Monthly Archives: August, 2005

Housekeeping (Gospel of Thomas)

The collective wisdom seems to support the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas as our next project. I’m open to this. But I do have some questions about process.

Gospel of Thomas runs to 114 sayings. I’m really not up for another long study. So my suggestion is posting somewhere between 10 and 15 sayings a week. How does this work for folks? An alternative would be that someone (like not me) who feels they have a handle on Thomas posts different sayings with no real intention on covering the whole thing. I prefer dealing with the thing in its entirety but I’ll go with majority opine.

I have heard it said Larry has the gospel already posted on his hyperbible. If that is the case maybe he would like to take on posting the text duties — I would have to raid somebody’s website to post them myself anyway — or transcribe it — my copy of Thomas is ink on paper.

If anyone has any good Thomas links I’ll post them in the sidebar — please suggest links as a comment to this posting.

Thanks for the input. We’re down to the last two postings for John. I posted one just now. The next will be Monday or Tuesday. If I don’t see you folks before then — happy Labour Day weekend.


John 21:15-19

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.”(He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

John 21: 1-14/ C

This last chapter of John is also the last contemplation in the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola.

main point
The disciples, especially Peter, were at loose ends. They perhaps were unable to make sense of the implications of the resurrection and could npt see how to procede. So they tried instead to go back to what had once been their lives before they met Jesus … fishing.

new light/truth
As Thomas Wolfe said, you can’t go home again, can’t recover the past. The disciples were unable to catch any fish.

As I neared the end of the Spiritual Exercises online retreat, I realized that I was like the disciples in this passage. Before the retreat, I was an agnostic but the process of those 30 odd weeks changed me. I wasn’t sure how to go forward (still not sure) yet I couldn’t go back to how things had been before the retreat.

John 21:1-14

After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

commentary (david) — John 20:30-31

The miracles of Jesus are not exhausted by this gospel rather the miracles (signs) recorded are presented to us that we might believe Jesus is the Christ and through believing have life in his name.

Reads like a wrap up don’t it? But we have another chapter to go.

This passage is my justification for my way of reading scripture in general and miracle stories in particular. The meaning of the miracles are not that they happened but what they say about who Jesus is/was. They are signs of Christ’s messiahship and consequently mediums for communicating new life to us.

I’ll gently side step the question as to whether this is true to my experience.

John 20: 30-31

NOW Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Nice to meetcha

Thanks for allowing me to join your skripture study. I may not post for a bit, as I’m learning my way around. This is just an intro.

Twyla here. I’m 49, happily married and empty-nested, live in the deep south, am a floozy for books, and am on a delightfully astonishing spiritual journey. I asked to join because I adore what I’ve read here so far and I have need of like-minded fellowship. (like I said, deep south)

I won’t bore you with a “what I believe” speech, especially since it would likely be a short paragraph with a lot of I don’t knows peppered throughout. For any who would like a peek at some of my spiritual ramblings, I talk a little from time to time on my blog. (whimsical mystic) To save you time, go here and here.

Although I’ve never met a Quaker face to face, so much of what I’ve read here and elsewhere (Foster, Kelly, y’alls blogs) resonates deeply. I don’t attend a traditional “church” meeting, but do meet weekly with a tiny group of believers in our homes.

Guess that will do. Glad to meet you. Glad to be here. Glad to call you friends.

(BTW, I posted this picture for no particular reason, except that it seems to kind of illustrate where I am or who I am or some such thing)

Membership Request

We have a request to join our group from Twyla. She sorta snuck up on me while I wasn’t looking. I’m sure you folks have heard form her more than I have.

I’m happy to add Twyla to the list. But I want guidance from the rest of you before I leap into cyber-action.

Another consideration is group size. At what point does our cadre get too big to be useful? Don’t think we’re there yet. But something we might want also to consider.

Certitude of Belief

Main Point: Seeing is believing VS Blessed to believe having not seen…

New Light: Thomas is not with the other disciples when Jesus first appeared to them following his resurrection, and, with some incredulity, asks for careful proof that this could be true. From this, the proverbial aspersion “doubting Thomas” was coined. However, in the Gospel of Thomas, verse 13, Jesus extols the high state of consciousness that Thomas had attained when he said, “Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicated from the bubbling spring which I have measured out.” Note: I read this metaphorically. (Smile!)

Truth: Thomas’ request for proof, or for direct experience of the risen Christ, is analogous to the Quaker value of ‘speaking from experience.’ Blind faith, or blind belief upon which no experience is based, could be said to be little more than superstition of dogma. Having personal spiritual experience melds one’s faith. However, in this scripture, although Jesus grants Thomas’ request and invites him to reach out and touch and see so that he might believe, he also declares that those who do not need to see to believe are blessed. It could be that either way – seeing and believing or believing even though you have not seen are equally valid spiritual paths.

Implications: Perhaps the real question is, as Twyla suggested, is: How is it that we become available to receiving the truth? When we don’t know for certain, are we able step into the darkness, and be open to possibility beyond our rationality? Can we move into the uncomfortable vast field of unknowing, and find the light within it, even if we do not know its source?

Problems / Opinion: For myself, I rather appreciate inquiring minds. I admire those who really want to know, those who ask, who search, who question, who are open to discuss, and who are open to new ideas and new ways of thinking. I find little in common with those that blindly believe without inquiring. Though ultimately spirituality is a matter of belief, when it is approached scientifically belief matures into realization – a direct knowing by soul intuition, a kind of deep knowing that seems almost assured – as in beyond belief. This is the unshakable faith of certitude, even for that which is unseen.

Seeing Is Believing? / C

Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.

It’s interesting that this is phrased in the same way as the Beatitudes (Sermon on the Mount). I’ve read that another translation of the line, Blessed are they …, would be … You are in the right place if you …

Pretty challenging!

Nobody wants to believe in something without some evidence, some proof – nobody wants to be made a fool. But maybe if the thing to be believed in is a someone, then the chasm between doubt and faith is bridged by trust, hope and love – who hasn’t been a fool for love?

Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.– Peter