Universal Life Church
Rev. Kipper T. Rowen
To begin with, let me just say, and I know I’m not the first to say this, this course in Defining Spiritualism is exactly NOT what I had envisioned or expected. But to be honest, I’m not exactly sure what I expected. In the same honesty, I thought I knew what “to be spiritual” and “spirituality” meant. To know the story of Jesus Christ; to know the CORRECT explanation of His parables; to know GOD’s ten commandments; to live a moral and upstanding life based on what our present day culture dictated; and finally to be able to blurt out any Scripture in any Book in my favorite Bible from memory. Then I would be wise, a sage, always having the right Scripture and band aid for every situation I would ever encounter. In short, bearing part of my soul, I would hold a position of knowledge and respect, setting me aside from all the ‘have nots.’
What I did find has in all probability been said by many students before; but I, have to say it. Socrates’ famous self-analysis statement totally rocked my foundations of what I thought my belief system was composed of. “The only thing I know is that I know nothing”. All of my lifelong attempts at gaining knowledge of a certain subject were accomplished by delving into books that taught me to ‘learn’ facts.
This course in fact actually MAKES you unlearn what you think you know. For many of us ‘old timers’, this shakes the very roots of a long life of learning experiences. We are to remember we are ministering to others and not to ourselves; as Jesus commanded; which can be found as a connecting thread through most religions I have been exposed to.
The beginning discourses, appeared to me at first glance was to just be another collection of philosophers, their theories, failures and success that contributed not only to Western thought, but also built up and in some cases, was the ultimate downfall of many governments. “What does this course have to do with me MINISTERING to others? You will notice the word MINISTERING is in all caps. This was because of my terribly distorted view of what a minister does. The word minister has so much power and purpose on its own, that all smaller case letters satisfies the need of that series of letters, to produce a word and ultimately a picture in your mind.
This I shall call the most important thing I learned from this exquisite course. What I do when I enter into a situation in which I may be asked to minister to someone. The first thing I will do before entering the room for the initial confrontation with someone ‘in pain’, is to remove any identifying and tell-tale signs that would tell anyone that I am a minister. I will enter as a new babe, with the addition of an ability to understand languages, the ability to listen and not condemn. My only tools of my ‘trade’ will be a totally open, loving and compassionate mind. An attitude and demeanor I would ask of someone entrusted to ease my suffering.
Besides the long list of contributors to Western Thought as explained; Socrates; Plato; Aristotle; Pythagoras; Descartes; Immanual Kant; (one of my favorites; Werner Heisenburg); on and on. To try to describe what I ‘learned’ from each discourse would in all reality just be retyping what was laid out for us. But then I began to feel a progressive train of thought that could very easily be redirected into a non-religious type of Christian Apologetics. defending the faith against all who would tear it down; in particularly the people who have a death grasp on their Religion of Science. But I was wrong again. What is truth for me obtained from this course may not be the same truths for you. Distilled down, what overwhelmed me the most, consists of four items; 1)As I understand it and embrace it, the statement made by Socrates; The only thing I know is that I know nothing”; 2) Socrates also said “The most important thing you can do is to know yourself” 3) The power of the collective mind is unfathomable. In the cases in the New Testament of the Bible, when Christ was attributed to the miracle of ‘healing’, there is hidden in those Scriptures an overlooked common thread. The one that comes to mind is the instance in which a woman of some age, who had been plagued by ‘an issue of blood’ for many years, approached Jesus from behind so as to not be noticed. She then touched the hem of His garment and the issue ceased.
Christ knew someone had touched Him. When He inquired who had touched Him, she could not withhold, she came forward and made herself know to Jesus who told her “…..your FAITH has healed you….” I’m compiling a booklet on the subject of Christ’s healings with respect to faith and the mind. It may never be seen by anyone, but this course has further influenced me to continue that labor of love with more interest than ever. “Your faith has healed you………………….”is repeated time and time again by Christ.
He appears to be the conduit through which the GOD mind communicates between HIS willing creation's minds”. 4) The simplest of truths for me is simply “Things are all just as they should be.” So when confronted with an apparent evil, we must remember, good cannot exist without a counterpart, evil, to give a substance to the word ‘joy’. The good balances out the evil. Nature strives endlessly toward the state of perfect balance. So the Tibetan Buddhist accept a life of cold, harsh weather, lack of food, no heat, running water, everything we take for granted, JOYFULLY. They know their reward will come when they pass. Therefore they cry at a birth and rejoice at a death/funeral. That person has attained ‘Liberation’ from this worldly suffering.
Although I’m now a Christian, I practiced Zen Buddhism for 14 years now and in my studies my teacher taught me many truths about suffering, especially that of those beautiful people in Tibet and the ones in exile. They all are fully aware of the calling of the universal mind, to bring them back to its eternity, when all lessons had been learned. To return back to the unending collective mind.
What did I like best about this course? Discourse #6 really put my mind into overdrive; Socrates et all. The contents of which cannot, and I emphasize cannot be fully drawn into the correct perspective with 2 - 3 reads. I have so been enthralled with this discourse #6 (The entire course itself), that I have put it in a protective binder to carry with me always. When something has the impact on me that this Course has had, it becomes a source of ‘spiritualism’ (how about that?) in my life and won’t ever leave.
The only point I can truthfully say, that though it isn’t a point I dislike, it is one that makes me a little uncomfortable when I read it. I firmly believe the murky water will clear as I grow. That topic was presented I believe, not so much as an accepted truth, but as a motivation for further considerations. Basically it stated that if we are simply an arrangement particulates, then if I were to shoot someone, there is only the re-arrangement of those particulates, with nothing driven from existence. Does that constitute murder?
At this point in my journey, if good and evil are two sides of the same coin making it a whole, then there must be a source in that coin where good is the only attribute on the one side of the coin, with evil the only attribute on the other, a ‘balance‘, yet separates. Therefore some experiential knowledge of good and bad must exist and in creation this ‘moral standard ‘is imparted to it by its creator.
In conclusion, let me applaud Chuck, on this wonderful course and now for his “BOMB SHELL” of a closing discourse. He not only bared his soul to us, but in my case, he also gave me the strength, to simply put it……look at myself in the mirror, the first time in such a long time, I would only be presenting a guess as to how long it’s been. His story is so amazing, not from the content, but in his ability to offer it to us as a learning experience. Coincidentally, the Doctor I see recently instructed me, in an attempt to teach me to love myself, to embrace all the things, good and bad that is/ WAS me in the last 54 years, and to make each failure as I journey, a learning experience and not another failure.” Amazing! Then I read Chuck’s testimony of his ‘40 years in the wilderness’ and yes, I had a tear or two. Thank You Chuck.
I won’t ever be the same. I won’t ever ‘shove my beliefs’ down someones throat. It’s now apparent, it’s my life’s calling to plant a mustard seed and there my job ends. I’m not a missionary, I’m not an evangelist. However I am Kip with a capitol ‘K’ now.
I’ll let my GOD, your Creator, your Gods, your Gods/Goddesses; the universal collective Mind, do what they do best; nurture what we have planted into
whatever existence requires, to balance it self. Each of us as ministers, were not at first “not ordained” then suddenly “we are Ordained” with all the knowledge we need to minister is automatically ours to expound. Just as everyone else before us, with us, and that will come after us, are on spiritual journeys, whether they know it or not, we too have our own journeys, as ministers, where every experience is one of learning. We MUST be good listeners, sometimes with a tear. It’s been my focus of late, to love everyone, non-judgmentally. Chuck you have made my journey, so much more joyful, giving me the example to follow of simple acceptance that I am me, and not anything else. Everything is just as it should be.
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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