Thursday, January 31, 2008

Some Thoughts on St. Peter

I was briefly watching the Heresy (History) Channel last night because they ran a show title "There's Something ABout Mary Magdalene." I'm always initially optimistic about some of these programs, but most of the time, a dissenting theologian pops in and says something about dogs eating Christ's body or making some other ridiculous claims. This show was no different. It focused on the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and the alternate perspetive one can glean about the relationship between Mary and Jesus and how Peter appeared to feel about it. Apparently, Peter is portrayed as a bit of a hot head in Mary M's gospel.

I have a copy of the Nag Hamadi texts, so I should probably spend a little time reading through it to familiarize myself with the claims it makes. Of course, the experts on the show made no mention of the fact that most of these texts weren't around until more than 100 years after the last canonical texts were written or redacted. And it's interesting that progressive Christians jump all over these texts even though they present a church in which secret, privileged information is given to a select few rather than open to all—not to mention the rather antagonistic attitude Gnosticism frequently has toward matters physical (no pun or redunancy intended).

Anyway, I got to think about Peter as well and his generally reactive, rash behavior that I find both amusing and endearing. The one image I love the most is of Peter responding to John's recognition of Christ. When John says, "It's the Lord," Peter throws on his clothes, then jumps into the water fully clothed to swim to shore. This action is immediately contrasted with the response of the other apostles, who simply walk the boats into shore. Apparently, they weren't all that far out anyway.

I sort of reminds me of the scene in Forest Gump where Gump sees his former commanding officer, Lt. Dan, on the pier. He starts waving, then jumps off his boat to swim to shore. A short time later, while he and Lt. Dan are talking, Gumps boat runs behind them and into the pier. Seems a perfect image of what would happen if the barque of Peter were to be bereft of a spiritual head.
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