Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical

So, the first thing i learned tonight is that the Gospels were likely not written by the people they are named for. Way to chisel away at my faith even more. *sigh*

I got myself a copy of the book tonight and look forward to reading it. Can't believe i haven't heard a peep from you yet. One thing Peter talked about, which made me think of you, was that when the canon was being codified, the Gospel of John was included in part to balance the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, because they focused on the humanity of Jesus (as does the Gospel of Thomas) while the Gospel of John focused on the divinity of Jesus, and the person in charge of the codifying felt it was necessary to include both those emphases. (My impression is that the thrust of the book is "What would Christianity be like if the Gospel of Thomas had been included instead of the Gospel of John, or if they had both been included?")

In her first chapter, Elaine Pagels asks "What is about Christian tradition that we love---and what is it that we cannot love?" So Peter asked us what we love about Christianity, and what we don't love about it, and what draws us to it.

What i love and don't love is a relatively easy question. I love the emphasis on loving everyone and being good to the least of these (though of course that is found in so many other communities that it can't be what keeps me here) and i don't love the exclusivity, the idea that there is only one way to Heaven (though if we wanna be technical, i do believe there is only one way to Heaven: through the grace of God, but i believe we are all going to Heaven).

What draws me to Christianity is also relatively easy, in that i have the answer ready, but it's certainly a more complicated answer. (I was reminded of the whole "Why am i an English major?") I grew up in a Protestant church, so i still feel attached to it. It was interesting listening to so many people talk about growing up in Christian traditions where you didn't question (and thus rejecting that, but rejecting Christianity wholesale and later finding their way back, reclaiming the good parts) because one of the things i have always loved most about Protestantism is the (empashis on the) ability to question, the fact that it is you and the Bible and God. That is the only reason i am still here, in this tradition -- the fact that it is not inflexible.

Christianity is a very intellectual exercise for me (gee, what a surprise, given that that's how i approach everything else). My mother gently points out that it is called "faith" for a reason, and i retort that i have made the God leap (i absolutely insist on believing in a loving Creator God) but everything else has to be proved to me. I know i'm not going to get "proof" per se, but if given the historical evidence and all the scholarship that has been done on it, i feel like Jesus really did rise on the 3rd day then i have to be a Christian, because it is True (yes, lilithchilde, me and my capital T Truth again), and if i really don't believe that he did, then i can't be a Christian, because it was a lie. (Yes, sk8eeyore, your post about the "Jesus: Lunatic, Liar or Lord?" lecture has raised interesting points about this which i really will get to at some point -- part of my giant Trinity post -- and i really need to reread the New Testament and figure out exactly what Jesus said about himself in relation to God, but for now, this is where i am.)

So basically what it comes down to, is that i am drawn back because i suspect it is True. On an intellectual level i understand the draw of the community and the singing and the rituals, and every once in a while it resonates with me, but i have to believe it on an intellectual level before the trappings or community with the like-minded will really resonate.
Tags: lent: 2004: bookstudy: gospel of thomas

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