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Showing posts from August, 2011

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 …