Seminary Program

This is where we post the essays from many of our Universal Life Church Seminary students. When students finish a ULC course, they write a comprehensive essay about their experiences with the course, what they learned, didn't learn, were inspired by, etc. Here are their essays.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Comparative Religion

When I took this course I had very little religious background. I was surprised to see all the information and resources.. I'm still learning and will always be learning and growing spiritually from this course. Comparative Religion has helped me to be more confident in my own belief system.and a greater understanding of other religions.

I would recommend this course to anyone who is wanting to expand their knowledge of the various religions.It shows the similarities between the faiths. You will become more open minded. We as humans sometimes draw conclusion's on a particular faith because it is different. Such as the days they worship, their attire and their rituals. These are just examples one may observe. These differences really don't matter. Because we choose a belief that resonates within our soul. We have free will to do that. My beliefs are no better or lesser than any one else's. I have to admit some people may disagree with me. Just the same all belief systems are valid and should be honored. It is my opinion that God or the Creator, is called by many names. Also God represents both male and female energies.

With this course I have been given the opportunity to learn and develop my own beliefs. I have changed a few preconceived ideas and have grown spiritually. One of the biggest changes was I felt you didn't need to go church to believe in God. That is still true except, it is easier to stay in faith if you are with like minded people. Now I understand why for some people to have places to gather.

From Christianity to Wiccan and Taiosm. Their are distinct similarities. One example would be the Golden Rule. All Faiths have one. Christianity: "Therefore all things whatsoever you desire that men should do to you, do you evenso unto them; for this is the law and the prophets." (Matt. 7:12). Wiccan: "An it harms none, do as ye will." Judaism: "The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace." (Talmud, Gittin 59b).

The stories of Jesus and Krishna also have similar birth stories. Just to mention a few. Their was a non human who sent a warning in each case relative to the impending danger. The Governor or Ruler was hostile in each case. A bloody decree was issued in both cases. The hurried flight of the parents takes place in each case. Their are similar Noah's Ark stories. These are just a few examples that are most commonly known.

I would like to see people of all faiths join together. Educating each other on their faiths and promoting peace. We must work together to help Mother Earth. Living life with Truth, Trust and Passion. Living in love and enlightenment. Instead of hate and judgment. That or prayers are heard and answered. No matter who we are. It is not so much the words that we say in our prayers, but our intention we put in the prayer that is heard. It is in our intention and love that we live our lives.

Rev. Kythera Ann did a wonderful job on this course. She gave us alot of information and resources for her students. I would highly recommend this course. I would enjoy any other course she may add in the future.

Rev. Brenda Firestone

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. I've been a member of ULC for many years and our site has created a terrific ULC Forum. We also have the most extensive catalog of Universal Life Church materials.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Four Gospels

Four Gospels
By Rev. Neal McLaughlin
John 1:14 The word became flesh and his dwelling upon us.

We as people need to communicate with one another through verbalization, gestures of the hands and face or in some form of communication.

Unless we demonstrate who we are, what we believe, how we live and the talents of which we are blessed no one will ever truly get to know us and we will forever remain a mystery.

This also holds true for our Savior! God would have remained a mystery if He had not broken His silence and spoke once; bringing all creations to life upon this earth.

Then when He spoke a second time, His words took the form of man…and The Book of John relates this story of the word in flesh.

When we begin to read the Book of John we can plainly see in the first few paragraphs that John has broken sharply from the styles of Mark, Matthew and Luke.

While the other disciples focus on the events surrounding Jesus as well as telling of His trek throughout the marketplaces and villages; we find that John approaches his writings from a different perspective.

Instead of focusing on the facts of Christ, John assumes that we are familiar with these already, so he writs his story as he had contemplated the profound meaning of Christ and highlights the nature of Christ.

Absent from John’s writings are the mention of Christmas, stables, the Shepard’s, wise men. He actually introduces Jesus as an adult; omitting any mention of His birth and his youthdom.

As we further explore the gospel of John we can se that he ahs selected roughly about 20 days in the life of Jesus and set them so that the presented Christ as one who “knows where He came from and where I am going.” (8:14)

Upon further exploration we find that the overall rhythm of John is that he is stating that Jesus did not simply fall to earth but was sent to do the work of His Father.

According to the Gospel of John; he includes Jesus in the original creation of the Earth but was sent later as the Word to walk among us speaking in a way that we could truly understand.

Many New Testament Christians use the gospel of John as their learning tool as John has taken the basics of faith and wrote them in a clear and concise format. His Gospel also lends credence to who Jesus is and what he has done.

John has also selected seven ( not mentioned prior) signs and miracles and has woven them into a story that conveys their message as well.

Although the Gospel of John is considered to be different in many aspects, the reading of Matthew, Mark and Luke are still vital to the understanding of the Word.


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