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Changing the world
one mind at a time
Faith (hopefully with a muse attached) 
10th-Dec-2008 08:25 pm
Been thinking about what I believe and how I believe and what I practice of late.

This should be obvious based on my posts the past few months.

Add into this I got referred to as "Christianity's 'house nigger'" in another forum by someone who really had no reason to quote Malcolm Shabazz...

Ok, James quit hedging and start talking.

I think much of what has been gnawing at me of late is the number of folks I know becoming ordained through one faith or another at the moment, and how I occasionally feel like I missed my calling. I joke around about not wanting to be clergy on occasion since I'm not the bored girlfriend sitting in to heal people, but, particularly recently, I'm finding the urge to find a seminary of some kind hiding quietly in the back of my mind and soul.

Which, upon further reflection, is probably an extension of my original career goal of becoming a teacher. Which in and of itself is probably a desire to touch people's lives, since I probably won't have offspring of my own to shape and mold.

The problem with pursuing ordination of any kind is that I'd first have to find a religion I agree with enough to practice it. And then I'd have to make sure they could ordain me. (This is the main issue with Presbyterian ordination at the moment. Although I expect the requirement to change sometime soon, it currently states no one can be ordained [including Deacons and Elders] unless they maintain fidelity in marriage or chastity in singleness. Which lead to my mother and one of her friends asking our old minister who PC(USA) was going to appoint to check everyone's bedrooms.)

Then we add on the amount of school involved in becoming a pastor and the facts I can't afford school or qualify for financial aide at the moment. And I wonder why G-d called me if he constantly wants to block the moves I can take to reach my goal. I mean, it's one thing to provide a challenge, and quite another to create untenable positions to the goal laid out. (I'm not being completely fatalistic her, I know and understand that I made a complete and utter mess out of my life in my early 20's. I take responsibility for that. The problem is because of the stuff I did, most of the ways I would like to progress are blocked unless I can figure out a way around some pretty formidable obstacles.) It's not like I want to be doing what I've been doing until I die, I just can't seem to find the financial wherewithal on my current income to fix the issues long enough to reposition my life into where I'd like it to be going.

I don't know, all of this is just me thinking out loud anyway. The truth is I seem to lack the ambition that drives people to succeed in life. I, like more than a few other people have stated on my f-list of late, should probably just accept my fate as G-d's source of amusement and remember that like C-3PO, it seems to be my lot in life to suffer.

Wow, I am negative tonight.
11th-Dec-2008 03:46 am (UTC)
Universal Life Church

11th-Dec-2008 05:01 am (UTC)
Been down that road before. Not exactly what I'm thinking about here...

See, if I'm going to become a spiritual leader of any stripe, I'd like the education to have a basis for what I'm preaching. Admittedly, I've already read a heck of a lot of holy books for the majors, but only as side projects, not as part of a discussion group. I mean, I loved the Rubyyat and the Bhaghavad-Gita, but I probably lost a lot by not having other people around who'd also read them to discuss the concepts with.
11th-Dec-2008 05:16 am (UTC)
What about the Unitarian Church? They're open minded and pagan friendly.
11th-Dec-2008 05:18 am (UTC)
Not a hbad idea. Would still require the Ba followed by a M Div, which is a bit more money than I currently make:)
11th-Dec-2008 01:32 pm (UTC)
I was going to suggest Unitarianism too. You could at least check it out, maybe there is some type of scholarship or different payment options that you don't know about...couldn't hurt. There is always a student loan, right?
11th-Dec-2008 07:04 pm (UTC)
Assuming I can get my old one out of default. That's the major problem with financial aid at the moment:)
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11th-Dec-2008 07:05 pm (UTC)
Problem with student loans is I've had one in default for a while now.
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12th-Dec-2008 08:39 pm (UTC)
Problem I've always had with trying to set up the voluntary payments had to do with the amount they want being nowhere near what I can afford to pay.

However, I do finally have some of the numbers to call that aren't collection agencies, so I'm hoping to get something set up before I mail in a FAFSA in January.
11th-Dec-2008 04:33 am (UTC)
Most mainstream protestant churches have the M.Div requirement. Even the Congregationalists and Unitarian Universalists require a M.Div for fellowship in the national organizations. Some small baptist organizations don't, though i somehow doubt you would be happy in those.
11th-Dec-2008 04:58 am (UTC)
See, that's the thing. A M Div is a huge time commitment, plus it would mean believing in Jesus as the fulfillment of OT prophecy again; the former not something I'm sure I have the patience for, and the latter not something I've particularly believed in 15 years.

Rabbinical school is just as bad as near as I can tell.

And just HELL NO to becoming a Baptist minister.

I suppose I could learn Latin and become a priest...
11th-Dec-2008 05:03 am (UTC)
Not unless you are going to admit that your life as a homosexual was morally corrupt and never do so again!

Seriously, not all M.Div schools are like that. Look into Quaker and UCC seminaries. They are quire liberal. Actually many of the methodist seminaries are also pretty liberal.

Off the top of my head I can think of about 7 or 8 seminaries by name that do not require any specific beliefs about Jesus at all.
11th-Dec-2008 05:09 am (UTC)
Well, I'd have to finish my BA first. And to be honest, I no long have any clue what I have on my transcripts from Wright State. That's where the time sink aspect really starts cropping up.

And I'd forgotten the Quakers. I always liked the way they ran things, other than the chapter/congregation in my hometown. The guy who runs their gathering is an asshole.

As I recall, UCC ordination is via the congregation vs a larger body like a Bishopric or a Synod/Presbytery. I really liked them back in college, other than trying to get out of bed to get to services. They used to host the Dayton P-FLAG chapter, which is how I became aquainted with them.
11th-Dec-2008 05:23 am (UTC)
Yup, UCC ordnination is through the congregation, they came about with the merger of some of the Congregationalist and a couple other liberal denominations... but they also run some seminaries, and most seminaries will take on a person even if they are not of the sponcering denomination.

And then there are those seminaries like Union Theological Seminary in NYC and Pacific School of Religion in Berkley which are independent.

In Ohio, near Columbus (Deleware Ohio I think), there is the MTSO, Methodist Theolofical Seminary of Ohio which takes in students from about 9 or 10 demonitation including Unitarian Universalists.

So I mean, there are options. I am not trying to talk you into it, I just do not want you to think it is not available to you based on the wrong reasons.

I also do not have a Bachelors, which is why I never pursued seminary (when I was a member of a faith that required as much) though, as you may be able to tell, I did do a lot of research into them.

Some seminaries do not require a bachelors, or you can get a waiver, but to do so almost always requires some kind of sponcership from a congregation.
11th-Dec-2008 05:25 am (UTC)
Yeah, I seem to recall that when I was looking at semenary in High School. Then I hit college and gave up the faith.

The nice part is that usually the sponsoring organization will also help with the bill. Or at least the Presby's did.
11th-Dec-2008 10:18 am (UTC)
You just haven't read my profile closely enough. You must have missed 'Wiccan priestess and ordained Minister in the Correllian Nativist Church.'

Three years of study (the three degrees of Wicca) - or however long it takes - but quite painless and enjoyable, online and the first one's free. Wonderful courses, in fact, and Correllian is both nicer and (I think) deeper and more comprehensive than Gardnerian etc.

Life memberships are now available for $29.99 which is a HELL of a lot cheaper than usual. But that offer, which has been open a long time, ends Dec. 31st. Oh go on, just grab one anyway for the heck of it; you can always explore later.

There are also numerous elective courses, which are fun and interesting, and usually quite short.

(I don't actually use my ministry. For one thing it's an American church and I don't live there, for another I question the whole concept of making Wicca churchy - but I am officially entitled to it, and it sounds good on the resumé).

11th-Dec-2008 07:06 pm (UTC)
I'll have to look that up when I get back from errands. Thanks for pointing that out:)
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11th-Dec-2008 07:08 pm (UTC)
Yes but that requires living in Indiana:)

Actually, if I were to do Seminary, I'd prefer to do the courses in Dayton or Columbus, at least the ones that can be done by anyone. (I've know a few folks to go that route, then do the denomination specific classes elsewhere.) Given that the only seminary close to me here is Assemblies of God...
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12th-Dec-2008 08:38 pm (UTC)
My problem with Methodism has to do with the Hymnal's obsession with dtted 16th notes.

Well, actually, that's mom's problem, but it makes a good line.

Actually, more than a few people I know who've gone for ordination in the Presby church started off at dayton's Methodist Seminary, prefering to stay local as long as possible before heading off to Louisville or Princeton for the Denomination required classes.
12th-Dec-2008 02:23 pm (UTC) - Why not break with form?
You know you can always go the cultist route. You're charismatic and eloquent. Attract a critical mass of followers and you'd be set. A flock to teach, and in turn they support you and pay for the education. It also bypasses needing to find a faith you can reasonably adhere to since you can define the beliefs and such as you go. It was good enough for Jesus. It was good enough for Bhudda. It was good enough for Mohammed. It's good enough for you.

It may be a bit tongue in cheek, but the point is one can teach without outside validation from some arbitrary institution.

12th-Dec-2008 08:32 pm (UTC) - Re: Why not break with form?
Well, I was thinking about Scientology earlier and Hubbard's assertion that religion and not writing os how one makes money:)
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