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Everything posted by ULCneo

  1. Has nothing to do with "conception" of anything so much as it has to do with dictionary definition of the terminology. The dictionary defines "minister" in the following way- "Religion" is defined as-- In order to be as inclusive as possible we might the broadest sense, ie.. a "minister" is a Agent of a religion, or an agent of the powers that be. The thing is that in your last post you represented a "Religion" because a statement of "non religion" is a "Religion" unto itself in its own right, by definition.
  2. A 1952 copy is one thing- You know you really have something when it's from the 1800s or early 1900s. By the 50s we were already using relatively current publishing techniques (acid free paper etc.) so finding published material from the 50s still in good condition isn't all that unusual, provided the right storage conditions.
  3. First understand that I DO NOT speak from the standpoint of religions other than Christianity. Not to say that I don't think that people shouldn't be free to practice that which doesn't cause harm to others, BUT I'm NOT going to support other religions in my teaching from the pulpit or elsewhere, because my own religion and faith defines that as being "NOT right" which then runs contrary to the ULC doctrine "to do that which IS right". No, I'm not talking about "my conception" of ministry- Rather, I'm talking about ANY conception of ministry- as I'm sure that everyone agrees that "ministry" must be approached in a spirit of reference towards the religion the minister represents. The Christian scriptures make this clear, and I would be sure that the majority of other religions have a similar concept of sorts- One's ministry has a certain gravity that flows from it. Otherwise you invariably get the state of the blind leading the blind into the proverbial ditch. Furthermore the notion that the ULC doesn't have "standards" is clearly erroneous. The ULC doctrine has a "standard" of a sort, albeit perhaps a very broad one - "To do that which IS right" Notice our doctrine does NOT say "Do that which we THINK is right" or similar- it says "...IS right". The virtue of that is that we have implemented a standard (however broad the standard might be). Within the Sense of Christianity "That which IS right " is that which does not run directly counter to the authority of Scripture". The SPIN is how one "interprets" Scripture, which is either inspired by God (or the powers that be) or it is NOT. If the interpretation is a reasonable one based upon the history and the ground rules of proper construction, and a person is convinced that the revelation came from God (or the powers that be) then so be it. It is NOT the Church's right of power to "DEFINE what is right/wrong", which rests on the following: These two verses establish two things- The verse in Romans tells the church to let every person ("soul") be subject to the powers of God. It therefore flows that it is NOT the ministry's JOB to coerce one to do anything- rather it is the function of the ministry to "Teach, Counsel, and Advise". The verses in Hebrews make clear that it is GOD (not man) that instills the sense of Right and Wrong in the individual- The catch is that God USES man to accomplish that which he would accomplish. However, God DOES NOT use those whom will say that THEY were the ones that did a thing (as most ministers WILL these days, to some extent or another.- They talk about whom *They* won for God as if their doing God some sort of favor- which Scripture calls the Sin of Pride). Therefore the majority of mainline Christianity is far from God, and the ULC doctrine is quite a bit closer to what Scripture actually teaches-- the notion of relationship with God Vs. a Religion that speaks death into the people. (Which most religions do out of some form of legalism.) The ULC draws its theology concerning ordination from the Christian Scriptures where it justifies the "ordination of all" on the basis of the fact that it is NOT man's job to discern the "calling" of another to ministry, among other things. The reliance of the "Priesthood" of all believers however, does NOT filter into the Christian ministry because of the fact that where the Christian Scriptures use the word "Priest" it very clearly means in the sense of the Old-Testament theology- where man had to go THROUGH the priest to have contact or dealings with God-- as opposed to the protestant doctrine that only Christ mediates between man and God, where we have the concept of Christ being "God in the incarnate". Hence in the NT dispensation, the notion then becomes that the minister acts as both the prophet (speaking on behalf of God in the pulpit) AND acts as nothing more than a "teacher and advisor". The minister however is NOT synonymous with the OT doctrine of the Priesthood, within the meaning of Christian doctrine, apart from the sense used within the doctrine Catholicism. Where you say "Now, on a personal level, I do wonder why anyone would discourage me from following my conscience" - Christian scriptures TELL US NOT to rest upon our own consciences- because one's conscience rests upon one's own "understanding" of the world. This hence demonstrates that Man's Conscience can be come seared. Indeed some people don't even have one at all (what we refer to as a Psychopath.) Therefore, one's conscience isn't really an accurate measure of anything- Hitler thought what he was doing was RIGHT in his own conscience, after all. So NO I wouldn't teach you to follow your own conscience, necessarily, because it's neither here nor there in what IS right or wrong.
  4. From the Christian standpoint, God commands us to love our enemies: 1 Corinthians 13 describes what the scriptures mean by "love". Love is not an emotion or sentiment we have for someone, rather it is the choice which governs our actions, particularly when we encounter some of the unpleasant realities of someone Else's humanity. However there is NOTHING loving about letting someone injure you over and over again, either. The philosophy of pacifism lends towards turning into a state of passive-aggression that is not befitting of one's call to ministry.
  5. But yet the supreme court dictated in ULC V. United States that the state may not inquire as to the doctrines or specific practices of a religion, provided a "sincere belief" where sincere belief is based upon the authority of a religious text in a reasonable interpretation (which the ULC clearly has.) combined with a substantial number of adherents. (which the ulc also has.) So the question is how is it that such laws involving this matter as to "whom is a church" aren't already stricken from the record to the extent that they require anything more than the "sincere belief" doctrine articulated by the courts? It seems to me that the court has already spoken on such issues, where the federal circuit courts would be forced to reverse the states on a given case on the merits. The current law is that the "state does not define what the church is" (the constitution does that) and the case law is clear that the state "is not to govern ordination in any way." Essentially, I'm not seeing the state arguing anything in support of regulation that hasn't already been struck, unless there's a theory they're presenting I'm unaware of. The 1981 statute is clearly unconstitutional by reason of fourteenth amendment equal-protection clause. The ULC is clearly religion. How can the government say "ministers of religion A can do this, but ministers of religion B can't" ? Such violates the equal-protection clause in a patent and obvious way, unless there is some other substantial argument.
  6. No, its not. If the First Amendment were absolute, that would mean that 1) Child pornography law would cease to exist (movies and pictures are the "press") 2) It would mean that Libel and Slander would be lawful (its speech) and 3) it would be legal to scream "fire" in a crowded movie theater. We quickly see that the first amendment must be carefully regulated to avoid harm to society, as a whole. I'm pretty sure that everyone here would agree with that point. The government's position in regulating such is to prevent the clerical title from being watered down to the point of little significant legal import. The error in thinking is the separation clause prohibits such a position in the first place. (the government shouldn't have it's hands in religion) However, religion also shouldn't have it's hands in government. So it really becomes how it is the church's responsibility to preside over the instatement of this legal contract we call "marriage". In this day and age marriage seems to be more of political/civil import than a religious one. (as how many marriages don't take their religious vows seriously?- since in most religions divorce is taboo and to be avoided at best, if it's not considered outright sinful.)
  7. Not quite- education is neutral of, and has nothing to do with religion- You can get a doctorate of theology at Harvard University- which prides itself on it's secular footing. However, even if I'm to say that your correct to say that education=practice we then have the fact that the government has a compelling cause to control education because of the fact that there needs to be some form of a 'standard' as to exactly what should be covered in the particular field of study. We also have the fact that the term "doctor" most usually (to most people anyways) implies an MD, DO, Psy.D., or Ph.D. And hence it is improper for the church to use these terms as "religious" titles- out of the potential harm that one might use the title to defraud someone, to unlawfully practice psychology, etc. Because of the fact that the general public isn't familiar with those types of titles used in a religious context. Hence, such use possess a potential harm to the public if misused by bad actors. (and we don't need to look far to find bad actors in the church, unfortunately. The catholic church has been a sad example of this.)
  8. True, perhaps. Though, it takes time, effort, hard work, and perseverance to launch a church- Though the notion here does have a distinct pro- in that your not forking up a bunch of money for a building and the like, when your just not really sure if the launch is going to stick. I'm not saying it doesn't have its place- I'm just saying it should be evaluated against the other options.
  9. It really makes no difference which ordination one uses- it does not change anything about one's authority from a practical standpoint- rather it only changes which set of papers gets filed in the public record to support the averment that you are "ordained"- which, despite being requirement requisite thereof in most cases, is of no substance to the judicial act of appointing one as a marriage officiant.
  10. Not quite- Ordination stems from religion whereas a degree usually stems from, and is a representation of, education- where the government has the right to control education, under our form of law.
  11. Well if they don't KNOW upfront that its Reiki healing circle (which they probably won't unless its been advertised beforehand or your in a small town)- you could very well expect it, especially if members of the circle are otherwise on their radar for whatever reason (after all it IS a small world sometimes) - I've actually had the cops execute a search warrant in the middle of a church service under the allegation that the pastor of the church had supposedly been dealing drugs out of the church. Needless to say nothing was found- and it was a HUGE EMBARRASSMENT to the sheriff's department in the paper the following week.
  12. So then your submitting that the first amendment should be an "absolute right"? (Which departs from the last 200 years of judicial opinion and indeed departs from the intended meaning of the framers of the constitution.)
  13. Yeah, don't know where your from- but here if you had 20 people showing up to a house on a regular basis you'd have the police sending in undercover agents to try to find out if your dealing drugs or something. Mind you I live in an area where meth houses dominate the landscape- and having people show up at regular intervals is one of the things associated with trafficking that will tend to put one under more focused scrutiny for such.
  14. What ULC V. United States said was that it "would not look to the merits of any one religious doctrine PROVIDED that the belief is SINCERELY HELD..." in analysis of whether the belief is "sincerely held" the court looks to whether a reasonably-sized number of people share the same belief as well as whether that belief can reasonably be supported by a religious text - and in some respects even sincere belief will not shield religion from government intervention. (as organized criminal elements have often in history tried to masquerade as religion in some manner or another- everything from Jonestown to the Abuse scandal in the Catholic Church took on the general tenor of religion.) As such- since certain religions are claimed by the right-wing conservatives to be implicit to acts of terrorism- I wouldn't be surprised if the courts don't narrow the precedent considerably in interest of national security.
  15. The thing is that, at least from a Christian perspective, if your ministry is alive and vibrant it will tend to grow- and I've seen it happen with a quickness- One church I know of went from a congregation of 90 to a congregation of 900 within the time span of around a month and a half. That said, its pretty evident what's going on when the neighbors only see people there maybe only one or two days a week Vs. someone living on a property regularly. That alone can be considered evidence of potential criminal activity that will have police looking at you if nobody knows for sure what's going on.
  16. Well I suppose that from the dictionary's definition of "religion" (which is the one the law tends to apply) is simply a "system of beliefs" where it could be submitted that the lack of belief is still a statement of one's belief system of a sort- where in order not to step in the apparent cowpie there, the supreme court instead simply forwent any analysis of any particular religion beyond the fact that a belief is "sincerely held". This was of particular note in the eleventh circuit court opinions dealing with the religious monument business on the courthouse lawns. Locally we had the issue of the ten commandments monument where the atheists sued (and won) the right to place a stone bench at the same site- which people sit on amongst the flowers in the flowerbed, has been defaced several times, and the thing is just an outright eye sore that people overall want removed on grounds of aesthetics alone. (never mind that half the county is Christian Fundamentalist.) Though, in order to incorporate as a church, generally one must set forth a position of religious doctrine in the articles of incorporation, especially if you want 501(c)(3) status. Hence, I would think it would be quite difficult to meet the general requirements in that context of things- but hey nobody claimed that the government was intelligent.
  17. I suppose this all depends upon one's perspective- but coming from the background of the CFM (Christian Fellowship Ministries) I can say within all practicality that nothing really replaces one's own careful study and interpretation of things. Therefore, I treat "Training" etc. as an administrative adjunct to the ministry- such shouldn't be looked to in order to address issues of doctrine, etc.- as one should already have the meat and bones of that end of things well cooked by the time they are called into the ministry. Rather, what one needs to learn are the organizational, management, and communications skills that are requisite of the ministry. In this respect, many of the offered training programs (especially those of the fundamentalists) are severely lacking.
  18. Actually, here in the United States, while you can technically have a 'house church'- such is difficult to come by- because of the fact that landlords have a recognized right to prohibit the use of their properties for purposes other than habitation. (For example- if it's in your lease, you can get evicted for running a business out of a house where that is the sole purpose of renting the house.) Also, various jurisdictions have zoning laws that establish "maximum occupancy" requirements etc. and house churches still have to follow all these laws. As such, the technique is cumbersome in actual practice if one is to avoid breaking the law.
  19. I have a hard time believing that such a thing exists. Atheism by definition would seem to be against any theory of organized religion and indeed even tries to say that it isn't a religion. So how we get any concept of ordination from that I don't know.
  20. Yes but one's position of ordination should hopefully do that much without resorting to something that is too close to fraud for comfort.
  21. If the ceremony takes place in Oklahoma, the person must be a registered Officiant in the state of Oklahoma, or they are committing a criminal act if they conduct any ceremony, even under a marriage license issued in another state. However, if you are a minster officiant registered with another state, the state of Oklahoma will issue temporary officiant status, upon application with any county clerk, and payment of any applicable filing fees. That said Oklahoma state law also requires marriages under its state issued marriage license to occur within the state of Oklahoma.
  22. Really, what useful purpose does a degree have if its not recognized by the DOE, or anyone else for that matter? It would seem that it would be nothing more than a useless piece of paper on my wall, for purposes of practicality, where the money could perhaps be spent more productively???
  23. US. Answer- The thing is that you have "dual" ordination status with both organizations, which are separate and distinct from one another-However, there is no effective need to register with a U.S. state twice. In most states, which specific 'church' a minister is affiliated with has no bearing in the law, so long as that organization meets whatever the legal definition of a 'church' is in that state. (i.e. for example, nothing in the law can be construed from prohibiting a ULC minister from exercising religious authority on behalf of congregants of another denomination or religion, so long as the involved congregants consent to the exercise of one's authority as an ordained minister.) The government can't explicitly or implicitly favor one denomination over another without violating the separation clause of the constitution.
  24. In the United States, the exact requirements differ by state law. In most, if not all states, the law invokes penitent privilege so long as the penitent person "reasonably believed" he was dealing with a licensed minister, regardless of whether or not that minister is actually ordained or not. Also, a good number of states also consider the clergy to be "mandatory reporters" for purposes of all forms of child abuse (particularly with respect to sex offenses.) Other than this, for clerical privilege to apply the context of the conversation must be within the scope of ministerial duties, meaning you must be acting as that person's minister at the time of the conversation. That said, in some states both the clergy and the penitent may invoke the privilege, and in some other states, only the penitent has the authority to invoke the privilege. (which is impossible if the penitent is deceased.) This is where one needs to consult with a local attorney to find out what the law is in their area.