RevSam

Ministry in the Age of Information

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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

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This is a difficult question for me to answer, because the clergy of my religion are so different from those of Christianity.

 

An Hellenic priest or priestess is primarily concerned with ritual cult worship (including the practice of sacrifices), tending the duties of the temple or shrine where they are elected, taking inventory of gifts and offerings (and seeing to their disposal if they grow too numerous or become damaged over time), overseeing temple finances, and enforcing any sacred laws regarding the temple.  

 

They aren't really concerned with ministry to the worshippers so much as their duty to the temple or shrine and the gods or spirits to whom the temple or shrine belong.  They also don't perform weddings, funerals, or naming ceremonies, because those are part of private domestic worship and not public cult worship.

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1 hour ago, RevSam said:

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

 

 

Perhaps I lack imagination.  It would not occur to me, to take my problems to a professional clergy person.  Why would I?  

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4 minutes ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

 

Perhaps I lack imagination.  It would not occur to me, to take my problems to a professional clergy person.  Why would I?  

 

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.

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1 hour ago, RevSam said:

 

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.

 

True.  Sometimes, things get better.  

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8 hours ago, RevSam said:

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 see Ministry in humanitarian work. I also see it particularly in places where it comes to improving a sense of well-being. Such as internet mags and health centers that offer information about personal development and tools for managing things of holistic nature (Mind-Body wellness) such as managing stress, or reflecting on gratitude and abundance etc. 

 

You raise an interesting matter by asking if one views the clergy as an authority as our ancestors once did or if it is more a religious scholar type of thing. If I go back far enough within my ancestry, it was both.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Amulet said:

 

 

I see Ministry in humanitarian work. I also see it particularly in places where it comes to improving a sense of well-being. Such as internet mags and health centers that offer information about personal development and tools for managing things of holistic nature (Mind-Body wellness) such as managing stress, or reflecting on gratitude and abundance etc. 

 

You raise an interesting matter by asking if one views the clergy as an authority as our ancestors once did or if it is more a religious scholar type of thing. If I go back far enough within my ancestry, it was both.

 

 

 

You have a good vision of the future.  To bring it into being will require the Medical world to change as well.  

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Very interesting, I don't have quite the optimism of the future in general as some of you.  I see the clergy in the future following more of the world view and bending to what the government wants it to say.  I do believe we at ULC may be the saving grace for the world.  We hold different views as most main stream religions and because we are so varied we walk to a different drum.  We will be the spiritual, real spiritual leaders in the future.  We will listen and guide those who do not want to follow what someone says should be.  We are independent of spirit and have a soul that flies. We learn from each other and are not afraid to share what we learn.  I think I got off track but you get the gest.  I don't follow any main stream religion, I am Universal in belief!  Love you all!

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The ministry was the sole province of the educated in large part because of the ministers.  When a group chooses to write their book in one language that very nearly no laypeople spoke or read, even if they could read in the first place, that says something.  The Christian religion, which is what I reference in these comments, was primarily Catholic I believe.  Historically, I don't see a lot of change, a lot of diversity, in denomination...until the bible becomes written in other languages.  Until other people are able to look at the book and interpret it differently than the minister tells them.  Now there are massive amounts of denominations. 

I take my wife to work occasionally at Walmart.  I happened to notice a religious writing on something there, it was 1 Corinthians 13 13, or so it claimed.  I looked it up when I got home, and it was different.  The object at Walmart had love in place of charity.  Of course, looking at the various translations of the bible when googling this verse, one will notice that the word has been changed in some translations to love instead of charity. 

Just look at the interpretational differences there.  If love is the highest standard, one could argue for tough love, that is not giving to others so they have to toughen up and learn to do for themselves.  The opposite of charity, which is the KJV.  One simple word altered...

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1 hour ago, cuchulain said:

The ministry was the sole province of the educated in large part because of the ministers.  When a group chooses to write their book in one language that very nearly no laypeople spoke or read, even if they could read in the first place, that says something.  The Christian religion, which is what I reference in these comments, was primarily Catholic I believe.  Historically, I don't see a lot of change, a lot of diversity, in denomination...until the bible becomes written in other languages.  Until other people are able to look at the book and interpret it differently than the minister tells them.  Now there are massive amounts of denominations. 

I take my wife to work occasionally at Walmart.  I happened to notice a religious writing on something there, it was 1 Corinthians 13 13, or so it claimed.  I looked it up when I got home, and it was different.  The object at Walmart had love in place of charity.  Of course, looking at the various translations of the bible when googling this verse, one will notice that the word has been changed in some translations to love instead of charity. 

Just look at the interpretational differences there.  If love is the highest standard, one could argue for tough love, that is not giving to others so they have to toughen up and learn to do for themselves.  The opposite of charity, which is the KJV.  One simple word altered...

 

 

Yes.  One inerrant word.     :D    Oops.    :lol:

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And so with the alteration of one word in modern translations, I have to wondered what other words may have been altered in previous times, and how many times those words were altered.  And how many of those alterations were further altered after that...and thus, how much of the bible is written the way it was originally intended.  This is a large imperfection, from my perspective.  If God is capable of inspiring the book to be infallible in the first instance, why not the translations?

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34 minutes ago, cuchulain said:

And so with the alteration of one word in modern translations, I have to wondered what other words may have been altered in previous times, and how many times those words were altered.  And how many of those alterations were further altered after that...and thus, how much of the bible is written the way it was originally intended.  This is a large imperfection, from my perspective.  If God is capable of inspiring the book to be infallible in the first instance, why not the translations?

 

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
 
This is a well known passage from Genesis.  (KJV)  Notice, "Spirit" has a capital "S".  This is a theological statement.  If that one letter S is changed to lower case, the whole meaning shifts.  Needless to say, the Jewish translations use a different word.  
 
 
 
Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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On 7/26/2017 at 6:53 PM, RevSam said:

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

Greetings to you my brother,

 

 As our brother LeopardBoy pointed out, a lot depends on a person's particular faith system (or lack of one).  

 

Speaking from a Christian context, I personally don't think a clergy person's place has really changed all that much.  Granted it's not like in the day when the clergy were among the most educated people in their particular village or city.  People can easily read the bible on their own and have readily available commentaries to help them understand what is actually being said in scripture and how that can relate to their own lives.  At least in the Protestant churches, there is no theological need for a Priest to act as a mediator between God and the individual.  

 

You can read the bible till your eyes bleed, pray until your knees cramp up, sing songs of praise until you go horse, but sometimes to really feel the presence of God in  your life, you need to feel a human hand, hear a human voice, to know that in your times of sorrow and pain that you are not alone.  The physical presence of a member of the clergy helps many to really feel the presence of God.  

 

A great deal of my ministry involved chaplaincy work.  One of the most important concepts I learned was that of the "Ministry of Presence."  How important it is for many people when facing a tragedy, to have someone there sitting with them, not praying, not talking, just holding their hand.  Letting them know that God is with them.

 

Of course, for many (again in the Christian context) having clergy helps in the act of worship.  Alas, so many feel inadequate in their personal prayer and devotional life.  For them, having a professional helps them feel the connection to God in worship.  

 

In solidarity,

Rev. Calli

 

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Everybody here is a U.L.C. minister.  It produces some amusing stories.  Other than that, it has not changed my life.  Well, ULC is Interfaith.  Maybe something more specific?

 

I took some Reiki training from a school with dual corporate status.  They were both a school of Reiki and a church of spiritual healing.  They ordained me.  It made even less difference.

 

I find that being an Agnostic minister means something to me.  Nobody else cares.

 

There is no point at all in trying to be inclusive.  I expect that Catholic Bishops, for example, find being clergy to be a different experience.  

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it always seemed to me the only thing that mattered about positions of people in a church are what the people themselves think of their positions. Hence, pompousness of some in the hiearchy of some orders.

Self worth empowers what others can and cannot do. Which is why some cults employ a sort of brain washing on their members so successfully.

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4 hours ago, Key said:

it always seemed to me the only thing that mattered about positions of people in a church are what the people themselves think of their positions. Hence, pompousness of some in the hiearchy of some orders.

Self worth empowers what others can and cannot do. Which is why some cults employ a sort of brain washing on their members so successfully.

 

When a church has a hierarchy at all -- this already makes a statement about values and authority.  

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