Thursday, March 23, 2006

Elaine Pagels in SLC

I've had the opportunity to hear Prof. Pagels speak on a few occasions. She is an excellent speaker, in presentation, and of course, in content.

She did an interview on a local public radio show, which is one of our local gems: Radio West with Doug Fabrizio. Doug is a truly gifted interviewer, and although there is some focus on local topics it is a podcast that you will want to consider. Here's the link to the Elaine Pagels interview.

She gave a lecture tonight that I was able to attend (most of). Afterwards I presented her with a Gnostic Calendar, and she seemed tickled that she was in it. I included a few Gnostic refrigerator magnets, and she particularly liked the “Mind the Gap” variation.

Sure, it wasn't much, but giving anything back to people like Prof. Pagels is a joy. I had a warm fuzzy feeling inside, like I'd swallowed a burning fur-ball... but good.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Now on iTunes, the first of two podcasts called "GnosCast" is available for subscription.

GnosCast-Meditations is an audio version of the lectionary of the Ecclesia Gnostica. Read with some Hildegaard von Bingen music which will keep them at about five and a half minutes. Subscribe away.

GnosCast-Meditations on iTunes

Monday, March 20, 2006

The opposite of a fallacy is... a fallacy

Not that I'm not having some fun with it, but does pointing out a fallacy mean that you are arguing for its opposite, also a fallacy? If you know what the word “fallacy” means then you know the answer is “no.”

Jeremy has a long post were he argues against my taking the position of the opposing fallacy that the quote bellow might come in handy in refuting. My only problem with it is: he's arguing against a position I don't hold; otherwise, good stuff.

Why does everything have to be so complicated?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Too Complicated

It is no good asking for a simple religion. After all, real things are not simple. They look simple, but they are not.
- C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

And yes, this is "Mere" Christianity, Lewis's attempt at elucidating the mainstream-agreed-upon basics of Christian "faith." So, the next time someone trots out the old "it's too complicated..." refrain, put the kibosh on it with this little gem.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

GnosCast - Meditations

One of two podcasts I have in the works. This one will be an audio version of the Lectionary of the Ecclesia Gnostica, and will come out (no promises) in time to listen to on the appropriate day. This is a beta test, but the quality is way above that of the audio homilies.

Montsegur Day Readings and Meditation

The Third Sunday in Lent Readings and Meditation


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Gnostic Shop

The Gift Shop of the Holy Gnosis of Thomas Chapel is expanding! It will be transitioning away from the product limitations and higher base price of CafePress (although that shop will probably remain open in a limited capacity).

You can help build a Gnostic Chapel not only through purchases, but through suggestions on items you would like to see made available.

Currently available: Gnovena Candles Gnostic devotional or novena candles, and The Gnostic Calendar.

In my usual tongue-firmly-in-cheek fashion, I have nick-named it “The Shop of Light” and taken as its mascot the Manichean Ship of Light.

Visit the Gnostic Shop

Edit: link issue now fixed, they should no longer take you to a CafePress Store.

Monday, March 13, 2006

New Logo


Left in English, right in Greek. The better balance and turning the "T" into a tau cross with a serpent, in addition to it not being "Greek" to most folks make it the winner.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Mature Gnosticism

[Warning: the following is basically a rant. It isn't aimed at anyone in particular, rants exist more on the level of caricature.]

As I've mentioned before somewhere, I have a nephew who is really picky about what he eats, it is to the point where he looks a bit malnourished no matter how much food one sets before him. Even if it is something he will eat, the circumstances, or temperature, or whatever, often get in the way. His family is doing well enough that food isn't a problem, unlike so many in this world, so what is the problem?

Of course I don't bring this up to talk about my nephew, he just makes a good example of a very common tendency. I often think of it as refusing a gift because the wrapping paper doesn't quite go with the ribbon, or isn't one's favorite color. Yes, it is childish. And yes, we do it all the time. Sometimes it is in little things, we don't accept good advice from a source we don't like, for instance. Or, we refuse to support a candidate who actually would represent us, except on one key issue. Most often, we don't even unwrap the gift, we don't care what it may actually contain if the wrapping and ribbon aren't just right.

Fortunately, Gnostics haven't the slightest desire to proselytize, otherwise, I think I might loose my very calm demeanor and end up knocking some heads together when the whining started. Outright rejection is so much better than the attitude of "I don't like this or that tiny thing." And lets be very clear, it is whining. Gnosticism is for grown ups. It is as simple as that. There is a reason ancient Gnostics called themselves the Mature Christians. If you need a large group of folks who will agree with you, fundamentalism is right there. If you just want to “do your own thing” and never be challenged, there's the flaky end of the new age over there. If you want to wait until there's a Gnostic Cathedral in your neighborhood, my guess is the sun will burn out first. If you won't accept the gift because you don't like the ribbon, or because it isn't perfect, or because there's more than “some assembly required” there are so many options, go, follow one or follow them all. No one is stopping you.

Most of the talk about “Gnosticism” I only recognize because of the use of key words, it doesn't describe anything I'm acquainted with. And even less so when prefixed by anything: classical, modern, neo, wacko, whatever. Almost everyone always have and always will miss the point, all the while thinking and acting like the worst caricature of “knowing ones.” But, that is true of every spiritual tradition. If it were all about talking about it, it wouldn't be a spiritual tradition, it would be an intellectual one. How many books on Gnosticism have been written, printed, and sold? And how many Gnostic teachers have arisen from simply reading them? And while you might build an academic career arguing with or for some point or idea, you can't build a spiritual life from it.

There is only one Gnosticism that will ever truly matter to you—your own. This does not mean the “do your own thing” mentioned above, it means you have to own it, be responsible for it, grow it, actually do something with it. If you don't like the color of the wrapping paper, don't whine, at least unwrap it and see what is there. If it isn't “just right” at least consider if it is you who needs to change. If the few dedicated lives devoted to bringing tools for Gnosis since the restoration over a century ago haven't produced everything you want, don't blame them—thank them for what they have done, so that you don't have to start from scratch, or at the very least don't have to make the same mistakes. And in general, grow up: this is either your path, which means you must take your responsibility for it, or it isn't—in either case, what is there to complain about?

Success Quote

Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiam.

- Winston Churchil

I would add, without a loss of humor. Of course, it does sound quite a bit like Albert Einstein's definition of insanity. Hmmm... Either way it fits my current chapel projects.

(I just knew I'd be a success some day.)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A Poem

Let us speak of dust and ashes,

things which would befit old men,

who once in youth stood tall and strong

but now in old age bend.

For the sun has set his course across our sky.

Our day has run out of dawn

it is dusk that fills our eye.

And the monuments that we had thought hard-won

have crumbled and gain respect from none.

We have discovered, much to our distress,

there is

no monument in time.

The opening lines from Eclipse by Troy Pierce

Sunday, March 05, 2006

First Sunday in Lent - Audio Homily


Unfortunately, I cannot remove the odd cyclical noise patterns without sounding like a Dalek. However, I was able to improve the quality on this file.

Homily from the First Sunday in Lent in mp3 format.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Kindred in Spirit

Why do we love Philip Kindred Dick's work so much? Because 'Kindred' is his middle name in more than a literal sense.

Gnostics eschew grand high know-it-alls, or point and laugh, depending on their mood. Nothing about being a priest is more disturbing than people occasionally treating you as if you weren't in the midst of it all trying to make your way through it and figure out what you can, like everyone else. Except, perhaps, encountering those who think they really do fit that bill.

Since Gnosis is real, it comes to us where we are, as we are, doing whatever we're doing at the time. The transformation that comes from it is also real, and so not disconnected from any of that either. Or, put another way, “waking up” means you have to make your bed, shower, brush your teeth, eat breakfast, and get to work—not entering a perfect dream world, as that would be, well, the opposite of waking up.

There's no shortage of people who will sell you a bill of goods rather than the goods, and seemingly no shortage of people who won't notice the difference. There's also no shortage of folks who will pretend that everything either is perfect, or will be perfect, if/when/since the bill of goods was purchased. However, if you have had an awakening experience, you know that just isn't the case, and furthermore can't be. It can't be, because you've had the goods all along.

Once you sift through the marketing and the make-believe, there isn't that much left to address what it is like to live through these experiences. Particularly, the real process of coming to terms with having such experiences in one's life, which really never reach the “all wrapped up” state that we yearn to see in fiction. Yet, Philip K. Dick did just that. Rather than receiving an account filtered through the perceptions and positive lenses of others, we have the accounts of the one living through the experiences and their aftermath, and further one given through multiple perspectives.

And so we express our gratitude to a kindred spirit for the great gift he has given to so many of us, on this the anniversary of his death. Rest in the eternal fullness with our thanks, Phil.