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Faith, hah!

In church yesterday, I heard the gospel reading about Doubting Thomas. It’s a story that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, in my humble opinion. If all your best friends told you that something you really wished for actually happened, wouldn’t you believe them? Unless you decided they were all totally insane and needed psychiatric help and/or exorcism? “Prove it,” seems like the least likely response.

The answer that my own personal crazy brain returned is this: the disciples were a bunch of practical jokers. Thomas had been taken in by them before and wasn’t going to fall for it this time. They had short-sheeted his bed, doused him with water, and sent him off to parties in totally unsuitable clothing. Makes me like some of the disciples better, actually. The funny parts of the Bible are definitely under-read in church and maybe even under-written in the documents themselves.

Anyway, I am not the only one who finds a comic connection in the story. During the announcements after the sermon, Bruce (the priest) mentioned that his son Jeremy wanted him to point out that the action unfolded in the story much the way it does in Sponge Bob, with a note that it is now One Week Later. Several years ago, Bruce drew parallels between Thomas the disciple and Thomas the Tank Engine, presumably because Jeremy was into the latter, although, you never know, Bruce could have a secret passion for wooden train sets and books with Obvious Moral Content.

Faith is a funny thing.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
gomijacogeo
Apr. 21st, 2009 08:38 pm (UTC)
If all your best friends told you that something you really wished for actually happened, wouldn’t you believe them?

Nope, not in the slightest. :-) But I am he of little faith. Always liked the Thomas story. Though a story of another doubter doesn't make this doubter doubt any less either.
jan_can_too
Apr. 21st, 2009 11:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah, well, your friends might be jokers, too! More seriously, the doubt makes less sense in the context of the disciples, who have been experiencing miracle after miracle. Whether _I_ believe in miracles isn't the question; the disciples did and in the (literary) context of the story, miracles exist. That Thomas didn't believe his friends is surprising on that basis alone.

I am a doubter, myself, often, but differently than Thomas. And I am glad for his story because I learn from things that puzzle me.
happy_potterer
Apr. 23rd, 2009 09:31 pm (UTC)
Thomas is definitely a disciple after my own heart too, so, yes, I'd probably say "Prove it," or at least, "You're kidding me, right?" After all, it's not like they said "The ice cream man came TWICE today!" They said, "That person we saw executed the other day? He's alive." That takes some proving. OTOH, you make a good point about miracles being pretty frequent occurrences for them, so a just-as-likely response could have been, "Oh, again? I hope he smelled better than Lazarus."

Something that occurred to me for the first time when I was rereading the Passion narratives this month was, what's up with a resurrection of just a few days? When Lazarus came back to life, he stayed alive. That's kind of the point of resurrection, after all. But Jesus walked around a little, had a meal, and then disappeared. Why? Why leave? Why, if you're going to leave, be resurrected in the first place?
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