only blurbs on the website. Seems to be woman and gltb positive and is more focused on deed rather than creed. Curiosity got the best of me and I ordered it.

Christianity?

I am not going to go on a rant on Christianity. I went through my anger stages with it ages ago. My background is as a Southern Baptist Missionary. I believed completely and was a fundamentalist of fundamentalists. I left it slowly as chinks in my faith began to strike at it leaving a crushed heap. When I first left the Baptists, I sought out a denomination that seemed less literal..and took a few years to finally choose to convert to Roman Catholicism. I even tried a stint as a monk. But finally I came to see that I could not say the creed in good conscience. From there I was years later to take the fragments of what was good from it and leave the rest...or as we here in the south say...you eat the meat and spit out the bones. (not a good analogy for a vegetarian but you get it LOL) I think modern Gnostics do this well as many see the demiurge responsible for the atrocities in the Bible and the true God who his the spark in all things encourages the good things.



Reason 1 that I am not…

Delicious Meatless Wraps

You will need:

1 Sun Dried Tomato Tortilla per wrap
1 Sliced Advocado per wrap
Garlic Hummus
Green Onion
A slice of red and green bell pepper

Spread on the Hummus to cover the tortilla.
Chop up green onion, the red and bell peppers, and advocado.
Put them on the tortilla.
Eat and enjoy!