Christian History

Final Essay for Masters, Christian History
One of the first striking elements of the course, which may or may not have been intended by the author, was the initial framing of the purpose of the course as one that ultimately explores history from a theological–revelatory perspective. Dr. Loy opens his lesson with an exploration of Paul’s historical assessment that the Greeks, Romans, and the Jewish people had participated in the historical preparation for the emergence of Christ. While I would argue that this bears no resemblance to the field of history per se, it does illuminate one perspective of how history is interpreted theologically. This is a striking continuance of how the gospels themselves reexamine and reinterpret the Hebrew Scriptures outside their Jewish theological and social contexts and within the Christian frameworks.  In this fashion, what I am ultimately arriving at, is one of the most striking elements I gained from the course was an awareness of and appreciation for the continued tradition of interpreting historical events as the unfolding revelation of God’s direct involvement in human lives.  While I am not a Christian, I can appreciate the vitality that such, what might be best termed, a “theohistorical” examination provides in assuring the continued potency of the faith and reinforcing the centrality of the theological belief that Christianity is the final covenant and revelation of God to humankind.  In short, history is preparation for Christians—it is a place of continued discover of God’s will.
This sense of unfolding revelation and continued vitality was also illustrated in the course through its examination of the theological, how Christians came to think about and understand their faith, development over time.  Dr. Loy does a superb job in exploring the diverse fruiting of thought that emerged after the death of Christ and the rise of monastic orders and the structured Catholic Church.  One thing that I would suggest would be a continued discussion of this unfolding through contemporary times that examines the true diversity of theological strands that have framed the diverse Christian views; in this fashion, truly examining the past and current breadth of the unfolding revelation of God within the Christian faith.
I was also struck with the relationship between the unfolding of the Christian faith and Christendom—that is a Christianized political environment.  Dr. Loy discusses at length the growing complexity that such merging led to liturgically; additionally following this it appears the Christian church also underwent significantly greater refining of complex theological issues such as freewill. On the one hand, Pope Gregory asserted that while we inherit sin, we do not inherit “badness”—thus human beings not only engage in redemptive behavior through the baptismal and continued participation in the Eucharist, affirming their relationship to Christ, but are charged with engaging in rigorous self-assessment to ensure they are engaging in right-acting behavior.  What questions I was left with in this lesson (16) was the precise definition of sin from a theological level as Gregory saw it—are the seven deadly sins defined at this point, is sin reflective of something less tangible, how is it defined against its Hebraic origins? I also found this theosophical element a fascinating one in that, to some degree, it logically undermines the notion that one can interpret the unfolding of historical events from a revelatory and theologically preparatory way.  Pope Gregory appears to address this aspect by holding there are exceptions to the predestined versus freewill argument by suggesting there was an “elect” exempt from free will.  I would have liked greater clarification as to who reflected this.
All in all, I enjoyed the course and I appreciated Dr. Loy also attending to issues pertaining to women within the church, violence that emerged as the Church became a political authority, as well as defining the unique differences between East and West Christian structures and the source of this schism. 
Katherine MacDowell
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Chaplaincy

By Michael Barth
   This course in Chaplaincy Studies was very good and well written.  This course helped me learn that being a chaplain is not easy.  A chaplain has to know a lot and also be available even if he or she is not at the chapel or office.

          I realize now that chaplains need to be versed in other faiths besides there own.  I know that I will have to learn more about other faiths to be a good chaplain.  I do know some things about other faiths because of taking other classes through the ULC Seminary but I will expand my knowledge so I can be better versed in other faiths.  So, I will have to keep studying other faiths as part of my program in becoming an ULC chaplain.

          Another thing I did not realize prior to taking this course was some skill level of the person who would like to be a chaplain.  Such skills include listening, eye contact, body posture, gestures, voice, and observation.  A good chaplain will also respond by being objective and avoid judgment and expressions of disgust or disapproval.  Also, the chaplain should be faithful, of good character, of good testimony, sound in doctrine, and able to teach.  I think I had some notion of this about a chaplain but did not realize this until I took this course.

          One thing I did not consider until I took this course is to know my limitations on what I can do.  I need to know the areas where I can help people the most.  I am really good with people with addictions because I have overcome my own addictions.  Also, I have helped people make it through life’s general problems but I have no experience in grief counseling.  So I will have to keep my limitations in mind in order to help the right people.  If someone comes to me and I cannot help them, I must be able to tell them that and refer them to someone who can help them.  Also, another thing I need to be careful of is not to burn out.  I need to make sure that I take time for myself in order to eat, sleep, and relax.  The course does point out that burn out was big after Hurricane Rita.

          Ceremonies was another great lesson in this course.  I had always thought that a local clergy person did the ceremonies such as the Fourth of July, Veterans’ Day, Memorial Day, and so on.  I did not realize that chaplains could also serve this function too.  In the military, it could be a change of command or a wedding between military personnel.  Other type of ceremonies could be retirement parties or anniversaries too.  So the numbers of ceremonies could go on and on.

          Also, this course was very good at pointing at some basic things.  Some of the basic things this course pointed out was having a cell phone or pager so people can be in contact with you if an emergency should arise.  Another thing is having a kit that would include such things as a Bible, some scratch paper, business cards, a calendar, and other such things.  I did not consider these things before taking this course.  Also, having the right clothes as a chaplain is important to look professional.  This is something that I will have to obtain along with business cards.

          I did not realize that there were so many places that a chaplain could work at.  I did know hospitals, jails, prisons, and the military had chaplains but did not know that there were chaplains at truck stops, airports, apartment complexes, shopping malls, school campuses, nursing homes, and at some businesses.  I did not know chaplains worked at all these places.  Learning this was really helpful since it gives me a great deal of places to chaplain at.

          I also learned that chaplains go back to the Romans.  The Romans would have priests who would carry out religious functions for the military.  This was new to me.  I had thought previously to taking this course that chaplains were of a more recent development.  The Druids had chaplains too for their military.  The oldest form of chaplains goes back with the military.  I found this history fascinating too and was well worth reading and learning.  In American history, chaplains go back to the Revolutionary War when the Continental Congress authorized chaplains.

          Another thing that I learned was that a lot of these places have requirements for being a chaplain.  I did not realize this.  I just thought that being a chaplain from a place of worship was good enough.  Some places of educational requirements like education through Clinical Pastoral Education and a Master of Divinity along with age requirements.  Also, some places require that you belong to the professional organization for chaplains.

          I also learned that when you do have a chaplaincy program going, you also need to learn about where you are doing it.  For example, if you are a chaplain at a hospital or prison, you need to know the rules of where you are doing it at.  Also you may need to study its’ history, formal organization, and the tradition and unspoken customs.  Also, when you start a chaplaincy program, you need to develop relationships, follow the rules, be consistent, and be available to people.

          This course was well written.  It covered a lot of the basics for being a chaplain.  It also had a lot of resources that I went and looked up on the internet just for further research for my only knowledge.  I think this course could go into more detail about some of the topics that it covered, but I would otherwise not change anything to the course.  The author did know his subject material and seems to have been a chaplain for a long time which showed throughout this course.

          As a result of this course, I will study other religions further by taking other courses through the ULC Seminary and by reading other books that deal with other faiths.  Also, once I feel comfortable with my knowledge, I will start being a chaplain somewhere like the local hospital here.  Also, I need to learn how to do different types of ceremonies too.  One of the biggest things I learned in this course was the chaplains have to be well versed in other faiths and also have to be well versed in doing different types of ceremonies for people.

          I would definitely recommend this to other ULC ministers.  This course will definitely broaden your scope, especially if you are considering becoming a chaplain.  I would also recommend to other ULC ministers to do the Chaplaincy Program through the ULC Seminary.

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A Course In Miracles

The lesson that touched my heart most deeply was the one about miracles and work. As a healer by vocation, and with strong empathic tendencies, I could relate to this so well. Life is about what we do with it, not for ourselves, but for the greater good, and in doing this we create miracles around us. Modern society has become lost in consumerism, and selfishness, and in doing so has distorted the true purpose of life. Spiritualism has been lost, religion is struggling, and society is decaying as a result. I fear that these lessons really preach to the converted, but maybe all of us who have taken this course will be able to make small changes that will grow and spread, creating a miracle for society as a whole. 
 This lesson led very readily into the one on addictions and the concept of surrendering things to the higher power, and so gaining relief and peace. This really touched the centre of the lessons, the need for a core belief in a power above, and in the power within us, of freeing and touching these powers and using them to achieve change. Taking this back in the lessons to the creation story, a tale that is told in many forms by many cultures, but one that in all cases shows that we come from the divine power, that we hold the essence of that divine power and that we should respect this power and use it wisely for the greater good of ourselves, of others and of the world. This leads on to the way we use that power. It may be used for healing in ways discussed in the metaphysical healing course, but it may be used to effect change. 
Working from the concept that all in creation is energy, then thoughts and emotions are energy, and thoughts made with intent are capable of creating change. This may be done in a ritual setting, as with spell work of the pagan paths; or done in a prayer setting. However performed, words do have enormous power, should be used wisely and may be used with great effect to create change. Here, the power of negative thoughts is often very apparent, thinking and expecting the worst often makes it happen, and conversely, expecting and really believing in the best will bring that about. The conclusion of all this is that miracles are all around us; we have the power to make them happen, and we should grasp that power and use it for the greater good with the blessing of the divine powers above.
Rev. Sue Bellworthy
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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception
As an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since its inception, I’ve had the privilege of watching the Seminary grow.

Master of Religion by Rev. Kipper Rowen

Master of Religion - Christian Studies through the Universal Life Church. Universal Life Church When one takes the time to hear statistics concerning the Bible, the full impact of its influence on the human race begins to be revealed. A single book comprised of sixty-six individual books, written on three continents, in three different languages by more than 40 authors from all walks of life, the Bible is one unified book from start to finish. The part that stopped me in my tracks was the statement of the author of this course, Dr. Herbert L. Fuchs that ‘the Bible remains one unified book from start to finish without contradiction’.
A statement made by Dr. Fuchs is one I’ve believed in since I started down this ordered path GOD has set me on. “It’s not necessary to demonstrate to the rest of the world how experienced we are by throwing around masses of Bible quotations. The proper approach is not only to be humble about our acquired knowledge, but also to find our basic belief in a way similar to an effective Bible Study.”
I also add my own observation in which I’ve seen ministers whipping out credential after credential at gatherings in an attempt to set themselves above everyone else. The attention that is gained by the minister can backfire as he/she rattles off verse after verse from memory acquired in sessions devoted in memorizing the Scriptures and paying the least attention to their meanings, just to get that paper to show off.
To me, that would put you on dangerous grounds, leaving yourself open to attacks and ridicule of your character by those who are legitimate in the acquisition of their knowledge. It’s the old case of; ’Keep you mouth shut (and credentials in your pocket) and let people wonder about your ignorance, or open your mouth and remove all doubt.” The study of GOD’s word should not be taken lightly or used as a show piece.
What I found to be the most captivating topic of this course was the comparison of the texts containing the Ten Commandments and the differences between translations and how they’re arrival was orchestrated. This was a comparison between the Protestant Bible, the Catholic Bible and the Apocrypha and the Hebrew. To me, the revelation of the variances of the Ten Commandments in the same Bible, between the Books of Genesis and Deuteronomy in every day language, ‘blew me away”! I had to keep my belief system I’ve developed in the forefront of my thought processing, in which I profess a belief of all translations are of GOD-inspired words that are different for a reason.
Possibly to give us a sort of parable to study several Bibles to “average out” or “sift” through to acquire a parcel of GOD’s panoramic view of the history of man. Man possesses a finite brain that resembles a sponge. If you poor enough into it, some will be absorbed and retained. We are forced by “GOD’s plan?” to come to some acceptance and announcement of a belief system to adhere to, from all the thousands of texts that are known.
It was stated that “No book of ancient times has come down to us exactly as it left the hands of the author. All have been in some way altered………before the invention of the printing press (1440),…….the little care of copyists and translators…………….for the text, was so different from the desired accuracy of today.” . So I ask myself and GOD in prayer why HE would allow this to happen. My answer presented to me was that HE didn’t just ALLOW this to happen.
By allowing several different sets of texts, without having lost any of the Words inherent meanings could only be accomplished with an intervention by GOD. If GOD didn’t control the development of all the different variations to force us to dig deeper and in doing so, find the more esoteric messages, who else then? Satan? I don’t believe my GOD would allow a violation of HIS Words without intervention. The course text claims that to the mix were added exegetical difficulties and dogmatically controversies. “To exempt the sacred writings from ordinary conditions, a very special providence would have been necessary, and it has not been the will of GOD to exercise this providence.”
I ask from which text it is taken that GOD doesn’t exercise HIS rights as a Divine Creator to exercise HIS divine (special) providence. We must remember it is HIS book! And HE doesn’t do things (to our limited ability to understand) for any reason. In addition we need to study the ‘lost’ books of the Bible as well as those purposely removed for as little as a political ploy, and make our own statement of belief from those as well. In doing this we must remember, and I reiterate, the main point of Bible Study is not the acquisition of knowledge, but to get to know GOD personally. “Praying and turning things over in your mind are complementary activities.”
We then enter into a four chapter discourse of the New and Old Testaments (very informative), with the intent of instructing us on the history of Christianity, highlighted by the story of the Apostle Paul’s career as THE foremost champion of GOD’s word, following him throughout his journeys. We are then introduced to the various religious titles, women as priests, followed by a discussion of the sacraments and the variance of what is considered to be a sacrament in each of the different religious denominations, we are told to go to church regularly and freely without spousal influence, take part in the sacraments and to “Enjoy the gift of Jesus.” What follows then are several chapters devoted to marriage and its success and failures.
GOD established marriage very early on in man’s history. The question is raised why satan attacked the weakest link of the family, the woman. If man was the superior of the first family unit, why didn’t he stand up and speak up when satan (as the snake) approached Eve? The topics of the roles of the Father and the Mother, partners of the same sex, prostitution, abortion and divorce are all covered.
The view taken by the author is hard to swallow as truth, with reference to abortion he says about taking an infant’s life…. “And GOD surely understands.”…..I say to this WHAT?!?!? Who gives anyone the right to say what GOD says about a topic outside HIS Word, the Bible!!! This topic could cover volumes, but I now am going to present some of the course texts ideas on the family and divorce, a topic that is an arrow in my heart.
It was stated that too many people rush into marriage………underestimating the importance and seriousness of this Holy Sacrament. I know of a young man, who at the age of eighteen, who had received an early honorable discharge from the US Navy, married his high school sweetheart who was also was eighteen.
For the sake of time and space I’ll briefly numerate many of the issues that were present in their relationship and also discussed in this the text. This relationship was based on lust, ownership of another human being, unfaithfulness (cheating), lies, deceit and most importantly lacking GOD or Christ in their lives.
As the text mentions that in the breakup of most marriages lays sin. This couple “hoped” love would germinate, though not voiced, but was apparent in their start of a 37 year relationship. And Dr. Fuchs is right…in the middle, strong as ever…..sin and satan. After tolerating each others transgressions with no knowledge of forgiveness from GOD’s Word. A boiling point was reached one cold fall night. The partner who after 14 suicide attempts was poised to follow through, when the other partner walked in and called the authorities.
The end result was the young man, now elderly received a divorce from a wonderful woman; he was incarcerated for some time and exposed to untold hideous sins. Most importantly, he was forbidden to ever see his son or grandson again. Yes Dr. Fuchs, “Divorce IS terminal”. Do I believe in divorce? No, its ramification or shock waves affect many, many more people than you could imagine. Some say it’s better to love and lost than to have never loved at all. The personal pain of loosing a wonderful wife, an entire family with nothing or No one to turn to…(eventually GOD and Jesus)…………………That pain is indescribable and I’d prefer to bypass it, if it should ever come my way again.
That young man is me, and for the longest time I felt that I was the victim, until GOD spoke to me in prayer and made me aware that I was the victimizer and not the victim. That was when I invited Jesus into my life and I opened the door to my heart and life for Him. GOD, in His infinant wisdom gifted me with many wonderful blessings that included my ‘40 years in the wilderness’ in the form of time isolated as a pre-trial detainee.
In getting to the point you hear GOD’s silent voice, isolation gives you an opportunity to listen to GOD’s Word, or as I saw so many unfortunately do, increase their coalition with satan. Every one wants a Bible while incarcerated. But when they are released, nearly all leave their Bible behind and the lessons they were taught. Jesus filled the whole in my heart that had led me to so many wrong paths in my 37 year relationship with my High School Sweetheart. Testimony? I give it freely to anyone who sincerely asks, how I survived heart surgery with complication after complication, going almost totally blind, receiving two, yes two pacemakers, and still came out of my ‘wilderness’ journey in love with my Lord and King. I must recant that I came out of my wilderness journey.
I’m still there, just in a different location. As a soldier for GOD, I will always be in the wilderness, fighting battles against the evil that held me in its claws for so many years. I am a minister of GOD’s will and the faithful servant to HIS son, Jesus Christ.
In chapter #14 we are warned to not over-step the boundary of basic reason. In other words, don’t tread into territories reserved for professional psychotherapists. If we do work as pastoral counselors, we should at least have a minimal training in psychology with a constant awareness of the legal ramifications of our advice. Be careful.
Due to the degeneration of the environment we live in, for self survival, we tend to keep a horizontal perspective instead of a vertical one towards the heavens. Given enough time, many lives become engulfed in guilt, shame, anger, bitterness and fear; devoid of the ever presence of GOD. Life then becomes an endless search for meaning to fill the void we feel in an existence saturated with evil.
We must change that horizontal focus back to the vertical focus many believe we are born with. The evil of the world is the prime mover of this change away from GOD. The horizontal focus that has drifted so far from GOD, so as to require more and more counselors (ministers), who, remaining on the correct path, can overcome this evil that would have a grasp on the world.
The evil that would keep our views on the self and away from our focus on GOD. The underlying motivations of this self-focus reveals creations of GOD that are self-serving rather than serving GOD. Anything done without faith, without reference to GOD’s Word is sin. The course also tells us and I quote, “Our feelings tell us what is happening, but we are not to make decisions or live by these feelings….a Christian doesn’t live by his/her feelings but by his/her will.”
By definition, from Marsha Linehan’s book, The Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorders, our senses tell us what is happening in the environment around us, and the feelings we experience are secondary and derived from that sensory input. All feelings are legitimate and serve a purpose as long as they are expressed correctly. She continues with a concept wherein we should live in the gray area of where two circles overlap each other with one titled “rational mind’” and the other titled “emotional mind, in other words a wise mind with a balance of rational thought and emotional thought, with neither dominating.
Feelings when left unchecked create an unbalance wherein the feelings or emotions feed on them selves. When these emotions are left out of control, we have extreme results such as murder, a predominance of emotions (feelings). Keeping our focus on GOD keeps all of our thoughts, reasoning, feelings (emotions) on what is good and desirable to GOD.
We then enter a chapter which approaches the topic of whose denomination or Church is the true Church, Body of Christ. It lays out a course that Christianity has followed in its development from the ancient Orthodox and Catholic religions, through the major ‘turning of the mind’, the Reformation. This important event gave us the Lutherans, the Reformed, the Anabaptist and the Mennonites. In America we see even more diversity in the form of Disciples and Pentecostals, Bible Churches and the ever present independent Mega Churches that would intimidate us into ‘giving them more money’.
All claiming to be the true Body of Christ. Who is right? Who goes to heaven? Who goes to hell? We now have hundreds of denominations in America, and their numbers are still growing. It really doesn’t matter that much as most of them are built on a common foundation. As long as we strive to avoid shortcuts and ‘detours’ and remember that we are here to serve and glorify HIM and not the other way around… To criticize GOD’s orders as done by the Lutherans is not acceptable. We can’t and must not think for a moment that we can change these orders from GOD, if we decide to just ‘pass’ a Church rule, with no foundation to support these changes in the Bible. GOD will not tolerate that which countermands HIS orders. Patrick Schwab, the author of this discourse, appears to feel that we should distance ourselves from these false doctrines.
He states that, “Nevertheless, a reformed Catholic or Orthodox Church in a basic Lutheran strategy would provide a real Church of the fullest truth if done, based only on the Bible in it’s original version.” There is no contention with that statement if the Bible in its absolute original version, beyond a shadow of a doubt, was available to all. But this is not a fact of the matter. We don’t have an original version, only hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of pieces or ancient texts. GOD has allowed us a literary license throughout our history, which supports my claim I made in the Four Gospels Course, that to be “GOD wise” and “Bible wise” in our capability to absorb knowledge, we have to read and study as many of the ancient texts as we can to gain a panoramic view of GOD’s making, without drawing any prejudices from denominational doctrines into the studies with us. Mr. Schwab then says we should distance ourselves from these doctrines not of GOD therefore incorrect.
I must say that it’s a known fact that Jesus came to heal the sick and not the healthy, so he was always seen with crooked tax collectors, prostitutes, and the worst of the worst. He never distanced Himself from the lost, but chose to be among them in true evangelist’s form. So why should we keep our beliefs from others? Non-believers (future Christians is a better terminology) will see us turning our back on those practicing false doctrines, and most likely interpret that as a sign that we think “we’re better than everyone else” We are all GOD’s creations.
Jesus came to us to provide a means of a blood sacrifice for the redemption of sins of ‘everyone’, not just a few. This we receive by the grace (free gift) of GOD apart from the law of Moses, which Jesus stated that He did not come to do away with the law, but to fulfill it’s prophesies (as the Messiah). I make no inclination towards calling all the “other denominations” either good or evil, which is not mine to judge. What is my right and duty to GOD, is to familiarize myself with them and not “distance myself from them”, If my belief system is of the Word of GOD and GOD’s alone, there exists not a single worry or belief that will touch me, if it’s truth, it will withstand.
I must and do whole heartedly agree with Mr. Schwab’s last paragraph of lesson 19 in which he states “……..there are many good people out there and they do make a difference. It is just very hard to find them as they are doing their missionary work in the dark and often under financial distress.” They are far removed from the Mega (Give, Give, and Give) Churches.
Please don’t misconstrue my intent to defame the large Evangelical Churches. Any Church that brings the lost into GOD’s house and introduces Jesus to them is absolutely wonderful, and most definitely doing GOD’s work they were led to.
In the final chapter the topic of the government’s view of Religion and how they co-exist together is laid out for us. Using our history books, we’ll see there will probably never be a complete alignment between the two. Our currency reads “IN GOD WE TRUST”; but no one seems to remember that those words are there. The government is supposed to be of and for the people.
A government that legalizes partial birth abortions of infants fully formed, innocent, unable to defend or even speak up for themselves, pure and from GOD, needs to evaluate whether those words “IN GOD WE TRUST” is a good thing! My GOD says thou shalt not kill…..period! No clauses, referendums, no stipulations, no amendments to the Ten Commandments. This is a very hefty topic requiring an essay of its own.
Jesus was a practicing Jew His whole life. He didn’t come to abolish the Law of Moses. The character and nature of GOD is revealed in the Old Testament to the Jews who suffered the wrath of GOD, who knew GOD’s attitude about sin and HIS requirements to remedy the separation that sin imposed between the sinner and GOD. A blood sacrifice was an understood necessity even before the chosen people. Abel’s sacrifice is evident of the early knowledge of that requirement by his offering of the firstling of his flock which met that stipulation.
Early Jews thought if you study the “Old Testament” Scriptures you would possess eternal life. In the New Testament we find over 50 references to ‘Scripture’ meaning the Old Testament. New Testament wording says we can not “please GOD with good deeds”. If that’s what you believe you’re in error. You are saved by grace and not by actions.
To please GOD we must meet several conditions. The first being we must have righteousness about us that GOD sees as righteousness. To be righteous requires faith on our part and acceptance on GOD’s part. We shouldn’t view the way of salvation as two separate and distinct ways.
Jews always looking ‘forward’ to their coming Savior and Christians always look backward with faith in the completed work of their redeemer. GOD accepts both Jew and Gentile on the basis of their faith in the death and resurrection of HIS messiah as a substitutionary sacrifice to completely pay the penalty of our sins.
I found this course to be surprisingly ‘readable’ and not dry reading as I expected… It did fulfill my expectations of the train of thought that permeates all of the courses I have and am studying. That being the need and desire that should be instilled in each of us, no matter which path we follow, to get to know, understand, relate and minister to all peoples of every religion. I would also recommend this course as a primer to new Christian and non-Christian alike as well as advanced students of the Bible.
It provides much of the basic rules of basic Bible Study no matter what your level. It does contain quite a plethora of historical events and characters from the Bible, especially my favorite (Besides Jesus of Nazareth) Saul of Tarsus (The Apostle Paul).
That being said I would highly recommend the Master of Religion Course to Students of all levels as well as well versed life-long Christians. Any one with a question in their minds about the Bible, the Church, their personal spiritual growth, GOD and Jesus Christ (Let us not forget the last but by no means the least of the Holy Trinity, the Breath of GOD) will find a foothold to GOD in a way that is provocative and inspiring to create a desire to dig deeper into a topic that strikes them with the impact of GOD’s Word.
What I liked least about the course was the best sections. To clarify, the most inspiring to me was too short. A lot of mileage was given to a lot of subjects. There are a lot of topics that cry out to be heard in more depth. I would like to see this course the same length (or longer) but in two separate courses, I and II. Would I be interested in taking more courses by Dr. Herbert Fuchs and Patrick Schwab? Yes, most definitely.
Love and Be Well.
Rev. Kipper Rowen

 



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As an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since its inception, I’ve had the privilege of watching the Seminary grow.

Defining Spiritualism by Rev. Sharon J. Mayer

Defining Spiritualism Final Essay
Rev Sharon J. Mayer
This is an extraordinary course in ministry. It has laid the groundwork for assisting others in the understanding of the complexities of belief. I enjoyed the whole course and the way it was relate to the ministry of the Universal Life Church. The author kept simple many ideas and teachings while not being overwhelming in fact or intellect. I am sorry the course has come to an end I did look forward to each lesson to gain either a way to move forward or an understanding of where I was and what needed to be learned or changed to move forward. This has been one of the more insightful classes I have taken from the seminary.
This will be a course that I will be able to use as a background to assist those I minister. Many of the people I come in contact with have a background in extreme religious Christian churches and have left this and grown away from any form of religion or spirituality. They are tired of being told they are not good enough to have love in their lives and to live life to the fullest. Because of this they are lonely and feel unworthy. This was a point brought out in Lesson 8 of the course. Unfortunately the younger people of today seem to be those that are the most affected by the thought they are not good enough. My little group has people in menial jobs, overcoming addiction, bad relationships, and despair. None of us have much formal education but we all have a desire for a better existence for ourselves and the world.
I believe one of the most destructive concepts of church writing was the concept of predestination. This is the major thought I have to overcome with my group. Many seem to feel this is Truth so why care? I was once asked to leave a church because I taught that God loves us all just as we are. I was using the church learning tools but when someone overheard me saying “No matter what you do you can overcome it because God still loves you.” They spoke to the church council who before speaking to me asked me to leave. Some did apologize when the realized it was from the church curriculum but I never when back to the church. If they could not understand of all groups why should I want to be with them?
In view of the events at VT I am again drawn to Lesson 10 and the paragraph that reads “So try to remember and be understanding of the fact that someone completely contained in his or her conscious mind is suffering greatly. These people believe themselves to have an absolute understanding of that which cannot be absolutely understood. When life acts in ways other than their absolute understanding, it affects them greatly. They suffer depression, anger, hostility, all host of negative energy emotions because they think they know absolutely and they are proven wrong every day.” I have compassion for the families of those who lost their lives but I also have compassion for the young man who felt he had The Answer. He never saw the beauty in life.
As to what I received from the lessons I can only repeat what the instructor stated. The more I study the more I realize I know nothing. I will take the ideas and suggestions given in the closing of the course to heart and realize that I can not change what I do not own and I own nothing. Each person in the world sees with only their eyes and each life is that persons alone.

 

Mystical Christianity

Course Final for Mystical Christianity
Rev/Dr Ron Boucher
To say this course was an eye opener and thought provoking is too vast an understatement. I don’t think I could have taken a course like this at a more appropriate time in history. You can not just see change (just take a peek into the White House), but you can feel the spirit of change sweeping throughout this country and the world as people start becoming more open to new ideas that we should all be equal and have the same opportunities and freedoms. This course has given me a new perspective on not just Christianity, but religion as a whole.
It started with lesson one with it’s lesson on Adam and Eve, and kept going through the end of lesson 26 with a lesson on the end of “a” world, not “the” world. I venture to state that even though the lessons have ended, the process of critical thinking that she has taught has not and that, I believe, is the mark of a true teacher. Give someone a fish and you feed them for a day, teach them to fish and you feed them for life. I really believe that this has just started my exploration into not just Christianity, but Gnostic works and other spiritual processes. I can understand the early Christian church and it’s desire to keep believers from discovering too much, but I wonder how they narrowed down all of the books they considered until they arrived at what we now call the Bible.
In this process, what has been lost and may never be reclaimed? Had it not been for the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi finds, we may never have found the truth. Especially concerning the women of the Bible. While I understand the early Church and it’s needs to compete with other religions of the time incorporating Virgin birth, I will
never understand the need to take a woman who was probably the greatest disciple
and turn her into a simple prostitute. This course shines the light of truth on the standard Church product and shows just how much spin was put into the packaging. I deeply respect Mother Maryesah Karelon and would take another of her courses in a heartbeat. She is concise, factual and well read. Her texts are footnoted with a variety of books that tend to show a way for the student to go out and check more than just her footnotes. Her lesson ending questions tend to keep one digging even after the lesson is over. I would rate this as one of the top two courses I have taken at the Seminary.
Rev. Ron Boucher, D.D.
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About Being A Shaman – Universal Life Church

Lesson# 12
Do you believe that a person has to experience the “call to priesthood “in order to become a Shaman?
Also describe the different gifts required in order to follow this profession?
I don’t believe the person has to experience the “call to priesthood”, to become a Shaman although in my case I did receive a call to priesthood.
In this lesson I felt as though I was reading about my own life’s journey in many ways.  I have listened to and used the Hemi-Sync technology And I do believe it has helped me in moving away from the physical and exploring other dimensions of consciousness.
I do believe that living in suburbia there are no initiation ceremonies like initiate you and this has been my experience .I did feel a calling to the priesthood and actually worked as a minister for the sick for my church.
I was working with a shaman and noticed that I was uncomfortable in my ministry with my church that it felt unnatural and was not the correct calling that I was feeling.
I did suffer from illness  and despair for over this last year as you describe and that is what brought me to the desire to learn about Shamanism and to become a Shaman.
It was horrific. I suffered unbearable mental and physical Anguish to arrive at where I am now. I was in the depths of despair.
In My work as a Reiki Master over the last 10 years I have also worked with the shadow side and can totally relate to the experience Of having my patients mirror back the very issues and painful lessons that I am processing in my own life at that time.
I feel completely connected to the archetype of the wounded healer.
I have also had a near-death experience when I was a teenager. And I was able to see auras at that very young age  soon after even though I did not know what they were about.
I also experienced astral travel at the age of 16.
My work over the last 40 years of just living life has given me many gifts of healing,clairvoyance, clairaudience ,mediumship ,exorcism ,soul travel ,and now Shamonic healing.
I truly believe I was called to do this work.
Peace and Blessings.
Lesson 13
The assignment is role-play and practice filling out the forms for soul retrieval medical history form interview.
I did this assignment with my partner and he really is not a good candidate because he has had a heart attack and it recommends not to work on people who have had a heart attack because of possible side effects.
So he was probably not the best candidate.
I will practice on someone else at a later date.
Thank you,
Lesson #14
Assignment carefully read through the signs and symptoms of soul lost and thinking back to your life to see if there have been recurring events or a history of negative behavior patterns that you can identify with that could have been indicative of soul loss.

Write about them and then write your own journey of soul retrieval to reclaim those lost parts.

I did a soul retrieval of my own following this script I went back and retrieve the part of me that was lost during a trauma in my early childhood when I was three years old. My brother almost died when he got his arm caught in the ringer washing machine and I saved his life at the age of three by pulling the plug on the machine.
The emotional trauma and result of this incident caused me to go through life believing that if I was not responsible someone would die. I have been overly responsible my entire life which has caused me to suffer from a lack of joy and an Ability to be playful and play.
I returned to meet that three-year-old child and restore her ability to be playful and joyful.
It was a very joyfully, tearful reunion .
I met my companion whose name was Mary. She seemed to float on air like a fairy and was lovely.
Peace and blessings to all who endeavor and aspire to do this work.

Metaphysical Healing

Metaphysical Healing
Thomas Voss

Healing can be defined as the ability to heal all levels of a person’s being, through animating the vital force within.”

From the time I was a boy in catechism class at our little Episcopal Church the idea of healing with a touch fascinated me. The “laying on of hands” has come up time and time again throughout my life. The way Jesus did things had class. When I saw that ULC Seminary offered a course in Metaphysical Healing I was on board in a heart beat. And, I was very pleased that it was offered by Dr./Rev. Katharine Kruger. Her name and work in South Africa had come up before as a healer and educator. I was sure she would have a great course and I wasn’t disappointed.

We have all heard about auras, charkas, and other mysterious things from the Eastern religions. For most of my life it just baffled me how anyone could go around talking about that sort of thing keeping a straight face. Dr. Kruger offers all these topics plus the seven subtle bodies together with the human endocrine system in her course. And, all the while, she intricately weaves them together in a believable approach to healing. For me, finally, it was easy to associate high energy levels in and around powerful endocrine glands with healing energy of the chakras. From there it wasn’t hard to go with a system of Auric fibers connecting the subtle bodies with the charkas together with the Peripheral Nervous System.
It is important to remember that the Human Energy Field is not something that is separate from the body. It is an extension of the physical, because the peripheral nervous system continues beyond the skin surface, in a very subtle form.” The Etheric Body, Emotional Body, Mental Body, Astral Body, Etheric Template, Celestial Body, the Ketheric Template, and the Auric Sheath are all part of the human aura. Again, all of these except the Auric Sheath correspond directly to one of the seven charkas. In turn, the charkas relate directly to one of the endocrine glands.
For instance, the Celestial body, the 6th subtle system corresponds with the 6th charka and the pineal gland. The Celestial Body is regarded as the most beautiful of the subtle bodies (pearl in color) and is the body within which spiritual ecstasy is manifested with in deep states of meditation. It is likely that early Christian artist were representing the celestial body in the “halos” they placed around the head of the Christ and of the saints.
Those are the sorts of things about which we learned from Dr. Kruger’s course. In other lessons Rev. Kruger provides a sound introduction to, taking medical histories and clinic operations. One thing I grasped right away was that it is very naive to think one could take a course then put up a shingle and begin to heal the masses.
Dr. Kruger mentioned in one of her lessons that in Africa after one is initiated there is a course (an apprenticeship) of study that may take 6 or 7 years. That seems a bit more reasonable. However, among different interventions I’ve done and still do using hypno-therapy, NLP, and acupressure it seems like adding some metaphysical healing techniques will definitely help my clients (OK in small doses while I’m learning). My wife, my sister, and my brother all have troubles with there lower backs. All three are bed ridden from time to time painfully unable to move. Now, I don’t know what I did to all three of these people (It could be that I’m just a pain in the . . .) but, the least I could do was to offer up some healing. So, I took the course intending to add it to acupressure and hypnosis. We’ll see.
The places wherein she talks about the medicine man – shamans out in the bush and their beliefs and approaches to healing are especially entertaining. The African medicine men have an idea that healing is magic mixed with the spiritual. “In African Culture the ancestors could be the spirits of deceased family members who now wish to continue their healing work through the mediumship of the initiate.” The idea that there could be a number of spirits hanging around is really spooky to me – pun intended. I find Dr. King’s approach using Universal Energy to heal much more appealing.
Tribal healers believe that people who do wrong will cause there own illness and illness for the whole tribe as well. Another belief of the tribal healers encompasses “soul loss” and they conduct soul retrieval to heal. Wow! Anyway, it was all very enlightening and there wasn’t any part that I didn’t like.
One comment as a caution about ‘past life regression’, as a practicing hypno-therapist I’ve been in classes and other situations not in my control wherein neophyte-therapists unwittingly created for their class mates/clients many ‘past lives’ and even spaceships. Any therapist must be ever so very careful how this type of induction is approached not to mention how it is conducted.
On a popular TV show that is all about UFOs, the staff was investigating where and how the aliens abduct people. During the show they contacted a popular hypno-therapist who was doing “research.” This therapist is an avid UFO fan and has “studied” aliens for many years. During an induction they were airing that night the audience should have readily seen that what really happened was an overzealous therapist placed his client(s) right in the middle of an alien spaceship! Neither the client nor any aliens had anything to do with this reality.
To begin with, the very reason that that particular client sought out that particular hypno-therapist was to find other-world aliens somewhere in his (the client’s) ‘Sub-conscious’ mind(s). Both gentlemen were ripe to find some aliens. The entire interlude was completely contaminated. Presupposition is the bane of all any therapy and all religion.
Too much of what therapists believe comes up in the heads of their clients. If somebody wants a past life they can probably find a “therapist” who’ll give them any number they want. I do not presume to question someone as important as is Dr. Kruger in the world of metaphysical healing. I do think it is important that all her students clearly understand that induction into any level of hypnosis is a truly powerful process and that an outright novice shouldn’t be messing around with it without real guidance. Enough said.
Respectfully submitted,
Thomas A. Voss

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The Four Gospels

The four gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in it’s original Greek text gives the reader a better understanding and chance to interpret the events that took place with the gospels and Christ.
With Matthew, one of the ideas that made me stop and think about the wisdom of Christ was when he was with his students in Israel. As he was seated at the table in his house with tax collectors and godless people, with Jesus and his students. The Pharisees said: why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and godless people? Jesus replied: It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. My interpretation of this is that I’m here to help those that need help with understanding the word of god. Another example was when Jesus said: Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged ; you will be sentenced to the same sentence you sentence others, and by whatever standard you measure you will be measured. In our days, as well as then, it is hard not to pass judgment on our fellow man. I will have to make an effort to not judge others and remember that there is only one force in our world to do just that.
It is hard for me to except that Jesus had such awesome power to cure the sick with every disease and every infirmity while making his rounds of all the towns and villages, in their synagogues, proclaiming the good word of the kingdom of god. I sometimes wonder if some of these “miracles” were maybe exaggerated a little when written. The twelve students he refers to are the twelve apostles, one of which is Matthew the tax collector.
According to Mark, John came along, bathing others in the wilderness and announcing the washing of a changed heart for the forgiveness of wrongs is the first Baptisms being held in the Jordan river. The people of Judea and all the people of Jerusalem were admitting their mistakes and John was washing away their sins. I’m glad there’s fast food restaurants today, because John’s diet of locusts and wild honey would get old fast for me.
Luke’s account of Joseph and Mary from the town of Bethlehem is very interesting. Because of a census of the world by Caesar Augustus, everyone was to be registered to their own home town. Joseph was from the city of David and was registered with Mary as his fiancee, who was pregnant. Here, she bore her son, her first born, in a grain crib. A messenger of the lord came and gave the good news that a savior was born to the city of David. This account sounds like the story told so many times at Christmas every year.
John tells the story of Jesus washing the feet of his students, Peter has a problem with the lord washing his feet. Jesus replies that he is just setting the example. He also knew who would betray him. He dunks a piece of bread and offers it to Judas Simon Iscariot. What a toast that must of been.
I learned a lot of important wisdom by reading this book, and I know that it will help me in my daily endeavors. I can only hope that the wisdom of Christ will shape my life and make me a better human being.
Rev. Robert Kenneway
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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more.

Ordination with the Universal Life Church, is free,  and lasts for life, so use the Free Online Ordination, button.

The  ULC, run by Rev. Long, has created a chaplaincy program to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials.  I’ve been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.


Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar
As an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since its inception, I’ve had the privilege of watching the Seminary grow.
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A Course In Miracles

Let me first begin by thanking Dr. Siani for this most insightful and truly enlightening course. It has been a pleasure to take this journey with her. I have learned much and will apply these teachings along with those taught by other wonderful spiritual leaders and teachers. I believe that we all come from one source and at some point when our current form is longer present or needed we will return to this same source. I know this source to be God. The knowing needs no explanation from a book or any other outside source but comes from deep within the unmanifested space between my thoughts, the inner space that cannot be explained. “The peace that passeth all understanding ” as St. Paul wrote. I therefore place my trust in Gods hands and listen to His voice which directs my efforts an directs my mind on a daily basis even when my ego wants to take over. “Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal can exist. Herein lies the peace of God”. “This is the fundamental distinction between the real and unreal” as the Course in Miracles reads. This has been the fundamental basis of my journey in this unreal world of perception. To know is a wonderful truth. A truth of love. A truth of God.

The Course states that “Perfect loves casts out fear, if fear exists, then there is not perfect love. But: Only perfect love exists. If there is fear, it produces a state that does not exist”. What a simple yet perfect truth which is overlooked because of our unconsciousness. This simple truth produces the state of “miracle readiness” which is a basis for Metaphysics. Of course Metaphysics by its very nature dates back to Aristotle himself who introduced the idea of matter in general to the Western world and the nature of the mind to the body. This than raises central questions of Metaphysics. Mind and matter, identity and change,space and time, religion and spirituality.

But what is Metaphysics? By definition Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy investigating principles of reality transcending those of any particular science, traditionally, cosmology and ontology. It is concerned with explaining the ultimate truth of being and the world. The meaning derived from the Greek words meta’ and physika’ have overtime become meta to mean beyond; above; transcending and physics referring to those works on matter. Therefore, metaphysics is also the study of that which transcends physics. There are three parts which comprise Metaphysics.

First being Ontology of the study of Being and existence which include definitions and classification of entities, physical or mental, the nature of their properties, and the nature of change.

Second. Natural theology, the study of God which involves topics the nature of religion and the world, existence of the divine, questions about Creation and numerous religious and spiritual issues that concern the humankind in general.

Third. Universal science or first philosophy. “Being in terms of “being”. Topics such as causality, substance, species and elements, as well as notions of relation, interaction, and finitude.

In most cases, subjects that can be taken with regards to any of the metaphysics questions are endorsed by one or another philosopher or student. In some cases, subjects of metaphysical scholarship have been found to be entirely physical and natural, thus making them part physics proper as is the case with Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. There are those of course who are critical of Metaphysics. This is in part attributed to the ego and the lack of understanding based on fear. It does not matter what the opinions are to me because I accept them as they are. This is to accept the unacceptable or not to accept the unacceptable. This is the choice we all inherently share.

I submit and have learned that one can only be present because that is all there ever is. No past or future will ever change the fact that there is only the present. The future will come as the present and things accomplished in the past were done in the present. The present is where God exists. This is the meaning of “I am the Alpha and the Omega” or as Jesus said “before Abraham was I am “. This is beautifully illustrated in this course by Dr. Siani. Humankind has become addicted and become a prisoner of its own thought. The non stop thinking and creating of illusions. There can be no spiritual awakening until this creating of illusions coupled by fear ceases. There can be no God consciousness until we let go absolutely of ego. We may get glimpses of it until we allow our thinking to once again take over. The key is to practice presence. Allowing things to happen and not trying to force the true nature of things not in our control. Patience, love, surrender and forgivness. “Miracles happen to miracle minded people”. This is a lesson that have relearned in this course. Miracles are all around us. It is in the knowing that they occur and it is in the knowing that we receive them.

As I continue my journey I try and look within rather than only without. The inner awareness that awakens the formless essence of who we truly are is only part of the God consciousness that we all posses. The ultimate transformation that will eventually occur in us all goes far beyond any human understanding. Yet this transformation must occur in order to close the gap of separation from God. When this occurs nothing unreal can exist and nothing real can be threatened.

I send you my love and may God bless you all on your journey.

by Rev. Dennis Walter Zerull

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The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.
As an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church for many years and it’s Seminary since its inception, I’ve had the privilege of watching the Seminary grow.