Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Living the Gnostic Life

You'll have to pardon my tendency to see Gnostics behind every bush these days, as I continue to prepare for my Wednesday classes on The Da Vinci Code. But sometimes you don't have to look very far.

Yesterday I had Oprah on the tv (yes, I know!) while putting stuff away in the kitchen. It was a show where different Oscar winners were interviewed. Ellen Burstyn (she won back in the '70's for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore) was one of them. I perked up my ears when I heard her remark: Jesus said in The Gospel of Thomas, " if you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you." (That's saying number 70. I checked. Too much time on my hands.)

That seems to fit in with Oprah's genial free-floating spirtuality expressed in the slogan of her website "Live Your Best Life." (I am NOT accusing Oprah of being a closet Gnostic. Necessarily.) But doesn't that slogan sound familiar? Yes!! Joel Osteen's best-selling book is Your Best Life Now.
~ cue Twilight Zone theme ~


Rev Dave said...

No surprise there. Just because we don't have full-blown Gnosticism around any more, doesn't mean that gnostic tendencies aren't out there for the taking.

It all goes back to what the snake hissed to Eve--"you can be like God, knowing good and evil." That attraction to secret god-like knowledge has been around ever since.

St. Casserole said...

You can find gnostics behind most bushes and since you're a reformed gal, it's appropriate for you to keep on the look out.
Theology matters. You heard it here, first.

reverendmother said...

And yet Oprah's feel-good spirituality, while extremely watered down and saccharine-sweet (to mix two metaphors), doesn't squick me out nearly as much as Osteen's. Hmm...?

SingingOwl said...


You are on to something.

Gnostics behind every bush? I am beginning to think so. Same old, same old. When the same old &*^% works so well, why should the enemy of our souls have to be creative?

I am feeling crabby these days. If I hear one more thing about that rediculous Gospel of Judas I think I will be sick. :-(

Very interested in your upcoming Da Vinci code stuff...

Greg Hazelrig said...

Maybe she's not a closet gnostic, but a closet Osteenic.

SpookyRach said...

"squick me out" - I love that!

Osteen and Oprah both are closet scientologiests, if ya ask me! Ha ha!

LutheranChik said...

I have the same feeling after hanging out on Beliefnet.

The Gnostic material/spiritual disconnect, the dependence upon/fascination with personal revelation/"secret knowledge" and contempt for discernment-in-community, ignorance of/contempt for actual scholarship, and general making-it-up-as-I-go-along hermeneutic, are all alive and well there. These people just don't get it. They don't get that Christianity is a faith whose beliefs and practices are discerned and lived in community. That's too messy and incarnational and uninteresting for them. Feh! One of my religious mentors in college once told me that in his opinion creeping Gnosticism was the most serious issue in contemporary American Christianity.

Mark Winter said...

I would correct all of you, but you have to pass through 30 aeons to gain the knowledge you need...and I don't have time to teach you right now. I have to pick up my dry cleaning and get my tires rotated.

Secret knowledge is great for salvation, but it won't run your errands for you.

Lorna said...