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Showing posts from December, 2011

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…