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- Written by Reverend Tony Ponticello
1. Articles of Incorporation Secretary of State of State of California Feb. 9, 1987 (Shows Church intended purpose)
2. Recognition Letter Franchise Tax Board State of California Jun. 17, 1987 (Shows legal Church status)
3. Recognition Letter Internal Revenue Service U.S.A. Jan. 8, 1988 (Shows 501[c]3 Public Charity status)
4. Amendment to Articles Secretary of State of State of California Jan. 14, 1998 (Shows name change)
One thing that I really love about the Course is reframing these stories, phrases, ideas – about salvation, about Easter, about resurrection and all these things – and reframing them. “Ok, this is what it really means. Think about it this way.” It’s interesting that the Course is saying as Adam ate from the “fruit of the tree of knowledge,” I have believed my knowledge of the Bible. When Adam ate the “fruit” he fell asleep. So we are still asleep in many respects. This is what this world is, it is a dream. I thought that was a very interesting way of reframing what it means to be alive.
I keep on thinking about this significant thing for me here, what it means to become a “Reverend.” Not so much about that I now have this title, but where I am at in my spiritual journey. I feel a need to talk, to just let my voice be heard which often times in the past I haven’t. I don’t talk very often. A lot of people don’t get to know me and don’t know what I’m thinking about or what I’m up to. This is an opportunity for me to speak more and to really know what’s going on, what’s my perspective on the world, and the changing of my perspective. With our current U.S. president, I’m not going to speak any more (laughter) about that. It just seems all the more important for me, and also for other people, to speak their voice – to find their voice if they don’t know what it is and to speak it.
With Helen's notes serving as their backbone, Robert Perry and the Circle of Atonement have tried to rebuild the Course from the bottom up in order to achieve their stated goal of restoring the Course to its original form, that is, "the original words as Helen received them," (p. 1920) editing these words with only the lightest touch possible. As a result, they have reinserted a great deal of material from the Notes and Urtext that was cut, not just from the FIP Edition, but from the Hugh Lynn Cayce draft as well. This is particularly true for the early chapters of the Text, where approximately 150 pages of new material and explanatory footnotes have been added.
In doing so, they make a key assumption, one that is essential to understand if we are to view this new edition in proper perspective. They consider the original wording from Helen's Notes to be the most accurate. This implies that the rapid-fire, stream of thought that Helen managed to capture and record in words, taking it down in her own personal shorthand, came through with such precision that it required little or no revision. Of course, anyone who has sat in a lecture hall attempting to take notes from a fast-paced lecturer can tell you how improbable this is. But there is a more significant issue here. Helen and Bill clearly stated that their editing was fully directed by the Voice: the same one that dictated the Course to her in the first place. So basically, we are being asked to believe that Helen overrode the explicit instructions of the Voice of Jesus in order to change and ultimately degrade the very Course she gave birth to. Robert Perry and the CofA give their reasons for making this assumption on pages 1911-1912 of this edition and their arguments come across as persuasive. But as neither Helen nor Bill are alive to present an alternate point of view, let me attempt to stand in for them and say what I believe they might have said in response.
We aren't going to say that you have to forgive. If we said that, what would we do? It's like when you are on a diet. People tell you don't have the chocolate cake. Then the only thing you obsess about is the chocolate cake. That is the worst! People will say, "Don't eat french fries." Then every time you turn around, there is a McDonald's right there on the corner. This is the same thing. You can't just say, "I'm going to forgive my brother, forgive my brother, forgive my brother." Because then what are you doing? You are thinking that need to forgive your brother for being a jerk. You are thinking that you will forgive them even though they did this crap to you. You are going to forgive your brother for …
My friend simply said, "I am going to stop repeating this story and I come to a place of willingness." He comes to a place of saying, "I ask that forgiveness set me and set that person free." It may not even be a specific person. It could be, "I ask that forgiveness sets me and sets the Republican party free." "I ask that forgiveness set me and my sister free."
We will reference my sister again because that is a big forgiveness lesson for me. I don't see her as perfect. I will admit that. I look at her life choices and I think that they are messed up. She's messed up. So every time I go to that thought, I have to pause and I say, "I'm not going to keep thinking that thought. I am going to stop." It only takes ten seconds. "I ask that forgiveness set me and sets my sister free."
I started thinking, “What is this God thing? What is this Divine thing?” A Course in Miracles talks about God a lot but it never defines God. There are all these definitions of A Course in Miracles terms. There are all those “What Is” sections in the Workbook. There are fourteen of them. The Course talks about “What is Creation?” It talks about, “What is the Real World.” It talks about, “What is the Ego?” “What is a Miracle?” “What is the Christ?” It even does a, “What am I?” It never does a, “What is God?” There is no “What is God?” in any of the “What Is” sections. Considering how important God is in A Course in Miracles, you might think “they” would give us some clue as to what God is.
Then there is also the Clarification of Terms in the back of the book. In the Foundation for Inner Peace book and in the Circle of Atonement book all kinds of terms that are used in A Course in Miracles are clarified, high level terms. They clarify Mind. They clarify Spirit. They clarify Holy Spirit. They clarify Christ. They clarify Jesus. They clarify Knowledge. However, There is no clarity about God, no discussion, no little essay, no little abstract on God – ever! They just leave it up to us. Yet, God goes with us wherever we go – without any very good definition of what God actually is. There are lessons that say to call upon the name of God. Of course the lessons never gives you what name to use – two lessons that talk about the name of God but never tell us what name God has. (See OrEd.WkBk.183-184) The Course leaves it a big open question. Maybe it’s supposed to be? The Course does tell us this, “Healing is but another Name for God.” (OrEd.WkBk.356) Okay “healing” is “another name.” What is the main name?