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Faith & Apostasy - 24 February 2023
Nonverts have their reasons.
There has been a lot of talk about the ‘nones’ in recent years. These are the folks who variously describe themselves as nonreligious, spiritual but not religious, and sometimes as atheists or agnostics. There is even “apatheism,” in which a person has no interest in determining the existence of a god or gods. A newer term is ‘nonvert,’ which is used to refer to those who were part of a religious tradition but are in deconstruction and consider themselves deconverted. The ‘nones’ and ‘nonverts’ have their reasons for rejecting religious dogma, ranging from experiences of trauma in religious settings, to rejection of perceived hypocrisy among religious people, to the plain and simple evidence to the contrary of any omnibenevolent, ominipotent, and omniscient deity reigning over the universe.
For just such times as these the Universal Life Church in well-positioned to fill a gap. As people walk away from organized religion, they still seek solace in spirituality and appreciate some rituals, like weddings and baby welcomings. Funerals are also inevitable, and some see value in having a religious professional on hand to guide memorial services. In hospitals people often avail themselves of the services of chaplains, who are trained professionals present to support patients, their family, and friends, without attempting to convert them.
With our ordination in the Universal Life Church we can provide all this and more to the world at large, in accordance with our talents and interests. What we need and often lack is the preparation to provide what is needed. And that’s why this network exists.
ULC in Focus
It’s true, the official ULC HQ website is outdated and a bit broken. The “News” is from 2005, and when you try to use a dropdown menu at the top, it appears at the far left of the screen. You need to use the links at the bottom of the page to navigate. In the story the purchase buttons work, but the image links for the buttons are broken. Sometimes something is listed as out of stock when, in fact, it is definitely in stock.
It’s not an ideal situation, but bear in mind that the ordination page is still functional. Also, if you want to place an order or submit an ordination request you can do so via email. The address is at the bottom of the site. While it would be great for the church to set up a new site, I don’t think that’s in the cards right now. Then again, I don’t really know. One of these days I’ll offer to help getting the site updated or simply replaced, unless someone with more personal bandwidth beats me to it.
For now, let’s be patient with our friends at HQ. The site might not be snazzy, but the church is legit and stable.
From the Internet
“If you lost your religion, it might be because the internet and social media are having a secularizing effect on American society.”
“I’ve heard white peers, professors, and Uber drivers praise Buddhism for being the only “unproblematic” religion—Buddhists typically don’t proselytize, the religion tends to accept and incorporate scientific discoveries, and there aren’t teachings that discriminate against minority groups.”
“Stacie Wood, wife of Andy Wood, who replaced Warren as lead pastor last summer, has the title of ‘teaching pastor.’”
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From the Blog
Knowledge is not faith, and faith is not knowledge. Knowledge can't bring you to faith, and faith should not serve as the basis of knowledge.
Imagine you have to chop some wood and all you have is an ax. You start working, only to discover that the ax is dull. You could keep working, putting in more effort to do the work, compensating for the fault in the ax. Or you could take some time to sharpen the ax. It might take some time to get the ax properly sharpened, but you’ll find that the work goes much more smoothly and with better quality using a sharp ax than a dull one. At the end you’re tired, but nowhere near as you would be had you kept hacking away with a dull ax.
The application should be obvious. You can certainly get ordained and then dive right into ministry, but you may well find that without some specialized training, it’s quite a slog. You might even be more prone to giving up on the project completely. Taking some time and using your resources to obtain a quality education in ministry can make your work much more effective and contribute to greater longevity in ministry. In the end, the quality of your work will be improved, and in our line of work, that means a positive impact on the lives of others.
In a world letting go of organized religion, Universal Life Church ministers have the potential of filling a real need. Let’s prepare ourselves accordingly.
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