The first item to challenge my concept of free will came from this course. I had always believed that free will was my innate ability to travel in what ever direction I choose to go spiritually. Without boundaries, as so to say. To me the concept of free will being the giving up of directions and paths chosen by by me to be the exact opposite of what I had conceived free will to be. Though I resisted this alternate concept of free will from the onset, I am beginning to grasp its true depth of meaning. Changing my thoughts of convention has never been a fast process for myself. I at first viewed the concept of surrendering the guidance and purpose of my life to God was tantamount to slavery. By fully accepting that I am a creation of God, then it would only seem to be natural that I should follow that course and directions set by my creator, my father. That is a personal problem that logic should simply answer, yet I am stubborn (ego).
As far as all creation being the sons and daughters of God, with Jesus as our elder brother was an easy concept for me to meld with my preconceptions developed from my series of studies over the years. Even in the good book,Jesus had made this concept of spiritual brothers and sisters to be clear.
The man versus the lesson, broadened my concepts of what his life's mission was . I was raised with the emphasis being on the physical Jesus more than his actions, coupled with the teaching that we are not his equal in any fashion and that we should admire and emulate the persona. Through various teachings, including this course, I have come to re-examine the focus of what I was taught and to in essence abandon the physical man and to grasp the Message of Jesus. By accepting Jesus as a spiritual teacher, I have began to have faith in the unbelievable, the miracles that have always been taking place and not isolated to an era of time past. This course has again broadened my understanding of the purpose of his visit, and given me a greater understanding of his spiritual life.
To me prayer was always a give me, asking for what I thought I wanted or needed to make life a little better for myself or another. Here I have taken a radical change in viewpoint. While reading this course, words i heard as a child by President john Fitzgerald Kennedy came to my mind. Blazened into my consciousness were the words, " Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country". For the life of me, I had never made the connection to not asking what God could do for me, but what I could do for God.
When it comes to healing depression , fear and relationships, I must agree that spiritual wellness is the key to a balance life of happiness. Yet, I must respectfully disagree in that there are changes to the brain that are chemical in nature when serious trauma had unfolded, whether it be of a short and violent nature of having taken place over many years of one's life. In my personal experience, I have found that spiritual growth will always be confounded by the inability to trust and the unwillingness to change from a know to an unknown. This where medications and professional counseling have a place in restoring and maintaining some semblance of balance in those encumbered by the socially dreaded disease of mental illness. Try an experiment, tell other that you suffer from moderate to sever mental illness and see their reaction. Then you will be able to grasp the trust issue, more often than not they will either treat you as if it were contagious, or will attempt to change the subject.
Miracles happen every day around us. We are all capable of making them happen, if we just listen to the small quiet voice of God in each of us. Miracles are rarely the catching of an airplane falling from the sky. I believe that they are mostly seeing the pain in others that we ourselves have experienced and bridging that gap. By making a bridge, they can begin to speak of it, and unleash the pain from a place hidden from far within. What I have seen as ironic, though it is easy to help another, it is sometimes impossible to accept the same healing hand from another.
What am I. In our societies we teach that we are what we own, what standing we hold, what we appear to be like, and so on. This course had helped me further redefine what I am. A spiritual being made from love and filled with love.
This course had given me such food for thought. I has radically changed some of what I firmly believed, reinforced other beliefs I have and has challenged me to re-think some of the foundation of my beliefs. More so and most importantly, I believe that the lessons of the course will help me come closer to accepting that I can touch the spiritual face of God, and allow myself to begin to trust in what I know is true. What I have just written seems like an oxymoron, and does not make sense. Trust me, to me it does.
Rev. James Price
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