|Subject: Final essay for Masters of Gospel of Thomas |
I began my studies with ULC with the Spirit Quest class and 64 credit hours later I end my Doctorial program with the Masters of the Gospel of Thomas. This first and last class are the two classes that I have found most useful in my personal life quest for spiritual growth.
I read the Gospel of Thomas ten years ago with my late husband, where we discussed it meaning together. What a shame he is not here to have shared this class with me for the discussion gave much more depth and meaning than when I read it the first time.
Sometimes, Rev Thompson gave a personal interpretation I was not sure I agreed with but for the most part I liked and could agree with his explanations of the text. His use and explanation of Arabic culture and language were most helpful in understanding the Gospel of Thomas.
I especially liked text number 102 and his explanation of "Grief to the Pharisees, for they are like dogs in a cattle manger. The dog will not eat and the will not allow the cattle to eat." While growing up in a long line of minister for several generations I come to view them as the Pharisees, who not only refused to see the light of truth or even listen to others views when it came to religion but insisted they and they alone were right. As more and more members (especially female) of the family became highly educated the turned away from formal religion and were shunned by the "older" family members. Many are my own age and in their middle age years are finding faith or "spiritual truth" for themselves outside of the formal church. I recall in my younger days reading The Celestine Prophesy. This book and the series that follow touch on this topic, explaining that both the church and the government wanted these "real" "spiritual truths" hidden from the public. Using fear, judgment, guilt and shame both the church leaders and the government were able to control the people. If a "spiritual truth" took these tools away then their power of control was lost. But the fact is when love is the central rule above all else we govern ourselves and do not need church leaders or government for control. The control comes from within.
In fact, this scripture reminds me of the Bush years (and foolishly I voted for him) after 911 when both government and fundamental religion came together to almost destroy democracy through fear.
Thanks Rev. Thompson for a most informative class.
I have been in school most of my life getting degree after degree and I said this would be my last but then I saw the news of your new Chaplain program. Perhaps it is not the end after all. While a few classes were not all that interesting most were most inspiring. Cannot wait to see what you offer in this new program.
Rev. Linda Francis
The Universal Life Church offers handfasting ceremonies, funeral ceremonies and free minister training.
As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials. I've been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.
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