Feeling pretty good about myself today, I made a bed for our friend’s little girl. Now all the kids are holding a subtle competition to try and be the one to get the new bed. It is quite a major change to their little world.
Following up on Ping*s rant, I saw a vicar on the telly doing a show about the Lost Gospels. It was quite funny. He had a simple logic, if it was preferred by the early church, it is suspect, if it was rejected and buried or burned it must be good. He interviewed experts but they felt soundbitten; it was like watching Max Headroom (link provided for those under 20yrs). He described a top down decision by one man, Athanasius, to decide the canonical texts, where actually it was a more grassroots decision, and they didn’t ban the others, in fact they encouraged the reading of some of them as helpful books. The most tortured logic, though, was that the place of women in the church had been smothered by the suppression of these lost books. But the gospel of Thomas (114) was quoted to him by an expert as saying that women are imperfect beings that need to become male so they can become spiritual; apparently they don’t deserve life, but don’t worry! Gospel-of-Thomas-Jesus can make them blokes. I think I prefer the letters by Paul, which tell us that anybody, JewGreekSlaveFreeWomanMan can be saved without any merit of their own, he showed how his secret gnostic gospels tell us only the select intellectual few can be saved by their esoteric knowledge. I’ll pass, thanks.
On one level it is brain-comedy, but the missed opportunity is that the really interesting question here is what makes something orthodox. This is the time when Church wavered between being allied to the state at one extreme, and being primarily passed on by the teacher pupil relationship. On the one hand the corrupting influence of power and money, on the other the temptation to dedicate yourself to the intellect and conjour up heresy and exclusivity. BBC4 always seems to be slightly more dull, rather than in more depth.