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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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Course in Miracles

"Becoming the Channel for the Miracle Maker"

A Final Essay for the Doctor of Metaphysics Course

By Daniel L. Moore

            In the beginning, God created the first couple to reflect God's glory.  The instructor, guided by "The Course of Miracles," believes that sin came about because the Son of God forgot to laugh.  I differ as I am guided by the Holy Scriptures which teaches that sin began in the heart of Lucifer (aka, Satan, the Great Red Dragon, the serpent) who rebelled against God and later came to deceive and destroy humanity.
            That said, I do believe in many of the principles found in the course that help a person to go back to the "original design" of God – to reflect Divine Glory.  It does require a change of thinking for the Christian.  The Apostle Paul often taught the churches that they were to "put off the old man," that is the old way of living in fear, guilt and shame.  They were then encouraged to put on the "new man" which is the character and conduct of a follower of Christ.  It is a new way of life that is grounded in love and fueled by the Holy Spirit.
            In becoming a channel for the "Miracle Maker" (God by way of the Holy Spirit working in each Christian), meditation is a good tool.  From the book of Psalms the reader is instructed:  "Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah" (Psalms 4:4 NKJV).  This puts the focus off of self and then upon God.  This allows one to gain closeness to the Divine and seek out God in fellowship.  In this process, we learn to let go of selfish desires and replace them with divine desires.  In this time of prayer we can grow more in love with God and God's creation.  Note the Apostle Paul wrote about proper desire:
            "And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God" (Philippians 1:9-11 NASB).
            We are not created to be aimless robots.   We are created for purpose and thus we should pursue lives of purpose.  Purpose gives direction.  It also requires intentionality.  If I believe my purpose is to create music that pleases others, then I cannot just sit around wishing.  I need to practice and practice and practice.  I need to set aside all distractions and focus.  This requires attention.  A master mechanic becomes one because he or she pays attention – to the big picture and to the small details.  The grandeur of majestic buildings, the paintings that catch life with unique expressions, the song with that tune we cannot shake, and the modern gadgets all around us are the results of the wonderful alchemy of purpose, intention, and attention blending together.
            God had a vision when God created the universe.  As a reflection of Divine glory, we are to be visionary.  This means to look forward.  The past can be a trap if we allow past mistakes to bury ourselves in guilt.  Learn the lessons but forgive the mistakes and sins.  Move one! 
            Channels for God to work miracles through do not work alone.  We are "lone rangers" but a body connected to the Head – Jesus Christ.  Help is offered, should be requested, and to be taken.  Help can come from a friend, a co-worker, a family member, a stranger, and the Holy Spirit.  To be created in the image of the Triune God, a community of Three Persons, is to be created into a community of God's family.  Our greatest help is God.  We sometimes don't like the answers given – but who truly knows best?  God. 
            Miracles can occur when we allow God to work.  This requires following God's instructions.  I met an evangelist who served as a pastor to "shantytown" in lower Mississippi.  His congregation never grew above one hundred.  He did many baptisms a year.  He would go visiting the people and often would ask those living in the shanties, "Do you want to see miracles in your life?"   He would invite them to a Bible study.  He told me, "And they saw miracles.  When they quit smoking and drinking alcohol, they had a miracle – they had money to pay the rent and electric bill.  When they quit doing drugs – another miracle as they could buy groceries!  When they cleaned up and applied for jobs – a miracle!  They were hired.  When they saved money – a miracle!  They were able to buy something without stealing from others.  We saw miracles all the time!"

            The miracles are there.  We just need to adjust ourselves to be the channels for God's blessings, pray for help, become more purposeful, and stand back to watch – another miracle!


To ordain yourself with the Universal Life Church, for free, for life, right now, click on the Free Online Ordination link.

Rev. Long created the ULC seminary site to help ministers learn and grow their ministries. The Seminary offers a huge catalog of materials for ministers of the Universal Life Church

Spiritual Awareness

Rev Don Eck

I have never been one to be able to relax and meditate without my mind wondering off on some event that took place during the day or the day before.  From the Spirit Quest to the Awareness class I have been able to actually finally after years meditate without letting myself be distracted.

By following the outline and lessons in these two classes I have been able to actual begin to become aware of things in my past and present life and how all these events and people have shaped me into the being that I am today.

I am now able to not only feel the energy that the Universe provides us but absorb that energy and gain a positive approach to life in all relationships at home and in business.

In the lesson on Our Need for Energy studying the "Parent", "Child" and "Adult" ego reaffirmed and brought to mind the things I learned years ago in college.  This lesson has helped me to become conscious of what's not working and I have been able to make changes in my actions to some of these things.  I am still working on some actions but this lesson was real to me and I will continue to work on myself in this area.

From this lesson on it was read, do the assignments, read, do the assignments and read, do the assignments.  I have had people that I work with tell me that I have changed in the last few months.  They say I am more relaxed and actually giving out lots of positive energy in the workplace. 

Thank you for these great courses. Lives do change  if one follows the lessons as assigned in each lesson.

Rev. Don Eck


To ordain yourself with the Universal Life Church, for free, for life, right now, click on the Free Online Ordination link.

Rev. Long created the ULC seminary site to help ministers learn and grow their ministries. The Seminary offers a huge catalog of materials for ministers of the Universal Life Church

Friday, September 25, 2009

Master of Religion

Separate Church and state is the general message I'm getting from this lesson. Let us take a look at this throughout the years and discover the many times that Church and state have been acclimated together.  Jesus Himself said "Render unto Cesar that which is Cesar's, render unto God My Father that which is his."  He was saying in my mind that there will always be a Governing factor over mankind weather in a schoolyard "cowboys and Indians" playing or a countrywide lead by a Governing body.  Someone will be "elected" to be the leader of the group even if very impromptu and unofficial.  However no matter what the Governing body make certain to pay your respects to this particular body but make time for God as you can and keep Him in a special place in your mind.

Throughout the years many differing forces have tried to place either too much emphasis on a "Goodly" presence or tried to eradicate said images from monies, Pledges, club slogans etc. There will always be an influence of a religious presence within our times I believe and we should know how to keep them properly separate in our own ways each one.

The course itself has given me a vast knowledge of many considerations of Head and Heart.  Am I now truly a "Master Of Religion?"  I believe that now I have a better handle on a lot of "The Big Questions" that folks ask about some issues in their own quests.

I feel this course covered a wide area of Biblical and Worldly subjects and should be kept as a major part of the curriculum to obtain ones Graduation certificate.  This teaches one to be able to read, write and study better with the resources given as well as have opinions from fellow Seminary students and fellow forum posters to take home with them so they can broaden their own knowledge base as well as see another viewpoint.

I truly hope that as I continue on in the courses I can become a stronger force and gain the knowledge it takes to make me a better person all around.  I truly say unto you as ever to please continue to Take Care and Be Well and that all your days shall be filled with nothing but Grace, Peace, and Love.

Pastor Leo Merchant


To ordain yourself with the Universal Life Church, for free, for life, right now, click on the Free Online Ordination link.

Rev. Long created the ULC seminary site to help ministers learn and grow their ministries. The Seminary offers a huge catalog of materials for ministers of the Universal Life Church

Religious Philosophy

by Rev. JoAnna Duguay
The entire time reading each chapter, I always came back to the same question: Can religion really be a "Religious Philosophy."  Philosophy is about critical thinking and I do not believe religion, in any form, is critical thinking. Religion, after-all, is a belief in something higher than yourself based on faith and faith alone, with no science or evidence what-so-ever. It's a feeling! I am not doubting faith, it's a very powerful tool and has saved countless lives and has transformed people from "nothing" to "Something" in the eyes of God. But what about it makes it Philosophical? Can you really debate with your Nazarene friend why you as a Baptist believe "once saved always saved" is God's way and the Nazarene belief of "you can loose your salvation," is the wrong way? Philosophy is about no right or wrong.  Religion is about one and only one faith being right, but which one is right? Is it even possible for one belief system to be the only way? Chapter 23 deals with Religion and Science and whether or not they can ever fit together. While Religion today is certainly trying to incorporate bits of Science in to their belief in God, I doubt it will ever be able to merge Science completely because every form of Religion out there has faith at it's core. You can't prove that faith in God means God exist. Nor can you prove with Science that God does not exist. There will always be some element of "unknown" in the Scientific research.  
In Chapter 3 the topic of organized religions was discussed and made me realized just how far we have changed the definition of "religion" and just what belief is all about. The fact that since everyone does not believe 100% like their neighbor means we have over six billion different beliefs systems. This could make you feel either encouraged or disheartened. Encouraged because we are all unique in our beliefs or you can believe, as I do, this is discouraging. Mostly because each or us tends to think "our way" is the right way. Mormons believe their religion is the only way, Christians believe their way is the only way, and then you have Islam, Buddhism, Taoist, etc. All truly, emphatically believe their way is the only way.  Humanity has this desperate need to belong to something and will look for ways to join some religion, organization or whatever it is that closely matches their own belief system.   
One of the chapters talked about the future of Religion. This is such a great question especially in today's economic down turn. What I have found amazing is how, today, religious leaders or political leaders who are Christians can change their moral stance on an issue simply because of the economy. Take Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now he believes it's ok to legalize marijuana because it will bring money in to his devastated California economy. A few years ago, it was morally wrong. Just who are the real believers anyway?  There was article in the Orlando Sentinel a few weeks back about the Churches that are growing are the one's NOT talking about sin, hell and the apocalypse. The feel good kind of Religion is what is selling now.
God is either jumping up and down now because we are no longer judging our brothers and sisters, or he is hanging His head in shame because we have walked so so far away from Him.  
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Christian Studies

A Light Overview Of the Beginning of The Book Of John

Rev. Pablo (Eric) Sanchez

The Gospel According To John, the last of the four gospels, is full of the rich history of a man named John the Baptist, of the origin of the Apostles, and many of the miracles of Jesus.

          The telling begins with an explanation of the Word, and "the light of the world", where John states "life was the light"… that nothing happened or began without it. John tells of the man, also named John, who was a witness of the light, and came to testify-- to establish faith among the people. He was questioned by the Jewish Pharisaic Priests, who were sent to identify him, where he stated that he was not Elijah, but that was the "voice crying from the wilderness", imploring others to straighten the way for the coming of the Lord.

Soon after, the arrival of Jesus the messiah allowed John to herald the arrival of the Son of God. Soon afterward, he finds among the followers Simon and Phillip. They then join Him in His journey, along with Nathaniel. Shortly afterward, He comes across a wedding in Cana, where He produces the first of miracles among His new followers by turning water into wine. During the Passover, while with His mother, and family, He over turned the moneychangers in the temple, admonishing them not to turn His Father's House into a house of merchandise. He said "destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." He was not only referring to the temple, but of Himself, and his soon to come sacrifice for humanity. He preached and spoke with many, including the Pharisee Nicodemus, whom He told that "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whomever believes in Him will have everlasting life." He then continued to Judea, and continued baptizing many, and preaching the word of His Father.

John, while baptizing in Enon, rose into dispute among his students. It was there that he said "no one on earth can receive a single thing beyond what is given them from the sky."  He further testified as to the reality of Jesus.

The Messiah performed many more miracles and wonders on his journey. The Gospel is rich with the history of Jesus and John. It is a necessary read upon your own journey into the light of God's word and promises to His believers. I found it to be very enlightening. I would suggest that others who give it a read will do the same, and will strengthen their belief in our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.

Rev. Eric Pablo Sanchez 
Christian Studies


To ordain yourself with the Universal Life Church, for free, for life, right now, click on the Free Online Ordination link.

Rev. Long created the ULC seminary site to help ministers learn and grow their ministries. The Seminary offers a huge catalog of materials for ministers of the Universal Life Church

Christian Studies

As I read the book, The Unvarnished Gospels, I compared what was contained within; to what I was taught to me by Thomas directly (some call him Saint Thomas ). Before I continue, I should probably explain. 
It was in 2006, when I was first attuned to Reiki. Before my first attunement, my Reiki teacher explained that once we are attuned to Reiki, our healing angel would make themselves known to us. Upon my first attunement, I suddenly began hearing the name Thomas over and over in my head. I asked my Reiki teacher about it, and she said that is how angels reinforce themselves- by repetition. While driving home that night, I began to hear, "Thomas from the Bible" over and over; I was confused, because I didn't recall a Thomas gospel in the Bible. When I got home, I opened my Bible and searched the index, but found no reference to Thomas; I decided I would search the internet later. I made dinner and sat down in front of the tv, when I turned it on, the History channel came up. Then the announcer said, "Coming up next on Banned from the Bible, the Gospel of Thomas." As you can imagine, I felt chills run through me and probably turned about five shades of white. 
Thomas was only with me a short time, approximately a month. During that time he opened me up to all sorts of teachings, but most importantly, the true teachings of Jesus; I believe that was his reason for being with me. For most of my life, I had a very negative view of Jesus, feeling that because of him, so much pain and death were wrought upon this world. Yet, through Thomas, I was exposed to the true teachings; I was shown in a mental, emotional and spiritual manner. This occurred while I was at work one day, since there is no 'time' within spirit; it took less than a few minutes. Afterward, tears began to flow down my face and would not stop. I had to retreat to the bathroom for several minutes, because I was so consumed with the power of what I had just experienced. Not only because the event itself was so powerful, but also because I realized how wrong I had been about Jesus. HE wasn't the one to blame for the atrocities carried out in his name, or the religion that sprang up in his name; it was ignorance and human ego that was to blame.
From that point forward, I felt a stronger connection to Jesus, and have been very grateful to Thomas for sharing his knowledge and wisdom with me. When Thomas left, I received a new healing angel, and I knew then that Thomas had only come to show me the truth of Jesus and help me to awaken myself to higher levels of understanding.
What I learned through reading the four gospels, even with the original Greek translation, is that all of them are mostly inaccurate about his teachings. I do not come from any religious background, so I believe that I can remain fairly impartial when examining religious teachings. I do not hold any particular scripture sacred, yet, I also do not believe that any religion or teachings are wrong. In all of my studies, I have found some Truth within each of the numerous religions around the world. I also know that every person is incarnated here and reincarnated numerous times, in order for their soul to learn, grow and evolve, and within that framework, people can only grasp the ideas and concepts that they are ready for.

In regards to the four gospels, it was clear from my viewpoint, having been exposed to Jesus' true intentions through Thomas, that none of the four gospel writers understood what Jesus was teaching. All of them appeared to exhibit Jewish foundational beliefs, and tried to explain Jesus through those precepts, instead of realizing that Jesus, while raised Jewish, was speaking about something clearly different from traditional Jewish teachings. Remember, Jews were taught about the Old Testament "wrathful and vengeful god that should be feared and worshiped" while Jesus taught about a radically different form of god. It should be of no surprise that most people, especially traditional Jews of that time, would not have understood this radical departure. The only way that many could understand, was by interweaving this new concept, within the old belief system; hence the reason each gospel author interpreted things in their own way.

Additionally clear, is that by the time John was written, the author(s) were clearly writing to solidify the new Jesus "religion". The lessons began to sound more like they came from an evangelical preacher, than from a humble enlightened carpenter who was teaching his wisdom to the masses in order to help build a better, more loving world.

I am sure there are people who will take exception to my essay based upon my connection to Thomas; however, I am not one to doubt my own personal experiences.

Through Thomas, I learned that Jesus was just an enlightened human man with human flaws just like everyone else. Jesus was teaching about the God within, and how by finding this pure, loving light within each of us; we could truly transform the world. He was both a leader and a teacher; willing to risk everything for what he felt compelled to share with the world.

In the end, he sacrificed himself to fulfill the prophecies, believing that this would bring about a revolution of human thinking and behavior, but what came instead was the complete opposite of his true intentions. Yet, over two-thousand years later, finally his true teachings are being realized, as many souls have finally evolved enough to comprehend the same understanding that Jesus had taught back then.

People are realizing that God does not live outside of us. God is not some deity living worlds apart. God is not hiding in another dimension, in the sky, or in a place called heaven. God does not judge, nor does God favor. God doesn't grant us wishes, nor does God answer prayers. God is apart of everything, as we are each a part of everything. God is within, because we are all an interconnected individualizations of God.

When Jesus said, "My God, your God, my Father, your Father" he was telling us that we are ALL children of God. There is nowhere that God is not. So seek God not outside of yourself, but learn to find and connect to the Divinity within. Once there, realize that you become your thoughts and your beliefs. It is not God, is it not fate, it is you that is in control of you. These are the Truths that I have awakened to in this lifetime.
With Blessings.
Rev. Bradley

"Those who are here to teach, should teach; Those who are here to live, should learn; Those with ears, should hear!"

Rev. Bradley


To ordain yourself with the Universal Life Church, for free, for life, right now, click on the Free Online Ordination link.

Rev. Long created the ULC seminary site to help ministers learn and grow their ministries. The Seminary offers a huge catalog of materials for ministers of the Universal Life Church

Spirit Quest

Rev. Don Eck

When I started this course I thought wow 30 weeks is a long time, but as each week passed I kept looking forward to the next lesson with excitement.  This has been a course that will be with me for years to come.  Thank you, Amy for putting together such a valuable course.

I found Lesson 3 Grounding & Center of the Head to be a little slow for me.  But with practice I found that this tool works anytime and anywhere.  I drive 47 miles to work each day and I would practice grounding myself as I drove the highway.  Soon I was finding that I could ground myself anytime I wanted to, releasing negative energy and pulling positive energy from the center of the earth. What energy I learned to pull from the earth.

I would practice bringing up a rose for hours, blowing them up and making a new one.  I have learned how to remove negative energy from around me and replace it with a big gold sun.  It has really helped me to deal with some very negative things going on in my life and I am sure this will be one of the most valuable tools that I will practice for the rest of my life.

Thank you for lesson 12 – Chakras.  I was not familiar with this topic at all.  I must have spent days on reading and practicing cleaning out my major chakras. 

The chapters on Affirmations and Asking the Right Questions were very enlightening.  I had forgotten how important affirmations were.  When I had my own Insurance business years ago I had learned about affirmations and over the years I had let them go.  Thank you for reminding me how important affirmations are.

I found the lessons on how the spirit communicates through music, numbers and color very interesting and informative.

The most difficult lesson for me was reincarnation.  I don't believe in reincarnation.  In order to get through this lesson I finally did what you said in the beginning and just worked off the assumption that reincarnation happens and then I was able to come to some understanding with the lesson.

In closing this paper I would just like to say again, thank you, Amy for putting together such a great course.


To ordain yourself with the Universal Life Church, for free, for life, right now, click on the Free Online Ordination link.

Rev. Long created the ULC seminary site to help ministers learn and grow their ministries. The Seminary offers a huge catalog of materials for ministers of the Universal Life Church

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


 Master of Shamanism program  Written by Bishop Pat 

What I have learned from this program

    My people go way back to the Tennessee Native American Cherokee Wolf clan Indians. My Great Grandfather was the chief. His wife was a Shaman Medicine Woman. So I have always been curious and that's why I took this Master of Shaman program. 

    I have learned that there is a lot of discussion and opinion on what a shaman is. The word itself is rooted in the word šaman from the Tungus people in central Asia. The shaman, is a mystical, priestly, and political figure emerging during the Upper Palaeolithic period and perhaps going back to Neanderthal times, can be described not only as a specialist in the human soul but also as a generalist whose sacred and social functions can cover an extraordinarily wide range of activities. Shamans are healers, seers, and visionaries who have mastered death. They are in communication with the world of gods and spirits. Their bodies can be left behind while they fly to unearthly realms. They are poets and singers. They dance and create works of art. They are not only spiritual leaders but also the judges and politicians, sacred and secular.

     They are familiar with cosmic as well as physical geography; they know the ways of plants and animals, and the elements. They are psychologists, entertainers, and food finders. Above all, however shamans are technicians of the sacred and masters of ecstasy. The ancients knew and experienced that there is an energy normally invisible, which connects all that exists, and they lived with the knowledge of this energy and how to use it. This concept of the inter-relationship and understanding that man is a part of nature, not separate to it. "What befalls the Earth befalls all the sons of the Earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself."

    Animism is the belief that everything has a soul or spirit, an anima in Latin, including animals, plants, rocks, mountains, rivers, and stars. Animists believe each anima is a powerful spirit that can help or hurt them and are to be worshiped or feared or in some way attended to. Animism is a primitive religion whose adherents have for thousands of years deified animals, stars, and idols of any kind, and practiced spiritism, witchcraft, divination and astrology. They use magic, spells, enchantments, superstitions, amulets, talismans, charms, or anything that they believe will help to protect them from the evil spirits and placate the good spirits that are found everywhere in everything.

    This course has helped me in my own spiritual path. Like the elements of animism are present in many false religions including Hinduism, Mormonism and all New Age cults. False religion always teaches in some way that the spirit within human beings is really God and the practices of the religion will help us to realize this and develop the god-spirit so that we, too, may be God. This is the same old lie Satan has been propagating since the garden of Eden when he tempted Adam and Eve by telling them "you shall be as God". 

    The Bible states unequivocally that there is one God and everything else, from the angels in heaven to the grains of sand on the beach, was created by Him. Any religion that teaches there is more than one god is teaching a lie. Before Me there was no god formed, and there will be none after Me and I am the Lord and there is no other; besides Me there is no god. The worship of false gods, who are really not gods at all, is a sin God especially hates because it robs Him of the glory that is rightfully His. A check of any Bible concordance on the subject of idolatry will show how many times God forbid the worship of false gods.

    In addition, the Bible strictly forbids the practices of the animists. A man or a woman who is a medium or a wizard shall be put to death; they shall be stoned with stones, their blood shall be upon them. Such practices are open doors for demons to enter into the lives and souls of people who are deceived by the lie that is animism. The Bible condemns those who practice such things in very strong terms: abominations to God, stone them to death, the fire shall burn them.

    As with all false religion, animism is simply another scheme of Satan, the father of lies. Yet many throughout the world are being deceived by the adversary, the devil, [who] walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

    Through this program I have learned much about shamans some good some bad. But over all I'm glad I took the study program It has been very informative.

Reverend Sharon Elain Sutton


To ordain yourself with the Universal Life Church, for free, for life, right now, click on the Free Online Ordination link.

Rev. Long created the ULC seminary site to help ministers learn and grow their ministries. The Seminary offers a huge catalog of materials for ministers of the Universal Life Church

Friday, September 04, 2009

Christian Studies

The Four Gospels Course  I was most comforted by the acts of faith. The most wonderful part of those acts was that each individual was made whole in some way. There was the ruler who believed that his daughter…who had just died…would live again if Jesus were to intervene. Jesus went to see the "dead" girl, took her hand, and she got up. (Mt. 9:18-25) Then there was the woman with a bleeding disorder. She believed that she would be healed if she could just touch Jesus' cloak. She managed to get close enough to Jesus so that she could touch his clothing. The woman was instantly healed of a medical condition that had plagued her for twelve long years.

(Mt. 9:20-22)

Jesus said, "…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Mt. 17: 20) As you know, Jesus spoke in parables or religious stories. He was not teaching us that we can literally move mountains. He was telling us that through faith we can move the obstacles that block our path. Without faith, we will not be able to see our way out of our trials and tribulations. We cannot move our mountains without faith. It doesn't require a lot. You simply need faith the size of a mustard seed. He was teaching us that faith is essential in our Christian life.

When you have a moment, go online and look up the words "mustard seed." You will be amazed at their minuscule size. You will then fully understand what Jesus requires of you.
There is also another aspect to the exercise of faith, and the subsequent healings that took place. In both cases, an effort was made to seek out Jesus. Each individual had the requisite faith; however, neither sat back and waited for a miracle! The ruler sought out Jesus in the crowd, and the woman fought the crowd to reach Him. Had the ruler stayed at home, his little girl would have been dead and buried. Had the woman stayed at home, she would have continued to bleed.

What does this mean for us? The bible teaches us that you must make an effort when you want something to happen in your life. When I was a little girl sitting in church I always heard, the Saints say, "You make one step and He'll make two. " Get up! Go and get what you need. Use your faith, pray, and ask God for what you need, and then claim it as yours! "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Mt. 7:7)

In summary, these are the steps you must take: (1) Pray and ask God to give you what you need; (2) Exercise your faith and claim that what you have asked for is yours; (3) Receive your blessings!

Just say this to yourself when life becomes difficult, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." (Php. 4:13)

May God bless each and every one of you in all of your endeavors.

Rev. D. Borum, J.D., D.D.


To ordain yourself with the Universal Life Church, for free, for life, right now, click on the Free Online Ordination link.

Rev. Long created the ULC seminary site to help ministers learn and grow their ministries. The Seminary offers a huge catalog of materials for ministers of the Universal Life Church

Thursday, September 03, 2009


Master of Gnosticism
Final Essay
Dennis W. Zerull

I would once again thank the ULC Seminary for offering this most informative course and Bishop Pat Schwab for his obviously long study and research to author this the Master of Gnosticism discourses. Bishop Schwab no doubt has spent many hours which equates to months and even years of study and devotion to the the history and linage of Gnostic works. He has brought to us a most enlightening and somewhat difficult study which at times can tire the mind with the unlimited possibilities of the Gnostic writings of past history and what the present Gnostics are practicing in order to find the ultimate truth.

I believe there is no doubt that there is some Gnosis or gnostic believe in most of today's modern religions. There also cannot be a question that most religions have some form mysticism in their respective doctrines  for which as the course describes began with designation for certain dualistic religious and philosophical perspectives that existed prior to Christianity and for the specific systems of belief characterized by these ideas, which emerged in the second century and later. Although the radical conclusions of some scholars regarding a highly developed pre-Christian Gnosticism have been discounted, I believe it does seem clear that there were many ideas, assumptions and perceptions about deity, reality and relationships of person to gods and the world that were incorporated into the gnostic sects from outside Hellenistic sources. The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi library are of course the most famous literary discoveries that have supported these ideas.

The classic view as this course points out, is of the heretical gnostic sects as distortions of Christianity by Hellenistic thought has much strength because it easily demonstrated how the gnostics could use the New Testament texts, bending them to their purposes as is demonstrated in 1 Cor. 3:1-4 where Paul chides the Corinthian Christians for being "people of the flesh" or carnal when they should be spiritual. This text could with ease be used as the foundation for supporting the Hellenistic idea of the superiority of certain persons in the Christian community.

This classic explanation does have and leaves some problems unsolved. Little doubt exists that there are ideas, attitudes and practices incorporated into many so called "gnostic heresies "that are found outside of the Greek thought and much earlier than the second century of the Christian era. In particular, the ultimate goal of the gnostics to return to the absolute deity beyond matter and to be in some sense absorbed into the deity belongs to near eastern mystical thought and not primarily to the Hellenistic world which dates pre-christian mystical thought.

Gnosticism however is important because of its emergence in schools of thought within the church in the early second century and soon established itself as a way of understanding Christianity in all of the church's principle centers. Of course the church was torn by what I must assume, heated debates over the issues which eventually led to alternative churches and belief systems to be viewed by the church as heretical and a threat not only to it's doctrine but also it's leaders. As many as opposed it there were such leaders as Irenaeus, Tertullian and Hippolytus who wrote volumes of text against it as is also pointed out in this course many times. Gnosticism is also important for interpreting certain features of the New Testament as they divided Christians into groups, usually the spiritual and the carnal. the spiritual Christians were in a special class or higher class than the ordinary Christians because they had received, as the elect of the good deity that allowed them to be redeemed and belonged to the heavenly world that was the true one. No wonder this resulted in some gnostics seeking to withdraw from the word in asceticism. Other gnostic systems took this as an opportunity to practice antinomianism or the belief that moral law does not apply and is not valid for a person or group. the claim of course was that spiritual Christians are not responsible for what they did and could not really sin because their fleshy existence was not part of God's plan. Thus they could act in any way they pleased.

I conclude that the gnostics thought faith was inferior to knowledge. The true sons of the absolute deity were saved through knowledge rather than faith. This was the feature of the various systems that gave the movements its designation. They were the gnostics, the knowers. Yet what this precise knowledge was it quite vague. It is more perception of one's own existence that solves life's mysteries for the gnostic than it was a body of doctrine. Ultimately it was self discovery each gnostic had and still has to experience.

I have mentioned this statement and lesson that I have learned before in other essay's that I have written but must emphasize it again. Among all the living creatures studied by modern scientists, only human beings can be said with absolute certainty to have been endowed with the ability to make deliberate choices about the directions of our lives and also to decide whether those choices will lead us to transitory happiness or into the realm of a lasting peace and well-being. It seems that we are wired for temporary happiness genetically but are also gifted with the ability to recognize within ourselves a more profound and lasting sense of confidence, peace and well-being. We also appear to stand alone in our ability to recognize the necessity to forge a bond between emotion and reason and an instinct to survive. And so we create a universe not only for ourselves but also for all creatures who feel pain, fear and suffering in which we are all somehow able to coexist with contentment and peace.

The universe already exists, even if we don't know it at the present time or even realize it. My belief is that only through resting mind can we recognize it and also realize that we are not our thoughts not our feelings and not our perceptions. Everything I have learned as a Buddhist and everything I have learned about modern science and studies in this seminary tells me that humans beings are more than just their bodies. Thoughts, feelings and perceptions are functions of the body and thus will at some point will pass as do all things. Ultimately happiness comes down to choosing between the discomfort of becoming aware of your mental afflictions and the discomfort of being ruled by them. When you see your own desire to be happy, you can't avoid seeing the same desire in others, and when you look clearly at your own fear, anger, or aversion you can't help but see that everyone around you feels the same fear, anger and aversion. 

Sometime before Buddha, Jesus and all of the great prophets dated before the Christian first century, someone had this gnosis. That person looked at his or hers mind and realized that all the imaginary differences between themselves and others automatically dissolved when they recognized the similarities to those around them. I believe this to be true. And if this statement is true than we all have some gnosis in us. Ultimately we return to the source from which we came. This source may be different in perception for each of us but all paths teach us compassion, love and tolerance. This may be the lesson that the Gnostics were trying to teach us and not one of collective ego to serve a selfish purpose.


To ordain yourself with the Universal Life Church, for free, for life, right now, click on the Free Online Ordination link.

Rev. Long created the ULC seminary site to help ministers learn and grow their ministries. The Seminary offers a huge catalog of materials for ministers of the Universal Life Church

Wiccan Studies

Wicca Final Paper:
MAGYCK...........WITCHCRAFT..........LARGE BARN FIRE, in the center of the forest........STRANGERS DANCING, around the fire..................AAAAAAAAAH, this brings forth thoughts of witches, evil spells, dead cats, HUMAN SACRIFICE!!!!!!
These are good, decent people, dancing and enjoying their uniqueness.  The fire celebrates life.  Their magyck, is simply the expression of their love and compassion for one another and humanity at large.  There are no evil spells or dead anything, life is sacred to them.  Everything is sacred to them.  An incidentally, they don't believe in Satan either, so no Devil Worship.   Kind of boring, in a happy sort of way.
These folks are members of Wicca.
"If it cause no harm, do what thou wilt".

That kind of sums it all up, really.  Wicca is a peaceful religion, that seeks the Divine in everything around us.  It is nature centered, and seeks to bring about a better understanding of the earth and the Divinity in nature.

I loved this course.  I was so taken up with it, that I found myself buying books on Wicca, because  I couldn't wait for the next week's lesson, to learn more.  I was so saddened at the treatment the Witches of the past had suffered.  The indignities, the tortures, the lies, the Burning Times.  I can't comprehend man's inhumanity, in the name of their God.  To use the "I AM" as your excuse to murder and destroy lives, just doesn't cut it for me.  And if someone out there, is saying, "but they thought they were doing the right thing"..........please.  That excuse has been beaten to death.  A person, any person, who owns a conscience, would question such an act.  I am very passionate about these things.  I feel God gave us a brain, and it is our responsibility to use it.  Saying you were poor or illiterate or afraid, is no excuse.   Many of the witches of the time, were the midwives, the healers, the teachers in their villages.  They were not flying around on broom sticks, raining down bolts of lighting on the innocent towns people.

Modern day members of Wicca, like their predecessors, live by a code of honor.  They believe in goodness.  They believe in love, instead of hatred.  They believe in caring for the less fortunate.  They believe in freedom.  The freedom to be themselves.  The freedom to worship the God/Goddess.  The freedom to be allowed to live and worship as they choose.
Wicca is now a recognized religion in the United States and our military men and women, are allowed to have Wicca services.  These are members of our human community and perhaps, it would be a good idea for our children to be taught the truth about Paganism and Wicca.
Peace, love, compassion, honor, care of nature and the environment,...........sounds good to me.

Thank you for opening my eyes to the truth about Wicca.  I, as many others, it is sad to say, did not know anything about this religion, except what you see portrayed in films, TV, and books.

People need to wake up and smell the barn fire!  The embers of life are burning and they wait for no one.  Get out there and read, read, read, and study, study, study.  So much is out there.
I am not sayings to turn your back on your church or your beliefs.  But for Heaven's sake don't stop there.  "If you are ignorant of the past, you are cursed to relive it."  What will you do if someday, it is you and your beliefs on the line?  Will you know enough to defend yourself and it?  What if your child is a member of Wicca?  Do you know what they believe?
Thank you again for this wonderful course.
May God bless all of you.

Rev. Nitza Luz Melgar, ULC Minister


To ordain yourself with the Universal Life Church, for free, for life, right now, click on the Free Online Ordination link.

Rev. Long created the ULC seminary site to help ministers learn and grow their ministries. The Seminary offers a huge catalog of materials for ministers of the Universal Life Church

Gospel of Thomas

Final Essay
Dennis W. Zerull

I must say that I am thrilled that the ULC Seminary has offered courses on Gnosticism and in this specific case the Gospel of Thomas. It is clear the author of this course Rev. Raymond Thompson is well read on the subject of the Gospel of Thomas and wrote this course with a great deal of passion. I greatly enjoyed his insightful humor when dealing with what can be a somewhat dry subject to those who are not as well read on this particular gospel. I very much looked forward to his discourse each week.

This particular work, the Gospel of Thomas, is significant for the study of church history even though these writings are not included in the canon. It gives a sample of the ideas, convictions and serves as a point of comparison with the writings contained in the canon of the New Testament. When we study what some religious scholars call "the Apocrypha" in which the Gospel of Thomas falls under, the term "apokruphos" of course derived from the Greek translation simply means, "hidden things". It is believed that the writers of the apocryphal or Gnostic writings attempted to correct what they viewed as deficiencies in the canonical accounts and to fill the gaps they believed existed.

These Gnostic Gospels were later considered heretical by the "Church", but became acceptable by a widespread and diverse religious movement with the roots of Greek philosophy and folk religion. However one can not ignore that the Gospel of Thomas according to some scholars is countered in advance by the canonical epistle of 1John, which emphasizes the gospel of Jesus Christ as the message of life, available for every person to experience. No doubt that some of the Gnostic writings were believed to be produced in an attempt to gain authority for their own particular views. No one knows for sure however, so I submit it is left up to the individual who studies the gospels to draw their own conclusions. This is best done with an open mind as to avoid egocentric debate.

I do have one comment on this course and it concerns discourse # 16 ; saying # 82. Jesus said, If you are near me you are near fire. If you are far from me you are cut from the kingdom." Rev. Thompson describes the last supper in which John, "the one that Jesus loved is seated on the couch with Jesus with his head resting on Jesus' breast". Rev. Thompson gives his opinion as " do you have to be hit over the head with a club to see these two men were lovers ? That Jesus not only excepted same sex love, but actively participated in it? ". I am assuming by Rev. Thompson's description that his opinion is one in which the men had intimate sexual relations.

 It is my humble opinion this is not only a broad assumption but one that is made without any merit what so ever. My argument is simply this. If Jesus was truly the Son of God and was the divine it would seem completely illogical for him to give himself up to indulgence in sensual pleasure because of his right action and lack of ego. Further more if Jesus was learned and knows the teachings of God, he would understand what is worthy of consideration and what is not worthy. It further would contradict his teaching in the 87 saying " Miserable is the body that depends upon a body". Assuming that Jesus was clearly conscious in his going and coming and clearly conscious of all the physical aspects of his earthly being and clearly conscious that he is divine source between God and mankind, the only conclusion that I can draw through logic and reasoning is that Jesus casted away lust and dwells with a heart free from lust; from lust he cleanses his heart. Therefore His heart becomes free from sensual passion, craving, detachment and eventually extinction. In this state He further is free from the vain thought of man and He reaches cessation of ignorance which is a misunderstanding of reality and achieves highest, holiest wisdom. No more fear and no more desires.

I hope that those who decide to take this course in the future will draw upon their own conclusions and share them with us. And like Jesus who taught openly to everyone, there is a difference in how people respond or understood his teachings. But as a  humble sentient being, I emphasize that everyone is called equally to holiness and can attain it if they wish. In each individuals life there are stages of spiritual evolution starting from the state of an ordinary being and moving toward a full enlightenment, whereas in the case of Jesus, we are referring to someone who is unique, who is the Son of God. So the process of stages does not apply. His consciousness is both beginning less and endless in the terms of its continuity. 

So if we closely examine the teachings of Jesus, it is reasonable to ascertain that everything in the cosmos came from God, is an emanation of God, and will return to God. Perhaps a transformation of matter back into its original source. What or who God is, is something that each of us must determine for ourselves through reason and analysis.

The important point is that in the context of one's own spiritual practice, faith derived from written or spoken form must be grounded in reason and understanding no matter who the author is.


To ordain yourself with the Universal Life Church, for free, for life, right now, click on the Free Online Ordination link.

Rev. Long created the ULC seminary site to help ministers learn and grow their ministries. The Seminary offers a huge catalog of materials for ministers of the Universal Life Church