Thank you for your recent submission to the gospel section of our planned publication “The New Testament.”
While we were impressed by your recall of events as well as your ability to weave a compelling narrative, I am sorry to say that we have decided to pass on your piece.
Please understand that this is not an indictment of your skills. These decisions can be very subjective and, of course, space is a consideration. As you can imagine, we received many entries from your brother disciples, including Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, James, another guy named James, Peter, Cupid, Dunder and Blixem.
I will confess that the optics of your proposed title, “The Gospel According to Doubting Thomas,” worried more than one member of our selection committee. Indeed, the element of doubt throughout your telling of events was a concern for several of our editors.
For example, others wrote beautifully about the wedding feast in Cana. They humanized the affair with the head waiter noting that water turned into wine was of a vintage superior in quality than was custom to serve so late in the feast. Some editors questioned how your comment, “I can’t believe he made rosé instead of malbec” enhanced the narrative flow.
Elsewhere, when Lazarus, deceased for four days, is restored to life, you noted, “I can’t believe he did nothing about the scent of rotting flesh.” This observation felt not well timed. Further along, when a leper is cured, “I can’t believe he didn’t just end leprosy and every other human misery,” may be true but raising the issue deflates the wonder of an otherwise extraordinary moment.
Personal insights can prove illuminating but perhaps can look for more positive ones. “I can’t believe this guy, always doing sit-ups and crunches to look buff,” or “You wouldn’t believe how many push-ups he does.” On the eve of his death, you might find something more uplifting than, “All he had was a sliver of matzoh with charoset, he’s unbelievably vain.”
Following the chronology, your unfortunate absence upon the first after-death appearance and your persistent questioning of the veracity of your peers, necessitates a rerun of the whole affair. Sadly, this subsequent visit eclipses the first while the putting of hands and poking of fingers here and there tarnishes the denouement with a certain “ick” factor.
However, please do not lose faith in yourself. We will likely be issuing a revised and annotated version the text in two or three millennia so feel free submit something to us again when you see our open call.
T. Francis Curran lives in Westchester, NY.
image: Charlotte VanWerven