Friday, July 13, 2012

Cutting Down on the Cost of Seminary Education: Is This the Next Step?

Disclaimer: This is a Friday post. Don’t take it too seriously.

The cost of seminary education is becoming prohibitively expensive. With congregations out there who can’t afford a pastor, there have been some novel approaches to cutting corners. Perhaps this is the end of the line, the final solution -- the Universal Life Church:
The Universal Life Church is the only denomination worldwide that opens its doors to all, welcoming all who feel called to be a minister to complete a free online ordination to be a minister, rabbi, priest or pastor. We are a non-denominational community and offer a full spectrum of support services. Millions of ministers have become legally ordained through the ULC Monastery all over the world. We do not have tests of loyalty, religious rings to kiss, nor do we require payment. The Universal Life Church wholly believes in its mantra - "We are all children of the same universe."
The Universal Life Church Monastery represents religious freedom, both freedom from and freedom of religion. At the ULC Monastery there is no hierarchy, and no one is held above another. All faiths are considered equal and no deity is held above another.

Online ordination in the ULC Monastery allows anyone from anywhere in the world to perform nondenominational weddings, funerals, baptisms, and other services in most states and counties in the United States. For information about the marriage laws of all fifty U.S. states, as well as those of other countries (including Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand), visit our Wedding Laws database. As a ULC minister, you will be a legally recognized wedding officiant, funeral officiant, or baptism officiant, among other things.
Now lest you think I’m joking, I actually know someone who did this. (He’s not a Christian.) His nephew wanted his favorite uncle to marry him, so why not? He got his online diploma, and he’s good to go. You may now kiss the bride. Now here’s the kicker:
When couples want to find a wedding officiant to perform their wedding, you will be able to offer them your personalized services without going through the often unfair and unjustified hassle of traditional seminary training. [emphasis added]
Their goal is “is to educate new ministers in the basics of their profession, regardless of faith, beliefs or religion.” You heard it here first. Let’s hope none of our seminarians get a whiff of this – they’ll be bailing left and right to avoid the unfair and unjustified hassle of traditional seminary training, not to mention the $60,000 in tuition. And I can only imagine what will happen if some of our district presidents get a hold of this. No more problems for “non-calling” congregations.

Just to seal the deal, you can watch Conan O’Brien give ULC his endorsement here.


Anonymous said...

From the article:

"We are a non-denominational community..."

I find it intriguing that increasing numbers of believers in universal salvation are claiming the "non-denominational" label.

Have any non-denominational Christian church leaders commented on this new trend?

Anonymous said...

Everyone a minister.

Where have I heard that before? :-p

Josh Schroeder said...

I think I'm going to start an internet business that allows people to become sea captains, just so that they can legally perform marriages.

Universal Sea Navy is the only navy in the world that opens its ports to all, welcoming all who feel called to be a captain to earn a free online mariner license... "We are all fish of the same ocean!"

If we can water down the ministry just to let people perform marriages, we can water down mariner licensure (pun intended), too.

Mike Carter said...

I think something like the Universal Life Church is a good thing because there are people out there who can use it to good use. Conan definitely meant well when he did it, and so did my friend. He got ordained online so he could perform his brother's wedding at the request of their father.