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Deity: Then and Now

I admit I am fascinated by the mythos of the Secret Gospel of John.  In it, you start out with the Divine Presence... who seems to me to be utterly fluid, the impersonal presence of the Divine.  From this Divine One springs Barbelo and a whole host of Aeons.  These Aeons can be looked at various ways.  They are gods or aspects of the Divine Monad.  The One burst into the Many and the great adventure of Modern Gnosticism is to make that journey of the many back into the One.

It is here that I can "grok" what many modern Neo-Pagans are saying.  I see the Masculine-Feminine side of the divine found in Wicca.  I see the many found in other belief systems.  I see the spirit of life in all things in animism and the presence of the impersonal Divine of the Pantheists.

Being Gnostic has opened so many doors for me.  I can see a million faces of the Divine - God and Goddess, Father, Mother, Lover, Sister, Brother, Impersonal, Personal, Perfect, Imperfect, Wild, Chaotic, Peace all of …

Question Seven: What is the Thomasine's Defining Characteristic?

Question:  What is the defining characteristic of the Thomasine tradition's approach to the cultivation of Gnosis?


Within the Gospel of Thomas two things pop up again and again as their signposts to gnosis.  The first is:  "Know yourself."   The second is:  "Know/Remember where you came from."


Really, these two things are one thing.  We are challenged to know that we are sons and daughters of God.  We are called to remember our Original Innocence in the proverbial Garden.  The message of the Gospel of Thomas is not original sin, it is not that we are damned.  It is that we were made in the image and likeness of God.  So all of us are sons and daughters of God.  Every last one of us.  Some have just forgotten who they are.  Therefore our lives should reflect this, through authenticity, protecting our brothers and sisters, and living a real life.. an awake life.



Gospel of Thomas Movie

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One God Over All

The Gospel of Thomas does not enshrine Jesus as the only way to God.  Rather for the the Thomasine Christian, Jesus is their way to God.  For me, as I come to meditate on Jesus and his words I see God through him, as a mirror reflected back at me.  Thus God speaks to us through Jesus but that is not the only way God speaks.  There could be numerous images of God throughout the world, many lights, many messengers reflecting the one Light of God.  I believe that when a person responds to the light they have been given, respond to the truth they understand, then that truth is God as Truth.

The Gospel of Thomas is not a book for theological masturbation and self pleasuring. Rather it is a book to be meditated on.  It is a book challenging one to know (gnosis) who they are, where they are from and where they are going.

An Authentic Faith

There is a saying in the Gospel of Thomas that says when you know yourself you will be known.  For me as a Thomasine Christian and really reflecting on things the past few months have really made this saying hit home for me.  This faith journey requires authenticity.  It is not one for pious platitudes or the fake smile I used to glue on in my stricter fundamentalist days.  It requires an unflinching look at oneself, and wow what a mixed bag that can be!  In sitting in silent contemplation in the Divine presence, it is as if God were holding a mirror back on me.  I see my mind jumping like a monkey from thought branch to thought branch.  Then I observe a pattern in my mind's wanderings.  Like a broken record, it replays past events and shapes and guides my thoughts and feelings like a dog on a leash.  It is only through seeing these that I can even address these things.. events in the past that still cause a limp in my journey.  Some of these can be let go, others are a part of my…

Question Six: What is Scripture

Question:  What is scripture and how is it to be used?


This continues on the questions my bishop gave me some time back to answer from a Thomasine perspective.
It seems to me that for a Thomasine, The Gospel of Thomas is primary.  Every other scripture would be looked at in light of the foundation of the Gospel of Thomas.  So the other Gospels, the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament, the Nag Hammadi scriptures and other later Thomasine writings can be valuable and helpful but the foundation remains The Gospel of Thomas.

Jesus as Sacred Teacher

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Time

I have recently returned from an online time out as you may have noticed.  There are quite a few reasons as to why this is, one being simply being with my family.  My step-father's cancer has returned and things are not looking good.  (Prayers welcomed!!!!)  Also in my work, I have really been blessed and challenge in my work with inner city kids.  They have so many needs, and I see how little of me there is to go around in simply being there for them.  It is heart breaking.  This realization has really hit home the past couple of weeks.  While I consider Jesus my guru and teacher, these kids are also my guru and teachers.  It is they who simply by being them, reveal my own weaknesses and faults.  It is also through them that I receive the grace of the Lord.

Question Five: What is the Community?

In the Gospel of Thomas there are hints of community but a lot of emphasis is given to the solitary in the GoT.  In fact, I would argue that a lot more emphasis is placed on the solitary than in the community.  However that said, I do believe there existed some type of community.  I think there may be clues that can lead us to infer within the text.

Looking at the initial community it was set up with the teacher, Jesus and his students.  This is set up similar to what one sees in Buddhism, Sufism, and Hinduism.  You also see this in Hasidic Judaism.  We know that Jesus was a Jew and his initial apostles were Jewish.  However what we do not know for sure is if this community celebrated any of the Jewish festivals or ways.  Jesus himself spoke against circumcision which he no longer saw as useful.  However we do here a vague reference about "Keeping the Sabbath as a Sabbath".  It is given in reference from fasting from the world, which is done at Sabbath as it is a day of rest…

Question Four: What Role Do Mediators Play? (Angels etc.)

In the Gospel of Thomas, it is very clear that a person can know God and who they are in God apart from any mediators.  Jesus comes from God to teach any who would have his guidance.  He is a teacher who came from God and can show the way back to union with God.  As for angels, spirits, etc... it is left open.  A person may or may not believe in them.

Question Three: What is Man?

Humanity is best described as the children of God.  Humanity bears the spirit of God within them.  Humankind is called to know God and to know themselves as Gods children.  Other metaphors are used as well, that of beloved entering into the bridal chamber. Being children or lovers of God are metaphors for this call to union with God.

Question Two: What is Gnosis?

Gnosis in a Thomasine context is twofold.  It is knowing yourself as a child of God and knowing God.  This knowing is not so much as faith as a revelation or epiphany that you come from God and are called to union with God.

Question One Continued...

As I continue to reflect on the question of "What is God to a Thomasine?" I  find myself seeking to clarify my earlier statements.  I think for a Thomasine, the way we see God is through Jesus.  I would also clarify that when I use terms like Trinity, I am not necessarily meaning the orthodox definition of Trinity.  God is seen as Father and Mother.  But Jesus seems to have come from God.  Was he created or emmanated at some point in history?  It very well could be.  It is as if the Son, the "Cosmic Christ" existed in the heart of God as a "part" of God and took flesh or embodied in the person of Jesus.  I know not all Thomasines see Jesus as God, yet I think to be faithful to the scripture, one would have see Jesus as a huge part of the Thomasine faith.  I have come to be convinced both through the scriptures and my own UPG (unverified personal gnosis) that Jesus is in some way divine.

Question One: What is God?

Ah starting with the lightweight stuff!  Sheesh!

I will remind my readers that I will be giving most credence to The Gospel of Thomas and the Odes of Solomon, but also some to The Acts of Thomas, The Book of Thomas the Contender, and The Hymn of the Pearl.  I am convinced that the Thomasine Christian faith thrived and developed within Syria, and that this Syrian Christianity can provide some clues on the theology and practices of the Thomasines.

God is defined in the Gospel of Thomas as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit our Mother, in a type of Trinity.
The Father also called the living Father is mentioned numerous times in the Gospel of Thomas.
Some would argue that Jesus is not considered divine in the Gospel of Thomas, but after what I would say years of wrestling with the text, and even wishing it were not in there, I am convinced that the Gospel of Thomas does portray Jesus as Divine.

Some of the reasons I believe this is how Jesus is approached and questioned and even how he is referred…

The Questions

My bishop has asked these questions within our schools of thought/traditions within our church.  He asked me to consider these questions from a Thomasine Perspective..trying to answer what the tradition would say, and not my own personal take.

So I will utilize the Thomasine/Syrian Writings:  The Gospel of Thomas as a primary and earliest texts, but also The Acts of Thomas, The Book of Thomas the Contender, Odes of Solomon and The Hymn of the Pearl.

Here are the questions I will be going over and reflecting on before I write up something official for him.  I invite you the reader to join in the dialogue as I write on these.  I only as that you be respectful. :)

What is God?
What is Gnosis?
What is Man?
What role do mediators play (angels, etc.)?
What is the Community?
What is Scripture? How is scripture to be used?
What is the defining characteristic of the traditions approach to the cultivation of Gnosis?
What is worship?
What role is does liturgy play in worship and the cultivation of Gnosis?

The Incarnational Christian

I read over at Tony Jones' blog Theoblogy, of his choosing to prefer to refer to himself as an Incarnational Christian, emphasizing the Incarnation as the most important work of God.  He joins many of the Christian mystics throughout history and those of the Orthodox Church.  As a Thomasine Christian, I applaud him.  While there are probably many things we disagree on there is this that as Christians we CAN agree on.  God, the light, came to humanity, to seek and save us.  In the Gospel of Thomas we hear from the words of Jesus, ""I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained." (Saying 77)  Jesus is God come to us in flesh.  Somehow, someway God is in Jesus teaching us, calling us home.  His words and way become our ladder to God.  We become Christ having entered into Christ.  In the Hymn of the Pearl you see the Father, Mother, and Son calling us home.  In the Gospel of Thomas we see one come from the light, willin…

Grace

Do modern Gnostics believe in grace?  I think they do.  I do.  For me the whole process of gnosis is grace from start to finish.  Just to realize there is more to life than meets the eye is a grace.  To open up to the revelation that I am a son of God is a grace.  To live as a child of God is a grace.  Jesus, our older brother is sent of God...emanating from the very heart of God to seek us out.  So many of us are asleep, drunk or blind, but for those with ears to hear he invites us back.  Remember where you came from. Remember.
That is grace.
True.
Eternal
Persistent Grace.
And this calling as a son returning to his Father, his Mother is also offered another metaphor...of entering the bridal chamber with one's beloved.  We are called.
Called.
To Union
To Life
To Awaken
Now.
Grace.
Nothing But.
Grace.

Gnosticism Wordle

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A Wordle I made.
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Cleaning and Clearing

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I did some major cleaning yesterday.  With it I cleared spaces for my every increasing number of altars.  (How many is too many?) I now have a space for several types of divination.  Cards and Pendulum seem to be my preferred and most accurate.

Prayer

It took me years to be okay with Jesus.  I went through so many stages.  Complete rejection, anger and revulsion at anything Christian.  Then through the Gospel of Thomas and other Gnostic writings, coming to know another Jesus.  And finally (or perhaps, lately)coming full circle.  I am okay with Jesus.  I can sing the old gospel hymns, but I see Jesus bigger than many of the churches have made him.  He is a face of the Cosmic God.  Not the only face.  Not the only name I call this divine being by, but a name I am totally comfortable with and at ease with...culturally it is what I was raised with.  I say that because Jesus prayed.  Jesus was totally comfortable with God.  There was a time when I felt in a totally loving relationship with God..and somewhere it has become a mental exercise or emptiness meditation.  And yet something inside of me wants it.  I want prayer to escape my lips before every action I do.  I am a southerner...God is ingrained in our culture.  God and Jesus play …

New Moon

Last night I went out under the new moon.  The heat of the day was still there, just not as intense, threatening to drive everyone indoors.  No, there was a bit of a breeze, yet there was no denying it was summer.  The night sky dark moon was hidden completely, yet the starts sparkled like a thousand ancestors watching over the earth.  The new moon to me represents beginnings.  The ending of something and the beginning of something new.  My vacation is over and I will be in a new space with a new team in my job.  It is a promotion, but it still makes me nervous.  I whisper my hopes like prayers to the new moon.  Prayers for health and protection for me and mine.  Prays for the earth and our nation.  My fears have accompanied me out there, like an old familiar friend.  They are my sacrificial offering.  I offer my fears, my worries...sacrifice them for a better future.

Simple Altar

I have an altar with all kinds of statues on it. Each one representing something different.  Jesus, Mary and St. Jude are there.  So is Krishna and Sophia.  The Morrigan and an African statue. I honor them not so much for any religious meaning, but for the symbols they are.  They represent spirits of mercy, kindness, miracles, divinity in all things, strength and protection.  In asking for their boons, I offer flowers, water, and incense regularly.  It is a simple thing, and yet it is a part of me.

Confession

They say that confession is good for the soul, and I suppose it is.  I have something that I have tried to write for several days now, and each time ditch what I wrote. You see, I have this blog.  Yes, THIS blog.  It was all about that mystical text the Gospel of Thomas.  It is a fascinating text that I have studied for several years now, and I decided to write a personal commentary of my exploration of all 114 sayings.  I found it to be a riveting journey.  It was when I finished that the big experience happened.  I got it. I totally internally "got" what the teaching was telling me.  I am not saying this to brag.  I am not telling you this to gloat.  Hell, I don't think I did any thing to experience it.  But I did.  And with that, I no longer needed the Gospel of Thomas.  My 6 to 7 year romance with it died like the flowers I left my first girlfriend, who was in love with my best friend.

Suddenly I understood and experienced what the GoT taught, and I honestly did not …

Confession

They say that confession is good for the soul.  If that is the case then I am about to do some of that good stuff.  When I completed blogging about the

Vedanta

The more I think on it, the more I believe that the path I am following is Vedanta. The Gospel of Thomas teaches the same kind of teachings as the rest of Hinduism.  I spent three years as a monk under a guru and many more years as a Hindu.  While the guru was corrupt, the teachings of Vedanta were not.  God, guru, and Self are one.  I think I have made the mistake of trying to form a type of Thomasine Vedanta, when in reality it is all simply Vedanta.  God speaks in a ten thousand ways with ten thousand faces.  Through Jesus, Krishna, the Divine Mother, and through The Gospel of Thomas.  God has given me many gurus.  Some whose teachings may be purer than others, and yet God can speak through any of these.  I believe that to know ourselves as children of God..ie realizing the Self in all things is what liberation is.  I have clung to the Thomasine label, scared to let go and dive back in the full waters of Vedanta.  I have been trying to create Vedanta apart from Vedanta.  Maybe it i…

Meditation and Other Spiritual Practices

Interestingly enough in the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus does not set down a list of religious practices for his students to follow.  Instead he challenges them with the notion to be authentic.  If you do religious practices while wishing you did not have to.. he lets you off the hook.  "Do not do what you hate.  Do not lie" he says.  Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas is not one who supports nor neglects religion.  He seems to support what is skillful in remembering your true nature, and to disdain that which demeans the person.  How beautiful this teaching is.  How hard for someone who comes from a religion of works to deal with!

How to Approach the Teacher

So how does one approach Jesus?  Is the the infallible guru to whom you must surrender your every thought?  Is he one seeking your worship and adoration?  According to our scripture, The Gospel of Thomas, both of these answers are a resounding "no".  Jesus comes as a teacher and yet not a teacher.  He simply comes bearing witness by simply being light.  He does not want his students to sit with bated breath at his every word as if it were some mental masturbation wherewith one may derive intense self pleasure.  Rather he challenges his disciples, those who choose to learn under him, to taste and see...to find out if what he says is true.  Yes, he does challenge those who follow him to change their consciousness.  He requires his students to know themselves if they want this realization that he has experienced.  He has merged with that light of Brahman..the Father.  He has realized his oneness.  He challenges his students to do the same.  Without realization...what I call gno…

Thomasine Vedanta -Jesus as Guru and Liberator

It goes without saying that the Gospel of Thomas presents Jesus in a way than is presented in modern Christianity.  For me this took a couple of years to finally realize that the Gospel of Thomas is not Christian..not any modern sense, nor really in any form throughout most of "Christian" history.  The Gospel of Thomas (GoT) is a text of the sayings of Jesus.  But the Jesus it presents is a wisdom teacher...more in line with Eastern Masters as found in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism.  I believe the GoT can best be applied and lived today with an understanding of Vedanta.  

Vedanta is derived from the teachings in the Upanishads.  In the Upanishads you find the core teachings of the guru or the teacher of the way of liberation, the soul, God, and meditation.  These teachings are also found in the Gospel of Thomas.

For a practitioner of the Thomasine Vedanta, the Guru is Jesus or Issa as proponents of the belief that Jesus was in India during part of his life.  I like to use Iss…

Passerby Vedanta - A Way on the Way

I have been contemplating designing system of practices and teachings that are based upon the Gospel of Thomas in a universalist way...a way that recognizes similar teachings in the teachings of the Buddha, the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita.  I am convinced that the teachings of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas are same as the teachings found within Vedanta.  Vedanta originating in India and the fact that Thomas was reportedly martyred there are not lost on me.  I have decided to name this system of practices Passerby Vedanta.  Passerby because the GoT challenges us to never stop on this path. Vedanta because the way we travel on is the same as those who practice Vedanta.  I am a teacher and priest with a lineage and yet have largely neglected serving the people through teaching.  My work is done through service to children in poverty.  But I also feel that urge to teach.  And so I will.  I will share my way here.  Any who want to join in along the way with me are welcome.  Let's…

The Thomasine Approach to Religion

I was meditating on the Saying 3 in the Gospel of Thomas which says:
Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father's) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.  When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty."


The message of the Gospel of Thomas is one of personal validation.  Each person must realize it or know (gnosis) it for themselves.  We cannot only rely on the words of others including the words of Jesus.  Words and teachings of those who have awakened are a road we travel on.  They are a finger pointing us to the moon.  But knowing the words of the teaching, knowing their beauty, contemplating their meaning are practices on the pa…

Another Model For Leadership

In my previous post, I pointed out the problem with leadership in how it has been utilized in many faith traditions and my own experience with some of the best and the worst of leaders in various traditions.  Yet, I will not disparage the need for spiritual leadership, I just think that it needs a radical transformation.  The model I would like to hold up is that of the soul friend-anamchara.  I hear this and think of the sayings in the Book of Proverbs in the Bible.. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend" and "As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another."
A spiritual friend is not one who lords over you.  They are not there to dictate every aspect of your life.  But they are there to challenge you, to help you face your own ego and faults and work to overcome them.  In fact, this can often work both ways.  You can do the same for them.  A model like this just seems so much more healthy than one that speaks from the top down from a leader who has no relation…

Two Religions in Every Religion

God is so much bigger than we think. So many people know God in this world, and yet something has gone terribly wrong. I think many religious leaders have resorted to a type of tribalism and have usurped these religions trading compassion, mercy, and tolerance for submission to the leader or the leader's interpretation of the religion. I have seen the beauty of several religions as a member, but I have also suffered at the hands of leaders within a couple of these religions. Having spent my teenage and much of my college years as a fundamentalist Christian, I believed wholeheartedly. But I suffered at the leader's hands suffering a humiliation by being excommunicated and shunned by them for who God made me. I fled to Roman Catholicism, having come to know several liberal, compassionate priests who cared for the poor, who taught me to find God in holy silence. I over the course of years became a monk, but did not last long having my first exposure to the other kind of Catho…

Children of a Lesser God

The message of the Gospel of Thomas is this: We are children of the living God. This God is a God who is bigger than any religion. Sadly so many want to follow a lesser God, a God that does not act like a Father or Mother but rather like a spiteful dictator. The message is so clearly portrayed in The Hymn of the Pearl, where the calling is to those who have forgotten who their Father/Mother is..to remember their birthright. What is your God like?

The God I Believe In

I once believed in a god, who had rules for living that did not always coincide with common sense.  A god who bound you with guilt and who promised freedom by spending a lifetime bend over begging on your hands and knees.  Rejecting science for a holy book, was part of his teaching.  But somehow through all that garbage the real God was there, gently guiding me.  Over time and years and years of healing and restoration, I have come to know this God.  This God can be found in any and no religion.  This God is living and alive.  She has a million faces and every one of His faces has a million expressions.  He comes to me in the winds that I feel on my face outside my house.  She is there in the loving gaze of my puppy.  It moves and is revealed in the laughter of the kids I work with..  God is there in my partner, my boss and co-workers and the love of my mother and father. This God lives in me!  This is liberation for me.  God is not a religion.  My God is too big for any one religion.…

Gardening

Planted some catnip, cilantro, and mint yesterday.   The rosemary and lavender transplants are doing great.  I am only a beginner gardener but I am really loving it.  It brings a sense of interior peace and silence while doing it.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to be able to do this.

Who Do?

For the past four or so years, I have been taking a Hoodoo Rootwork Course.  I am nearing the end of it, and finally at a point where I am doing some of these workings on a regular basis.  Slowly feeling more confident in my workings, and I am noticing that this stuff feels like a part of me.  I was nervous even posting about it on the blog, as I have kept it largely Thomasine and little else.  But this too is part of my path.  I made a mojo bag last week.  I took a traditional Hoodoo bath today. (Been tasting salt on my lips all day)  I have my own personal theology in this as Hoodoo has a type of Christianity background... I have just adapted my own Thomasine Christianity in it.

George Watsky- 'Drunk Text Message to God'

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God our Mother...and Father

One of the things that is beautiful and fascinating to me in the Gospel of Thomas is the idea that God is Mother and Father.  Our first relationship is with our mother in her womb.  She knows us and has known us at our earliest stages.  She birthed us.  Our Mother and Father are our first primary relationships.  They know often know us better or as well as we know ourselves.  We share their nature.  This is the message of the Gospel of Thomas.  We are children of the Father and Mother.  We share their Divine Nature.  In fact, this divine nature, this divine spark can be seen within us.  This is the kingdom.  It can be seen in nature, in other people.  Like St. Francis and Rumi realized... all things are our relations.  We are brothers and sisters with all things.  We are lost in a dream longing to wake up.

Renewal

Having concluded my commentary on my ship's rudder "The Gospel of Thomas", I have enjoyed time spent in nature, time spent with family, and time spent doing simple gardening.  It has also allowed me some peace in that I did not feel the need to try to do anything.  It was that natural way that the Taoists speak of.  I have let arise naturally the the questions, "So what does it mean to be a child of God?  What does one do?  How does one live?" over and over like waves coming in, receding and then coming in again.  It is here while I think there are some universal answers, I believe there are some that are individual as well.  Great stuff.  Enjoying a crisp cool morning, cloudy skies.  We had been having near 80 degree weather already so this is a nice respite from the growing warmth.

Supermoon

I went out and sat in the yard a while taking in the super-moon.  This full moon was beautiful and cast a lovely light bluish shadow it seemed.  I love full moons.  I brought out a few objects for meditation and healing and allowed them to soak in her beautiful essence.  I offered a libation to her and prayed for family and friends during this time.  I renewed my own consecration to this path of direct revelation....a message I almost missed and yet was there time and again in the mystical text of the Gospel of Thomas. No wonder it did not make it in the orthodox Bible.  God conceived as Mother and Father with all of us as their children.  The message of the Gospel of Thomas is the path of direct revelation... no book (including the Gospel of Thomas itself) and no religion can give it to you.  It is that direct gnosis that must be experienced for oneself.  Does that mean books and religion are useless?  By no means, they can be helps for getting you there and reminding oneself of this…

Morning Blessings

This morning I went out onto the front lawn.  The grass was covered in a beautiful white frost.  Our weather is having a hard time deciding this year if it wants to be warm or cool.  I walked onto the grass and pressed my toes and bare feet into the grass enjoying the tingling cold on my feet.  Closing my eyes I imagined sending roots deep into the earth.  Drawing life from the earth on the in-breath, I allowed it to fill me.  Breathing out I sent any stagnant energy out through the crown of my head imagining a willow tree that the stale energy flowed up out and down into the earth to be restored once again.  Blessing the earth and the beautiful morning sun, I went back inside.

Saying 114 The Last Saying

Simon Peter said to them, "Make Mary leave us, for females don't deserve life."  Jesus said, "Look, I will guide her to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven."  Gospel of Thomas 114

This is the final saying in the Gospel of Thomas.  I have written my meager thoughts and contemplations on all 114 versus on this blog.  Over that time my understanding of these sayings have deepened and the message of these sayings are sinking in.

In this saying, Jesus speaks that the spirit is androgynous and to be whole we must reunite as the primordial Adam uniting with our divine twin or spark.  Peter says she is not male...so she cannot be one of us... Jesus responds, "You don't want her because she is not male?  Then fine... I will make her male"  He confronts prejudice with the realization that in spirit all opposites merge and unite like the yin-ya…

The Blanket of Divinity

His disciples said to him, "When will the kingdom come?"  "It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, 'Look, here!' or 'Look, there!' Rather, the Father's kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don't see it."  Gospel of Thomas 113

The message of Jesus is not to hope for end times or some rapture.  It is not about escaping the earth.  It is about living.  It is about realizing that we are sacred and divine and indeed the sacred spark is in everything.  The challenge is to live a sacred life with eyes open to see that holy spark.  It cannot be perceived by the unenlightened mind but only by those who are awake.

Damn Flesh and Soul!

Jesus said, "Damn the flesh that depends on the soul. Damn the soul that depends on the flesh." Gospel of Thomas 112

The flesh and the soul are two different things.  The flesh is temporal, ever changing, and will eventually cease to be.   The soul is eternal, constant, and will never die.  The flesh cannot depend on the soul for life.  It is what it is.   It does what it should do.  The soul cannot be fulfilled by the flesh.  The flesh is a tool...it does whatever the higher or lower natures order it to. (Depending on which one you listen to)

Eat a Roll Up!

Jesus said, "The heavens and the earth will roll up in your presence, and whoever is living from the living one will not see death."  Does not Jesus say, "Those who have found themselves, of them the world is not worthy"?  Gospel of Thomas 111

This saying is interesting...it starts with a saying of Jesus and then progresses to someone seeking to provide a commentary on this saying with another saying of Jesus.  Again this saying speaks of mastery.  Those who have found life through these teachings of the living one will master heaven and earth.  The spiritually enlightened person is able to see through the personal crap of our lives and live with an equilibrium of mind and heart in their approach to life.  This is true mastery.  Life then becomes a servant to the wise one, rather than the person merely reacting to things happening to them.

Discover the World! Now Renounce It!

Jesus said, "Let one who has discovered the world, and has become wealthy, renounce the world."  Gospel of Thomas 110

This is an interesting saying.  When you have discovered the world and become wealthy.  Does this mean when you have more than enough... when you can live comfortably without the world, do that.  Step out of it.  Not everyone has this luxury however.  It is very easy to read into this a negative view of the world, but it speaks of a mastery of the world then laying down that power.

Who Put That In My Backyard?

Jesus said, "The kingdom is like a person who had a treasure hidden in his field but did not know it. And when he died he left it to his son. The son did not know about it either. He took over the field and sold it. The buyer went plowing, discovered the treasure, and began to lend money at interest to whomever he wished." Gospel of Thomas 109

The treasure is within each one of us.  The treasure is within and without us.  It is the spirit of the divine.  How many of us have given away this insight lost in materialism, egotism and other temptations.  When you ground in this truth of who you are, you are able then to give out of your own depths to others.  I believe this also speaks to our application in the real world these spiritual qualities, such as peace, integrity etc.

Drinking from My Mouth!

 Jesus said, "Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him."  Gospel of Thomas 108

Jesus teachings are the teachings of direct revelation.  However he is not content that he is awakened and can sit back.  He offers to those who want to follow his way, exactly what he experienced.  He does not want to be their lord and god sitting over them, rather he calls those who would choose his way to become him.  He becomes the image of the divine twin...the mirror.  He becomes the higher or angelic self that we can become.  This path advocated by the Gospel of Thomas is not a religion  is a spirituality...a path of direct revelation. I give thanks to God for this!

Lowest Possible Standard

Jesus said, "The Kingdom is like a shepherd who owned a hundred sheep. The largest of them, wandered away. The shepherd left the ninety-nine and looked for the one until he found it. After he had toiled, he said to the sheep, 'I love you more than the ninety-nine.'"  Gospel of Thomas 107

Somehow spirituality has been reduced to the lowest possible standard in popular culture.  However there is a thread in every possible religion that those who reap the benefits of the spiritual life are the ones who are willing to put themselves into it.  Saints like Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Rumi, Ramakrishna achieved what they did by strong dedication.  However looking closely at this saying, it speaks not of the person doing the hard work of spiritual life...but that the kingdom seeking one.   It seeks the one who wandered away, and is described as the largest.  The kingdom... the fullness of realization is there for the mature..those who are spiritually ready and ripe to…

Son and Daughter of Adam

Jesus said, "When you make the two into one, you will become sons and daughters of Adam, and when you say, 'Mountain, move from here!' it will move." Gospel of Thomas 106

The Adam spoken of here is the undivided Adam.  Jesus does not point to us to become sons of Adam or sons of Moses.  Rather he calls us to be children of the undivided Adam.  We are children of God... Jesus calls us to original innocence.. to the spiritual self.  We are divine.  We are sinless children of God.  So live it.  Just as God is Love and we are children of God, so to are we children of Love.  How do you know it?   You live it!   It is that challenging and that simple.

Child of a Whore!

Jesus said, "Whoever knows the father and the mother will be called the child of a whore." Gospel of Thomas 105

This is one of the most blatant sayings in the Gospel of Thomas that reveals we are not talking about an orthodox gospel.  God here is revealed as both a father and a mother.  God could just as easily be called Goddess.  She is our Mother.  She birthed us and guides us.  God in a sense is akin to the Taoist Yin-Yang.  One whole yet masculine and feminine.  God is the composite of all opposites.  One need look no further than Thunder: Perfect Mind for more opposites.  God has made the male and female one in God's self.  To know that...to worship God as Mother or even Goddess is frowned upon in many faith traditions.  And yet we have the tradition of God as Shekinah, Sophia/Wisdom, the Sabbath Bride, and the Holy Spirit...all feminine images of God.  I believe Jesus is calling for a more holistic spirituality...where God is found everywhere and within everything.

True Spirituality

Some people said to Jesus, "Come, let us pray and fast today." Jesus replied, "What sin have I committed, or how have I been undone? Rather, when the bridegroom leaves the bridal chamber, then let people fast and pray." Gospel of Thomas 104

This brings to mind another couple of sayings in the Gospel of Thomas, Sayings 6 and  14:

His disciples asked him and said to him, "Do you want us to fast? How should we pray? Should we give to charity? What diet should we observe?"  Jesus said, "Don't lie, and don't do what you hate, because all things are disclosed before heaven. After all, there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and there is nothing covered up that will remain undisclosed." Saying 6


"Jesus said to them, "If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourselves, and if you pray, you will be condemned, and if you give to charity, you will harm your spirits." Saying 14

However I do not believe Jesus was against prayer, …

Knock the Rebels Out!

Jesus said, "Blessed are those who know where the rebels are going to attack. They head them off, collect their imperial resources, and be prepared before the rebels arrive." Gospel of Thomas 103

A central message of the Gospel of Thomas is to know yourself.  Part of this means to know your weaknesses, as well as your strengths.  Here Jesus challenges his students to be aware of ones weaknesses and head them off beforehand.  What is our weakness?  What trips us up from living a divine life?  It is here that a good soul friend can help serve as an accountability partner, challenging you to live better than you already are.  A wise person seeks to prepare some way that they may live a sacred life.

Religion is a Mixed Blessing

Jesus said, "Woe to the Pharisees! They are like a dog sleeping in the cattle manger: the dog neither eats nor lets the cattle eat." Gospel of Thomas 102

This is one of the sayings of Jesus that sounds very similar to Jesus condemnations of the Pharisees in the canonical gospels, and yet it is not in those gospels.  The Pharisees were a sect of Jews who sought to make every moment holy in their lives.  They sought to live the Torah and live as a holy people..making Judaism not just a religion of the temple but personal also.  This is a good thing.  So what is Jesus so bent out of shape about?  Within this movement there was also a scrupulosity that bordered on the absurd.  Where the commandment, "You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk" came more and more questions till we get that one cannot eat any meat and dairy together, and it must be several hours between eating them...even today a kosher kitchen has two refrigerators to keep the meat and dairy separ…

Why I am not Muslim

I feel a certain affinity for Islam as I do for Judaism, perhaps even more so than Judaism.  I believe in the Oneness of God.  I believe Jesus is a messenger of God.  I too believe that each person is responsible for reading and interpreting the scriptures for themselves.  Just as imams are respected and chosen as the most educated, spiritual, and wise from among the community, I support a similar role for those who are the most educated, spiritual, and wise from among he Thomasine community.  I call these people Hakhams... wise or learned ones.  Where traditional Islam and Thomainses part ways is in their views of woman, gltb folk, and the certain penalites found for certain sins in Islam.  I can relate to so much within Islam.  I enjoy middle eastern music.  My prayers look very similar to a Muslims, and I would feel comfortable praying with them.  I agree with Islam that Jesus is a messenger of God but not God himself.  And yet there is still a strong sexism and homophobia within m…

Comparing and Contrasting the Thomasine with Judaism/Islam/Christianity

Looking at the three major monotheistic religions, I cannot help but notice certain commone elements between them and Thomasine beliefs.  I also notice some stark differences as well.  The Thomasine faith is based on the teachings of Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas.  Jesus of course came from Jewish faith.  The belief of Jesus became belief in Jesus and Christianity developed along with doctrines such as the divinity of Jesus, the trinity, the sacrificial death and resurrection.   Islam came and sought to reform it and bring it back to its original monotheism.  In this post I hope to look at the three faiths and compare and contrast them in a personal way with my chosen path as a Thomasine.

There are many, many wonderful things about Judaism. One thing that Judaism and I have in common is that we are both strict monotheists.  The belief in one God not many gods and not a trinity of persons is a hallmark of Jewish (and Islamic) faith.  I actually enjoy attending Jewish services.  Currentl…

My Birth Mother

Jesus said, "Whoever doesn't hate father and his mother as I do can't become my disciple. And whoever does not love his father and his mother as I do can't become a disciple to me. For my mother physical birth, but my true mother gave me life."  Gospel of Thomas 101

Following the way of Jesus is not the easiest path.  Like so many choices we make, this path can alienate one from ones biological family.  But when one's biological family, when ones race, heritage, nationality, or even religion come before the path, then the person must learn to not cling.  Attachments are the greatest impediment to a deeply spiritual life.  I am attached to my spouse....but really I cling to tightly to my image of my idea of who my spouse should be  (one who cleans when I want them to, takes me out to eat when I want it) is not really my spouse but a delusion of my mind.  It is selfishness within me my clinging to an illusion of who I want them to be. The same can be said of fam…

Just Give It To Them!

Showing Jesus a gold coin, they said to him, "The emperor of Rome's people demand taxes from us."
Jesus said to them, "Give to the emperor what belongs to the emperor, give to God what belongs to God, and give to me what is mine."
Gospel of Thomas 100

There are things demanded by society.  I don't think Jesus totally advocated dropping out of society and becoming a hermit in the desert.  I think we have certain social obligations.  We give the empire what is expected.  But higher than that is what we offer God.  For many people we offer God our prayer, rituals, and actions.   Jesus too, as the messenger of God demands that those who become his students do what he says.  Jesus speaks like a rabbi who could declare things permitted and forbidden.  He also resembles a Zen master or Guru expecting respect from those who became his students.  To take a teacher and neglect his teachings is playing religious games. We have certain obligations to family and state, to…

Deed More Than Creed

Jesus' disciples said to him, "Your brothers and your mother are standing outside." Jesus said to them, "Those here who do what my Father wants are my brothers and my mother. It is those ones who are the ones who will enter the kingdom of my Father." Gospel of Thomas 99

What strikes me about this saying is that it is not those who believe the right things who are Jesus mother and brothers... it is those who do the will of God. The Gospel of Thomas does not not teach the doctrine embraced by many Protestant Christians... "faith alone" rather it is a religion of deed more than creed. We are children of God and should act like it. So the question, I challenge you to think about... is how are you to live it?

Jesus and the Art of War

Jesus said, "The Father's kingdom is like a someone who wanted to kill someone powerful. While still at home he drew his sword and shoved it through the wall to see if his hand would go in. Then he killed the powerful one." Gospel of Thomas 98

This is one of the more shocking sayings of the Gospel of Thomas.  I actually think it is meant to be.  It is meant to jar the reader to really contemplate what is being talked about.  I believe that this is the perfect explanation of the spiritual life.  We must struggle and count the cost of what it means to live as a child of God.  The primary message of the Gospel of Thomas is to realize that we are sons and daughters of God.  But with the title comes the responsibility to live a holy life..in many ways a lonely life.  Our lives are given to the world but are called to be separate from it.  We must consider what this looks like.  What does it mean to protect your neighbor like the pupil of your eye.  What does it mean to escape …
I also went through the Gospel of Thomas to look at how Jesus saw himself and how he spoke about himself. This is what I found: I have cast fire on the world and am guarding it until it blazes. Saying 10(To Thomas) I am not your teacher. Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicated from the bubbling spring that I have tended. Saying 13 Perhaps people think that I have come to cast peace upon the world. They do not know that I have come to cast conflicts upon the earth: fire, sword, war. Saying 16 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 Saying 17 I took my stand in the midst of the world, and in flesh I appeared to them. I found them all drunk, and I did not find any of them thirsty. My soul ached for the children of humanity, because they are blind in their hearts and do not see, for they came into the world empty, and they also seek to depart from the world empty. Saying 28 Where there are three t…