Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Scholars long believed that there was once a Gospel attributed to Lebbaeus, “a friend” of the Apostle Thaddeus (aka Jude or Judas NOT Iscariot, or just “The Snarky One”) but scholars could never prove its existence. From the few First and Second Century references we have to this gospel, scholars have long assumed that Thaddeus himself wrote the text. Therefore, scholars dubbed it The Lost Gospel of Thaddeus.

Legend has it that St. Paul, after a major falling out with Thaddeus over a seating chart at the Pristine Council of Corinth, banned Thaddeus’ gospel and commanded that all copies be destroyed. While on a recent trip to Malta I met with a Roman Catholic dissident, (who goes by the code name Vashti,) and learned that deep in a Jesuit vault the Church has hidden a torn parchment of the lost gospel. Apparently St. Paul, shipwrecked on the island of Malta, had in his possession the only remaining copy. He ordered it destroyed, but his travel companion, Luke, also a gospel writer, asked their Maltese man servant to hide it away instead. For centuries the text has been well guarded, and with the help of Vashti (and a Vatican butler) I entered the vault and saw for myself this long lost gospel.

Sadly the parchment sustained much damage and whole sections are missing, but for the first time in nearly 2000 years, the Lost Gospel of Thaddeus has seen the light and is now available publicly. Special thanks to Bible interpreter, Jane Brazell, for all her contributions.

The Lost Gospel of Thaddeus

I, Lebbaeus, write to tell you about Thaddeus, a faithful companion and Apostle of Jesus, and to share Good News with those who have ears to hear. Truth be told Thaddeus could have done without some of the other Apostles especially…[missing fragment]

{Miracles & Encounters}
Early one day as they walked towards the market, a leper sat by the fig stall and called out to Jesus. But Thaddeus, heading towards the figs, protested, “Ugh, no Rabbi, just keep walking. He’s faking anyway.” Later that day Jesus stopped to help a man on the steps of the temple. Thaddeus groaned, “Not another leper…I mean, um, what a lovely tattered robe you have on.”

As they were deciding where to have their evening meal, a Roman centurion came to Jesus, and pleaded with the rabbi to heal his body servant. Thaddeus panicked, “Oh God, that’s the guy from the baths. Just act natural…”

One day as Jesus and the disciples went shopping for new tunics, they encountered a blind man begging alms. Jesus spat on the ground. Thaddeus protested, “Really teacher, I mean, I’m sure he’s faking like most of these other beggars, but you don’t have to be rude about it.” Jesus, ignoring Thaddeus, then bent down and made mud with his saliva and the dirt. He then smeared the muddy paste over the blind man’s eyes. “Ah, I see, giving him the holy spa treatment, are we?” Thaddeus remarked.

The next day Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs to do good works and to proclaim the message of the kingdom. That afternoon the disciples returned to Jesus having failed to help a demon possessed man. Jesus said unto them, “This kind only comes out with prayer AND fasting.” Thaddeus smiled, “Ahhh a holy and an effective weight loss plan. Very clever, Rabbi”

Then after this Jesus said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” Thaddeus bellowed, “ But it’s the off season.” As they crossed the lake Thaddeus hoped, “Perhaps today will be a quiet day.” Immediately Jesus stepped out of the boat and walked on the water and headed towards the shore. Thaddeus sighed, “I guess not.” In the middle of the night a terrible storm broke out and rocked their boat. Even the seasoned fishermen among them despaired. In the midst of the storm Jesus came to them, walking on the water. Over the wind and the waves Thaddeus shouted out to him, “Rabbi, did you remember to bring the hummus???” Thaddeus then turned to the others, “You know the pita is going to be soggy. But it’s ok; I’ve really been overdoing it on the carbs lately.”

In the morning they went to the other side of the lake and Jasper, the synagogue ruler fell at Jesus’ feet and cried out, “My daughter is dying! Come, I beg you.” A mob formed around Jesus, Jasper, and the disciples. In the throng Jesus felt something and stopped. Looking around he asked, “ Who touched me?” Thaddeus started, “Who touched you? Like inappropriately? ? Must have been Bartholomew.” Jesus turned and shouted [missing fragment]

… Jesus raised the girl from the dead and said to her parents, “Give her something to eat.” Thaddeus pondered these words concluding, “The food in the afterlife? Not so good.” Jesus turned to them, “Do not tell anyone what happened here.” Thaddeus responded, “Now you may get away with lepers and blind beggars, but raising little girls from the dead? There’s bound to be a leak.”

Lazarus, a friend of Jesus, after a sudden illness, died and had already been in the tomb for four days when Jesus arrived and saw the family mourning. Jesus wept. Thaddeus pulled out a linen handkerchief and whispered, “Rabbi, your nose is drippy. Here. It’s ok, you can just keep it. No really, keep it.” Jesus shouted, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man said, “But rabbi its’ been four days; by this time he stinketh.” Thaddeus snorted. They took away the stone, and in a loud voice Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, Come Out!” Thaddeus mumbled, “Or not.” Wrapped completely in grave clothes from head to toe Lazarus exited the tomb. Thaddeus threw up his hands, “First women, then lepers, and now zombies! What next?” Jesus instructed Simon Peter and the others, “Take off his grave clothes and let him go!” Thaddeus, despairing, sighed, “Shame, these clumsy fishermen are going to ruin that nice linen.”

The next day after they returned from the market, they found Jesus alone with a woman at the well. Thaddeus grumbled, “Humph! Quiet time praying, my foot! He’s a total player.” The disciples approached Jesus and the lone women. Thaddeus turned up his nose, “Good God, who designed her sandals, the Maccabees??”

As they entered the town a demon possessed man rushed down from the tombs towards Jesus. Thaddeus, startled, turned to Thomas and shrieked, “Yikes! Bad hair day ahead.” Jesus asked the man, “What is your name?” He replied, “Legion, for we are many.” Thaddeus, bored with this exchange, looked around for a food stall then noticed a herd of pigs grazing contently on a nearby hillside and cooed, “Awwwww, look Jesus, they got babies!” Immediately Jesus began commanding the demons out of the man. He told them to leave and instead go into the herd of pigs. Thaddeus despaired moaned, “Oh just great! Now they’’re gonna think he’s some kind of anti-pork Jewish sorcerer.” With a loud cry the demons left the man and entered pigs. Thaddeus wondered aloud, “Um, consent?” No longer possessed , the man begged to follow Jesus. Thaddeus blurted out. “Hell No! We already have a boat load of dysfunction here.”

{Some Teachings of Jesus}
Jesus sat on a big stone and the crowds gathered around him and he taught them while the disciples observed from the side and commented. Jesus said unto them, “Let the little children come unto me.” Thaddeus inserted, “Let them wash their dirty, sticky fingers first.”

Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Thaddeus turned to James, the brother of John, “Wait, love others exactly as I love myself? Oh no, I wouldn’t inflict that torture on my worst enemy.”

Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is like a widow searching for a coin….” Thaddeus interrupted, “Wait! Yesterday you said the Kingdom was like yeast. Before that you said it was like ten virgins. Now an old woman??”

Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor…” Thaddeus whispered to John, “We might have to tweak that one a bit. Spiritualize it a little to take out the sting. How about, ‘Blessed are the poor in fashion, blah, blah, blah,’ He can fill in the rest.”

Jesus said, “You must be born again to enter the kingdom.” Thaddeus asked James, “Like physically? It’s got to be a metaphor, right? Oh God please!”

Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Thaddeus mused aloud, “Hmmm, I hope that one’s not a metaphor. Um, I mean, because I want to spread Good News, of course.”
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Thaddeus turned to Judas Iscariot, their treasurer, and asked “So then can we charge?”

Jesus said, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell everything you have and give it to the poor.” Thaddeus reasoned, “Yes, sounds great, but, then the poor will be imperfect.”

[missing fragment] (Jesus said) “…In that final day of Judgment I will say unto you depart from me, I never knew you!” Thaddeus replied, “But rabbi when did you ask for hummus and I ate it, and gave you day-old baba ganoush instead?” [missing fragment]

Later that evening they arrived at the home of Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary. While Martha prepared the evening meal, Mary sat at Jesus’ feet with the disciples. Martha complained, “Rabbi, tell my sister to help me with the women’s work.” Jesus replied, “Leave Mary alone, she has chosen what is right for her.” Thaddeus said, “Rabbi, I’ll help Martha with the meal. I don’t mind.” As Thaddeus and Martha served the food, Thaddeus turned to Jesus, “Teacher, I know you let women come near and are all over the lepers, but I’ve been wondering about eunuchs. I mean some of my best friends are eunuchs, and some of the other disciples here are, well, not eunuch-friendly. You may just want to drop a word or two about eunuchs at some point. Simon, I mean, Peter, pass the tabouli.”

{The Last Days}
Jesus rode into town on a donkey. As the crowd cheered, Thaddeus fretted, “Weren’t we suppose to get a permit for all this?” The crowd shouted “Hosanna!” as Jesus glided by on the donkey. Thaddeus spotted someone he knew from Yeshiva, and standing behind Jesus, Thaddeus waved proudly making sure that he was seen, then immediately he stepped in fresh donkey droppings.

Later that night in the olive grove Jesus was transfigured before them and his face did shine as the sun. Thaddeus fell to the ground. “Stop! I look dreadful in holy light!”

As the Passover celebrations began, Jesus took the bread and broke it. Thaddeus, the Apostle, bit his tongue. “Sure, pure heart, but dirty hands.” Jesus said, “Take, eat this is my body broken for you.” Thaddeus wondered, “Now that one’s a metaphor, right?” Then Thaddeus interrupted, “Teacher, may I suggest, ‘Take, snack, this is my body, blah, blah, blah.’ Sounds friendlier.” Jesus rolled his eyes. At that very moment when Jesus and Judas Iscariot dipped their bread in wine together, Thaddeus looked down, “Seriously, Judas has some beautiful fingers. So delicate. Next to his, my fingers look so fat and dumpy.”
[missing fragment]

As they watched Jesus ride away on a camel toward Egypt, Peter, who was also called Simon, asked Thaddeus, “Hey, Judas, I noticed you’re calling yourself, Thaddeus these days, hey? Trying to distance yourself from the whole Judas Iscariot mess? Don’t worry, I predict you will be forgotten. Just saying.” Thaddeus approached Peter and slapped him on his right cheek, and said, “Simon, according to the teachings of our Rabbi Jesus, you are now supposed to let me slap your left cheek, and then you need to forgive me. Just saying.” Peter wept.

[End of Manuscript]

Want more? Listen to Zack Ford and Peterson Toscano read from and discuss the Lost Gospel of Thomas over at Queer and Queerer podcast. (Now available on Stitcher Radio as well as iTunes)


The above satire, written by Peterson Toscano, is brought to you as part of the Queer Theology Synchroblog 2012
The theme for this year is “The Queer God”.

The Anarchist Reverend shares his thoughts on the Queer Christ over on the Camp Osiris blog.

Shirley-Anne McMillan writes about Mother Christ. (With Audio!)

Adam Rao shares why he is not participating in today’s synchroblog.

Kaya Oakes writes about God, the Father/Mother.

Brian Gerald Murphy talks about A God Bigger Than Boxes.

Clattering Bones writes about The Queer God.

Daniel Storrs-Kostakis writes writes about An Icon of God.

Jack Springald writes about Avalokitesvara and queering gender.

Amaryah Shaye Armstrong writes about Inclusion and the Rhetoric of Seduction.

Read Full Post »

A few years ago I began text messaging a select group of friends with random “Jesus Loves You!” messages. These were short reflections, some silly, some serious, about Jesus, what we have been told about him, the Christ that he has become, and the swirl of pop culture that has celebrated and commented on  Jesus for centuries.

I never told these friends what I was doing; they just started getting these random messages. I saw the project more as art than ministry although people said they found the “Jesus Loves You!” messages to be thought-provoking and even inspirational.

On May 25, soon after I arrived in the England for what would be a six week tour that included Northern Ireland, Wales and Sweden, I began a series of Twitter messages that began “Jesus Loves You!” My hope was to do one a day for 31 days, and I did it! My Twitter is attached to my Facebook status and to this blog, so LOTS of people got to see the updates and especially over on Facebook many people commented adding their thoughts. (You view my Twitter page here and find my Facebook here.)

Everyone seems to have their own favorite (please be sure to share yours in the comment section) and often people said things like, “I really like these, but I don’t get some of them.” Others would confess, “I have no idea what this is about.”

I tried to come up with statements with multiple or ambiguous meanings (or both). I drew on theology, church history, pop culture, advertising, my own personal religious history (yes, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues), gender studies, and word play. Much like the parables of Jesus where the listener must tease out the meaning for herself/himself, I attempted to create statements that meant different things for different people. Perhaps this comes from my experience among Friends (Quakers) where we so value the questions, the ambiguities and the many sides of a story.

So as promised, here is the series, “Jesus Loves You…”

  • Jesus loves you. But he has a messiah complex.
  • Jesus loves you, but then again he is under contract.
  • Jesus loves you! But he is high maintenance.
  • Jesus loves you! But it’s complicated.
  • Jesus Loves You! Apparently it runs in the family.
  • Jesus loves you! But he seriously needs to update his status.
  • Jesus Loves You! But I hear he’s polyamorous.
  • Jesus Loves You! But does he LIKE you???
  • Jesus Loves You! But he ADORES Madonna!!
  • Jesus Loves You! Take note: Exchange of body fluids may apply.
  • Jesus Loves You! But his handlers can be quite difficult.
  • Jesus Loves You! But I hear he’s clingy.
  • Jesus Loves You! Now in new Rainbow Flavors!
  • Jesus Loves You! But he may be missing a Y chromosome
  • Jesus Loves You! I hear he is sick and in prison.
  • Jesus loves you! With tongues?!?
  • Jesus Loves You! And with your tax-deductible seed gift…
  • Jesus Loves You! for a limited time only; while supplies last.
  • Jesus Loves You! But I’ve heard rumors…
  • Jesus Loves You! Or it might just be gas.
  • Jesus Loves You! He doesn’t mind the scars one bit.
  • Jesus Loves You! but he was caught up in that whole prisoner abuse scandal.
  • Jesus Loves You! He’s the Real Thing™ Now w/ convenient eco-friendly Emergent Church® twist-off cap.
  • Jesus Loves You! But he may be a little too old for you.
  • Jesus Loves You! For the Bible tells him to.
  • Jesus Loves You! But he does play favorites.
  • Jesus Loves You! Act now & we will automatically enroll you in Spiritual Fruit of the Month Club. Collect them all! Operators standing by.
  • Jesus Loves You! Just be aware that he has enjoyed the services of at least one sex worker.
  • Jesus Loves You! Shocking new book for children banned in 12 states — “Jesus has Two Daddies, One mommy and an Invisible Friend!”
  • Jesus Loves You! Now Healthy Choice Jesus–sugar-free, low-carb, and no trans-fats. New formula–same savior taste!
  • Jesus Loves You! Now What???

Read Full Post »