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.