March 31st, 2008


Syd says I have my own version of the Bible. I’m not unique in this and the Bible is not the only book for which I have my own version. What Syd means is that I have my own way of retelling the stories I remember from the Bible. My mind, such as it is, remembers the weird stuff, the demons who beat the sorcerers in Acts, for example, saying they know Jesus, recognize Paul’s name, and have no idea who the heck they are, or the small detail in the familiar story of Pentecost that the surrounding people thought the Christians were a bunch of drunks, except one, who protested, “But it’s only 9 in the morning!”

As an aside, I have never seen Pulp Fiction and perhaps never will because I have this Cubist portrait of the section where the man gets his brain blown out in the car as painted by many friends who saw the movie. Each of them put their own interpretation on the scene. I like the layers of meaning that have resulted enough that I hesitate to see the thing itself and form my own opinion. I think Samuel Jackson quotes Ezekiel, by the way, a Bible book for which I do not have my own version, since it didn’t figure largely in the Sunday school curriculum I grew up with.

I was thinking about all this while I was in church because that’s what church is for: thinking. The gospel passage for yesterday was from John and it told the story of Jesus appearing to the disciples after the resurrection. Thomas wasn’t there at the time and didn’t believe the others when they told him they had seen Jesus. It’s a famous and familiar passage, concluding with the skeptic convinced and the faithful praised.

But I wondered about it. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, really. If all your best friends, together, said they had seen something remarkable, miraculous, why wouldn’t you believe them? It wasn’t like Thomas hadn’t seen miracles before in his time hanging out with Jesus and the gang. He didn’t have a problem with miracles, per se. I was forced to conclude that the disciples were a bunch of practical jokers and Thomas was tired of falling for their tricks.

It makes the disciples seem like more interesting people, too.