The Gospel of Who? Oh, Him. | Sojourners

The Gospel of Who? Oh, Him.

Our top story this month has the theological world "all in a tizzy," which in the original Greek means "something much too nuanced for you to understand since you’re just a lay person." I’m talking about the so-called "gospel of Thomas," the ancient text that

some scholars think could be a legitimate part of the New Testament. Thomas, you will recall, was the first person to use the expression, "Not!" when confronted by the resurrected Christ. Not that we would have recognized him either, given the Upper Room’s notoriously bad lighting.

Discovered 50 years ago in a small Egyptian village, the Thomas text omits most of those unimportant gospel themes—such as the birth, death, and resurrection narratives—and gets right down to the all-important "secret sayings" of Jesus. You know, the kind of stuff A Current Affair would be interested in. These sayings reveal a "more tolerant" Jesus, one a little more accepting of human frailty. And we can only assume Thomas’ "laid back" Messiah, when faced with evil, would admonish his followers: "Dudes. Like...don’t sin. OK?"

Scholars say the Thomas manuscript reflects the influence of an outcast sect of followers, called the gnostics, who were tormented by gnasty head colds and were generally pretty cranky.

Gnostics reportedly went around "teachig" and "preachig" and complaining about their health. Sample sermon title: "Oh sure, the kingdom of God is at hand, but can’t we get a decent decongestant?" Theologian Karl "Barth" Simpson was unavailable for comment.

Competing for Olympic Green

By now, our proud Olympic athletes are all back home, and we hope they left a little bit of America back in Norway—preferably Dan Rather and Connie Chung. That way, we won’t have to watch those inane commercials, the ones where they’re posing as normal people.

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Sojourners Magazine May 1994
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