Sunday, September 1, 2013

Accepted, Registered, and Financial Forms Filled Out!

So, the process has begun.  On March 16, 2013 I came to the startling realization that I wanted to go into the seminary and become a minister.  On Sept 16, 2013, six months to the day later, I will enter my first class.  "Educational Ministry Across the Lifespan."  I have no earthly idea what it's even about.

My second class will be that same evening at 6pm, "Preaching."  I cannot wait for this one!

On Thursdays I'll have my third and final class "Show Me the Money."  I think it's about fundraising!  Hopefully it's not being taught by a televangelist!  Actually, the class is taught by the school's president, Nick Carter.  I assume it has to do with fundraising and finances for spiritual institutions.  I hope it's not boring, but I really don't care.  There isn't a single class that ANTS offers that I'm not interested in.  They were asking me what classes I'd like to take and I literally told them, "Start with the first one and I'll take them all!"

I must admit, though, I am a bit anxious about how I (and my somewhat radical views on Christianity) will be perceived by the faculty and students.  For instance, I am curious about, but don't put much stock in, certain aspects of the religions of Christianity such as virgin birth, divinity of Christ, resurrection, etc.  I don't put much stock in them because I feel they are merely ornaments to the Lessons of Christ, the things he was trying to actually teach us about how to conduct ourselves in order to achieve our most joyful state.  The concept of virgin birth has nothing to do with the lesson of Forgiveness, for example.  It brings nothing to the lesson and is merely part of the biography of the teacher.  The biography is interesting, to be sure, but it is not the Lesson itself.  It is also impossible to understand or prove the circumstance reality of the mother of the man we call Jesus.  The use of the word 'virgin' can have many uses and translations in different cultures and times.  It inspires endless speculation and debate, but is not part of the purpose of Jesus the teacher.  I feel fairly confident that he gave no consideration to the idea that his mother would be worshiped as an idol.  I wonder also if he might not have wished it, for fear that it would draw attention away from what is truly important: The Lesson.

Similarly, it seems that so many of the miracles of Jesus are waived about in order to give credibility to their claim that Jesus was the one and only Son of God.  I suspect it was an attempt to corner the market and convert as many spiritualists from various cultures to the new uniformity of the Roman Catholic faith.

Now, let me be perfectly clear about one thing: I am not refuting these traditions.  Mary may very well have been a virgin and Jesus may very well have bodily resurrected after three days in the tomb.  I have no more evidence than anyone about whether they are true statements or not.  I am merely suggesting that we not look to these traditions as evidence of the validity the the lessons.  The lessons are valid enough on their own and gilding the lily is a waste of good gold.

The Bible is not a perfect document.  I believe, if anything, that God wants us to use it to learn to be able to discern the difference between the Love of Spirit from the words of Man.  And, perhaps, in that, the Bible is a perfect textbook for the foolishness of Man as well as of Mankind's' greatest possibilities if only we choose to look at it that way.

I want to learn to teach the Single Great Lesson of Jesus.  Love One Another.  That's all he really wanted us to take away from his life here on Earth.  He was a teacher and a rebel.  He was a lover of all he came into contact with.  He saw everyone's light and loved them for their possibilities not their pasts.  I can't imagine he would care if we even remembered his name so long as his lessons made their appropriate impact on mankind.  Why sing songs to Jesus when we could be singing songs to each other?

So, all I have to say about entering Andover Newton Theological School is, "Wait till they get a load of me."

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