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About RevSam

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  • Title, Name/Nickname
    Monsignor Samuel Cummings
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    Livonia, Michigan USA

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    amateur radio, gaming, technology, political science, reading and research
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    Family, friends, faith and those willing to listen to one another.
  • Your Motto
    Ask yourself where you are going; then ask yourself if you're surrounding yourself with those who will help get you there.
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    Title Insurance Agent
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  1. Good morning! This may kind-of tie in to my last entry, "Ministry in the 21st Century," but I think it also stands for itself: In the 21st century, we're arguably more connected to each other and the world than we ever have been before. I think that, in a most ways, its made us better people. I think anyone could say that, thanks to the connected world we live in, we're all exposed to things, culture, lifestyles and... anything else for that matter, than our ancestors were. Think about it for a second: Sixty years ago, it was quite common to get your news from the local paper, or the Wall Street Journal or New York Times -- but it was largely sources of media that were local. Local communities have their own biases, concerns, culture and informational interest, and they often vary -- particularly, say, from big city to small town. The matters of interest for someone in Los Angeles may very well be quite different from those in Mt. Airy, North Carolina. Fast forward to today -- people now have an almost infinite choice of media, and how and when they chose to take it in. By giving everyone an equal shot at getting what they have to say out for the world to read, I think its safe to say that it's caused a lot of us to re-evaluate our own beliefs, biases, preconceptions and judgements of others. Personally, I think that's a good thing. However, has it also more isolated us in other ways, and also reinforced other negative biases? For example, could the "equal world of the media" now present in cyberspace give rise to feelings of animosity and more hardened judgementalism, in that "Oh, because of modern media, that lifestyle is now spreading, and becoming accepted"? Could this also be responsible for a resurgence of things like fringe-left/fringe-right political groups, catering to those who don't like the idea of change in the modern world? One of my favorite lines I've ever heard to remind me of modernity, I first heard from Star Trek: "Challenge your preconceptions -- or they will challenge you." I think it's a good rule to live by -- in fact, I think it should be a part of the modern Golden Rule (i.e., such that can be gleaned from Matthew 7:12, or the Wiccan Rede, as examples). I think these two phrases go together quite well, even when you consider points such as moral relativism. Everyone has a unique personal code, and it often falls in line with their chosen or born-into community, be it one thing or another... and I often find myself wondering if our increased connectedness [while, largely a good thing, I think] may not also lead to an inner frustration for others, who may view modernity as a decay of their own percieved system of values. What do you think? Monsignor Samuel Cummings is Chancellor of the Universal Life Church of Michigan. This was cross-posted to the ULC Minister's Network
  2. There is third party accreditation -- in the United States, it's regional accreditation. Most of those are private entities, or semi-public. For example, one of the regional accrediting agencies in my area is AdvancEd. --Rev. Samuel Universal Life Church of Michigan
  3. Well, let's keep it real: Government accreditation typically means the university or institute or degree program meets a certain staindard of rigor, education and training of the instructors themselves, even down to the safety and accessibility of the campus. Now, am I saying that it's not a self feeding machine, of course it is. But, you also have to admit, a Ph.D. in Religion from a regionally accredited school in the United States is not the same thing as the Ph.D. from the ULC. I'm not knocking it, hell, I have the ULC Ph.D. myself... but there is definitely a reason why the Ph.D. doesn't qualify for any kind of accreditation other than the accrediting agency the Church itself started to accredit its own degrees. ;] That also said, I know Ph.D.s and Ed.D.s who don't have half the common sense Joe the Plumber does -- and is nowhere near as smart. But, that said, a buddy of mine has a Ph.D. in Psychology that is one of the most intelligent people I know. In my humble opinion, for what it's worth: degrees mean absolutely nothing if you don't have the presence and ability to back it up. If a person has a presence and ability and the knowledge to back it up, sure, I'll call the person "Doc" or "Doctor," regardless of where s/he got their degree... if they're a joke, and you can't take them seriously... well, there's another issue -- again, regardless of where they got their credentials. Harvard or ULC.
  4. Thanks, Rev Tom; and likewise, Brother! Glad you came back after aforementioned hiatus!
  5. Thanks for the warm greeting! Funny, I work in insurance as well -- commercial title insurance, more specifically! I love officiating weddings, I've been lucky to do several -- and hope to do many more in the future! --Rev. Samuel Universal Life Church of Michigan
  6. Oh, The Voyage Home. Hands down. I like Picard better, don't get me wrong -- but if HBO was showing The Voyage Home, and Starz was showing First Contact.... ehh, I'm probably watching HBO. ;]
  7. I've already made a few posts, but I figured I might as well say "Hey!" to everyone while I was at it, so you could see who's behind the computer screen at my end. My name's Samuel; Sam, or 'Hey You!' works, too -- hailing from Metro Detroit. I've been a ULC-er since my junior year of high school -- 2002. I've largely been a pagan since, particularly Wicca, so the ULC suits my needs quite well. I've performed several marriages, in Wayne, Macomb and Genesee counties, and am familiar with many of the local Registers of Deeds, as my 9-5 job is in Title Insurance! So, this is right up my alley. I'm also a graduate student at Eastern Michigan, studying public administration, after having taken an undergraduate degree in political science and public law. I'm a pretty unremarkable guy otherwise. Chaplain, honorary D.D., Ph.D. in Religion (ULC, 2006) ... and interested in being the guy people come to for advice when they need it. I'm an amateur radio operator, too, and a Star Trek lover. I have my occasional vices, too... cheap booze, ladies, song... and buddies to tell those tales to... So I like to think I'm your average, early-30s "guy's guy." Feel free to say Hey! I hope I'm REASONABLY approachable! Feel free to launch questions at me, too, if you need help with performing marriages in Michigan. Warmly, --Sam Universal Life Church of Michigan
  8. I was speaking more of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in that quote -- but look at the tenets of Jediism, too: They're not so much about the fictional/figurative war of the light and dark side from the movies, but more about the code that the Jedi from the movies ascribe to -- with some other additions to them, too, as I'm sure there's some individualistic license. This is what I was referring to. --Rev. Samuel Universal Life Church of Michigan
  9. The clergy have often been turned to in moments of moral or ethical crisis; from anything to a sounding board to asking "What do I do?" Particularly in times past. Sometimes, an individual needs to be able to speak to someone who isn't a friend, or to someone who is otherwise dispassionate on or is somehow removed from the situation in question. Today, particularly in the western world, people often speak to counselors, or psychologists/psychiatrists in moments where they feel in crisis. Therein is my point.
  10. I think it's safe to say that the role of religion and, in particular, that of the Minister has changed since its inception to today. Once, the Ministry was virtually the exclusive form of education of people -- scholars and theologians were often one in the same. Law and Religion were often one in the same, too. Morality and codification of rules were one in the same. The community was often centered around the house of worship -- and a sense of belonging to the greater whole often came from the rules and codification laid down by its religious authority] Skip ahead a few hundred years. With the world [particularly the Western world] having become far more secular than it once was, what place do you see MInistry in, these days? Leaving out the different faiths themselves, I'm speaking of "Ministry" as a whole. What place do you see them today? Are they good friends who are close advisors? Do you view the clergy as an authority, as our ancestors once did -- or more religious scholars? How do you think your views may differ from your ancestors, or even society in general? I tend to look at clergy as a vocation of people who are good, learned friends and advisors who have an active interest in your well-being as a whole person. Your physician looks to your physical well-being. Your attorney looks after your financial and fiscal well-being. The clergy, in my opinion, should be concerned with your emotional and spiritual well-being; and is an advisor who listens to you, and comes to you for advice -- who won't pass judgement against you, and has your needs, "as you" paramount. The clergy should be a sounding board for times good, and times bad. The one who people come to in times of spiritual or internal crisis. Some still seem to believe in the old days of divine authoritarianism, where the rule of Clergy is "Do as I say, not as I do," still is in play -- and that their judgement, not yours -- is what matters; which is sad. Others tend to be taking a new spin on it. What do you think? Where do you see the Clergy's place in the age of information -- and in the future? --Rev. Samuel Universal Life Church of Michigan
  11. Possibly. Just as possible they believe in the tenets of the religion as well -- maybe not so much in "the Flying Spaghetti Monster" itself, but in the values and the message the community gives. Like the ULC, for instance -- no centralized church dogma, only "that which is right." --Rev. Samuel Universal Life Church of Michigan
  12. Sam is good enough for me. I'll sign as "Rev. Sam" or "Rev. Samuel," but that or "Hey you," all works for me. I put my pants on the same way everyone else does, so I go with what people are most comfortable with.
  13. Looks nice on a minister's business card. Don't take it much further than that. It's only as good as the individual who wields it --just like any degree. I've know actual Ph.D.'s who had no common sense worth a damn, and honorary D.D.'s who are far more knowledgable. But then again, you've got idiots with honorary degrees similar to Malachi Love-Robinson who try to start up a medical practice with it... Use common sense with your credentials. --Rev. Samuel Universal Life Church of Michigan
  14. This is correct. I've solemnized marriage in the State of Michigan [two of them in Genesee County, actually]. The State has no registration requirement -- only that an individual solemnizing marriage on religious grounds be an ordained minister of a church or other religious society, authorized by the same to solemnize marriage, and complete the Michigan marriage license as per statute. -- Rev. Samuel Universal Life Church of Michigan