Gospel of Thomas Class
So we talked about trouble, which is really the internal and external issues that arise when we find ourselves smack in the middle a new religious paradigm. We haven’t quite stopped seeing things in our usual ways, but at the same time, we’ve become aware that other ways exist. We cling to our teacher or ideas then, a little scared of what reality looks like. As the saying goes, all bets are off.
Here is the list of Trouble One Liners I discovered when I worked with this section of the Gospel of Thomas—remember, the number before the statement corresponds to the Logion I was playing with:
Trouble arises within us when...
39. we begin to understand that what we thought were our primary sources for searching and finding Truth may have their own agendas and immature understandings, and that we must approach the Truth more intuitively and on our own.
40. communities, thinking they have the “only” view of reality, become cut off from their shared and abundant Source.
41. we are faced with the kenosis that spiritual “finding” demands of us.
42. we realize that to “be” we have to move into the holy present moment, releasing all the burdens of egoic clinging.
43. we do not recognize the “fleshy divinity” of each living thing, including our spiritual masters and furthest stranger.
44. Trouble arises when we name something to come into relationship with it, only to find we find we have tried to concretize infinity.
45. we realize that every thought and action adds to the granary of relationship or isolation, each creating its own fruit in time.
46. we understand we are called to live beyond our spiritual teachers by simply being ourselves and fully conscious.
47. we try to hold two competing spiritual paradigms at once—faith as a culturally conditioned institution or faith as inner experience—and we must choose which path to follow.
48 even as we hold relative and ultimate reality within ourselves, we doubt the inner strength it gives to us.
49. we begin to recognize that the Kingdom is not a realm at all, and that any sense of being “chosen” begs the question: “who is the chooser?”
50. we realize we will only be able to comprehend or verbally express to others what we have “found” in the language of process and paradox.
51. we realize that the new paradigm we are asked to adopt is not what most people expect to find when they begin the spiritual search.
52. we enter into the dualistic mind of comparison in order to create a safe and familiar sense of ground beneath our feet.
53. we think that by engaging in socially mandated rituals, we will deepen our understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven.
54. we face the tension between the very real grace of our “spiritual poverty” and the false nature of “spiritual materialism”.
55. we realize that our allegiance to family, tribe, church or nation must be secondary to our inner experience of Truth.
56. we think our relationship with the cosmos is rational, empirical and fully knowable.
Transition Logion 57: We are filled with wonder when we realize we can put a great deal of space and waiting around times of trouble, and that act will show us both the wheat and weeds of our own minds and hearts.
1. How have you been experiencing moments of trouble as you work through this Gospel? How do such things feel in your body? In your thoughts? How are you working your way through this trouble? be concrete!
2. If you are so inclined, take time to compare this Gospel to the spiritual developmental theories of Fowler and Wilber. Are there any resonances? Distinct differences in the journey so far? If you find them, share them with our group!
3. What is the gift of going through the stage of being troubled by your spiritual unfolding?
4. Does the trouble section help you better understand some of your friends and associates who seem stuck in the religion of their childhoods? Why or why not?
5. If institutions are part of this trouble, what can be done by the individual or the larger institution to ease this necessary journey?