Rev. Calli

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Everything posted by Rev. Calli

  1. Greetings to you my sister, This is probably a question you are going to want to ask an attorney licensed in Texas to answer. Either that, or contact the Main Office in Modesto and see if they have any insight about this rule. Since each state has different rules, it's hard for someone like me for example in Wisconsin to know how a rule is interpreted and applied in Texas. In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  2. Rev. Calli

    Hello

    Greetings to you my brother, Welcome to the forum. There are multiple sources getting information on doing weddings. I myself have a humble site here with info that you may find useful. https://wp.me/p9L6ow-2t As to chaplaincy, the courses offered here, while they may be useful, will probably not qualify you to do chaplaincy work at local hospitals. Most of those are going to require to take what is known as Clinical Pastoral Education. You can find out more about those programs here: https://www.acpe.edu/ In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  3. Rev. Calli

    Greetings

    Greetings to you my brother, Welcome to the forum. In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  4. Rev. Calli

    Sufficiency of Scripture

    Greetings to you all my brothers and sisters, First I must apologize for not being more active here on the board lately. With this being my busy season at work and my other interests, I haven't had as much time as I would like to monitor things that take place here. That being said, I think it needs to be said, somewhat forcefully, that everyone here is at very different places in their faith journeys, and in their ability to express themselves in a way that is respectful of other peoples beliefs. People here should be able to share their faith and/or their viewpoints with others, without feeling the need to beat each other up over these very personal and subjective issues. If you don't like what someone is saying here, you don't have to take it as a personal challenge or attempt to get others to come over to your way of thinking. In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  5. Greetings to you my brother, Welcome back! In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  6. Rev. Calli

    Pew report.....wonder why....

    Greetings to you my brother, A very good point. In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  7. Greetings to you my brother, Be like Woody Allen, who once quipped "I don't believe in an afterlife, but I am taking a change of underware." In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  8. Rev. Calli

    Pew report.....wonder why....

    Greetings to you my brother, Actually, in my denomination, the leadership is pretty much 50/50. However, I think historically it was because even though women tended to be more religious than men, men as in most of society in general held the leadership posts in everything, not just in the churches. Sad, but it's a historical fact. It's really only been in our lifetimes that women in America at least have been able to insist on their God given rights to be equal in all things, including leadership positions in the church. In Solidarity, Rev. Calli
  9. Rev. Calli

    Pew report.....wonder why....

    Greetings to you my brother, Without question. There is no hard and fast rule. And your point is well taken regarding the women being more responsible. But in my experience, I do feel that women do crave relationship more then men do, and so that is why women typically find Christianity especially appealing because of the emphasis on relationship. In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  10. Rev. Calli

    history and faith

    Greetings to you my brother, I don't know. For most of the Christians I know, it is a mainstream viewpoint. We just don't shout as loud as some of my more fundamentalist brothers and sisters. In Solidarity, Rev. Calli
  11. Greetings to you my brother, Thou art indeed wise my dear friend. While I, of course, have no doubt that there is an afterlife, I have no clear idea of what it will actually be like, other than good. In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  12. Greetings to you my brother, Woo...I was worried for a moment there. In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  13. Greetings to you my brother, cough cough...ahem? Is this really what you think of me? In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  14. Rev. Calli

    Pew report.....wonder why....

    Greetings to you all my brothers and sisters, I hesitate to answer, since perhaps it will come across as sexist, but since we are a open group: I suspect the Pew Research report reflects one of the things that I believe is a difference in the way males and females think. Men have a tendency to think, I believe, in very concrete terms. They are more likely to make decisions based on objective facts. Since matters of faith are not easily provable in the same way the scientific knowledge is provable, men tend to be less open to religion. That doesn't mean men don't come to faith or belief, but it's typically not as important a part of a man's life as it is a women's. If you go to pretty much any church, it is the women who are usually the most active and do most of the work that keeps the church actually functioning. While women also rely primarily on facts, they also tend to place more of an emphasis on relationships then men do. In Christianity, relationship with God is a major emphasis. So it's natural I feel that women would be more attracted to the Christian faith. Living in relationship with God and each other is a very appealing to someone who finds the concept of being in relationship attractive. In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  15. Rev. Calli

    history and faith

    Greetings to you my brother, Oh dear, I don't even believe in Adam and Eve, does that make me less of a Christian? In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  16. Rev. Calli

    history and faith

    Greetings to you my brother, You're missing the obvious point that the Bible is a book of faith, not science. If you try to take it and come up with the age of the world, or history is we would understand it, you miss the point completely. The bible is a history of how the people of ancient Israel and early Christianity came to understand their relationship with God. Is it infallible? Not in the way my fundamentalist brothers and sisters would insist. It teaches us what God wants us to know about being a people of faith, and especially when we get into the New Testament, how we are to live in relationship with each other, as Christ taught. In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  17. Greetings to you my brother, I used to read to my children from "Watership Down." The loved the stories of the Prince Rabbit. "All the world will be your enemy, prince with a thousand enemies. And whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first, they must catch you. Be cunning and full and tricks, and your people will never be destroyed." In solidarity, Reverend Calli
  18. Rev. Calli

    Hello!

    Greetings to you my brother, Welcome to the forum! In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  19. Rev. Calli

    God & godless alike.... choose respect first ?

    Greetings to you my brother, To be perfectly honest, I don't think that there is any good answer. In standard Wesleyan Theology, we believe in a concept called prevenient Grace. To simplify the concept, it is a view that God works on each of us to give us a longing to be in a relationship with God, much as we very often long to be in a close relationship with others, be it parents, friends, lovers, etc. It is something that is ingrained in the very fabric of our being. The thing is, this can be a very subtle feeling in a person. It's like a very small, fragile seed in that it doesn't grow unless it is nurtured. It's not always recognizable for what it really is, in that people will often interpret that longing as a desire for something else entirely, and spend their lives trying to fill that need in other ways. Sex, power, drugs, money, people will pursue these things believing that the longing they feel will be satisfied by using or obtaining these things, but yet they still feel empty or lost. Without the background to understand the nature of this longing for God, you cannot choose, as you don't know how to even begin to understand what you are longing for. Even if you had grown up or in later years been exposed to people of faith, even if you had been thoroughly indoctrinated in a faith system, it is so very easy to misinterpret that longing for something to fill that need in your soul as a desire for something else. But still, for many of us, be it luck, or a gift of some special insight from God, when we are confronted with the choice, God on one hand, of the things of this world on the other, we choose faith, as that is where we find real happiness and soul satisfaction. So perhaps, it is a little of both. It is God's offer to us, but up to us to recognize the offer and accept or reject as we see fit. In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  20. Rev. Calli

    Feed Your Frankenstein

    Greetings to you my brother, You are right of course. It was the Romans who tortured and murdered Jesus. As the Gospels were being committed to paper, there were I fear some editorial liberties taken with the oral tradition to avoid offending the Romans who were rapidly converting to the new faith, and pin the full blame on those who remained committed to the Jewish faith as they understood it. Still, the late great Lenny Bruce did once say that when going thru an old trunk in his attic, he found a note that said "I confess, we did it. Signed Murray." In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  21. Rev. Calli

    God & godless alike.... choose respect first ?

    Greetings to you my brother, For me, the outright rejection of the faith I had when I was a child occurred when I was about 13 years old. As I stated before, I had grown up a very devoted Catholic in a town where Catholicism was the norm. Out of a town of roughly 10,000 people, there were at the time (mid-1960's) five very large Catholic churches of which my parents belonged to the largest. Both of my parents were disabled and unable to drive to or even get up the steps of the church without a lot of help from others. But they made sure that other family members or neighbors got me to church every Sunday until I was old enough to walk there by myself. I think at first it was their insistence on the importance of going to church and being a part of a faith community that fueled my first love of God and Christianity because I saw how important it was to my parents. It was during those first early years of my life that I began to experience the desire to become a priest. Those of you who grew up in a Catholic tradition (especially if you are baby boomers) know how one of the things that you are indoctrinated into is the idea of "vocation", that is, the belief that God is calling you into the religious life, either as a Priest or Religous brother if you are male, or a Nun if you are female. As an 8 year old, I joyfully embraced the idea of one day becoming a priest, as did pretty much all of my friends. The difference is that for me, that desire never went away. I probably would have become a priest early in my life, going from high school straight into seminary and the eventually the Catholic Priesthood, except for experiencing two devastating personal tragedies that caused me to question my beliefs and the church I had grown up loving. Right about the time I was entering puberty, my brother (who had been given a medical discharge from the Navy), had come home to live with us until he could get a job and move out on his own. Among his possessions was a brown paper bag, that he had very clearly marked "DO NOT TOUCH" and that he left on the top shelf of the closet in the bedroom we shared. Naturally the very first chance I had, I got the bag down from the shelf and discovered his collection of porn. I short order, I quickly discovered (and please don't think the less of me) the joys of self-love. Of course being a good Catholic boy, one who really wanted to be a priest, I figured I really needed to confess this sin. So that Saturday I went to church and confessed my sin to my favorite priest, the one who was serving as a mentor to me as I had begun to explore the possibilities of the priesthood. Now until that point in my life, no matter what horrible crime I could have confessed to, the worst penance I had ever received was having to do a complete decade of the rosary. Today however this not the case. Father told me to wait in the back of the church, and that after the evening confessions where done, he would give me an appropriate penance, one that any boy who wanted to become a priest would have to endure if they really wanted to be able to enter the priesthood. When everybody else had left the building, Father took me down to the basement of the church. To make a long story short, I was forced to submit to whipping, and then was raped, all the while being told that this is the punishment given to any boy wanting to become a priest who commits the sin of masturbation. After it was over, Father told me that I would have to come to him for confession at least every two weeks and that I would have to endure this penance again if I continued in my sinful ways. I was also told that I told anyone else of what was happening, I would never be allowed to enter the priesthood. Indeed, I could even be excommunicated from the church for breaking the seal of confession. Now I don't know what anyone else would have done, but at that time in my life, I believed completely in whatever a Priest would tell me, and I also was caught in the place in my sexual development that telling me to stop my solo sexual activities would have the same result as telling a hardcore heroin addict to give it up cold turkey. So this went on for close to a year. Earlier in this post, I had mentioned how both of my parents were disabled. My father, who was a veteran of WWII having served in Burma and New Guiena, had come back from the war in pretty bad health. Aside from Malaria, he also had what I believe now would have been diagnosed as PTSD. He was able to hold a job, but having only a 10th-grade education his working life was pretty much devoted to doing manual labor. Around the time I was born, he started having symptoms that at first had been diagnosed as MS. He had to give up driving, but was still able to work, since we lived very close to the Oil Refinery he was employed at. When I was 5 (and he was about 45), he had his first stroke. This stroke left him unable to use his left leg, and he was no longer able to continue working. Every year or so after that, he would have one major health issue after another and lose more and more of his physical abilities. About a year after the abuse started by Father, my dad had another stroke, this one causing him to lose the use of his other leg. The Sunday afternoon after my dad had been taken away to the hospital (this was a few days after the stroke) my mother told me that dad would no longer be able to use what had been his good leg, and that now, instead of being able to get along on crutches and the use of a leg brace, he would pretty much be confined to a wheelchair. At this point, I lost it. I ran into my room, slamming the bedroom door (inadvertently causing the lock to engage and jam up) and sobbed my heart out. I couldn't believe that God I had been taught was a loving God could keep messing with my dad this way. What could he possibly have done to deserve all this misery? And me, what was I doing that was so wrong and so awful that had I had to accept being beaten and...well, you know. There had to be something wrong, somehow I wasn't getting the right message. All this time my mother was standing at the door, pleading with me to unlock it and let her in. I absolutely refused to answer her. My brother tried, and I told him to get the hell out. Finally, my mom called the rectory and asked for Father to come and talk to me. So there I was, sobbing on my bed, not understanding why all this was happening, and the one man who I had trusted, who I had loved, and who had betrayed me and abused my love and trust stood outside my door and told me to accept God's will. This was the very first time in my life that I told another human being, in fact shouted at him multiple times, to "get the F (insert your favorite F word here) out. Over and over again until he finally left the house. Eventually, my brother kicked in the door, and they got me to the hospital where with the help of a good strong sedative I finally calmed down. But I never set foot in that church again or spoke of what had been happening there. I didn't give up my belief in God. That has never every left. But I did give up the simple faith of my childhood. I had learned that just because someone says something from a pulpit, or orders you to do something under the guise of being a representative of God, does not mean that they have to be believed or obeyed. And I learned that there are no simple answers to the hard questions we struggle with in life. My dad was a good guy, why did he have to suffer so much? I was a good kid, not doing anything worse than most of my friends, why did God require me to submit to such degradation? For a few years, I stayed away from any church. But I did read anything I could get my hands on about other faith systems. I studied Islam ( what little was available in my local library at the time). Buddism, Hindi, I became very familiar with the Bahi faith (which had one of the major temples just a few miles from my home). I kept searching, trying to find what I thought of as the time as the true faith. One that would answer all my questions, all my doubts. One that I would be able to fully embrace. My good fortune, (or if this word does not offend anyone) my salvation, was that I met my future wife during this time. When we started dating (both of us were sophomores in Highschool) she was an active member of her churches MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship). Being the good boyfriend that I was, I started to go to her youth group functions with her. I began to discuss matters of faith with her pastor, who introduced me, very gently, to a way different understanding of Christ and the church then I had ever experienced. The nature of Grace (being God's unearned, unmerited, undeserved total love for each of us), salvation by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers, these were things that I had never been taught in Catechism class. Don't get me wrong, I didn't rush right in and join the church. It wasn't a burning bush moment. But it did get me to start to rethink my relationship to Christianity, to see that perhaps I was called to be part of a church again. That perhaps, Christianity was right for me, but that I had at first experienced some distorted teachings. A few years after high school, Terri and I wound up living in Milwaukee. She was going to nursing school and I had started a job at a local brewery (lucky me huh). We had separate apartments on different sides of town. She was looking for a Methodist church to join in her neighborhood but didn't like the one by her apartment (which remarkably is the one I now preach at on a regular basis). Two block from my apartment was a Methodist church that had a big movie marque at the front. On it was always the title of that's weeks sermon, under which in big, bold letters stated: "Rev. Reisner Preaches!" This was the mid 70's, the time when TV evangelists were a big thing. Seeing that sign every day as I went to work, I thought that this guy was probably a bush league preacher, and that it may be fun to go watch him, so I invited Terri to try out that church, and said that I would even go with her (again thinking it would be good for a laugh). That churched changed my life completely. Starting from what Terri's youth pastor had first shared with me, I began to experience what God's grace really means. I learned what it means to be accepted for him I am, faults and failings included, as a Child of God, loved and cherished, but also challenged to grow and become more. I learned that it was alright to question. That at least in the United Methodist understanding, our faith is not based on edicts from a pulpit, or on one person's interpretation of Scripture. Scripture is primary, but also human reason, our traditions, and our individual human experiences. And maybe most importantly, I began to experience Christ in a new way. In my early experience, I saw Christ as someone who I had condemned to death on a cross for my sins. I had been taught to feel guilty about being a faulty human being. I wasn't even good enough to be able to pray to him, talk to him, directly. Everything had to be done by going through others, Saints who had an overabundance of grace, the Virgin Mary, priests. No, in the UMC I learned that I could have a personal relationship without all the go-betweens. I learned that I was good enough, worthy enough, loved enough, to be able to go Christ as a friend. I could tell him anything, ask him anything. Like a friend, he would listen. And like a friend, he would help. But like a friend also, he wouldn't do everything for me. Somethings I needed to do for myself. He wasn't going to throw money in my lap, I had to go out and earn it. He wasn't going to make my relationship with my wife always smooth going, we had to work on that together. If I screwed up in life, I would have to suffer the consequences of my mistakes. That was the nature of the world God had created. And when I suffered because of the actions of others, I learned I could always turn to him for comfort, because he understood what it meant to suffer at the hands of other people, as he had done it himself. This all took some years. It wasn't until about 11 years after we first became members of Central that I had the experience where everything really jelled for me, when I could with integrity really state that I was a Christian. My wife, our two children, and I were at a Wednesday evening worship service at our church. We were all sitting around a piano in the lounge area, and having a hymn sing. In our hymnal is a song "Lord of the Dance" that is a very joyful song about the love of Christ. As we sang, our children ( who were about 6 and 2, as well as some of the other little children of the church had gotten up and starting dancing spontaneously around the piano. I thought how great it was that we were part of a church that was so loving, so accepting, that no one tried to get the children to sit down when they dancing with the pure joy of a child. Then it dawned on me that as our church accepts our children, so too does God accept me as I am. After that moment of clarity, my life took a very different course. Until then I had focused my life on obtaining material success. After that, I wanted to share my faith with others. The old desire that I had when I was a child to become a priest reasserted itself with a vengeance. Naturally becoming a Catholic priest was out the question. There was too much in that churches theology and in the way it is governed that I could not accept. But I could easily see my self as a Pastor in the Methodist church. The Wesleyan way of thinking, our understanding of Grace and free will, our openness to let the Holy Spirit move our church to reach out to the outcasts and misfits of the world, these are things I wanted to share. It took a few years before circumstances allowed me to enter a seminary. Seminary was another life-altering experience for me. While I know that there are seminaries that are little better than schools of mind control, only teaching the party line as it were, and rejecting any ideas that fall outside the little box that they consider the fundamentals, Garrett followed their motto of "Faith Seeking Understanding," We were encouraged to study other understandings of Christianity, as well as other faith systems. We had heated debates over what really constituted sin. We debated vigorously over some the issues that still divide my denomination. Some of these debates even caused me to reconsider some of my previously held beliefs. For example, before I entered seminary, I was a staunch opponent of the very notion of Gays and Lesbians being able to wed, to say nothing of being ordained. I did a complete 180 in my views over those issues, as I came to understand how very often we mistake what where cultural norms of centuries pass as being God's will for the present. Perhaps the most important thing I learned in seminary was that our God is a living God. A God who continues to speak to humanity in new and exciting ways. So many of my brothers and sisters in Christ take the view that God's revelation to the world ended when the Canon of Scripture was decided on by the early church founders. I do not believe that to be so. I have come to view God as a loving, caring parent, who as humanity has grown and matured, given us more freedom, more knowledge, and more responsibility, for growing to our potential, and caring for this world that we have been entrusted with. Of course, my faith experiences have been different than all of yours (thank God right). My faith has been formed by many different factors, some way beyond my control, some that I choose for myself. All I can say is my way, my faith, my relationship with God and how I choose to live it out is right for me. When I preach to my congregation, when I write here or on other sites, when I talk to friends or people who come up to me, all I can do is share my story, hoping it will help them on their own faith journey. It may not lead them to the same destination it led me. But I can say with confidence that my journey has led me to a place where I have found the greatest joy and sense of purpose, and brought me to the deepest relationship with my Creator then I had ever imagined it could. In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  22. Rev. Calli

    Some Catholics rock

    Greetings to you all my sisters and brothers, While I have had my axe to grind with certain priests in the Catholic church, due to abuse that led me to abandon the church of my youth, that doesn't mean I do not respect and honor the vast majority of Catholics, both clergy, and laity who live out their understanding of the faith, especially those who have taken to heart Christ's commands to care for the poor, the sick and the outcasts. Certainly, there are theological issues that keep me from embracing Catholicism as the faith path for myself, but that does not mean that others cannot with the greatest integrity accept it for themselves. In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  23. Rev. Calli

    God & godless alike.... choose respect first ?

    Greetings to you my brother, One of the things I have become convinced about in my life is that for most, but not all people, acts of heroism and self-sacrifice, when presented with the right circumstances, are an automatic response. As the Doctor in the great movie and novel, "Mr. Roberts" would say, it is a reflexive action much like the knee-jerk reflex. As to a person developing religious faith, I believe that frankly a lot of it (at least at first in our lives) is conditioned by how we are raised, both by our families of origin and the culture that we grow up in. A child born of Islamic parents in a culture where Islam is the norm will more than likely be Moslem. I grew up with Roman Catholic parents in a very Catholic community. Of course, at least until I reached the age of reason, I was a devout RC. It wasn't until I began to understand that there were other ways to understand God, and frankly when I began to experience abuse at the hands of a person who I had been taught to revere as a representative of God that I left the faith of my youth. This was where free will, as I understand it, kicked in. I actively wrestled with what I had been taught. I questioned my beliefs and searched out answers that made sense to me, that resonated with my soul. And truth to be told has been a continuous process But I have come to a faith that for me is reasonable, but I do not say that it would be the same for anyone else. In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  24. Rev. Calli

    Why Did God Create Athiests?

    Greetings to you all my brothers and sisters, First, thanks Dave for sharing that story. I think that the main point we should take from this whole discussion is that people have all sorts of motivations for doing good as well as evil. Some have ulterior motives (such as getting in brownie points with our Creator or making ourselves feel good). Others do these things out of pure instinct. As our brother mererdog would say, people are complicated and weird. In solidarity, Rev. Calli
  25. Rev. Calli

    Greetings

    Greetings to you my brother, I saw your post on the Facebook group too, but I wanted to answer you here because the answers you are looking for somewhat involved. Now first of all, please understand that the legal situation in America is probably different than in your home country of Poland. I see you say that you have already been talking to a lawyer in your country, which is a very good thing because he's the only one who can tell you with any certainty if your ordination in the Universal Life Church would give you the authority to conduct a legal wedding. As to celebrating the Eucharist, many Protestant denominations don't use wine or the wafers a Catholic church would use. In fact, in my denomination (I'm ordained in the United Methodist Church) we use regular Grape Juice and plain old bread. Theologically, many faith traditions take the view that the valid elements to use for communion depend on what the staple food is in the country they are in. For example, when I was in seminary, we had many students from the Philippines. In their country, they often used rice wine and rice cakes. For instructions on how to do communions, baptism, funerals, your best bet would be to get the books of Worship from denominations that are prevalent in your nation, and you can see how they perform these acts. I would caution you tho, that while in America, there are no laws about who can perform sacramental acts, I cannot swear that the situation is the same in your nation. As to preaching, there are literally hundreds of very good books that can give you ideas about how to construct a sermon. There are also many many websites that can help you, such as https://www.sermoncentral.com/ Anyway, good luck in your ministry. Let us know how things go. Your brother in Christ, Rev. Calli