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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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Four Gospels

The Four Gospels Course Essay
Carol Birdwell

This course came with a book with it which was sent by mail and titled The Unvarnished Gospels. It is a contemporary (2001) translation from the original Greek, by Andy Gaus. When I began to read this book, I could not stop. I read it straight through without thought of how it was to have been interwoven with the weekly lessons, AFTER I finished the lessons.

I started the course, and continued with the lessons that came by email week after week. I totally forgot about the book, so I did not study the lessons and the book together as was intended for this course. I suppose I believe it was the best way for me to study the course simply because that is how it happened for me.

When I finished the weekly lessons, I realized the book was here. I had taken no notice of it.

Once I discovered the book I became mesmerized by it. I carried the book with me everywhere I went so that I could read in it during those spare minutes of waiting somewhere.

I intend to read the book again and again. I also intend to study the lessons and the book together as it was intended to be studied.

I have never read the Gospels through like this before. I have read them in bits and pieces during my lifetime and in following preachers during sermons. I have read bits and pieces in reading quotes in my Daily Word.

I read this book straight through like one would read a novel. I absolutely LOVED it! If I knew where I could find more books of the Bible written in the language of today, I believe I would read all I could find, based on how much I enjoyed this book. Thank you so very much! (If you can advise other similarly excellent Bible translations in the language of today, please let me know!)

In this book, in today’s everyday language, so many things that were never clear to me, were made clear to me for the very first time in my life, despite rather a lot of Bible exposure during my life.

One very important thought was that the word “Spirit” was made more vital, more clear and meaningful, when translated as “breath”, the very breath we breathe to live. WOW! What a concept!

In this translation it is so clear to me that Jesus was the teacher that I believe he came to be, that he did not come to start a new religion, to die for our sins (of simply “missing the mark”), but to teach a way of life that we all are meant to live, that is there for us and was taught by him for us, as it likewise was by all other avatars and great teachers throughout history.

I believe that the Gospels were written long after the life and death of Jesus and the stories were first passed down verbally from generation to generation, like our family stories and the living through our world history are passed down verbally today.

Many of us who study genealogy gather what we know from word of mouth, from the family stories, long before we ever are able to find the proof of the events we hear about, if ever. Sometimes the stories are a little, or even a lot, different from the proof we may eventually find.

Thank you.


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