Tết nguyên đán: Happy Lunar New Year!

•January 24, 2020 • Leave a Comment

January 24 and it’s Lunar New Year’s Eve in Vietnam and China, the first New Moon of the Year of the Mouse. (Vietnamese speakers call the rat a big mouse.) As in much of the world, people here are not so bothered about rat presence as the British and North Americans are and the mouse, though generally disliked as being a pest, has no serious negative attachments. For the Vietnamese, the idealized associations with the animals of the Chinese Zodiac are short and sweet. The Ox is strong but has a lifetime of labour. The Pig has nothing to do but eat and sleep. The Mouse is the first Sign of the 12-year Zodiac. Many admirable and high-falutin’ characteristics are attached to them by ‘experts’ but charming, greedy and timid are also included, as you would expect. To be in your own Zodiac year, the cyclic reiteration of your birth year, is quite good actually but contains the risk that things extra good and extra bad may occur to you almost simultaneously, which is what happened once to me in my year when I received very welcome news and potentially distressing news within a short minute of each other.

Chuc Mung Nam Moi! May we all, including the mice, enjoy the Feast of the First Morning of the First Day!:

When it comes to warring factions, where does fact end and fiction begin?

•January 14, 2020 • Leave a Comment

The Citna News Agency has reported, in Arabic, that a group called the University of Tehran Cyber Space Lab are checking into the recent urban ‘plane crash and have ruled out human error. Apparent deception operations may have misled the “defensive control and command system” so excusing the people held in error. The rather indelicate conclusion is that “If proven, responsibility for this heartbreaking incident lies directly with the US criminal government”. Who can tell where this may end? Was there some other band of pirates involved?

NAILING THE LAST FIVE FROM THOMAS

•December 23, 2019 • Leave a Comment

TEN MORE FROM THOMAS

HOSTING A FURTHER TEN FROM THOMAS

OPENING ANOTHER TEN FROM THOMAS

MEASURING OUT A NEW TEN FROM THOMAS

AGAIN ADDRESSING TEN FROM THOMAS

SCRUTINISING AFRESH TEN FROM THOMAS

INSPECTING AN ADDITIONAL TEN FROM THOMAS

APPRECIATING AN ADDITIONAL TEN FROM THOMAS

all the above are follow-ups to the post for January 2019 HOW WILL DEATH TASTE? which was originally intended as a stand-alone piece based on selected sayings from the ‘Gospel of Jesus According to Thomas’.

Who was Thomas?

Thomas, aka Didymus (Twin?) d. 72 AD, was one of the 12 original apostles of Jesus. Born in Galilee in the days of the Roman Empire (same time and place as Jesus?) Died at Parangimalai (St.Thomas’s Mount) Chennai, Chola (India)

The following are the final five from the remaindered sayings. The introduction to be found in the January post also applies here (as does the conclusion).            

                Saying 109

Jesus said, “The kingdom can be compared to someone who had a treasure …… in their field. …. didn’t know about it. After they died, they left it to their son. The son didn’t know it either. He took the field and sold it.

“The buyer plowed the field, ….. the treasure, and began to loan money at interest to whomever they wanted.”

Bear in mind that usury was for a very long time considered a spiritual ill. (See the Saying 95 in the post  HOW WILL DEATH TASTE?) In fact, the Christian Church forbade it as a sin. In Europe there were Kings increasingly indebted by the expenses of their reigns and who sought help from Court Jews not constricted by Church Law. They in turn benefited from the link of oppression that existed between all Jews as a powerful enhancer of fellow-feeling and found an excellent ability to raise large totals speedily from a wide base to whom they would repay at handsome interest rates secured from financially cornered Kings and Princes.

Here in this Saying are two aspects of ownership: the father and the son had held the land but were innocent or ignorant over its true value and are not recorded as seeking a daily return from their ownership. Neither might I, as it happens, although I would seek out treasure if I felt it was there and the process was not degrading. (Whenever we bend over to pick up money off the ground, some devil is making a monkey out of us. God has effected some surprising ways to secure my independence yet not by a severe degradation.)

The buyer set about recouping his outlay by working the land. Fortune then came to meet him in the form of uncovered treasure which he monetized to gain extensive interest. In seeking greater worldly equity he prospered and put others under indebtedness to him, under his influence and control. In this world that is not so unusual although, of course, you can’t keep your capital treasure for your own use and lend it out to others. (Well, in modernity, apparent ‘central’ bankers have changed nation’s laws enabling them to do just that.)

This Saying seems to be confirming that the world has been innocently or ignorantly attributed to an industrious one who has spotted the great wealth hidden near the surface and is exploiting it, probably with his helpers, as if it were his own and part of the original deal. The ground of God’s kingdom is under threat from these demonics who would happily expand addictions, invest wars, and increase our errors to keep us in their debt forever, tying us up in expensive legal and political knots along the way.

Another way to approach this Saying is as a challenge. How can a moneylender (tantamount to a money-changer with the additional negative of debt recovery) be considered praiseworthy by a person of spirit? If we strike out the final action of lending money at interest we may see a parable of knowing and not knowing. This is not acquired knowledge. The field was acquired, yes, but the treasure, no, it must be uncovered. Like a thing of Nature it lies awaiting its discovery. Only then does the new owner know this treasure. The old owners never knew of the great treasure within their reach, a generational lack. The unknowing outnumber the knowing but the latter have a position of special influence.

What about the charging of interest on capital loans? Despite a possible implication in Saying 65 (in the post AGAIN ADDRESSING TEN FROM THOMAS) I know nothing of any ‘shared spiritual investment’ or whatever you wish to call it. It’s news to me.

For a fact, the Jews had borrowed the practice of forgiveness of debts (and structured it into their calendars).

`Two debtors were to a certain creditor; the one was owing five hundred denaries, and the other fifty; and they not having ……… to give back, he forgave both; which then of them, say thou, will love him more?’ And Simon answering said, `I suppose that to whom he forgave the more;’ and he said to him, `Rightly thou didst judge.’ Luke 7 41-43

The rabbinical ‘teaching-by-enquiry’ quality of this Saying 109 of Jesus is rather confounded by the Torah which condemns lending at interest other than to non-believers, outsiders.

Interestingly, the Apocalypse of Peter describes departed usurers as wallowing unhappily in their pit of sheer filth which is near enough the same as the Jewish Talmud account of the fate of Jesus though not as hurtful.

The father and son together represent a tradition. The finder who lends at interest to anyone that he wants to is working directly against Judaic tradition.

My third approach to this Saying is that it is a prediction by Jesus of what would happen were a productive evil to take over his mission. Here the very familiar phrase ‘father and son’ represents this mission well and the training of disciples into apostles who will spread His wisdoms and increase His reach in the future represents the benefits of the uncovered treasure.

At the heart of His words and actions is a spiritual treasure beyond any other and individually portable. (see Saying 76 in the post APPRECIATING AN ADDITIONAL TEN FROM THOMAS ) During initial training His disciples pushed Him to reveal the treasure and its whereabouts though still unlikely to take much on board – as this is not Knowledge but Knowing – and repeatedly ask Him where He is at. He could not answer them at that stage. (see Saying 92 in the post INSPECTING AN ADDITIONAL TEN FROM THOMAS)          

 Could it be that Jesus foresaw the apostles relaxed somewhat by their individual attainnments and passing over freely what they have to one eager to befriend them

– “They’re like little children living in a field which isn’t theirs … “ Saying 21 (in the post HOSTING A FURTHER TEN FROM THOMAS)

and who is the very one who grasps the popular need for religion at any price and seeks Return On Religious Capital Investment?

(Buddhism does not recognize God and is not a religion but behaves in every way as if it were with landed temples, payments for conferring good luck blessings upon private and social occasions and street processions of great noise and colour. Much money can be generated. All this is so because the adherents want it, more than the monks. On the other hand, my friend was visiting his bank manager in Sri Lanka when a distinguished monk came in and opened a briefcase bulging with cash. Sitting on top of the pile was his hand-gun.)

               Saying 110

Jesus said, “Whoever has found the world and become rich should renounce the world.”
(see
Saying 81 in the post SCRUTINISING AFRESH TEN FROM THOMAS )

               Saying 112 

Jesus said, “How awful for the flesh that depends on the soul. How awful for the soul that depends on the flesh.”

Whilst it is only true that opposites exist within each other, Jesus usually sticks to the social idea that they are mutually exclusive, presumably for the sake of simplifying His observations. (I will not call them arguments, that’s too rabbinical for me and I do not feel that debate always leads to truth anyway.)

To make sense, there is a need for a more exact definition of ‘soul’ being employed. Otherwise we are left with a Christian notion of soul that dooms it! It seems bizarre that in the Twenty First Century they are still seeing the invisible aspects of the material body as a separate agency thus requiring a ‘supernatural’ name for it. To me soul and spirit are different words for the self-same wonder that scientific method has no chance of coming to grips with honestly.

(now see Saying 87 in the post INSPECTING AN ADDITIONAL TEN FROM THOMAS )

               Saying 113

His disciples said to him, “When will the kingdom come?”
(see Saying 51 in the post HOW WILL DEATH TASTE? )

“It won’t come by looking for it. They won’t say, ‘Look over here!’ or ‘Look over there!’

“Beware that no one lead you astray saying Lo here or lo there! For the Son of Man is within you.” The gospel of Mary. (Mary of Magdala).

Rather, the Father’s kingdom is already spread out over the earth, and people don’t see it.
(see Saying 97 in the post INSPECTING AN ADDITIONAL TEN FROM THOMAS )        

               Saying 114

Simon Peter said to them, “Mary should leave us, because women aren’t worthy of life.”

Outspoken and rash Peter showed signs of conservatism amounting to misogyny, a modern word that in any language would have had no meaning to him.

Peter was not the only apostle recorded as saying “He loves her more than us”, by the way.

By ‘life’ he meant that aspect of spirituality which Jesus often emphasized to them as the outcome of monkish celibacy, goodly diligence and perhaps the attainment of Enlightenment (which has no semblance of sexuality or gender-consciousness to it at all).

I had believed the West to be male-oriented until I first lived in a truly men-centric nation where crimes against women were hardly held to account and every father, good or bad, ruled his family without constraint or contradiction.

If this Mary is ‘the Magdalene’, then all we know is that she was a disciple travelling with Jesus, hardly written about, accused of sins, divested of demons, featured mainly in the resurrection stories, led a group of women who at one time supported Jesus and His entourage, and after His departure lived like a hermit and had minded visions of Jesus in His radiant light.

None of this in itself makes her a perfect person and she may even have threatened Peter’s position in the group, perhaps simply by being there, so partially explaining his outburst although not justifying it.

Centuries later Pope Gregory was to vilify her without cause, possibly to exemplify the strong forgiveness of sin in Christianity, particularly towards women and especially fallen women. She is a cult figure to this day.

When I first read Thomas’s Gospel of Jesus, years ago, I was very struck by its apparent authenticity yet when I came to this Saying 114 I was thoroughly dismayed. Mainly because it did not fit well to the rest, IMHO, and so I supposed it to be an odd addition unrelated to the preceding sayings. Now I wish to say that my appreciation of Jesus has moved far away from where it was back then, when I was influenced by a lifetime’s absorption of the Christian cultural Jesus, a shining knight of fairytale attributes. I also wish to say that there have been ethical-seeming women along my journey who took wickedly from one man without giving back in any balanced way. There are no rosy damsels of fairytale virtue it seems, and probably never have been.

We may presume Mary to have lived the latter part of her existence much like a female monk. 

Jesus said, “Look, am I to make her a man?  

There is, it’s true, a tendency to see women as much closer to the earthiness of life, especially in menses and childbirth.

A menstruating woman used to give off an unpleasing odor if she had not soon washed away her dried blood. In the modern world that is no longer a noticeable problem. Notions of uncleanliness are redundant, especially as we now know menstrual blood to be cleansing and the birth canal to be kept clean constantly.

Rabbinical rules on ritual cleansing and ritual purity were preoccupied with the notion that menstrual blood defiled a woman (as also a man who had that blood upon him) and this notched up days when she must abstain from sex. Likewise, she should not enter a religious place. The ritual immersion pool for women I have seen was modestly deeper than wide. Menstrual impurity appears in several gospel stories.

Anybody who has trained in torture resistance knows that women can take agony longer than men. Naturally no man is equipped to suffer the worst pangs of childbirth nor could they. This is opposite to the popular view, possibly because men and women prefer the female to appear less likely to outpace the male physically. (In the Twentieth Century West, being hobbled by high heels and tight skirts and drawing attention by exaggerated fears was often accompanied by girlish giggles at being happily pursued into helplessness: active passivity).

Of course, many women are nobly reserved and cautious but slightly less so when the unfertilized egg is urging them into action (twice monthly in tune with the moon and the tides.)

Some may tell you that men have no use for eostrogen nor women for testosterone but the differences between the sexes are much more easily explained once we allow that everybody has male and female hormones in their bodies with men having more male hormone and women more female hormone. This balance changes by proportion as we age, men often losing some drive and women sometimes acquiring extra. (Again in contradistinction to the social mores, with some conservative cultures frowning upon women over 40 or 50 wanting to have sex at all.) It’s possible that male and female sex drives are more similar than society will ever be willing to allow, just hopelessly unsynchronized. Nevertheless, in courtship a man may act as unable any longer to control his drawn passion, i.e. passively active, at the very moment that the woman strives most to appear fully restrained, i.e. actively passive.

Really, there are some persons who will be very good and others who will be very bad, regardless of the degree of corruption in their society. But the vast majority take their lead from others and swim with the social tide. So it seems that many or most people behave themselves when society is strictest but will not behave properly when the pendulum has swung the other way. (Jesus said in Revelation that He preferred His drinking water hot or cold but not lukewarm.)

It seems Mary was a wholly good disciple, even seeing the divinity in Jesus (but perhaps too far “down the rabbit-hole” in her peculiarly troubled mind, possibly a post-trauma disorder after the shock of the execution of Jesus which she witnessed – shock within love can surely shake some persons into psychic insights and visions). Others though have presupposed her ‘a fallen woman’ for their own purposes.

A polarization that could have affected Peter was that men and women back then were so thoroughly segregated. In some circumstances they might grow-up seeing their opposites as almost a separate species.

Add to that the gnostic division that spirit was code male and mind was code female.

So that she may become a living spirit too, she’s equal to you men,

Jesus confirms, yet further confirmation may still be needed, that neither maleness nor femaleness should confer any special advantage in our individual quests for spiritual development. Despite our each having variously tuned talents of worldly value, all may be equal in spirit.

because every woman who makes herself manly will enter the kingdom of heaven.”

The translation “manly” is a big headache here as there seems to be little headroom for reinterpretation. Even so several have wrestled with it. I could continue to link it to His masculine apostles but substitute the words “spiritually similar to these monkish men”, as follows,

because every woman who makes herself spiritually similar to these monkish men will enter the kingdom of heaven.”

or I can choose to rest upon the authority of Sayings 22 and 37 (in the postHow Will Death Taste?) and substitute “a child-like follower of the Father”,

because every woman who makes herself a child-like follower of the Father will enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Otherwise, and in the discriminatory cultural context of the time, manly could be suggested by ‘as firm as the Father’,

because every woman who makes herself as firm as the Father will enter the kingdom of heaven.”

It does not always seem appropriate to put cultural preferences of time and place into the now obvious universality of the Sayings of Jesus but it is not impossible that back then the word for manly could have subtly indicated free of periods and pregnancy.

On a strictly contrasting note, it has been said that modern Christianity at its best is characterized by its promulgating of feminine fortitudes – convictions imbued and instinctively preserved – rather than acknowledging the more masculine merits and initiating proclivities. In short, that the received ethos of this wholesome creature of gilded ways is not associable by most men with their own particular outflowings of manhood in their primes. 

For myself, I try not to be so gender-conscious but I could not have failed to notice how many good persons in recent religious history and our stories of spiritual guidance have been male. However, the last word on Mary Magdalene will probably not be my brief blanket coverage here especially as many female followers are dedicated to her legend as the special disciple of Jesus and draw so much from a shared gender.

A feeling I get from the Thomas Gospel of Jesus is that, in some of the Sayings at least, the disciples do not seem at all ready to go out as apostles spreading further His Mission to Humanity nor to muster-up the miracles that the populus expected of all travelling crowd-gatherers. Non-canonical accounts of Mary Magdalene include her rallying the despondent males after Jesus had left them by demonstrating similarities to Jesus and a keen perceptivity of what He was all about, enabling and inspiring them to set off on their distant duties. However, despite that Thomas went the furthest of all – to Chola, now India – he does neither record this pivotal activity nor the praises bestowed on Mary by Jesus in other texts.

Hope that all helps and may yet bring out the truth of the matter. I’m going to leave it at that. Thanks, Mary. Thanks Peter, James, Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Thanks, Thomas the Truth-Teller. Thanks, Jesus the Invincible Hero of Truth and Love and Reality. Thank you my God that is all of everything.

Note 1: All my words on spiritual and associated matters are ‘for the want of a better expression’. 

Note 2: All these antique Sayings started their long life as speech. The verbal expressions of feelings had local variables of transmission. Subsequent ‘transculturations’, a spontaneous word invention, may well miss colexifications (same word, several meanings) local valences (words locally considered positive or negative if stood alone or paired up) and insertions for immediate audience stimulation by association. In short, a nicely honed utterance to convince the crowd. All this subtlety is quite possibly missing from the written versions. 

Note 3: The Universe lives – present tense – yet academics and practitioners alike cannot say what is the motive behind doing all this energetic stuff and to what end?

You will have to find out for yourself. Safe journeying.

NigelRaymondOfford (C) December 23rd 2019 and on

 

INDEX OF THE SAYINGS OF JESUS IN THOMAS

HOW WILL DEATH TASTE?

1 2 4 5 6 10 17 18 19 22

28 31 37 39 42 46 48 49 50 51

59 60 66 67 70 95 106 111

TEN MORE FROM THOMAS – with a Bonus Saying

3 7 8 9 11 12 13 14 15 16 and 20

HOSTING A FURTHER TEN FROM THOMAS 

21 23 24 25 26 27 29 30 32 33

OPENING ANOTHER TEN FROM THOMAS

34 35 36 38 40 41 43 44 45 47

MEASURING OUT A NEW TEN FROM THOMAS

52 53 54 55 56 57 58 61 62 63

AGAIN ADDRESSING TEN FROM THOMAS

64 65 68 69 71 72 73 74 75 76

SCRUTINISING AFRESH TEN FROM THOMAS

77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86

INSPECTING AN ADDITIONAL TEN FROM THOMAS

87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 96 97

APPRECIATING AN ADDITIONAL TEN FROM THOMAS

 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 107 108

NAILING THE LAST FIVE FROM THOMAS

109 110 112 113 114

 

 

“We add to their confusion – but we stand to gain, you see, they don’t believe anything that we say or do – or intend to do – that’s why we’re able to carry out the Plan!”

•December 22, 2019 • Leave a Comment

From Patrick McGoohan’s ‘The Prisoner’, a top-drawer 1960’s TV series, viewed constantly on video today, that a great many people are only now beginning to understand.

Derren Nesbitt said he played his fully convincing blonde-haired deceiving leader role in Episode 9, “Its Your Funeral”, with no inkling of what it was about as no one seemed able to give him the full picture.

(Published for public information and educational purposes only. Not my copyright.)

APPRECIATING AN ADDITIONAL TEN FROM THOMAS

•December 17, 2019 • Leave a Comment

TEN MORE FROM THOMAS

HOSTING A FURTHER TEN FROM THOMAS

OPENING ANOTHER TEN FROM THOMAS

MEASURING OUT A NEW TEN FROM THOMAS

AGAIN ADDRESSING TEN FROM THOMAS

SCRUTINISING AFRESH TEN FROM THOMAS

INSPECTING AN ADDITIONAL TEN FROM THOMAS

are the follow-ups to the post for January 2019 HOW WILL DEATH TASTE? which was originally intended as a stand-alone piece based on selected sayings from the ‘Gospel of Jesus According to Thomas’. 

Who was Thomas?

Thomas, aka Didymus (Twin?) d. 72 AD, was one of the 12 original apostles of Jesus. Born in Galilee in the days of the Roman Empire (same time and place as Jesus?) Died at Parangimalai (St.Thomas’s Mount) Chennai, Chola (India)

The following are the next ten from the remaindered sayings. The introduction to be found in the January post also applies here (as does the conclusion).            

               Saying 98

Jesus said, “The Father’s kingdom can be compared to a man who wanted to kill someone powerful. He drew his sword in his house and drove it into the wall to figure out whether his hand was strong enough. Then he killed the powerful one.”

This could be the origin of phrases like Look before you leap, Take care, Know yourself, Know your opponent, Know your strength, Step by step, Practice makes perfect, even Drawing it out or What’s the big drawback?

Every Sunday morning my tall father and a mini-I would walk up Whitehall and stop at a military shop-museum near enough on Horseguards Parade. I remember his telling a curator-assistant to take down from the wall his “personal sword”, in its gleaming scabbard, and hand it to me. It was enormous compared to me and worryingly heavy. I felt terrific yet fearful. I think it was a tease that they liked to play on me to brighten a quiet morning. I have a photo of my grandfather, a young Lancer, with his non-ceremonial sword. The Lancers used them to cut through (after lodging lances like charging knights in armour). War is about weaponizing.

Swords pierce. Swords slice. Swords rip open. Swords amputate. All at a single stroke. A long sword has leverage, multiplying its bearers strength. A short sword at speed may kill with surprise or weaved with the arm will bite worryingly like a deadly snake.

Was there a band of anti-Romans, practicing for battle in Judea? Yes, the desert Essenes.

Otherwise, is there perhaps a further test we have to prepare ourselves for whilst in heaven? And if so, why so violent? I really don’t know… are we sure this is Gentle Jesus?

Well, in the Luke and Matthew gospels there are other parables referring to amoral or immoral people. Jesus did not mind causing prissy people offense (the grit in the oyster?) and was criticized for socializing with the shocking:

Matthew 21:31-32 Verily I say to you, that the tax-gatherers and the harlots do go before you into the reign of God, 

for John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye did not believe him, and the tax-gatherers and the harlots did believe him 

Luke 9 and I say to you, Make to yourselves friends out of the mammon of unrighteousness …

(This last line, in and out of context, unsettlingly challenges all congregational exclusivity, by the way)

Luke 12:39-40 `And this know, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief doth come, he would have watched …

and ye, then, become ye ready, because at the hour ye think not, the Son of Man doth come.’ 

Jesus compared himself to a thief here. Just think of all the worthy parallels He could have made so why this one, why with a thief? It seems He liked to unsettle folk sometimes.

(This was later taken to an extreme by the rascalous modern guru Gurdjieff who surreptitiously paid a fiercely fractious man to attend with the truth-seeking volunteers at his Prieuré for the sake of the friction he produced, unsaddling them from pretences and predilections about themselves.)

There are plural instances in the OT where men of bad record were picked-out for tasks by their God because they had never stopped believing He exists, despite their crimes. I will not go there now as the literary Thomas was not about the old religious ways, it seems, and for that same reason I will not draw parallels with David and Goliath. In the recorded sayings of Jesus, from all sources, there seem to be a notable number of examples of ‘reversals’, for want of a better expression, such as strengthening the weak and deflating the powerful. And several references to swords.

               Saying 99

The disciples said to him, “Your brothers and mother are standing outside.”

He said to them, “The people here who do the will of my Father are my brothers and mother; they’re the ones who will enter my Father’s kingdom.”

Other than claiming Jesus to be entirely extraterrestrial, the obvious explanation here is that the Son of God recognized His heavenly Father only. He certainly said that we are all children of His Father. Yes, we are each the child of God which is nothing but the Truth. Yet clearly He wishes to distance Hisself from his earthly family, even to the point of shaming them before His apostles. Were they against Him or His mission, especially His mother? (If James or Thomas were his actual brothers, can we presume they each backed Him up?) One affect of His miraculous reputation was that the Romans had dithered over forcing Him publicly to desist. Did officials lean heavily on His earthly family to shut Him up?

On the truly dark side, statements that shock have been used to disaffect unsophisticated people enough for ‘brain-washing’ treatments to be applied immediately thereafter, or so we are told.

On a gnostical note, some might say that the mind was code female and the spirit code male, producing brother spirit and mother mind.

               Saying 100

They showed Jesus a gold coin and said to him, “Those who belong to Caesar demand tribute from us.”

He said to them, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar,

Each to his own, revenue-wise.

“Of all things money is the least real.”

This was said to me at a time when I could not comprehend it. Now I confirm it is true. My life across the decades has proven it. Trust 101% in God. I don’t mean by paying lip-service to an immaterialist ideology whilst taking out insurance. You can put some windfall from God aside for a rainy day if you wish, but remember it is doing no person any good in the long term. (In my experience, gainmaking moneylenders such as bank owners seldom match-up to humane people so I avoid their gratuitous agencies.)

I certainly cannot commend the maximizing of monetary profits, an excessive ethos urged by echoey educators, adherent corporate advisors, purposeless public pundits and diploma-waving pursuivants. So many overblown bubbles have ended up as teardrops, mighty roarings above that then burst into little whimpers below.

give to God what belongs to God, and give to me what belongs to me.”

Caesar – Jesus – God

These words form an extraordinary sub-plot. To those like me who eschew hierarchy this makes no sense as a sequence. As three separate things it flows better. Let’s knock-off Caesar:

Jesus – God

Is there some kind of dual taxation going on, perhaps to do with the feeding back of a special love or development of spirit? (Religious folk would interpose their commitment to a holy figurehead – a manouevre aimed at minimizing loyalty to more than one superior – before returning special love or sharing a spirited development.)

Yet we are many of us accustomed to God and Jesus being portrayed as the same. (Including the astonishing Saying 77 in the post Scrutinising Afresh Ten By Thomas  )

Christians can confuse union with unity. I don’t blame them, all these words are only fractionally appropriate to something beyond verbal explanation. But really, they should not read into John 17:21

that they all may be one, as Thou Father be in me, and I in Thee; that they also in us may be one, that the world may believe that Thou didst send me

purely that Christians should be one in the same way as God and Jesus are one, exclusive unity. It goes on “they also in us may be one” which implicitly states, I hope, that in the final analysis EVERYTHING IS ONE, inclusive union.

Are meditative experiences of the universal consciousness OBEs, out of body experiences? NO, no matter that we may become somewhat detached from our starting point and yet still know our Self, they allow a mysterious form of all-inclusive union and not some singularly exclusive unity.

My own view is that Jesus was a Gold Medal Holder among the Enlightened who was ‘way above’ others, that time around. In fact He said He was in a unique special relationship with God – translating scribes having abstracted that from the Greek abstraction: monogeneis – but none of us are ‘high enough’ to confirm or deny this. We can believe yet not know. The holy natal waters have been muddied by the translation ‘begotten’, which seems perhaps inappropriate. (Back then up until recently there was almost complete ignorance concerning the internal physics-with-chemistry of conception.) When challenged with claiming Himself to be God, a capital crime, He responded that we are all children of God according to Torah, i.e. He held up all true homo sapiens – the majority of us – as consistent and constituent with God. Here and now we improbably are!

Saying 101

“Whoever doesn’t hate their …… and mother as I do can’t become my …….., and whoever ……. love their …… and mother as I do can’t become my …….. . For my mother … , but .. true …… gave me Life.”

Once we set out to fill-in these blanks we betray our filial humours. Better not to try? There are other clearer quotations around like this including Saying 55 (in the post Measuring Out a New Ten from Thomas ).

               Saying 102

Jesus said, “How awful for the Pharisees who are like a dog sleeping in a feeding trough for cattle, because the dog doesn’t eat, and ……. … the cattle eat either.”

 (Some Thomasian sayings are surprisingly similar in intent. See Saying 39 in the post How Will Death Taste? for a full commentary)

               Saying 103

Jesus said, “Blessed is the one who knows where the bandits are going to enter.

…. … get up to assemble their defenses and be prepared to defend themselves before they arrive.”

“Time spent on reconnaissance is seldom if ever wasted”.

From the beginnings of city life there was a great fear of roaming armies of nomadic shepherds with their great flocks of sheep throwing clouds of dust up into the sky as they approached and devouring what lay in their path like land locusts. This resolved into sheep-herding bands of brigands encroaching upon the individual farms that sprung up around the cities. Today isolated farmers fear not so much each other as outside groups passing through. The same happened with cattle wars in the Wild West, the farmers fighting to keep the long-distance cattle drovers from crossing their lands, trampling their grounds with huge running herds making great clouds of dust.

We should assume this Saying of Jesus to be a parable of preparation. (There are various predictions that He will return with clouds, by the way, although usually up in the heavens and signaling glory.) 

               Saying 104

They said to ….. , “Come, let’s pray and fast today.”

It is well-recorded (including in Saying 14 in the post Ten More From Thomas) that Jesus denied praying or fasting. Even in canon an apparent denial of prayer appears immediately anterior to the Lord’s Prayer.

Jesus said, “What have I done wrong? Have I failed?

What wrong thing did I do that I should need to fast and pray?

Or,

Why do you cling to your culture, despite me, so preventing the new from taking root?

“Rather, when the groom leaves the bridal chamber, then people should fast and pray.”

When it comes to the End of Time, when Heaven departs from the Earth, then by all means fast and pray or do whatever grounds you if you so desire, yet it is too late.

Or the equivalent in Aramaic (a mild, gentle tongue) of “That’ll be the day.”

               Saying 105

Jesus said, “Whoever knows their father and mother will be called a bastard (the son of a prostitute).”

Editor’s note: “A bastard.” Literally, “the son of a prostitute.”

The Jewish Talmud does indeed refer repeatedly to the mother of Jesus as being a prostitute by occupation. How could Jesus know about those entries? Was this being written about indiscreetly or broadcast vocally during the earthly time of Jesus?

And was He, or somebody speaking through Him, announcing that God was His Father and His Mother? For many in the world the Virgin Birth, despite it not being an entirely original historical concept, defines the last two thousand years.

               Saying 107

Jesus said, “The kingdom can be compared to a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. The largest one strayed. He left the ninety-nine and looked for that one until he found it. Having gone through the trouble, he said to the sheep: ‘I love you more than the ninety-nine.'”

I have such a strong personal aversion to any parent showing favouritism to one of their children, let alone proclaiming that favourite in the manner of the British upper class, that I must search for justication. I suppose that it does not matter much with sheep although the favourite corgi dog of Queen Elizabeth II was reportedly savaged to death by her other corgis.

This story by Jesus appears elsewhere (without specifying the “kingdom”) including a version where the creature fell into a well. I could imagine that a sensitive and humane rescuer (redeemer?) would have their best feelings drawn by a close proximity to the agitated expressions of fear evinced by that lost sheep and the mutual happiness of having placated it hugely. A kind of two-way gratitudinous love, arising from sheer relief at the success of the save.

Individual relationships starting like that are widely recorded, similar to ‘Androcles and the Lion’.

From my experience, entering into understanding with the individual person is absolutely absorbing to God – a group may be of lesser consequence, I would guess. Entering into a mutual understanding through sublime intervention is likely to be deep and clear on God’s part but much muddier on the part of that fortunate person and yet all-embracing, enlightening. “How wonderful is this feeling that I, God having overlooked my wrong-footed tumble, am lifted out of oppression”.

               Saying 108

Jesus said, “Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me, and I myself will become like them; then, what’s hidden will be revealed to them.”

This human society is largely a mirror of our monkey side and is bogus, unreal, made up of fakery and aping and monkey business. What is covered over is the sublime, the truly spiritual that is of Truth and Love and Reality.

What is intended by the active verb “to drink”? Is it merely to hear Him speak? Or is it to listen closely? Or is it to put into practice in one’s own person the pure thoughts flowing from Jesus?

To be like Him I think it must be the last. Although I did not call on Jesus in my personal progression to a good place (that I am not strictly in today, such being the dynamics of life, other than God’s enduring protection manifesting over me and a total lack of doubt over that matter) I was aware of His recorded words and used some of them – discriminately, not exclusively – to help me in decision-making and direction-taking. It did me no harm at all but then my nature has always been resistant to group influence. Jesus is inserted into Christianity (the Jewish messiah-ship or Judean monarchic rule) only by humankind’s tendencies to assumption, presumption, approximations and false parallels, plus the desire to be propped up by others for fear of falling down alone. How many Christians have you heard say that to be anything like Jesus, even in a small way, would be great but impossible as they are not the only begotten Son of God, lol? Grow out of it. Even should we comply with Jesus possessing two natures, one divine, the fact remains that He would not have told you to be like Him if that were not possible. The part of Him that was ‘enlightened human’ is entirely possible to reach without having even heard of Jesus. If I, previously the player of a losing hand, could reach the state of positive enlightenment then for sure you should do so even if you have only a modicum of compassion about you.

See life’s circumstance as a roller-coaster ride: be careful on the way up as quite soon you will be coming down again but if you are near the bottom don’t worry because soon you will be going up again. So be careful and don’t worry!

NigelRaymondOfford (C) December 2019

 

 

 

 

INSPECTING AN ADDITONAL TEN FROM THOMAS

•December 14, 2019 • Leave a Comment

TEN MORE FROM THOMAS

HOSTING A FURTHER TEN FROM THOMAS

OPENING ANOTHER TEN FROM THOMAS

MEASURING OUT A NEW TEN FROM THOMAS

AGAIN ADDRESSING TEN FROM THOMAS

SCRUTINISING AFRESH TEN FROM THOMAS

are all follow-ups to the post for January 2019 HOW WILL DEATH TASTE? which was originally intended as a stand-alone piece based on selected sayings from the ‘Gospel of Jesus According to Thomas’. 

Who was Thomas?

Thomas, aka Didymus (Twin?) d. 72 AD, was one of the 12 original apostles of Jesus. Born in Galilee in the days of the Roman Empire (same time and place as Jesus?) Died at Parangimalai (St.Thomas’s Mount) Chennai, Chola (India)

The following are the next ten from the remaindered sayings. The introduction to be found in the January post also applies here (as does the conclusion).

 

               Saying 87

Jesus said, “How miserable is the body that depends on a body, and how miserable is the soul that depends on both.” 

Christian critics might opine that this is about birth from a woman’s body and will, at one and the same time, claim soul to be tied to the flesh and as something needing to be untied from it. Indeed, Jesus also said

“How awful for the flesh that depends on the soul. How awful for the soul that depends on the flesh.”  (Saying 112)

Elsewhere there are hints that we are all born of the flesh but can become born again with a higher component, a bigger helping of Spirit (which I call the Source, God).

The word ‘soul’ goes around in religious and secular circles under the assumption we all agree what it means. So is it a distilled essence OR the active ingredient of your existence OR what’s left when you discount the physical body by 100% OR the incorporeal part that lives when we die and perhaps existed before our life began OR part of the body like a see-through shadow OR a familiar yet invisible entity OR is it a mystifying non-entity?

It is as unviewable as any smell (a microscopic form of touch, apparently) but the soul-spirit is beyond all our senses in every way, like some mental abilities. The SAPs – Socrates, Aristotle, Plato – thought it to be the divine source of logic. Others may know it to be the divine source of inspiration.

Even fundamentalist church congregations include some secularized science professionals. Science-with-religion is just now pulling itself out of the awkward assumption that soul is impossibly bound up with mind, which is similarly caged inside brain as if in a kind of thought-processing sparky haggis with spiritual benefits.

Some Christians will see soul as separate from spirit and linked-up to the world through the five senses despite that scripture will use both terms interchangeably. What Jesus speaks of here as soul I call spirit (being one and the same, a part of us in communion with Source including by the sixth sense).

Undoubtedly the root cause of wanting separate ideas for soul and spirit was to cope with the invisibles that are nevertheless of this world, i.e. the thoughts feelings and senses we are endowed with for our Earthly journey. Yet what really separates us from other creatures is that our invisible attributes are invested in by the heart, gifting to us, when it chooses, the potential to illuminate any subject to the greatest of depths.

What can we say about those who have no heart to speak of? Then the invisible factors still function for the body but in a divested way. There must be an invisible neuro-entity but on the level of an animal. Irredeemably heartless people surely exist and have bent thoughts and negative emotions. There are family pets with sweeter intentions.

Certainly Paul wrote of the soul and the spirit being divisible by God. (Hebrews 4:12 the dividing asunder both of soul and spirit) We know that Paul sent many letters. Whether all were faithfully written down by scribes or rephrased by them wilfully is now the province of scholars (with a major train-wreck being the known compounding with fresh errors of successive mistaken copies).

In various negotiations with a non-English speaking city government I chose university students as my interpreters. That new generation studied English well, a pleasure that their older generation had been forbidden from experiencing by law. How closely would they repeat words in translation? It was common for well-meaning students to get carried away with what they were saying, adding or taking away important words, sometimes for cultural reasons or for fear of personally upsetting those who represented an overwhelming power which controlled both them and their families, or else egotistically trying to take control of the narrative whilst failing to keep me informed of their alterations and amendments. In a land pre-occupied by the forbidding of political polemics, rather like Roman-occupied Judah, Judea, a good straight-ahead interpreter who stuck to the words they were supposed to relay was actually hard to find.

Paul also presented the body as being in open conflict with the soul. Medieval religieuse were given to thrashing their bodies into bloody submission to their modest yet so lofty inner natures. (Long before Jesus lived, the absconding young married-man Prince Gautama had tried all that and decided it was of no good effect. He became sublime Buddha instead.)

We should assume that the standard model which Jesus implies here is that of ‘one body with one soul’.

What exactly is one soul dependent on two bodies? Is this to do with an evil one exploiting co-dependency in the other? Or is it a riddle?

It is the unfortunate decision of many children suffering heartless abandon and sexual abuse, cooperative or forced, to throw off their own selves like a snake shedding its skin but going much deeper. This shunning is either from shame that they have been picked-on so horribly or guilt that they had got actively drawn. Either is enough for them to reject their true self and replace it with a fantasy new self that is beyond outward reproach, living in a new world where they can do nothing wrong. A bubble. The false persona will kill off the real. This pans out. From here on they become dead to the positive emotions by which they were pained and super-stimulated by their negative emotions that wish to give pain to others. Their world-view is now twisted by cunning shoe-horning of real events into their own sphere where they are their own god. Such a person hunts for empathic personalities, these being a very good source of sustenance for toxic appetites. They will be quick to marry one and set about tearing them down. They compete wickedly on every level, undermining and isolating them whilst craftily spooning-out apparent love.

Here are two bodies with only one spirit between them, that of the grievously suffering empath whose feelings are now engrossed in a misguided attachment to the ghastly machine that is, in reality, their soulless partner.

Is that what Jesus meant?

Jesus has said via Thomas and others that some will not taste death.

Undoubtedly such survivors will have welcomed the God inside us more than the dubious majority. Science is currently deployed to the task of eliminating death itself on behalf of powerful paymasters who had rid themselves long ago of their original persona. They are not zombies in the accustomed sense. This type of zombie has been copying real people for so long that they are superficially undetectable, working undercover. It is the strong form of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and often contains infusions of sadism and psycopathy. (Lying, cheating and betraying their supporters – check out some political leaders.) They may not resemble the classical narcissist and maybe it should not be listed as a treatable disorder as they will not seek treatment, considering that to be a folly as they are so successful at manipulating their way through life. As persuasive contortionists living in a self-created bubble, they cannot admit a mistake or confess the superior qualities of another, even their devoted helper, lest their bubble bursts. Different from a conflicted ego-sustainer, if the NPD should be stripped of their deceitful persona that would dismantle their core-being. This appears to be a quite impossible event but if not, what would be left?

               Saying 88

Jesus said, “The angels and the prophets will come to you and give you what belongs to you.

The Coptic for ‘angel’ also means messenger which in English, for instance, could mean a street-crying prophet as much as it might a silent planet-god like Mercury.

If Jesus is addressing his disciples-apostles alone, then this is an insight into what they may expect on their individual spiritual paths. He does not say angelic messengers will speak to them personally. Prophets, on the other hand, seem to promote theirselves best with voiced words.

Perhaps in the modern world they will also appear to us via a video on a website or in a magazine?

(I once watched English TV and saw inapplicable words crossing the screen. Surprised, I tried to catch but failed to grasp the tail of the disappearing line. It read “te ge paraquo….”, or “paraguoi….”, perhaps “paraquoina….”, which looked encouragingly Spanish and yet the “te ge” part proved untraceable.

As it happens, learnèd fellows were at hand who attached it to ancient phrases one of which was “If you will not lead, then at least stand beside”. Being less learned, I had guessed that it said simply “You go overseas” perhaps “to the Paraguayos”.

In and of Paraguay, the Tupi-Guarani languages may be called TG and those Guarani capitals can get written down as ‘te’ and ‘ge’, for what it’s worth. In the Phillipines, the Tagalog language is widely used and Metro Manila has a city named ‘Parañaque’. Was something telling me to get up and go overseas?)

A sincere statement about an unknown voice has reached me:

“Don’t we all hear voices when we think or we recall? This voice was like that but it arrived from ‘out there’ with a ‘feeling’, a ‘light’, a surpassing joy beyond the fantastical. I have thought about this for years now. Truth to tell I am still at a loss to fully understand what I know I heard and felt.”

I strongly could not believe in any ‘Voice of God’ which has told one person to instruct everybody else in how to live. I think that should have a new noun: propaganda + aggrandizement = propaggrandizement.

But this particular experience of unbidden words is, I feel, modestly and convincingly portrayed. I hope I have retold his account acceptably and now offer a perplexity of my own:

I once listened to the radio and heard a person say, “Who is in charge of your life, you or a little cigarette?”

It was bedtime, and I had run out of cigarettes. No problem. I never did smoke first thing in the morning. But then friends arrived. I guessed they would stay late. They passed me cigarettes as we chatted happily. It was dark outside with cold rain hitting the window. I knew there was a cigarette machine at the end of the street. I did not want to keep taking their cigarettes: neither did I want to go out into the dark wet night. Then I recalled the words, “Who is in charge of your life, you or a little cigarette?” I have never smoked since that moment. Nor have I ever missed it even though I had a strong smoking habit at the time. Hypnotized? I felt neither aversion nor disdain. What I experienced, then as now, was indifference. Did something flow through me, restoring me? Thank you, God, thank you.

You’ll give them what you have and ask yourselves, ‘When will they come and take what is theirs?'”

The first part of the above reminds me of the unsettling share agreement in Saying 65 (in the post AGAIN ADDRESSING TEN FROM THOMAS) Rather I should suppose it to be generosity of spirit or else a surrender.

In the second section, the words lend themselves easily to that act of taking away which we commonly call death, or reclaiming from above the ground of existence.

               Saying 89

Jesus said, “Why do you wash the outside of the cup? Don’t you know that whoever created the inside created the outside too?”

Are these questions requiring answers or sheer remonstrations? The person spoken to is being compared to a cup, it seems to me. Jesus infers that he should be cleansing the inside. I suppose a purifying of the inner self for the purposes of the spirit. A more material concern that has gained in popularity these days is to purge the innards.

(The reversal of inside and outside in the second sentence matters little, it seems. It appears in other texts also giving it significance to textual scholars who may yet find a reason for it.)

               Saying 90

Jesus said, “Come to me, because my yoke is easy and my requirements are light. You’ll be refreshed.”

The harder we work at it the further removed we become from experiencing Enlightenment which is a co-balancing act with all else in the universe that eventually emerges effortlessly from continuing success at inner development and outer improvements. On purifying oneself both inwardly and behaviourally, all falls into place with little further work required whilst any chosen labour can become a joy. It is vivifying – not deflating or burdensome – as Jesus said while so much wanting all of humanity to share this refreshment with Him.

As for the yoke it is a matter of historical perspective. I take it that He is telling how light is the yoke He wears in comparison with the yokes worn by the worldly.

Christians rather believe He meant to put themself under the yoke of Christianity.

               Saying 91

They said to him, “Tell us who you are so that we may trust you.”

He said to them, “You read the face of the sky and the earth, but you don’t know the one right in front of you, and you don’t know how to read the present moment.”

Those of an open-air manner of existence know well how to read the elements and will trust their own judgement on incoming weathers. Jesus exhorts them also to trust in their grounded readings of moment:

Look at me and read the signs! Here and now I am!

               Saying 92

Jesus said, “Look and you’ll find. I didn’t answer your questions before. Now I want to give you answers, but you aren’t looking for them.”

When they questioned everything they were not ready for the answers. Now they have become ready they are no longer asking the questions. He still wants you to!

Never stop asking questions.

               Saying 93

“Don’t give what’s holy to the dogs, or else it might be thrown on the manure pile. Don’t throw pearls to the pigs, or else they might … “

Matthew 7:6 ‘Ye may not give that which is …. to the dogs, nor cast your pearls before the swine, that they may not trample them among their feet, and having turned – may rend you.’

A true and deep observation. The inadequate ones will think they hear the words of a fool, especially if they have you outnumbered by a group in which they bolster each other’s worthless views, and that is their inadequacy. They will then turn on you violently, initially with words, because they wish to discharge their suspicions of inferiority that are dislocating their energies or else charging-up a type of group hysteria.

               Saying 94

Jesus …., “Whoever looks will find, … ……. ……, it will be opened for them.”

Even with textual defects the statement is crystal clear. Help will be all around you even if you start only tentatively upon your own inner path or knock hesitantly upon God’s figurative door. Good fortune is yours for the finding. Go look out for it yet seek it within.

Saying 96

Jesus …., “The Father’s kingdom can be compared to a woman who took a little yeast and … it in flour. She made it into large loaves of bread. Anyone who has ears to hear should hear!”

Enlightenment. It is amazing how little it takes, really, once you have got your self in good order, and how swiftly that grows greater.

Know yourself and know for yourself.

               Saying 97

Jesus said, “The Father’s kingdom can be compared to a woman carrying a jar of flour. While she was walking down a long road, the jar’s handle broke and the flour spilled out behind her on the road. She didn’t know it, and didn’t realize there was a problem until she got home, put down the jar, and found it empty.”

Thomas has juxtaposed this failing lady with the successful one in the previous saying.

Without any awareness of it, the woman’s load got lighter as she got nearer to her destination. It’s to do with density. For example a ream of paper might not look heavy but will require a good man’s strong back to lift it over a distance. Flour is comparatively light and fine. The woman of the house may manage it to home with the weight of the jar being the greatest part of the burden she bears.

This earthenware has developed a fault that has allowed the refined substance to seep away. That goes unnoticed by her.

Similarly, on shouldering a dead weight we probably would not notice any lightening as the soul evacuates the body.

There were many unaccustomed descriptions of ‘God’s kingdom’ given by Jesus. One was a kind of light covering over the Earth that goes unrecognized, “spread out over the earth, and people don’t see it” (Saying 113)

We might glimpse it, but rarely, humanity in general being absorbed by progressing their daily existences whilst being randomly diverted by life’s stumbling blocks.

Perhaps so many have yet to consider the matter – though their own fine portion may be seeping away as they toil towards their final destination to lay their burden down.

(An afterthought: on my first attempt at this saying of Jesus I found myself entangled in the twist between density and destiny. I had to retract and retrace. I am at variance, of course, with those who deny that God is present in any physical material – yet I have witnessed personally the motive spirit in an inert object.)

God be with you, within you and without you.

               NigelRaymondOfford © December 2019

SCRUTINISING AFRESH TEN BY THOMAS

•December 5, 2019 • Leave a Comment

TEN MORE FROM THOMAS

HOSTING A FURTHER TEN FROM THOMAS

OPENING ANOTHER TEN FROM THOMAS

MEASURING OUT A NEW TEN FROM THOMAS

AGAIN ADDRESSING TEN FROM THOMAS

are follow-ups to the post for January 2019 HOW WILL DEATH TASTE? which was originally intended as a stand-alone piece based on selected sayings from the ‘Gospel of Jesus According to Thomas’. 

Who was Thomas?

Thomas, aka Didymus (Twin?) d. 72 AD, was one of the 12 original apostles of Jesus. Born in Galilee in the days of the Roman Empire (same time and place as Jesus?) Died at Parangimalai (St.Thomas’s Mount) Chennai, Chola (India)

The following are the next ten from the remaindered sayings. The introduction to be found in the January post also applies here (as does the conclusion).

               Saying 77

 Jesus said, “I’m the light that’s over all. I am the All. The All has come from me and unfolds toward me.

These fantastic words stand out as loftier than any others in ‘Thomas’, and anywhere else.

Are you surprised to learn that we are creatures of light, that Jesus made us and that the All is at least as mysteriously coherent in movement as a flock of starlings? Are we both wrong never to have considered this? Why is that not in Genesis?

As my admirably commandments-conforming, though not faultless, mother used to say, “You can prove anything from the Bible”. (Some of the nicest people are Christians but they are seriously conflicted.)

It can be confirmed from some later antique passages, but by no means all, that Jesus was co-equal within God Almighty who was there at the beginning of Creation therefore co-eternal with God.

A small aside, who said there was a beginning?

The anonymous authors of the Torah’s book of Genesis, that’s who!

Surely not the holy tome of a people now disassembled with whom I have no real physical or cultural connection?

So? Suck it up!

But why does there have to be a beginning?

And if it’s true, then was there no place of preparation, somehow not within the temporal, at which God could create the idea of beginning or introduction, as there were no such things beforehand? (Indeed, no such condition as ‘beforehand’ existed until after the beginning of Time that God Created.)

Otherwise what are we to think? Words fail.

Quite obviously the Whole of Creation and Time is One Big Mystery and Infinity together with Eternity, being their immeasurable warp and untraceable weft, suggest a quite unfathomable Mystery apart.

Or else the rising tide of the Age of Worldly Reason has cut us off from the slipway steps of Truth.

The ancients saw the world as a fundament with a separate scene above it that by night was revealed as a flat curtain with stars – zillions of them – placed intriguingly upon it. The planets moved meaningfully and the soaring Sun gave life to each day then sank below on its night-time adventures in the Underworld. One description of all this undergoing a status change pictures it as retreating ‘like a rolled up scroll’. And now we have the clue ‘unfolds toward me’. Rigid like a paper fan unfolding, fluid as a waveform dancing or an uncurling flatness like an opening scroll?

(The Ancients had no device in daily use for keeping papyrus, or early paper, neat and flat while being carried around. Instead they would have scrolled it up to avoid creases.)

The apostles and their subsequent leaders have disagreed about exactly when Jesus became God:

Resurrection? Baptism? (earliest Luke gospel) From around the Immaculate Conception up to around the VIrgin Birth? (Matthew gospel) At the moment that God made the world? (John gospel)

He was incarnated onto Earth from Heaven says John.

“Split a log; I’m there. Lift the stone, and you’ll find me there.”

Jesus implies He is the whole wide world, the vegetable and mineral parts at least!

Oh, dear. Christianity likes to place the Creator well outside of His time-centric Creation so that He does not go down with it at the End!

I do not KNOW that the following is true but I first deduced this from what I KNOW and it takes place all the while around me:

God is all around me in everything and all I know around me is God.

God is inside me and illumines my heart-brain-mind continuum giving me such inspirations as I have capacity to receive, and then some. (Yet I am fully individual and not under the direct control of God, which is a pity sometimes!)

God is available to me in relationship 24/7 as a great and constant friend. What I need or want God supplies without me asking, my needs before my wants usually. Sometimes I speak out loud to God about my aspirations but without immediate response. If I am sure of what I want then they may well manifest later but if they never do then I will have realized how that was not for me in the eminent determinations, the divine demarcations. How God balances the conflicting wishes of billions of people I do not know but I suspect that time comes into it. Why God chooses to be in relationship with us when we are each such a tiny speck in the universe I do not know but I suspect it is the ‘holy spirit’ in us. I have zero fear of death and will go happily whenever and wherever God wills it. Jesus is my hero of heroes. God is my only God.

Back to antiquity: the shifting arguments about three divinities resolved into a sort of modalism, i.e. that there could be three scoops of ice cream on one cone bearing different colours suggesting flavours but all being the same confection with the same regularities. The version to be experienced (Father, Son or Holy Ghost) is then no more than an attitude struck relative to your angle of approach. It is always God. All ways. Good enough! Yet, as it was, the idea of modality drove some people to distraction. While admitting that there were separate ways we can employ to approach God, they could not stomach three good scoops and demanded that there be only one scoop of substance, with one celestial taste and heavenly hue, in their ice-cream cone of faith. But it would still have the three old versions named around the edge of the cone to keep the traditionalists happy. They coined this triunic-cum-triadic device ‘Holy Trinity’ and that confuscation rapidly saturated its market as it still does to this day.

A divine trinity actually appears clearly in Isaiah (see my notes to Saying 43  in the post Opening Another Ten from Thomas) yet does not seem to be present anywhere in the New Testament. No earliest writings about Jesus mention it at all. I have read a contemporary Christian critic who says we should be grateful to Tertullian, d. 240AD, for inventing it. If this present Saying 77 has much of the truth about it then such wordgames and worse ought to be swept aside.

N.B. For Christians to say that Jesus is God is considered by competing faiths to be idolatrous.  

Let’s have this out right now: is Jesus God, Yes or No?

By the words of Saying 77 – as recorded by a Thomasian scribe – Jesus is giving us a resounding I AM!

Mark 28:32,34

32 And the scribe said to him, `Well, Teacher, in truth thou hast spoken that there is one God, and there is none other but He; 

34 And Jesus, having seen him that he answered with understanding, said to him, `Thou art not far from the reign of God;’ and no one any more durst question him.

He is also saying that matter has His spirit pre-printed in it and through it, rendering priestly interventions in “holy water” and building consecrations, even blessings and baptisms, quite irrelevant (if not irreverent).

I don’t usually promote scientists but Max Planck was one of the special ones,

“What we think is matter originates only by virtue of a force … there is no matter as such.”

When Jesus says He is the All then He (as your God) must be the extraordinary complex-cohesive web of consciousness that binds the Universe together. And He can control the agency of Universe, its knots unions and scatterings, its rheologistics its plasmas and its plasticities, either directly or indirectly.

               Saying 78

Jesus said, “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed shaken by the wind? A …… wearing fancy clothes, …. …. rulers and powerful people? They …. fancy ……., but can’t know the truth.”

Out of context, I could not possibly understand this saying fully. I cannot say who had come to meet whom. His followers have perhaps followed Him to observe Jesus when He retreats alone to the desert. (Where does He go? What does He do? Who does He meet?)

Or did He watch them as they followed a crowd to view a desert spectacle? Travelling magicians often mounted their versions of the burning bush story.

The description sounds like magicians adorned as fancy-dress kings and performing tricks yet with no grasp of the truth that they could be getting from Jesus, as neither do worldly monarchs and their councils who glorify the superficial.

               Saying 79

A woman in the crowd said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that nourished you.”

He said to …, “Blessed are those who have listened to the message of the Father and kept it, because there will be days when you’ll say, ‘Blessed is the womb that didn’t conceive and the breasts that haven’t given milk.'”

Here’s a deep contrast between material existence, which may wane regrettably, and the spiritual one that never should. Much as we are given to an almost unquestioning awe of the mother figure’s ability to nurture her helpless infants, every material wind blows both ways. Fear and envy are often the instructors of the materialist. Jesus says if you follow God’s instructions you need not suffer fear or envy – you will be blessed.

(Jesus pulls back from praising His mother – the opposite tack to those politicians who like virtue-signalling to everybody at every opportunity or to those narcissistic demons who like demonstrating how it was they grew up to be quite so perfect.)

               Saying 80 

Jesus said, “Whoever has known the world has found the body; but whoever has found the body, of them the world isn’t worthy.”

This is a repeat of Saying 56  in the post MEASURING OUT A NEW TEN FROM THOMAS but with the body substituted for a corpse. Both represent realization of the physicality of earthly nature. The message is one of congratulation to whomever has made themselves superior to the calls of the flesh that they’ve found but now overcome. They are in the world but beyond the world. 

               Saying 81

Jesus said, “Whoever has become rich should become a ruler, and whoever has power should renounce it.”

Up and down the esoteric/secret path of existence – do these designated gear changes cycle us back to where we started?

What I call Enlightenment is not a plateau of purity. It is on a path to God and back. I feel that at some point we each will become purified individually by our gathered strains of incoherences becoming coincidentally and semi-mysteriously cohesive. Its the improvement we have been working towards all that time. This capital wealth of spirit brings enormous block power. To use it or to give it up? Jesus has said to renounce it, which I must say I find reassuring on the surface. 

               Saying 82

Jesus said, “Whoever is near me is near the fire, and whoever is far from me is far from the kingdom.”

He reminds us that fire is His element, so to say. (See Saying 10 in the post How Will Death Taste?)

Maybe He is merely reminding us of his godhead. Truth-to-tell the urge to find a substitute noun and avoid repetition in English and some other languages is so strong that ‘fire’ and ‘kingdom’ might just be engulfing the same inner sentiment.The logos vs. the tautologos? Tautologically-speaking, we try not to repeat this quip too often!

Faith-filled philosophies like Confucianism and Daoism, that have no public mouthpieces to feed, claim no moral monopoly nor executive rights of exclusivity. Many Asians maintain both these domestic faiths at once in addition to their outgoing Buddhism or Catholicism. ‘Nobody comes to the Father but through me’? is simply not true. At least not when taken at face value. Did He really intend that to be taken how it is today, that your future quality of life must depend on adherence to a one-party religious system that somebody called Christianity? Jesus did not have a political bone in His body, I feel sure, so who on Earth has been promulgating this through Him? 

               Saying 83

Jesus said, “Images are revealed to people, but the light within them is hidden in the image of the Father’s light. He’ll be revealed, but his image will be hidden by his light.”

Images revealed to individuals or groups.

Light within them is hidden by the light of the image of the Father.

God reveals but

His image is hidden by His light.

Hitherto unseen sight of theirselves or others.

God’s light so great it overlays and subsumes their own, so their light seems hidden by it.

God’s light so great that the sight of Him will bedazzle onlookers who must come away with only the memory of a great light.

God’s presence in the Transfiguration?

Is this how Jesus managed to hide so suddenly, by turning up His covering of light?

(There are many Sayings referring to light in this gospel.)

               Saying 84

Jesus said, “When you see your likeness, you rejoice. But when you see your images that came into being before you did – which don’t die, and aren’t revealed – how much you’ll have to bear!”

As a child I used to call the colourful North American race ‘Red Injuns’. All kids did. The legend was that ‘Native Americans’ initially shunned having their photographs taken because it might steal their soul. Me too, I felt it that way. I associated with them. But most people like to see how they look in pics and the ‘selfie’ is a do-it-yourself targeting mechanism which has been sold to the public as a jolly harmless obsession, although possibly a fatal attraction to some. 

In the globally famous movie ‘The Matrix’ daily objects were revealed to be uglier than they had always seemed. Much uglier. The worldly pleasurings of the senses were also found to be an illusion.

Jesus says that when we finally see what we really look like – how we have looked and forever will look without ever having realized – we will be displeased perhaps disillusioned, despondent perhaps despairing, burdened perhaps broken. So much for our inner Narcissus.

Science footnote: those seeking for logical truths right now are wondering why the world behaves so much like a computer interface.

It has always amazed me how much the uncoverings by the scientists of Earth’s formation have resembled the stages outlined in the book of Genesis. Now we have Jesus in Thomas insinuating a type of interface with reality itself. Do I believe that?

This is much like New Science (yet it’s ancient) versus the classical laws of physics which we have believed must constrain all that goes on in the universe.

For a start it would mean that not only are we all known to God but also from before our beginning on Earth. (I have long suspected that the spirit may enter the baby just before, during or even soon after its gestation time.) Or could Jesus in Thomas be speaking only about His own apostles? It is strange how this ‘interface’ resembles cutting-edge science thoughts. That does not in itself prove it right or wrong. If this is really Jesus, I defer out of respect but put the idea up on a shelf marked ‘not fully decided yet’.  If not, I am still amazed but not a believer. Half-convinced. 

               Saying 85 

Jesus said, “Adam came into being from a great power and great wealth, but he didn’t become worthy of you. If he had been worthy, .. …….. …. …… death.”

Jesus says Adam, the prototype homo sapien, came ready-Enlightened insofar as he had a child-like innocence, although built as a man, and that he never used any special powers. But he went downhill anyway, losing some measure of spirit and the powers that went along with capital accumulation of spirit, ending up worried, envious, lustful and fearful.

Jesus told His disciples that Adam was not worthy of them, i.e. not worthy to claim premier position over the present apostles. That could mean only that they had exceeded Adam already on their path to God, Adam having died at a point on his path while travelling way from God.

He goes further, as Adam tasted death he was not at their level in the here and now, meaning none of those present were to taste death providing they did not backslide and so I call them Enlightened at least and possibly beyond Enlightened.

My experience has taught me that nobody stays on that level, it’s a curve not a plane. Indeed not only did Adam die but so did all the apostles including St.Thomas. I guess that they all ‘got there’ but then fell without enough time left in that lifetime to make the spiritual climb to God again. How can I say that about the Saints and Martyrs of a World Religion? Because any religion is of this world, temporal. It is born, prospers, declines, dies. It does not travel in a straight line and neither do those on board. In helping deceptive others to found a religion dependent on good-versus-bad in perpetuity and delaying expectations of reaching ‘God’s kingdom’ until after death, for reasons of maximizing church income, they could have lost their grip – heroes though they were.

All reactive organizations turn to self-maintenance and growth as their overriding priorities, quietly allowing the very ills against which they were formed in the first place to be perpetuated for the time being, rather than defeating and dismantling both those and themselves. Better organize yourself as an individual, as a solo work.

               Saying 86

Jesus said, “… …. …. …. and the birds have nests, but the Son of Humanity has nowhere to lay his head and rest.”

(Luke 9:58 and Jesus said to him, `The foxes have holes, and the fowls of the heaven places of rest, but the Son of Man hath not where he may recline the head.’)

(See Saying 42 in the post How Will Death Taste?)

“Son of Humanity” reminds us that we all need to sleep, even Him. It seems that when we wake we start producing bits that accumulate into tiredness. Working hard exudes them more, even mental work. It seems deliberate like the cellular messaging to shut the body down methodically into death. This is our inheritance from the animal world.

Our holy spirit flows positively through mind and body enabling far greater constructiveness than our monkey relatives could ever attain. But our own monkey negatives, totally tossed around by the unaccustomed effects of this spirit, then whip us into tearing our constructions down again.

The daily circling spirals of homo sapiens:

——————————–   Nurturing   Hunting

Waking   Drinking                                      Eating   Sleeping

——————————–   Creating     Destroying

Love and hate run through it all. Joy and sorrow are recurrent disrupters of order. God is in your breathing. Cause-and-effect is a law because miracles do happen.

What of evolution? If objective reality is not really there, including because our visual perceptions are interpretive of displays upon an ‘interface’, then fitness for survival will favour the exact fit by chance of a simple organism coincident with a small developmental change off-interface. It cannot favour the large range of factors in human beings and our width of perceptivity that interacts so thoroughly with the complexified interface itself.

Scientists record natural human mutation. Only two years ago I was observed to have one mutant gene-location that I did not have ten years before and which seems to make little or no difference to my life. At that time I wised-up on DNA recording and was surprised to find it employed inexact methodologies such as including one location (under police department influence) where the gene lasted a very long time indeed despite that it was one of the least reliable of all to test. Where I live they did not include eye and hair colour amongst their target locations because all Asians have brown eyes and black hair. The final decision on gene matchings is usually made by a panel headed by the proprietor of the laboratory. It’s no slam-dunk.

Actually, computer-assisted science observations might well be from misreading compromises inherent to over-advanced mathematics and data parsing so suggesting that, for us, there is no reliable proof of evolution.

We alone are whole, for what we’re worth?

An eternal treasure wrapped inside the body of a lazarus?

NigelRaymondOfford © December 2019