|To begin I would like to thank Bishop Pat and Rev. Amy for allowing me to take this course, it was truly and educational experience for me. With this being said I will get right to my Essay on this Master of Religion course.|
Not ever participating in a bible study course of a formal type, I was not completely shocked to know how many authors and changes the bible had gone through over all the time that has pasted since it's first known inception. I never stopped and took the time to physically count and recollect the number of contributions and contributors. When going from the Old to New Testament I had a realization of how the bible is not unlike a lot of manuscripts and ancient writings of its caliber. They all have been re-written, interpreted, re-written and interpreted so many times by so many people and to this day are still being interpreted and probably re-written with all of the new technologies that have come about. It would not shock me to see the acceptance of some sort of 21st Century Bible or Testament in which new interpretations are included and possibly some of the old re-written for the youth of tomorrow to understand.
A lot of the first chapters I have heard of or completely understood with one exception. The Ten Commandments section I found to be amazing. I never really new or realized, even when studying references to them, that they had undergone so many changes from the current versions we are indoctrinated to in our biblical education. I had never, to my recollection, been tasked with understanding or studying them and had always understood them as to be as Charleton Heston had brought them down from the mountain in the movie we watched over and over again through my childhood and till this day. When it was brought up in this course I had to ask for myself and look to see if this was indeed true. I felt so stupid and uneducated with this new finding. I will also say that it was the hardest of all the sections of the lessons I read to this day. Knowing of how hard it must have been to come to a reasonable and understandable educational database for students to read and learn from I can understand why it was so hard to read. To make reference to all the changes, interpretations, omissions and then putting them in a study reference style was truly educational in itself for me.
The bible study section when reference was made to other study reference materials I was truly amazed how easy it was for me to interpret some of the material after downloading and using the E-Sword materials to study with. I made things truly easier and has enabled me to take a new approach to my studies. I have actually found much enjoyment in reading further pages of the bible. I would say I have probably read more of the bible in the past few months than I have in my life. I have read sections in the past that gave me an understanding of it, but never to the extent as of recent.
The other sections from counseling, prostitution and drugs, divorce through to the end of the lesson I can relate to more in my current status in life. I have done a lot of volunteer work with various types of personalities and degrees of individuals in my daily life. I have performed some counseling duties involving prostitution, drugs, divorce and marriage. I have helped families with concerns over loved ones during troubled times. I can relate because, as Rev. Amy may recall, this is how I received one of my many callings to pursue Ministerial duties. I find it to be very educational, as well as, heart-warming, no matter what the issue may be. I find counseling to be a tremendous part of our duties and recommend everyone get some training and education in this area and participate. No matter what form of counseling you do it is very rewarding when you see, hopefully good, outcomes to your assisting other human beings with the issues and troubles in live. Even some of the bad endings are not always that bad either. If a marital counseling turns out ending with a couple not getting married after the initial counseling, maybe it was just not meant to be. It gives them something to work on and understand, hopefully allowing them to work on issues that may have prevented the marriage, at that time, but will enable it at a later time.
When I was young I was unfortunate or fortunate to receive education on the elements of divorce and the Catholic Church. My parents were divorced when I was very young and I could not understand why, after so many years of attendance every Sunday at our church, we would not be allowed to attend any for. We went to a very strict Catholic Church where sermons were still given in Latin. When it was heard that my parents were divorced we were shunned from the Church. It was then I took a hard look at the church and could not believe they would do such a thing and what gave them the right. I was very disturbed about this till I was in my mid to late 20's when I started realizing I needed to further my education and return to the church. When I was married for the first time, having waited for 30 years for the right woman, I married my first and only wife, Cheryl. She was raised in the Catholic Church and very strictly. As the years went on she helped me to understand more and I was able to tap her mind for help in this unit with asking her opinion and knowledge and having some quite in depth conversations over various parts of the bible.
I cannot end without commenting on the relationship with the government and the church. I do agree with what was discussed in this part of the course and would like to add the fact that I wish the United States and our Leaders would take a serious look at how we were founded, as a country and re-visit the past involvement of the church and state (government). I feel by recent changes in the world we have given in to various groups taking more and more of religion out of our daily lives starting with our children in the schools and progressing to the endangerment of having "In God We Trust" taken off of all monies issued by the government. I feel if this occurs it will definitely hurt religion as it is today. We will need to strive even harder at involving our children and grand children in religion to save religion as now know it today.
In my opinion with the help of our current president and others it is being picked out of the government as you would pick old mortar out of bricks, replacing it with a synthetic material. They are slowly being allowed to dig at the bricks of religion that built this country and has kept it strong, making it less and less bound together, responsible for some of our recent downfalls. With strength in numbers and perhaps from friends in other countries that still support religious values as a part of their government we will be able to stop this cleansing of our nation of religion.
Unfortunately due to some of these recent cleansing activities, I have thought of what it may be like to digress backwards and return our family to Ireland and re-establish our roots there where religion is still a valuable part of the government. I know it is sinful not to support our government, as God's words have told us, but I will be honest in saying I can not 100% support the leadership of today. I tend to find myself in more times of disagreement than agreement. I too served our, what used to be a Great Country, in the military, when we were respected for doing so, but am not convinced this honor and respect still is present. Something has to change, but not at the cost of religion.
All in all I would say this Course was very enlightening and educational. I could probably go on and on for a bit longer, for sometimes I am a person of very long winded opinion, but will end with this last paragraph. I learned a lot and will continue to learn with the elements I have picked up from participation in this lesson. I will however say there are some somewhat negative elements I did experience too. I do not want to be too critical but the only negative issue about the course I found was some of the grammatical and spelling errors. I had to look and research several times to fully understand some of the materials in the chapters. I do not know if some of the errors were intentional or actually missed due to the nature of the old terminology mixing with the new terminology. I would like to suggest that someone possibly review the material and verify it for errors. I do not know when the material was written but perhaps it is time for some review, if it hasn't already been done. If the errors were intentional I would like to apologize and in either case I will be re-reading the course as I do with all of them to insure I have not missed anything and will use them for future reference with tabbing.
Once again I would like to Thank everyone for the opportunity to participate in this course and hope the information I have written fulfills the required essay for you to enable me to receive the proper recognition for its completion.
Rev. Charles E. Callahan, D.D.
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