Respect, Control and a Proper Education
WOW! I can become a minister of any faith (or maybe my own cult!) without going through all those tedious and boring seminary classes! All I have to do is to sign up with the Universal Life Church or its (heretical?) offshoot the Universal Life Church Monastery!
As a minister, you can officiate wedding ceremonies, baptisms, and other rituals. You can even start your own ministry. GET ORDAINED NOW. You don't have to purchase anything to gain the legal benefits and respect of being a minister. We do, however, offer a variety of ministry and wedding ceremony supplies to assist you.
I particularly like the "over 20 million ordained" (sorta like "sold" or "eaten"). It sounds so... ESTABLISHED!
Ever wonder how some ministers (also: preachers, priests, clergy) have gotten that REV. in front their names? "...gain the legal benefits and respect of being a minister." Does R-E-V automatically elicit R-E-S-P-E-C-T from you? And even if you've done your homework" for your soul ( e.g. Bible studies) have you ever stopped to question your pastor's credentials? If over 20 million people have been ordained, surely you've run into one of ULCM's graduates. Maybe James Dobson is one. After all, he does have an impressive array of honorary "Doctorates" displayed in the halls of Focus on the Family headquarters (no less than 19!). Maybe one of them is from the illustrious UCLM!
I just wikipedia(ed) "Bishop" T.D. Jakes: no mention of a seminary at all. Not in the articles I've read, either. I've picked up some of his books. They don't have bibliographies or indexes. And the educational backgrounds of others:
- Creflo Dollar - his Doctorate of Divinity is HONORARY ONLY.
- Joel Osteen? - See Ken Copeland
- Benny Hinn - NOTHING.
As far as these "men of God" taking a scholarly approach to the Bible - good luck! Ask them to name the Fathers of Christianity and they would turn red with embarrassment. Who was St. Augustine? "Oh, you mean the guy who founded that city in Florida!" Were the likes of Dollar, Jakes, Osteen, et al. given instruction in Bible history? Hebrew? Ancient Greek? Biblical Archeology? Hermeneutics? Theology? Comparative religions? Exegesis? Textual criticism? Apologetics? History of Christianity? Canon law? The Apocrypha?
Have they even claimed to have read the WHOLE Bible? If so, which version? And when they step up to the pulpit, do they even know what they're talking about?
"But he speaks so beautifully...and with passion!"
So do some politicians.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T should not necessarily come with an R-E-V. But many people respect ministers/preachers/priests blindly.
And whenever that happens, the R-E-V automatically becomes C-O-N-T-R-O-L.
That's REVEREND Dan Vojir To You!
The idea of becoming a minister (or priest) got me thinking: why not? Why can't I become a card-carrying, legal (in most states) and revered "Reverend"? Why can't I have the authority to marry people and baptize them? Oh, and don't forget about exorcism!
The ULC's ordinations are issued in the belief that all people are already ordained by God and that the ULC is merely recognizing this fact. The ULC has no traditional doctrine, believing as an organization merely in doing "that which is right." Each individual has the privilege and responsibility to determine what is right for him or her as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. The Church does not stand between the member and their God.
The ULC's stated beliefs are as follows:
Objective: Eternal Progression.
Goal: A Fuller Life for Everyone.
Slogan: To Live and Help Live.
Maxim: "We Are One."
I particularly like the slogan "To Live and HELP Live" - that's compassion. "To Live and Let Live" - that's merely tolerance.
From their website:
Every person has the natural right (and the responsibility) to peacefully determine what is right. We are advocates of religious freedom.The Universal Life Church wants you to pursue your spiritual beliefs without interference from any outside agency, including government or church authority.
Of course, ULC doesn't say that it has its share of crazies and hucksters, but, as we have seen in the past, the snake oil salesmen of religion are mostly at the top of the food chain: Rod Parsley, Joel Osteen, John Hagee to name but a few.
I certainly believe in freedom of religion, but I also believe in freedom FROM religion! Any church that I would lead would have no proselytizing. NONE. The most we would do is to put it out there what we believe and that anyone who wants to join can join. No pressure. No fear of damnation. No righteous arrogance. You might call it an anti-church, but that sounds too close to anti-Christ. I certainly know what it would NOT be:
It would NOT be a Satanic cult or cult of any sort.
It would NOT involve rituals.
It would NOT solicit donations.
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