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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Saturday, December 10, 2011

ULC Mystical Christianity

Questions For the Heart and Mind

From. Rev. Catherine Nicolette Whittle
Master of Mystical Christianity course
1. Discuss the symbolic significance of the name “Magdalene.”
Margaret Starbird believes the name Magdalene to be of great symbolic significance, deriving from the name Magdal-eder, which literally means 'tower of the flock' in Hebrew. This name denoted a watchtower or high place from whence shepherd/esses could keep watch over their flocks. Magdala or Magdalene may also symbolise elevated, great, magnificent. Given that Jesus gave His disciples titles, Starbird believes that Magdala or Magdalene is not a place name, but a title Jesus gave Mary. It is synonymous with saying 'Mary the magnificent' or 'Mary the great'.
2. Assuming that Mary was the anointer of Jesus, what do you believe was the meaning of her action?
My personal opinion is that Mary anointed Jesus to show him her deep respect and affection fpr Him. On a symbolic level, anointing with oil was done only in certain circumstances; when installing someone as priest, or at the coronation of a king. Mary's anointing was symbolic of Jesus' role as both. It was also an expression of deepest confidence; Mary was confident that Jesus valued her as a person. Women were considered of lesser value than men in society at that time. Thus, Mary, a lowly woman, anointed Jesus when His own disciples had not done so. Judas was angry at another meaning of her action; Mary used expensive perfume to anoint Jesus, implying that Jesus was extremely precious and worth the gift. Judas felt it was a waste; he looked at Mary's action with a pragmatic judgement, not seeing though her action to the deeper level of love and service she was displaying to her Saviour.
3. Have you ever been anointed? What was the context and what meaning did it have for you?

Yes, I was anointed with oil at a church service in the Blessing of the Sick. I was extremely ill at the time, and was struggling to walk or do work; my muscles were slowly becoming paralysed, and I experienced severe pain. After the anointing with oil, I did not experience physical healing at the time. However, I received a deep sense that I would one day be healed after walking a while on the road of sickness and pain. I also received the spiritual strength to cope with the difficulties my illness presented me with at the time. The anointing with oil was, for me, a meeting on a spiritual and emotional level with Jesus; it gave me much emotional and spiritual solace at that - for me - difficult time. .
4. Do you believe that Mary Magdalene has as good a claim, and perhaps a better  claim, as Peter or Paul to be considered the founder of Christianity?
I believe that Jesus Christ is the founder of Christianity, and that Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene are His disciples entrusted with the message to tell the Good News as witnesses to Him. I further consider  Mary Magdalene to be the first preacher of the Good News of the Resurrection of Jesus. I believe it was no coincidence that Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene first after His Resurrection - she had immense faith and belief in Him as a Person and as Son of God. I believe that Peter, Paul and Mary each have a great message for Christians about their witness to Jesus. In essence, therefore, I believe Jesus to be Christianity's founder; and Mary Magdalene, Peter and Paul to be co-equal witnesses and preachers in the service of Christianity.;

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