...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

You Too Can Be Called 'Reverend'! by Jim Jackson

I’ve got good news for those of you who would like to become clergy. You can now be ordained online for little effort or money.

Chapelwood’s clergy did it the hard way. They endured a minimum of three and one-half years of graduate education – then at least two years of ministry under supervision before they could be ordained. Along the way there were years of psychological exams to be passed, papers to be written, questions to be answered, approvals to be gained. It’s not easy to be ordained in the United Methodist Church.

And it is expensive. The average candidate for ordination in the Texas Annual Conference has accumulated from $40,000-$90,000 in school debt. And their starting salaries are about $30,000. It is hard to make those numbers work.

How foolish these young clergy are. They could have been ordained by a church like “Church of the Latter Day Dude” (www.dudeism.com), or the “Universal Life Church Monastery” (www.themonastery.org) , or the “Church of Spiritual Humanism” (www.spiritualhumanism.org), or the “American Fellowship Church” (www.amfellow.org), or the “First Nation Church” (www.acwo.net) for little or nothing.

Think of it: you can do weddings and funerals – you can even start your own church and be the pastor. What a neat way to earn some extra cash. This gives new meaning to Paul’s reference to “the church in your house.” (Romans 16:5; I Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 2)

And what a unique Christmas gift it would be for your family and Friends. Rather than getting them sox, or a book, or a purse, you can wrap up a certificate of ordination and put it under the tree. What a terrific idea for folks who have nearly everything.

But come to think of it, you are already a minister. The New Testament makes this abundantly clear. Your baptism is your ordination. Next time you come to church look closely at the name tag we ask you to wear. It says, “Yes, I Am a Minister

By the way, if you want to be called “Reverend,” I’d be happy to accommodate you. All it requires is acting reverent.

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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If you want a formula for making the best of the less-than-perfect and making the most of what you have been given, then begin to compare your lot to what you were before you were born, and it will empower you with wonder every time. John Claypool

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