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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Monday, December 29, 2008

Universal Life Church

Santa was a Shaman

Allow me to add this as a historical footnote to my end of class essay on Defining Spirituality.

Also, allow me to add three corrections to my essay; para 4 line 3 'moments' should have single quotes on both sides; para 4 line 4 should
be 'sprung up' not 'up sprung'; para 4 line 8 should be 'In' not 'I'.

Finally, I know that the class referred to Spiritualism and I, instead, referred to Spirituality.  Because, it is my understanding that
Spiritualism refers to that group that holds "seances' for contacting the dead.  Last century both Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini
spent years trying to find a genuine 'medium' only to discover that every one that they contacted was a fraud.

Houdini was  especially motivated to find someone genuine.  He and his mother were extraordinarily close and after she  
passed he was distraught and desperately wished to contact her.  It never happened.

Before Houdini passed he made a pact with his wife, that if it were at all possible, he would attempt to contact her every Halloween night.
She tried for many years without success.

On the other hand, there are many accounts of soldiers appearing to
loved ones at the moment of their death (their local time) and then
disappearing.  These occurrences have been reported during every one of
our wars right up to current time.

I am convinced that we continue after our passing. Never the less, the
methods of "Spiritualism" are highly questionable, and there was no
reference to those types of activities in the class.

Blessings on this most Ancient of Holy Solstice Celebrations.

Rev. Ken Thompson


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

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Master of Religion

Master of Religion
Overview of Class

This course was a very interesting and demanding course.  The reason being is it caught my attention and I couldn't wait for more information concerning each topic.  The first topic that I was intrigue by was religion.  Religion can be determine and use in so many ways.   Some churches get caught up in customs, rules, and traditions.  I don't think God attended for us to live this way.  I know it is all about him.  But how can we make it all about God?  I believe in your lesson it stated: study God's word and apply it to your life.  I think that is a excellent idea.  Sometimes we think if we just read it we got it… But you must study….and apply what you have learned to your life..

Second course Christianity and abortion.  Why is Christianity so important?  Are we really learning about God?  Do we study about God?  Are we really Christian?  Being a Christian is very important to me.  Why? Because that is who I am and what I stand for.   I'm seeking God, searching for him and learning about him. Do I seek him enough… no because I'm so busy with everyday life with job, career, family, and children, and church?  Do I devote my time with him (Jesus Christ) yes, in the early morning to pray, mediate and study.  Also during my quiet time…  But I must put God first in everything I do .     Its all about him and my relationship with God.

The third course is the final course about government.  Yes, we are taught to obey the law of the land.  This right in the sight of God and for Christian its good for us.   Sometimes we see and hear things about our government we are not so proud of.  But as you stated we must pray for our leaders, government, law enforcement, political leaders, and president.  The president is the leader so must pray for him mightily.  He has a great calling on his life.  We must pray that God put Godly and spiritual people in their lives so they will make right choices.  

In closing this course is great and I learned several different things.  I look forward in taking more courses. 


Ordination with 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 Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar

Monday, December 22, 2008


      My interest in this class on Buddhism came about because of my interest in daily meditation, mindfulness, the books of the latest Dalai Lama, and the way I feel the God or spirit connection through nature and my garden. I have taken a local class in Buddhist meditation and connected greatly with the special classes on mindful walking and eating, as I have a practice of both walking and eating fast. Each practice has brought about a slowing down that has brought a special awareness of simple things of joy that have added much peace to a otherwise sometimes stressful life.  
    As I studied the weekly classes I liked the simple ways taught of kindness, compassion and a path to peace though non violence.  While my fundamental Christian family would not like the idea of me as comparing Jesus and Buddha as brothers, for most who have grown up with knowledge of just their own faith can never see beyond their own teachings, I personally, began to see each in a new light after this study. 

I could see Jesus and the Buddha as almost twins or best friends of like minds in many ways, but as with my on Christian religion (that I find myself disappointed in at times) I found myself thinking as Jesus or the original Buddha might if each returned to day to evaluated or grade the current spiritual practices carried out in their behalf.  I feel sure that each would be highly disappointed and would no doubt give both spiritual paths a D minus when it came to caring forth the original mission of each man.  Jesus did not like the emphases on rules of his Jewish heritage that miss the point of love, compassion, forgiveness and love and perhaps the Buddha heard so much about all the Hindi gods and all their rules that he did not even want to utter the name God when it came to spiritual faith for he felt even that word had been misused so much it left the real meaning of a higher power wanting for something more.  AND YET look at both faith each have come down to proving ones faith by the keeping of rules, rules and rules.

   I heard a lecture lately where the speaker said, that when mankind could study all faith and find common ground and not criticism of one being better than the other then perhaps the world would grow a little closer to peace.  I listened and thought to myself perhaps both Jesus and the Buddha saw this too and tried to help guide mankind's heart and eyes to viewing all mankind as one with the focus on Love and Soul and not the ego and rules, rules, rules.  

  I found myself wondering as we all become more and more educated and study all the many faiths maybe we will see the common ground and not the differences and move a little closer to peace. It would be nice to think that could come soon, though Jesus lived over 2000 years ago and Buddha long before him, and yet all things began with a vision and a dream and we must continue to carry their dreams forward for a better future for all mankind.
Rev. Linda Francis

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

As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site 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 since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar

Spiritual Awareness

Spiritual Awareness
As a Reiki III Master I have practice positive healing energies on both myself and others for many year but the Spiritual awareness class had made me aware of other channels of energy as well and how to work with them.  Often what appeared at first to be heath issues has turned out to be negative energies draining the body that are being sent by others.

 Thus now I cleanse the negative energies before I even start to use healing energies, often this alone restores health to the body. When I find this the case then I teach the person to do this for themselves for if we have enemies they continue sending us these negative energies as long as they have them their selves and want to blame others for it. 

Using the system taught in this class I have coupled it with a positive energy of love to aid the negative person to gain healing too if they so choose.  I find seldom does the negative energy stop by just telling it to stop thus I send back what they have received and triple it if necessary so they feel the pain the are sending but then I place a crown of thorns around that individual where the thick energy is trapped from being sent out again but then I go a step forward and send an energy of white light and love through the thorns as love energy is light and can move easily and the negative is a heavy, thick energy and cannot pass through the thorns. 

Thus for a while the person sending out this negative energy is weakening themselves to the point they must stop sending it out, for it only rebounds and then in the weakened stage they become still and can finally feel the strength of the love energy I am sending to them and thus not only is the person I am working with finds healing the other person does too if they are willing to let go of their anger and do so. 

Often these are not bad, mean people but folks who feel trapped in life and cannot find a way out and  thus they find others to blame and send out this pain to them as a sub conscious call for help themselves.

This new Spiritual Awareness has served me well and hopefully will do so for the many I am called on to help, as well. 

Rev. Linda Francis


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

Four Gospels

Study of the Four Gospels
Rev. Ann-Marie Blanchard

After studying the Bible for many years, I found this course and study material informative, concise and interesting.  I believe that the lessons offered through the Gospels can be found in all major Religions of the world today.  When read as stories, these 'nuggets of wisdom' gently slip through consciousness and into the deeper self.  It is my belief that Wisdom does not belong solely to Christianity or Buddhism or Islam.  When compared to other teachings, the Bible's encouragement towards gentleness and compassion speaks very clearly to our cultural and historic heritage, as many of us in North America were born into some expression of Christianity.  We grew up understanding 'God', 'Church', and 'Heaven'.  The Bible's four Gospels contain stories for children and adults, offering pause for reflection in almost any circumstance.

During my study of this course, 'The Four Gospels', I was struck with the unique nature of this Holy Book, and our western approach to Spirituality.  Unlike so many other spiritual disciplines, our brand of Christianity allows for interpretation. We can, with full measure, allow these stories and lessons to sink into our hearts and spirits, and then re-tell the story in our own words.  Anyone can do this!  And if by some miracle, others appreciate our way of writing and interpreting the word of God, we find that we have brought a small spark of vision to the world.

The interpretation of the Four Gospels, in my opinion, did away with the disputable verses, questionable translations, and went straight to the point of giving examples of lives well lived, lessons learned, and illustrations of "good and evil" actions.
I don't usually like 'Americanized' bible translations, because they often become too simplistic.  This book, while clearly not written for the Bible scholar, was 'juicy' and readable.

By Rev. Ann-Marie Blanchard


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

As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site 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 since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Doctor of Spirituality Mid-Term Essay
Rev. Michael Barth

This course on the miracle of prayer has totally changed my view on prayer. I had always thought that prayer was talking with God but never realized that prayer is also a way we show love to God and how God shows love to us. I did not realize that we have free will to listen to God, but at some point we will all listen to God. The revelation of love was something totally new to me. I thought that this section would explain what love is but could not explain the meaning of love and used the analogy of breathing as why love could not be loved. Learning that love is all-encompassing and that there is no opposite of love really shocked me since I think it terms of opposite like good/evil, wealthy/poor, etc. I learned that we cannot have any fear if we are to show true love. Any self-doubt and/or fear takes away from any true love we try to show.

The way that God is described is a new concept of God to me. I grew up in a non-denominational Christian family and had a pretty traditional of God. To me, God looked like us, was punishing, and to be feared. Like a lot of people, I also thought there was a heaven and hell. Heaven was where the good people went to be with God and the bad people would spend eternity in Hell. The concept of God being all love and all encompassing was a radically different way to look at God. I liked how the love of God is described as pure, perfect, abundant, changeless, limitless, indestructible, joy, and peace. Before taking this course, I never had considered myself a son of God, but now I do. Also, I never considered Gods purpose for me which is to extend love. I have always lived life the way I wanted to and if I didn't spread love, I didn't care. I didn't even care if I had spread hate or other ill-will with other people. Now I know that God's love is all-encompassing and that I need to spread it around this planet.

The blood sacrifices in Lesson 3 got me thinking quite a bit. How and why would God need blood sacrifices to atone for sins? This lesson answered these questions by telling me that blood sacrifice was a human invention. Before this lesson, I thought that God had already condemned this world for all its transgressions that have occurred and God would punish us all. I had never considered the fact that God has already forgiven us. The fact that this course has altered my thinking about is great because now I think that God is a loving and merciful God. I liked how Jesus was used in the course on how perfect innocence cannot be destroyed because perfect innocence is indestructible which gave Jesus the power to overcome death. I liked how Jesus is described as a son of God, like us, and not part of God, unlike some Christian sects who say Jesus is part of the Trinity. Just the fact that Jesus is our brother and will help people bridge the gap between themselves and God is reassuring to me. I too, have prayed in Jesus name and have not understood why we always said "In Jesus name we pray. Amen." Now I know that we are calling on the power of God and remembering and calling on Jesus' promises to us.

In Lesson 4, I learned that I was one of the many people who was using forgiveness to destroy. I would forgive people for harming me because I felt that they were below or inferior to me. Also, I would forgive people if they did something in return such as I will forgive you if you stop stealing from me or give back what you have stolen from me. I have also forgiven people because I felt that they were just like me or were very similar to me and what I had done to others. I also had used the third type of forgiveness described in this lesson as the martyr. I would suffer in silence at the hands of other people and then have people look at what I have to go through. I realize that these types of forgiveness are not true forgiveness because I will be expecting something in return for my forgiveness, will be letting myself still feel guilty about forgiveness, will be self condemning myself, or will be trying to destroy another person. I never knew that true forgiveness involved mercy from God or help from God. Also, I never considered that true forgiveness changes us and not the other person with whom we are forgiving. I also had a real problem with forgiving people who had committed really bad acts or bad behavior. I remember growing up and being in 6th grade when a school shooting took place at an elementary school in our school district in Winnetka, IL. 

After the shooting happened, the person that had been killed was a person that I had met the night before at a baseball game because his older brother was on my team. I was unable to forgive the person who did the shooting because of all the harm that it caused the people involved and the community. The family of the young boy that had been killed was very distraught and was in shambles. This shooting scared me and robbed me of my peace but have learned in this lesson that I need God to help me forgive myself and the shooter. Also, I let this shooter rob me of my peace of mind at the time too. I liked how this lesson teaches how there is no sin and that we have to look through Christ's vision instead and respond with love. I loved the 3 steps of forgiveness in this lesson too which I am working on incorporating into my life right now

The Holy Spirit is a concept that I have always had a problem getting. I have always been trying to figure out what the Holy Spirit really means to me. This course has helped a lot because it gives some symbolism of what the Holy Spirit is, such as fire being purification and wind being inspiration. I realize now that the Holy Spirit can be represented by different symbols. I liked the section on how the Holy Spirit functions. I never knew that the Holy Spirit functions as a completion of the redemption of mankind or for healing our mistaken perception. I learned also that the Holy Spirit is a mediator between our illusions and the truth and also helps us with our separation with God. I know that there are a lot of illusions that I see and need help seeing God's truth in what is happening. Also, I know that for myself, I need the Holy Spirit to help me bridge the separation between God and myself since I definitely am not living the Godliest life possible. I know that the Holy Spirit is teaching me more about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, honesty, and much more since I am allowing the Holy Spirit to work within me. As a kid, I was really impatient, angry, hateful, and would flat out lie to people. As I have gotten older and since taking this course, the Holy Spirit has been teaching me patience, peacefulness, love, and honesty. I still have a long ways to go and still have a lot of teaching from the Holy Spirit, but I am making good progress. I definitely need the Holy Spirit in prayer to bridge the separation between myself and God and also for taking up my false thoughts that I have. During prayer now, I try to be one with God instead of telling God how things need to be done and when to be done.

In this course, I have also learned what true prayer is. I grew up thinking that prayer was when I asked something from God and always thought that prayer began with me. Growing up, I would ask God for many things just like asking Santa Claus to bring me many gifts for Christmas. I never thought that prayer began with God and is a way of communicating with God and being in communion with God. Also, I thought that my prayers were often not answered or heard by God because I never received what I had prayed for. Now I know that prayer is to fix me and my issues and will be done in God's time. Also, my prayers are heard by God and are also answered by God in his way and most likely the answer isn't what I wanted like a fancy car showing up in my driveway or a lot of money appearing in my bank account. Substitution is something I also learned too. I thought that having money or material things would bring me happiness and would often pray for money and material things but realize that I am just substituting things here for real happiness which already exists within me.

I also learned a lot about the different levels of prayers that we use. I never had thought about the different types of prayers as being higher or lower than another type of prayer. I am used to using the prayer of need followed by the prayer of freedom. I cannot recall using prayer of joining or prayers of humility when communicating with God. With the prayer of need, I am usually asking God for help with something like helping me deal with my depression or helping someone I know that is dealing with serious illness. I also was given a thought provoking statement about prayers for our enemies. I never thought before that considering someone as an enemy was also reinforcing my own guilt and rejecting God since I would be rejecting one of God's children. Prayer of freedom is a type of prayer that I have used to help me release guilt that I have over something or to release myself from a self-imposed imprisonment of some kind. I think I might have used some prayer of joining but not in a positive way. I have always prayed for God to do this or that to someone who has harmed me in some way. I now realize that this isn't something that God is going to do to one of his children. I don't think I have used the prayer of humility because of the fear of letting things go. For some reason, I have also felt a need to control things or a certain amount of things in my life but I know now that I have to let go and let God do his work with me so I can go do things that will be in love.

The lesson on the power of prayer was very interesting to me. I have read in the newspaper and have watched the news where scientific studies have shown to heal people and also increase the life expectancy of people who had strong faith and prayer. This lesson explained to me why these studies have shown these results. I had never considered before that each thought that I have produces a chemical reaction in the brain and that the brain does not determine between good and bad thoughts in which to produce these chemical reactions. I also never thought about taking responsibility for my thoughts and try to change the way I think. The sections on unanswered prayers struck home with me since I often believed that my prayers were going unanswered but now realize that my prayers are answered but not the way I wanted them to be answered. I realize that I just maybe afraid to see God's answer or just not be accepting of God's answer that he has provided to me.

I liked the section on magic versus miracles since it explained the difference. I did not realize that magic is an attempt where a person or thing would apparently use super natural powers that were exempted or overruled the laws of the universe whereas miracles appeared within the laws of the universe and are thought to be of divine origin. I never thought that miracles were all the same. I thought that one miracle would be greater than another but the lesson taught me the one miracle is no more difficult or harder than another miracle. I also like how miracles can shift perception. I could use a shift in perception from my ego's thinking to the Holy Spirits thinking. This lesson also pointed out the miracles point out the truth and that no illusion can threaten the truth. This lesson also pointed out that I need to be more miracle ready than I am presently ready for. Unfortunately, I am still thinking a lot from my ego and would not recognize a miracle right now if one were to happen.

This course so far has really jolted the way I have thought about prayer and miracles. I have been inspired by this course to actually start reading the book A Course in Miracles. So far, I have found this course and the book to be of great help to me and I have found it fascinating on how the book came to be. This course is a lot easier for me to understand than the book is due to the way it is written. I have gone to the A Course in Miracles website and now get the newsletter from the Foundation of Inner Peace. This course has really got me thinking on how I think and pray and have located a study group that deals with A Course in Miracles. This course is teaching me a lot and I am glad that I am taking it currently and have been incorporating things in the course into my everyday life which has been very helpful with dealing with issues such as depression, relationships, and guilt that I have. I definitely think this course is well worth the time and effort.


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

As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site 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 since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar

Metaphysical Healing

Metaphysical Healing Course
Final Essay

Rev. Lindsay Baldassano

I began this course a few months ago during a time when I was seeking to refresh my Reiki practice and further my knowledge and understanding of subtle energies and healing. I was very excited about the new seminary program being offered by ULC and am still excited to continue learning in this fashion. I have always been a student at heart and actually looked forward to having to do homework again and having the chance to collect my thoughts about a topic and put the words down, to both express the lesson and what I have taken from it.

The range of topics and intensity of knowledge being passed on was impressive for an online course. Teaching such a physical practice as healing can be a challenge when done through a non-physical medium like the Internet. While this course could not provide every little nuance of the hand-on aspects of the healing work, it certainly provided the internal assessment tools to be able to discern when and how you are connected to the Divine energies. These are important tools for healers beginning on their first forays into the healing arts. The thought that the energy bodies and organs of a person is analogous to the physical circulatory system is an extremely important concept to grasp in modern energy medicine. There is a still a dichotomy of information types out in today's field in the States. We are still placed between purely intuitive energy medicine and the energy medicine concepts which are trying to be furthered by the scientific communities. I do feel that once we have a way to better talk about what is perceived and what science can prove with what equipment they have (our current equipment may not be able to read the types of information our bodies perceive and interpret naturally), we will better be able to define our energy systems and their components.

It was also very exciting to hear of the advances in the field of professional Traditional healers. It is my hope that this trend continues through out the world, so that in time it is the standard, rather than the exception that we are all assessed and treated holistically. Thank you for offering this course, it was well worth the time and investment it took to make this course an option for me!


Ordination with 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 Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The REAL Santa Claus

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!" 
My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.
Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus?" she snorted.... "Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my Second World-famous cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything.  
As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's. 
I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class.
Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough; he didn't have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat! I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.
"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. "Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby." The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.
That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it. Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa's helpers.
Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going." I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.  
Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were, ridiculous.  Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.
May you always have LOVE to share, HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that care. And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!


The Universal Life Church offers handfasting ceremonies, funeral ceremonies and free minister training.

As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site 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

Universal Life Church

Silly Santa Story

When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the pre-Christmas pressure.

Then Mrs. Claus told Santa that her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth, and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where.

Then, when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground, and all of the toys were scattered.

Frustrated, Santa went into the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drunk all the cider and had hidden the rum.  In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.

Just then the doorbell rang, and an irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree.

The angel said very cheerfully, 'Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?'
And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.


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As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials.  As an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's Seminary since the beginning, I've enjoyed watching the continual growth of the seminary.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar

Friday, December 12, 2008

The 12 Days of Christmas

There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me. 
What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, 
swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out
of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?
This week, I found out.

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were
not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone
during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics.
It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning 
plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each
element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality
which the children could remember.

-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.

-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching,
  Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy. 

-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness,
 Gentleness, and Self Control. 

-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.

-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas pass it on if you wish.'


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As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site 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.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mystical Christianity

This course has truly been a paradigm changing and eye opening experience that has provided clarification for many questions and contradictions that I have encountered through mainstream Christianity and traditional interpretations of the Bible. Mother Maryesah Karelon's excellent presentation and Questions For The Heart and Mind have combined material I had not previously been exposed to with thought provoking questions that challenged my collective Christian beliefs. There have always been questions, but worshiping in the "traditional" religious doctrines and dogma, always left me with more questions than answers. I am not saying this course answered all of my questions although a number of them were, but it has given me insight to a great many biblical issues and grist for thought in others.
The very first set of questions I began to seriously re-think the scriptures as they had always been presented to me. First and foremost, was how I used them in daily life. I realized that I have always been drawn to the love and compassionate teachings of Jesus and evolved to a point where trying to develop a Christ consciousness is the outcome I have been searching for as opposed to simply being a "good Christian" as the various and confusing array of Christian denominations have presented the gospel. From this point, I began to feel validation for many of my hidden beliefs such as the absence of feminine influence and the purpose of the Old Testament. By this I mean that although women have been mentioned throughout the Bible, they never held a place in the hierarchical leadership of Christianity, which I will address later in this essay. Relative to the Old Testament, there are too many mythical accounts of both creation and the direct communication of God in many of the stories. For example, at the time the Ten Commandments were presented to the Jewish people, Moses was in need of a set of laws to guide and socially control a massive population that had no real cohesive set of guidelines. I certainly cannot confirm or deny that God spoke directly to Moses and gave the Ten Commandments to him, but common sense would dictate that these commandments must necessarily form the corner stone of a cohesive society. Otherwise, anarchy would develop as exemplified by the account of what Moses saw when he came down with the original tablets.
The lessons that had the greatest single impact on me during this course were those pertaining to Mary Magdalene, the Gnostic gospels, and the obvious absence of the sacred feminine from the Bible. Mother Maryesah Karelon provides excellent evidence of how reference to the sacred feminine was purposely omitted from the Bible as well as an intelligent and provocative case for how both the masculine and feminine are combined in the one God. I also found it a relief to reflect upon the possibility that Mary Magdalene represented the sacred feminine beside Jesus who was the masculine deity. Even without the evidence presented in this course, I have always had a feeling that the love Jesus held for Mary Magdalene was the kind of love reserved for the dearest of disciples. I so not accept any theory that they were married nor had a child together, but I am very comfortable with the presentation that she was the dearest and closest disciple of Jesus. This course also validated that at some point, she was purposely vilified as a prostitute just as normal bodily functions of women that men do not have were deemed unclean and unworthy. I now have a foundation from which to carry these beliefs forward in my continued studies.
This course has given me insight into Jesus as a teacher who presents a pattern for conducting our lives and how to treat one another. Stripped of denominational dogma, Jesus' message is more of finding a path that incorporates his teachings rather than a literal road map that must be followed precisely lest we risk eternal damnation . Combining the lessons in this course with the ones presented in the Comparative Religion course, I can clearly visualize a variety of paths, including reincarnation of the Spirit. The oneness of Spirit and the God within has allowed further evolution in the quest to find this within myself. The meditative exercises have been helpful in the development of a consciousness of this path and a practice of short and continual meditations throughout my day. It has elevated my consciousness toward finding my spiritual call and being aware of things and events that give clues to this quest. While I believe this is a life long quest, each step is a positive evolution toward releasing my spirit from the confines of ego, which may arguably be the most difficult part of the journey.
As a former college professor, I have often based the effectiveness of a course and its teacher on the quality of ongoing thought it provokes. This course and Mother Maryesah Karelon both fit this criterion. I am grateful that I had the blessing of taking this course and highly recommend it to others.

by Rev. Michael Babb


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Monday, December 08, 2008

Wiccan Studies

On the Wheel

After 17 years as a practicing Wiccan, it might seem strange to suddenly decide to take a class about my chosen path. It's a time of great change in my life. My children are both adults, my parents are beginning to have serious health problems, and my work is threatened by our country's economic crisis.  On my next birthday, I will be 40.

As a Wiccan, I understand the cycles of our lives are part of the same cycle that turns the Wheel of the Year. As each season brings forth both blessings and challenges, it is also true for each new phase of our lives. I knew this year would be hard for me, for so many reasons. So, I began to search for ways to support the Wiccan part of myself.

The class I have taken at Universal Life Church has helped me move closer to a deeper understanding of my path, and myself. Taking this class has helped me move a little further out of the broom closet at work. I'm feeling more comfortable in my own skin while in the work environment and I have better tools to help my family and others with their needs.
I plan to move forward as before. I will walk the path I have chosen, but it always helps to hear a new perspective. This class has helped to open me again to the idea of connecting with the Pagan and Wiccan communities. I've joined several online sites, and I'm keeping my eyes open for opportunities in my daily life.

As a Wiccan, I am well acquainted with the concept of connections. We are all connected to each other. What action one takes, or does not take has an impact on others. When any person gains knowledge, it is likely to impact those closest to that person. When a spiritual person gains knowledge, it is likely that a larger part of the world may benefit. My class from Universal Life Church will support me on a path that will help others, and that is the blessing that I take away with me.

Rev. Melissa Hayes


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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Spirit Quest

Reverend Stephen J. LaJoice

Spirit Quest is a program that allows you to take a good look at yourself.  It provides tools to help overcome obstacles for a more fulfilling life.

I was raised Roman Catholic.  I was educated in the Catholic School.  I ate, slept and lived Catholicism until I left home at 18. 

The question I ask myself is "did it make me a better person?"  In many ways it did and in some ways it did not.  While I have a solid foundation of Christian upbringing through a Catholic education I came to understand the vulnerability of living ones life within the strict confines of a structured religion.  I do have a deep acceptance of God and an understanding of the complexity of how everything in life in connected. I am generous and compassionate. I am also stuck with the "guilt "complex that needs constant work.   

I learned early in my life that religion and religious practices are molded to fit the needs and causes of man.  As man changes so does religion.  In some cases religion has a tendency to divide, promote intolerance and narrow ones focus away from the world.

In my high school years I was introduced to the art of Judo and the study of eastern spiritual philosophy.  I found practices and beliefs that helped to cultivate the spiritual aspects of life.  I learned how one understands oneself through meditation and self-reflection, how to achieve inner peace and become more tolerant and understanding of others.

I came to understand that spiritualism is a way of living.  It is traveling through life in a natural and harmonious way.  I came to understand that all things are connected, how one tug on the web of life can be felt by all creatures.  I came to understand that animals feel just as humans do. I came to understand how my actions affect others.  Say a cross word to your spouse or a friend and they feel it.  Say a cross word to your dog and the reaction is the same.  Spiritual understanding enhances ones ability to understand ones self, get along with others and to greater experience the moment.

In my early 20's I came across a poster of the Deserata written in 1692.  Its advice has been my guide for a lifetime and a mainstay for living spiritually.  It starts "Go placidly in the noise and the haste and remember what peace there may be in silence".  In today's busy world of dead lines and pressure silence is the pathway to mediation.

God has made us in his image and likeness and I believe we were put on this earth to enjoy ourselves and to nurture all we come in contact with.  A life of conflict and desperation was not in Gods design for us.  Moments of quiet reflection are needed to recharge our battery.

In the world today we are continually challenged.  Our day can be filled with stress, of the unexpected and the expected.  We balance our lives against the wants and needs of others as well as what we expect of ourselves……and there are moments when we began to feel enough is enough.

Within ourselves each of us has the desire and the need to feel inner peace.  It is the time when we need to sit back, take a deep breath, close our eyes and just let go.  Many of us choose our own mediums, such as mediation, yoga or music.  However, we choose to get there the ultimate reward is worth it.

As a young man I was plagued with migraine headaches.  At that time doctors knew very little about curing them.  The method was a strong dose of pain killers and rest.  I realized if I was to rid myself of them I would have to do it myself.  I found the way through deep meditation, relaxation and biofeedback.  I was finally able to beat the headaches back and have not suffered for many years.

As I struggled with my cure I found myself in a quiet place close to God and away from the outside world.  It was there that I met myself and began to understand the working of me.  I was able to begin to shed the skin of negative thoughts and behaviors.  I was able to develop tolerance and have that greater understanding of those around me.

Living is a full time job.  It can and does wear you down, if you let it.  If you seek to find that quiet place you will truly find the heart of peace, you will find you.

Spirit Quest has been a restatement and reminder of those precepts I learned and practiced throughout my life.  It has been an enjoyable experience.


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

As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site 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 since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

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Master of Shamanism
Rev. Justin Oles
After completion of this course I can honestly say that there were a lot of things I didn't know about shamanism. I also discovered that there a lot of misconceptions. I'm surprised to see how little the general populous knows and how many of the old 18th century misconceptions are still seen.I have not seen the mixing of the old shamanistic practices with the general medical field although I know that a lot of nurses are starting to use things like reiki in their practice. It was nice to see in the various discourses that professionals in the field are starting to look at some of the "old world"techniques for treating disease. The studies I have read and many of the studies cited in the articles speak of the generalized effects of the treatments. While many shamanistic techniques have shown promise for treatment of symptoms none have shown cures. However, if the treatment can make a persons life better the treatment is helpful regardless of scientific proof of its effectiveness.An interesting point brought up several times throughout the discourse was the similarities among shamans throughout the world. Even though shamans were separated by thousands of miles many of them shared similar techniques, belief sand methods of attaining their desired spirit flight (altered states of consciousness). I was surprised to see that some of the common techniques used by people to "get high" are also techniques, used much more carefully, but shaman to attain the altered states of consciousness needed for their practice.I know for one that it explains effects I have felt while drinking various thissuch as tequila and absinth. I knew that wormwood (the basis of absinth was a hallucinogen) but I didn't realize that agave (the basis of tequila) was also one. That explains largely why tequila effects people the way is does.Lastly, I liked the way the author wrote or compiled the discourses. There were several time where he offered both sides of the argument allowing the student or reader to form their own opinion. My only recommendation, and this goes for several courses, is that they be proof read before posting. I found several cases where parts of the course were missing or unreadable due to poor reproduction of articles or poor coding on the part of web builder.

By Rev. Justin M. Oles
Ordination with 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 Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.
Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Christian Studies

In simplest terms, the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, describe the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. But in a more deeper sense they provide an allegory of human life and how we should live or lives by the principles of God's law and through the teachings of our savior, Jesus Christ. Before the written Gospels, the stories of Jesus were transmitted orally. They were eventually written down to preserve the accounts of his words and deeds for future generations, in order to strengthen the faith of specific Christian communities, to help better understand the meaning of Jesus' ministry, and to assist in bringing the good news (the meaning of "Gospel") to unbelievers. The first three Gospels are considered the "Synoptics", meaning they share the same or common view.

The Gospel of Matthew, while probably not written first, according to most biblical scholars, appears first due to his connection to the Old testament. Matthew emphasizes the links between Jesus' ministry and the Old Testament. In terms of geneology, Matthew directly connects Jesus with Abraham and David, which would indicate that he is demonstrating the relevance of Jesus to Jews. One of Matthew's major themes is the "Kingdom of Heaven" and emphasizes Jesus' teachings about what it means to be a citizen of that kingdom.
The first four chapters of Matthews Gospel describes how Jesus' (Messiah) kingdom is prepared. He provides accounts of Jesus' birth; his early life life including the escape from Egypt and his return to Nazareth; his baptism by John the Baptist; and his overcoming of temptation in the desert by the devil.
In chapters four to sixteen Matthew descriptively identifies many teachings and miracles of Jesus. These essentially announce the kingdom and provide the principles by which Christians should lead their lives. The teachings gives us insights on what faith truly means and what is possible when we turn to God.
In chapters sixteen through 20, Matthew describes Jesus' preparation of the disciples for the coming kingdom. Jesus provides his teachings to them in the form of parables so that they may form a deeper understanding of the moral principles he is attemtping to convey unto them. Jesus also predicts his own betrayal and death.

In his last eight chapters, 21-28, Matthew describes how Jesus offers his kingdom to all believers through his rejection, crucifixion, and resurrection (the ultimate triumph). Matthew's gospel terminates with his description of The Great Commission;
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him: but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."      Matthew 28:16-20
The Gospel of Mark is commonly viewed as the "memoirs" of the apostle Peter, and is a more condensed version of Matthew. It should be of note that some biblical scholars believe that Mark was a key source for Matthew and Luke. Unlike Matthew, Mark does not provide accounts of Jesus' birth and early life, but rather begins immediately with Jesus' entry into public life and his ministry.
Mark does not mention Jewish laws or covenants as found found in the Old Testament, and alluded to by Matthew. He elevates Jesus as the servant of God for all people. Mark emphasizes that there is good news in Jesus Christ and refers to him as the Son of God and the Son of Man.
Mark protrayed Jesus as the suffering servant who came to die, and as the Saviour for the entire world. During the time of Mark's writings the Roman Empire, as the dominant world power, had begun to harshly persecute Christians. It is believed that Mark wanted to encourage these suffering believers.
In the first thirteen chapters of Mark's gospel he introduces the great Servant and provides accounts of the teachings and miracles of his ministry. While Mark does not provide the depth of description as found in the other gospels, he provides succinct highlights of Jesus' teachings.
In chapters fourteen to twenty Mark describes the sacrificial death and resurrection of the great Servant. Fully forty percent of Marks gospel focuses on the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Clearly demonstrating Mark's perception of Jesus as the suffering servant who ultimately rises to the right hand of God. This is can be witnessed by his last entry;
After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.  Mark 16:19-20
Of the first three gospels, the Gospel of Luke provides us with the widest variety of Jesus' teachings in the form of parables and events from the life of Jesus. Luke also provides his personal perspective of these events. Additionally, Luke emphasizes Jesus' focus on the poor and suffering. Essentially, Luke is the longest and most comprehensive gospel.
In chapters one to three, Luke describes the birth, baptism, and early life of Jesus. However he provides a deeper breadth of description and perspective than does Matthew. For example, he goes into great detail of the infant Jesus' presentation in the temple, and the boy Jesus staying behind in the temple when Mary and Joseph were returning home:
After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."
"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he was saying to them.  Luke 2:46-50
In chapters four to twenty-one Luke, like Matthew and Mark, gives accounts of Jesus' activities and ministry. He does so in a similar manner by describing parables and miracles, but does so in a more explicative fashion, thus providing us with a deeper perspective of the accounts.
In Luke's last chapters, twenty-two to twenty-four, he eloquently describes Jesus' last days on earth beginning with Judas' agreement to betray Jesus and ending with Jesus' ascension to heaven;
When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.  Luke 24:50-53
The Gospel of John is quite different from the Synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. During a time when people worshiped different Gods, John reveals that there is only one faith that worships a personal God who has sacrificial love. John's story identifies this God in the person of Jesus Christ. John explains the goal of his gospel very succinctly;
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.  John 20:31
John captures our attention from the very beginning, demonstrating how something very simple can also be extremely profound;
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  John 1:1-2
John's gospel is distinguished from the other gospels by extensive looks at several characters; including Lazarus, Mary, and Martha; long speeches provided by Jesus; and lengthy conversations such as Jesus' discussion with Nicodemus, teaching at the last supper, and Jesus' interaction with Peter at the Sea of Galilee.
In chapter one, as previously alluded to, John gives a detailed explanation of the "Word".
In chapters two to twelve he provides clear accounts of jesus' public ministry including miraculous signs, the woman at the well, and triumphal entry into Jerusalem. 
Chapters thirteen to seventeen focus on Jesus' private ministry, specifically his teachings with the disciples during the last week before his death.
Chapters eighteen to twenty describes Jesus' public trial, execution, and resurrection. Some argue that this is an evangelical hallmark as it clearly illustrates God's sacrificial love for mankind and forms the foundation of faith that Jesus Christ gave his life freely that so that all who believe in him shall also have everlasting life in the kingdom of heaven.
The final entry in John reflects the writer's reverence for Jesus;
Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. 
                                                                                                                                                              &nbs p;                                                                          John 21:25
In summation, I would like to use an excerpt written by Michael Redding in his A Survey of the New Testament, 2006:
"That we have records of the history of important people - great men and women, political, military, and religious figures - does not surprise us. That we have many records of the life of Jesus of Nazareth should be expected from the ripples that have kept moving through history since he walked on the Sea of Galilee. What may surprise us is that we have four linked-together accounts believed to be authoritative."
The four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John introduce and form the foundation for the New Testament. The New Testament is the basis which guides the principles of Christianity, and more importantly provides innumerable lessons by which to live our lives and spread the Word of Jesus.
Rev. Ron Baams


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

As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site 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.

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