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About VonNoble

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    You are the sum of your choices?

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    36 happy years!

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  1. Civility and Reason

    There are some things old people miss as they age. It seems most of my peers are lamenting the loss of civility. They blame cyber space for much of that. They also gripe about unreasonableness having become the norm. I have been giving this some thought. Initially I disagreed and tried applying some understanding to the world now and why it has become speed over quality in communications. They might just have a point in there somewhere. Have we made the world smaller with these many ways to converse across the globe...but in the process...have we widened the gap in understanding (one another) because of how we communicate? Or any other variation you want to add to the conversation Von
  2. There is some risk announcing to the world "you are clergy" - no matter what the title of your choice. People will, often, comment upon that decision (some favorably, some incredulously, and a few perhaps negatively.) What makes it worth the risk? Ego. Belief in a message. Hoping to make a difference. Shock value. Some on this Forum over the years liken their decision to painting a target on themselves. Others never reveal they have been ordained. Others go out in the world and proclaim it loudly. What's your story. Why did you take step to be ordained? (motivation) And the action you invested following step one? And the reaction to that action? And what's happening currently or planned for the future? von
  3. Have You Ever Fallen For It?

    I have often agreed with those who say the more they know - the more they realize how much they don't know. Disappointment seems to occur most often when I, myself, had unrealistic expectations. Others are less likely to fail if I assign less rigidity to the outcomes I expect. Often others are not so much dishonest as the fault is in me when we communicate. Often I do not listen fully. Often I rush ahead without waiting to allow them to fully explain. I am an Olympian at jumping to conclusions. Taking time to fully digest what is said before responding is much more effective. Skepticism begins with my own ability to fully integrate the information to the best of my ability every time. Some days I just screw up, forget, am inattentive, impatient, I don't ask enough questions, I don't process critically, I am too lazy to push myself to think in more than one comfortable rut that I favor....so I am not sure that in large part, it is my own input causing faulty and frustrating output. von
  4. Still alive and active here too. Thanks for taking attendance I always somehow was comforted when they called my name in school. Someone knows you are there and you momentarily matter. von
  5. Services? Hmm. I suppose most people on this Forum perform the service of kindness daily. More specifically, our church provides the standard services of most churches (weddings, funerals, memorial services, hospital visitations, prison visitations, home visits and such.) Additionally, we have been involved in a wide array of community outreach programs (disaster relief, shelter assistance, food pantry, literacy, financial support to those in need etc.) it is like most churches - limited only by the time, talent and treasure shared of our congregation. Von
  6. House Church

    Certainly a house church works as effectively as any other form of church. Many people have noted a church is not really a building at all. Of course there is an obvious pause to note that it is the quality of the group not the quantity of the group that matters. It is a very affordable way to start a spiritual community. We started on a deck in the back yard and simply kept growing. Von
  7. Well I gotta stand and applaud that answer ! Next thought on that though - as that solitary Tom-Cat or in this case Jon-cat - - - do you reach out to others when you are able to do so? If you did, you were by some definition ministering to others, yes? If someone saw that and followed your example - would you not then be leading others? von So if I were to join the one and only church of Fred Frump (being the founder and sole member) - and were therefor God, what is my purpose for existence? At any point that I interact with another being (be that a different God or a mere mortal) is there any obligation upon me to care for or about the existence of anything or anyone else? thx von
  8. So the purpose of clergy is largely one of administrative duties ? Often i think that would parallel traditional duties for many clergy as things like weddings are largely record keeping and witnessing. Yes they get to stand up and be in the front for the photo shoot in today's version things but really - the VOWS to GOD are offered by the bride and groom - the role of clergy is largely to witness and record the event for the church and for the state. In the case of funerals there is a "speech" offered to the congregation collectively and certainly a capacity that goes beyond administrative so I see a divergence between the two there. I am curious (and applaud) the involvement of the family unit in having responsibility for a large impact upon the children re: the spiritual formation the children. With the clergy being largely clerical....who is the final authority when spiritual questions arise in the community? If a child of your family marries a child of a family with a similar and yet not quite the same point of view - - - the newly married couple want to formulate a tradition for their new family but find a sticking point between what "he knows" and what "she believes" - how would they resolve that spiritual question? Both families share common views....but not the same view. How would the new couple reconcile what is or is not "proper" in the world of the spiritual for the next generation? Do they just divide the family (first born follows my system, second born follows your system) or is there some codification upon which the larger community agrees? Does the role of clergy ever include writing down the governance of spiritual practices for the community? If not -then I am not sure you have more than a bunch of family religions...but not a community/congregation. If the family has the larger portion of "ministerial duties" for this "religion" where does the moral guidance for each member of the family originate? Is there a written guideline for what mom's do and what dad's do? Are there rules for the obligations of the kids or suggestions of how to teach a child to be moral? How is right and wrong determined? Are there formal prayers? Are those voiced by everyone? Is there time for private meditation? And in all of that - who is driving the spiritual train in the home? Just trying to understand how it works. von
  9. Thanks for the welcome greeting. I had to go do a bit of quick checking to catch up (orthopraxy being a new word to me) ....also the term Germanic Heathen. All good for me to go and learn some new things. So I thank you. I can more fully appreciate your POV that the tolerance to incoming other religions, ended up causing a crack in the armor, as it were, to the closed cohesive group before that exposure arrived. As is often the case when a closed society experiences integration. Your point is taken. Re: the POV that the clergy's authority being derived by acclaim or by consent of the congregation/tribe/community - I would agree that is usually the case. One can be anointed, ordained or titled, maybe even elected to be the leader - but you can only lead or govern if the followers -- in fact, follow the lead. Coercion may be applied - but is not indefinitely successful. (over-throws, self destruction, implosion and revolution are a few of the eventual outcomes of unwanted leadership) To that end it seems the path of the assented clergy in your faith has a commonality (granted unique to that one congregation) but a commonality nonetheless to others (actually not that different than the current closed society of the Amish in which each small community adopts its own variation of the faith and elects/chooses their own elders) - there is a loose tie between them but enough variation that each has a slightly different identity. They too resist infiltration and while blending - stand apart from the larger societies in which they reside world-wide. They are not just located in Ohio, PA and Iowa these days. Thanks for the lesson along the way in this thread, Stormbringer. It seems as if you do have a solitary minister in terms of ONE and only one clergy figure for each unique congregation (to the extent those terms convey the loose conceptualization to which the rest of us can grasp it) von
  10. mark 34, you as well - I am always happy to see your postings and know you have remained steady and true on your path - Namaste, von
  11. Stormbringer, Hello....I am most curious about your belief system. Certainly I appreciate learning new things so if you would assist me, please.... You note; " in my belief system there can be no such thing" - to what specifically were you referring? The idea of "ministers" per se; "ministering to another"; time spent in in introspection or silence with one's self; or was it all of those things - that do not exist on your chosen path. Obviously you are tolerant of others (kudos to you for that) - so your path is one that allows for tolerance thereby recognizing that others and other ways exist. I won't assume that permits you to interact with them or does it? Sorry I haven't been around the Forum to much of late so I am just catching up. von
  12. I would agree with you - each of us has an individual choice of response. Most spiritual paths (if we can allow that term) - most would include service to others - some would qualify that service. Service only when you yourself are in balance and do so with proper intentions. Rather like strapping on your own oxygen mask before attempting to assist another. It seems to me - the most significant contributions I have ever made in service were in situations that were a) one on one b) at times I least expected it c) when there was no real thought or effort required of me (it happened naturally and spontaneously eh...sorry about the edit thing - I don't know how I managed to "go live" with the post as I am a dunderhead with technology - nonetheless, it seems the biggest impact to me and by me - were not done with a large group effort but rather one on one. Okay, I'm done editing now. von
  13. Hello Hermes Mercurius, Are the two identities mention mutually exclusive, I wonder? Does not each minister face or find the "sacred silence inside him(her)self? A role as leader of a congregation does not free one of the interest or obligation to seek truth within oneself. It may, perhaps, force one to draw to and from the inside even more to remain centered. Perhaps ( I was going to make a pun about drawing from an inside straight) (or insight straight) but opted not to make that the point of it as I think you raised a serious and worthwhile question that deserves a serious answer. Thanks for the question to ponder. von
  14. Is it a given that those who are more conservative will be drawn closer and closer to a fundamentalist end of a religious spectrum? And conversely that those who are least structured in general terms of their lifestyle will be opposed to organized religion all together? If either of those were even partially true - then how much of a role would "faith" factor into one's choice of (or rejection of ) religious affiliation? If neither of those is true - why is there a pervasive connection in the media presentation of "fundamentalists" (of any religion) as conservative and atheists as perpetual liberal extremists? Von
  15. I did. I looked at the link and found it to be salient and balanced and I thank you much for including it. Von