Sunday series: 09/02/2010 (#101C)
Where: Universal Life Church Monastery at sometime in the afternoon
- two years later: such a charlatan that I am or have simply become (09/05/2010)
Just for kicks, I got ordained as a Universal Life Church minister on-line in under a minute. Nonetheless my views on what it takes to become a pastor remain the same. A person must study the Bible in Greek and Hebrew at least, theology, how to pray and deliver a good sermon, how to be an ambassador of God on earth and so on. Said the latter, I might never be a pastor. Most importantly, I don’t see myself using a title like pastor to get a tax break or other benefits. After all, I know that I might not be a shepherd (definition of the word pastor) of any flock after all (other than my boys). Further more, I don’t see myself pure enough to officiate a wedding or other divine functions. In the end, getting ordained on-line under the jurisdiction of the ULC might be a blessing after all. I could use it to learn more about religion as a whole and perhaps be a better Christian. Ironically this ordination took place on the eve of me coming church — FAPC to be precise — for 104 weeks straight (two years). I know and understand that I might be an ordained minister (pastor) on paper as per the ULC, but I truly wish at times that I was a real pastor at a church like FAPC (a place I’ve learned to consider my spiritual home for the past two years). In all, I’m still confused (my cheap excuse) and a total charlatan (the truth). Now I must do the best of this situation and the opportunity to serve God and be a better person too.
- two years later: such a confused man that I am or have simply become (09/07/2010)
So what am I?
1. I was raised Catholic, but always questioned the Church and its traditions and rites. Questioning the Catholic church would immediately brand me as a heretic or Protestant.
2. I took a break from church (not religion) for about fourteen (14) years. I read about different religions and faiths including Krishna.
3. I checked out the Methodist and Anglican church (2008), but I didn’t feel comfortable there.
4. I’ve gone to a Presbyterian (Protestant) church for two years (since 2008). After a lot of soul searching, I even became a member of that church (congregation and denominational records).
5. Now I’ve become an ordained minister (pastor) in the Universal Life Church. Nonetheless I still go to the same Presbyterian church.
At the end of the day, what am I? At least, I know that I’m a Christian.
- reading (09/09/2010)
I’ve been reading what it means to be an ordained minister and also about the various differences between Christian denominations and in some cases other religious systems all together (traditions, rites, ideologies, etc. From all the religious material that I’ve read in the past decade or so, coming to a non-denominational church website has helped me most to understand the different ideologies in Christianity. What does this all mean in my twisted mind? Am I becoming a better person, a better Christian or a real ordained minister? Does all this mean that I betrayed the church I go to? Am I still Catholic? Did I become Presbyterian? Did I join the Universal Life Church unknowingly? I don’t bloody know and I’m so bloody confused right now with my beliefs.
- rants: ordained minister (09/29/2010)
We all have rants that we don’t let go and return to again and again. My current involves my ordination and weather or not I’m worthy of such. Before I start my long rant, I must emphasize that I’m a minister of faith (every Christian’s obligation to teach others about God) as emphasized by the Presbyterian Church. Am I betraying or mocking PC(USA) by accepting the ordination of ULC? Said the latter, could asking for this ordination be a mistake a poor joke gone bitter or simply backfiring at me? After all, I wanted to be ordained, but was it a good idea? Maybe wanting to be ordained and being ordained is matter of choice regardless how impure one may be. In such case, my desire to be an ordained minister (pastor) could have been enough to be ordained and take on such responsibility. Nonetheless I still believe that a pastor must have a degree in theology and follow the correct procedure to be a real pastor (seminary, church, ministry, etc). Nonetheless, I feel I’m deceiving myself thinking I could be an ordained minister (ULC). Nonetheless I look for cheap excuses to justify my actions. I’m such a farce and this might all be a charade.
- small church, part-time pastor (11/01/2010)
Living in NYC, I’ve noticed that pastors of small churches (both small building and congregation) have a common day job to cover their day-to-day expenses instead of getting some sort of stipend from the church income (donations). Considering this fact, these small church pastors lead their flocks on a part-time basis regardless of their best intentions. In all, being a pastor in a small church is a true labor of love. This is similar to on-line ministers or lay-persons involved in ministries in a larger church (commonly referred to as church leaders, not pastors, yet ministers of faith). I’m fortunate to know some of these ministers like my friend Henny who leads several small groups and is actually considering to become a seminarian (NY), my on-line friend Renee who works with young adults (CA) and even my cousin Marco who helps other members of the church where he goes to (NJ). Maybe this is where I could come in as an ordained minister (ULC). Then again I might just be looking for an excuse for getting ordained on-line as a minister (pastor) two months ago. As a matter of fact, I still don’t know how I can use this obligation I adopted.
- some sort of ministry: what now? (09/16/2010)
So now I’m an ordained non-denominational (yet Christian) minister as per ULC, but a registered member in PC(USA). I guess now I should start some sort of ministry. From a practical point of view, we’re all ministers of faith and hence hold a ministry teaching our children about God. An ordained minister (pastor) is someone who’s studied enough to teach others in a more profound manner. In my case, I haven’t studied enough. Regardless how much I constantly read, I know so little. Being a pastor remains a big commitment and responsibility to me at least. Nonetheless I’m seriously considering getting my identifications and other documentation from ULC to prove myself (more than to others) that I’ve been ordained.
- saving the mentally disabled (09/23/2010)
Can a person with a severe mentally disability accept God into his/her heart? I guess the disabled hasn’t got the capacity to be a Christian since a person must think, learn, believe and accept God. I guess at this point the salvation of the disabled rests solely the faith of his/her parents. Then again I don’t think God would punish a severe mentally disabled for his/her lack of comprehension of such an abstract concept as faith. This could easily be the hidden reason that I’ve avoided to accept why I decided to become an ordained minister. I owe it to some very dear to me. In all, there are many souls to save or simply remind God to take.
- some sort of ministry: inter-faith prayer (01/05/2011)
while responding to someone asking for an advise how to provide assistance and/or guidance in an inter-faith environment… as an ordained minister no less… “In your particular case, maybe the best way is to approach someone is through conversation using key words like (magic, God, Bible, Christmas, Torah, etc). If the person reacts to any of these words, maybe this person believes a specific faith system (religion). At that point (after getting that person’s trust, of course), ask or confirm what you believe that person’s faith is. Then pray with him/her. It is pretty much shooting in the dark, but sometimes it works.”
- an impostor, a hypocrite, a nobody (02/25/2011)
At first, it was the PC(USA) website, but now my love affair is the Universal Life Church Monastery Blog. I read its articles often and at times I’ve even used them to grow spiritually. Of course, five months after becoming an ordained minister, I still feel like an impostor, a hypocrite, a nobody without a ministry or purpose of my own. I’m not sure what I must really do to feel as real Christian.
- some sort of ministry: no ministry (03/29/2011)
It doesn’t mean that I’ll in fact have a ministry of my own just because I (1) go to a church and have done some Bible study (hence feeling more connected to God, yet unholy), (2) became an ordained minister half a year ago and/or (3) want to have a ministry (perhaps simply feeling big and important, a mere charlatan).
The best way for a ministry to be formed seems to be from a need. For example, the Russian Ministries started out of the need to convert then-atheist Russians to Christianity after the fall of the USSR.
- some sort of ministry: considering a license (04/05/2011)
I’ve been considering as of late to register as an ordained minister in NYC to officiate weddings and such. It’d be a good way to make some extra money. Of course, I feel despicable as if I were mocking my religious beliefs for not having study theology as a pastor (perhaps) should. Maybe I should just concentrate in trying to be a spiritual guide to anyone willing to listen.
- life as an ordained minister (06/22/2011)
The following material was supposed to be my submission to become a writer at a religious site. Of course, I’ve got no idea if what you see above will get me the chance to write for such site.
“I became an ordained minister nine months ago. My life has changed significantly since. Every time I am about to do something stupid, I think twice about it. I feel that it is my responsibility to behave accordingly holding true Christian values. As such it is also my obligation as a Christian to introduce God to the life of others and/or remind others of God. Hence I have also decided to give ministry a chance not solely as a minister of faith or as an ordained minister, but rather founding an on-line church for those new to the faith. One thing that has not changed since taking this responsibility has been my curiosity regarding the Bible and the Godhead. In my desire to bring strayed sheep to God, I have also gotten involved with organizations to get free Bibles (Bibles for America) and other material to study the Word of God (Pocket Testament League). In other words, having no money or desire to spend money is no longer an excuse not to get a Bible and study the Word of God. Needless to say, in itself it is all a difficult task whether it is a true calling or something that I one day woke up and decided that I was a cool thing to do. Of course, just to make things a tad more of a challenge, living with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) disorder makes everything I do subject to details and perfection (proper language and grammar, documentation, destruction of data files using DoD 5220.22-M, over all effort, etc), but being plagued by bipolar disorder (BPD, commonly known as manic depression) truly makes everything painfully stressful. It is the constant struggle of fighting my own demons — demons I created, my worst enemy, in other words my own self. Understanding the trouble in my mind caused by the flawed chemistry of my brain, I need heavy medication to live without breaking apart and at times simply blowing up. Needless to say (type), some times medication falls short and I’ve been more than quick to get in trouble. What sort of an example could I ever be when I cannot control my anger and desperation? Getting a ministry started might be toughest challenge I have ever had.”
- a year later (09/07/2011)
So I’ve been an ULC ordained minister for a year. What’s the big deal? I actually forgot to celebrate this past Friday (2nd). Oh well, I’ll continue writing my book (16,000+ words so far).
- a bit too much even for NY (gay marriage), no clergy to officiate (07/27/2011)
The Marriage Equality Act in the state of New York (gay marriage) is a fact that we can’t ignore or wish it could simply go away. It’s now part of the state law as of 06/24/2011 regardless of the condemnation from several religious groups. As an ordained minister of ULC, I’ve got mixed feelings about it. I don’t feel comfortable seeing two men holding hands and then kissing in front of me. Needless to say (type), I’m a hypocrite and haven’t got any issues seeing two women holding hands and then kissing (a vulgar male fantasy of sorts). I guess I’ll stick to Christian evagenlization or at least to simply going to church. By the way, to officiate a wedding in NYC you need approval from the City Clerk’s Office not only the sponsorship from and/or sanction by a church. There’s plenty of turmoil with the decision of several Christian denominations including PC(USA) to allow gay clergy, misconceptions, angry kin, gay against straight congregations and now gay marriage allowed in this state. For some, this is Sodom and Gomorrah all over again. For example, the Village of the Banned blog summarizes the feeling of many people with the words New York Becomes the Sixth Sodom and Gomorrah Style State of Depravity. On a personal level, I won’t make any comments about depravity since I’m broken and wicked man. The one thing that pisses me off is that Marriage Equality Act was preferred over a health act that would’ve forced health insurance companies to cover medical attention and/or therapies [for] autistic children. Was the act to change marriage laws a political agenda? Are disabled children less important than the rest of the population of this state simply because they can’t talk (no voice, no vote)? Only God will tell.
- I take this ordination as an important part of my life whether I can share it with others or not, whether I can be called pastor or not and/or whatever other benefit I may be able to take advantage of like in Income Tax. As a matter of fact, it’s been four (4) years and I still haven’t ordered my identification. As such, I don’t look the part.
- This post’s merely my experience so far with ULC, the things I’ve learned about my own faith and that of many others. ULC does NOT endorse my comments, but I hope they appreciate them at least. In other words, the information on this post and all this blog for that matter are my own WITHOUT any attempt to offend anyone.