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Monday, 10 April 2006
Lots of Sawdust
Now Playing: institutional tendencies
I watched that National Geographic Channel special on the Gospel of Judas with my family last night. It was mostly worth our while, although, at two hours, there was quite a lot more sawdust in that thing than there should have been.

Anyway, I don't think Christianity is going to fold in on itself on account of this Gnostic curiosity. That much was made plain by the NGC people themselves when they resorted ---utterly out of the blue but with plenty of orthodox deliberation--- to include a moment's worth of Robert Schuller dismissing the very need to know anything more of the Gospels than what one may read in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Where had Robert Schuller been the previous hour and 55 minutes? I couldn't help but believe that his non sequitur declaration was a sop to the mainstream and/or Fundamentalist Christian community in America, who don't like having their major or even minor tenets trifled with. Judas is Judas to the end of reckoning, they say, and that is that.

Which is to say that Robert Schuller's inclusion at that point of the documentary is for him to be the living embodiment of the very attitude that relegated the Gnostic element in Early Christianity to the margins where it essentially died to the Church that was to come.

That's what Christianity is when it is nothing else: the Church. The thing that cannot be sated and which lives to exert itself somehow somewhere throughout all time.

I will always believe that the genius of Christianity ---the thing that makes it, as my friend Sluggo once said, the "saving grace of Western Civilization"--- is its tendency to disintegration. And reintegration. And constantly moving apart from and protesting the orthodoxy which owns its ass, anyway, like the petutlant child who is unaccountably embarrassed by the righteous authority of his own father.

That's the source of our independent-mindedness as Westerners. That's why Providence alit upon our kind.

Not incidentally, that has nothing to do with race.


Posted by Toby Petzold at 9:03 PM CDT | Post Comment | View Comments (6) | Permalink

Monday, 10 April 2006 - 9:26 PM CDT

Name: Rider

...its tendency to disintegration. And reintegration. And constantly moving apart from and protesting the orthodoxy which owns its ass..

Lutheran roots?

The famous dictum of the Reformation was Ecclesia reformata semper reformanda est, "a (truly) reformed church is one which is ever reforming."

Wednesday, 12 April 2006 - 6:26 PM CDT

Name: Toby

Rider:

Lutheran roots?

Remotely. The two biggest formative ecclesiastical influences on me were my paternal grandmother's hard-core Southern Baptism and my maternal grandmother's Christian Science. Throw in some discarded Lutheranism and Judaism from my paternal and maternal grandfathers, respectively, and you get the four strains of my religious heritage.

You?

Wednesday, 12 April 2006 - 6:59 PM CDT

Name: Rider

Presbyterian background. Graduate of Austin Seminary. Episcopalian for past 20 years.

Thursday, 13 April 2006 - 12:15 PM CDT

Name: jbl

Graduate of the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the SW in Austin, by chance?

Thursday, 13 April 2006 - 4:21 PM CDT

Name: Rider

The Presbyterian seminary.

Friday, 14 April 2006 - 12:50 AM CDT

Name: Johnny La Rue

Yeah, when I saw the headline in the NYTs I was shocked. Then I read halfway down the article and saw it was a Gnostic gospel and was shocked again. Shocked because they didn't put that all the way at the top as any Christian theologian would. But hey, the National Geographic Society confirmed all this carbon dating a while ago and sat on it until the media was afroth with talk of the DaVinci Code. You know, just how serious research is to be presented.

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