The In-Between Places

A man spoke to Jesus saying, "Tell my brothers to divide my father's possessions with me."
He said to the man, "Sir, who designated me to be a divider?"
He turned to his followers and said to them, "I'm not a divider, am I?"  Gospel of Thomas 72

This is one of the most comical sayings in the Gospel of Thomas.  Jesus whose whole message is becoming one and union, is being asked to divide and be judge.  Jesus points out that this is not why he has come.  In a very real way he is shirking the idea of himself as messiah.  In Judaism the Messiah would be a king like David who would rule the nation of Israel, free them from oppressors and rule with justice.  Jesus however seeks not this role but that of a teacher...a guide.  To follow Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas is to enter those in-between places...where things are not easy spoken or explained.  The disciples of this rabbi don't fit fully here nor there.  The original Jewish disciples seemed to not quite fit in with the main branches of Judaism nor with the Gentile world.  Today a Thomasine does not fit completely within the church and yet bears many similarities that an traditional Christian would assume they are one of them, until learning the details of the Thomasines following of Jesus....then would consider them outside the fold.  Not all would call them heretics of course, but many would feel that way internally.  We dwell within and without Christianity.  The blurry places.  Technically one could be from any religion and find wisdom and insight in Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas.  A Jew could approach Jesus in the GoT as a mystical rabbi and nothing more.  A Hindu could see in him a guru.  A Buddhist a wisdom teacher.  A Christian could see that of God in Jesus.  The Gospel of Thomas does not pigeonhole Jesus into any one religion.  He is truly a universal wisdom teacher.   I had to get to a place a while back where I could be okay being considered a heretic or outside the mainstream Christianity.  Yet Jesus calls us to those in-between places...where we do not have to have a theological dictation for all these questions that people may ask.  A Thomasine can simply shrug in silence when asked about things like the virgin birth, the idea of Jesus' death as sacrifice, Jesus divinity, the resurrection, baptism, and eucharist.  We are silent where our scripture is silent.  To us these issues simply do not matter.  I am finding peace in the in-between places.  Sometimes it is uncomfortable, but it is home.

Comments

  1. I'm glad to read this. It looks like our thoughts are in similar places. Where do we fit in? Fitting in is not necessarily important, but it is a way of finding 'rest' for our spiritual selves. If there is not a place in which we fit, we must sometimes make a new place. That place of 'in-between'.

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