Normandy University is offering a compelling series of teachings by the Rev. Dr. Richard Watts this Holy Season entitled, “Other Gospels – Lost, Hidden Suppressed.”
As Senior Pastor of Lakewood Presbyterian Church from 1973- 1980, Dr. Watts went on to a career of distinction nationally. The Presbyterian Peacemaking ministry, “Swords into Plowshares,” had its impetus at Lakewood Presbyterian Church with a program initiated by Dr. Watts. He left LPC in 1980 to become the denomination’s first Director of Peacemaking Ministries.
Now a resident of The Normandy Apartments, Dr. Watts is sharing his teaching series in a program of talks covering nontraditional elements of the Christian faith.
His subject matter, ranging from The Gospel of Thomas, the ABCs of Gnosticism, the Mystery of Mary Magdalene and, to come next week, the Gospel of Judas, is proving to be compelling material for guests. About 60 residents of The Normandy and visitors took in last week’s presentation, many with notebooks in hand and ready with questions at the end of the session.
For Dr. Watts, the mission of this teaching is not to change people’s minds about their faith, but to enhance their knowledge of it.
“Christianity has, from the beginning, always been very diverse,” he says.
His presentation last week on The Gospel of Thomas gave insight into some of that diversity. Consisting of quotes attributed to Jesus, the Gospel includes mysterious remarks such as,
Jesus said to them, “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom].”
Generally, said Dr. Watts, Gnosticism shares that “Christ is the savior sent down by the high God through the eons to the people so they can find the divine spark within them,” he said. “When we talk about resurrection, we are not talking about that state after death, but waking up where we are now.”
Now one year old, Normandy University offers resident of The Normandy Apartments a richly diverse curriculum, much of it generated by retired professionals who reside there as well as speakers from the community. Recent topics have included ‘Optimizing Brain Fitness,’ ‘Moments in History,’ and a mini-state of the city address from Rocky River Mayor Pam Bobst.