An interesting concept from this course was the discussion about not being able to learn anything if you already thought you knew about it. This ties in with the concept of each of us finding our own path to god. Believing that we alone have the secret formula, the one true way to reach god, divides us from all others, when we should instead be recognizing and celebrating the gift of our own unique experience of God’s creation.
Much horror has been perpetrated in the world in the name of God. Believing that we alone know the truth is a very dangerous idea. It is only in recognizing that we are all travelers on the road, searching for the way to whatever our own concept of God may be, that can we be freed of the human ego trip of being right and justified in our actions.
The second concept I found of interest was the one about scientists in their white lab coats. The white lab coat being a form of spiritual dress for the religion of science rang a bell within me. I find this idea to be very true.
Western civilization has embraced the notion of reality being only that which we can demonstrate, prove and repeat under controlled conditions. The problem inherent in this is that we have no way of actually verifying or observing anything other than through our own senses. And by their very nature our senses limit us. A dog can hear and smell things that we can not perceive because of the limitations of our physical senses. Does that mean that what the dog smells or hears does not exist, because we can not hear or smell it?
That is the type of logic on which scientific experiment is based. More and more we are finding that as we create more sensitive devices we are detecting things that science did not admit the existence of in the past. How much of what we believe will be proven false by the very science that created our beliefs to begin with? We have latched on to science as the new religion although few would look at it in that way.
The interesting thing is that now the science of quantum physics has brought science back to the idea of God. Science is now demonstrating that the hard fast rules we thought the universe was working by are not so hard and fast as we thought. Quantum physics is not yet a household word. But as more and more people are confronted with it, we will be forced as a society to acknowledge that the spiritual has a real place in our lives.
As a minister I struggle with finding my place in the world. My life has been rich because of the spiritual dimension that gifts me with a true appreciation of how wondrous the world is and what a blessing it is to be alive, even in its most painful moments. But my own experiences and beliefs do not put me in a position of being able to counsel others on how they should approach life. I try to be open and listen, to perhaps point out things I see from my perspective. But, the ministry does not confer the right to impose anything on those who seek our help. It is many times difficult to stand back and be gentle, when the impulse is to rush in with what is after all, only my own opinion, the fruit of my own experience.
The ministry is both an opportunity and a burden in many respects. The opportunity lies is seeing the ministry as a prod to always examine what it is that motivates us. It gives us frequent pushes in the direction of self growth. The burden lies in the fact that it is a way to feed the ego. It is only too easy to succumb to the belief that as ministers we are closer to God than others are. The final lesson in this course spoke to that in a very real way.
We are all only fellow travelers, one no better than the other, just on a different road, at a different point in the journey. The only clear thing I can see is that our society is in a spiritual crisis, longing to find some meaning in our existence. If there is any place that I believe we as ministers can truly be of help, it is in reaching out and affirming that there is no one right way of finding God. We must all struggle to find our connection, and only in respecting each man’s right to choose his own path can we support each other.
Rev. Cynthia Boelens
The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.
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