why get ordained? (spinoff) - Mothering Forums
Spirituality > why get ordained? (spinoff)
stirringleaf's Avatar stirringleaf 06:17 AM 03-14-2005
i was just reading some of the other posts here, and in the thread about starting a new church, people were talking about wanting to get ordained. i didint want to get too OT so i am asking here...why would you want to get ordained as an interfaith minister ? and then also, wht is the appeal to doing it online which seems so ...contrived? i am NOT putting it down, i just dont know what the appeal is. but to just give you my background so you can better understand where i am coming from---i am of a faith that believes that we are all like teachers and preists, that we have left the age where priests and ministers are needed. I am Baha'i and at weddings the couple simply says a vow in front of witnesses---no minister is needed becasue we dont believe in an intermediary between the individual and God. also my releigion believes in the unity of all religions, so i jive with the idea of an interfaith church, btw.

so i am not putting down anyones faith at all, just wanted to hear some backgrounds and perspectives because i am interested in them. it sounds like it would be really fun to get to marry people and stuff. i just havent ever talked to anyone before about why people from sort of a unitarian/interfaith perspective would be interested in "ministering" KWIM? in chrsitian and jewish faiths i understand the logic they have about minsters, they believe that intermediary is needed. so its just when it comes to starting an interfaith online church ( which , sounds very nice and cool and everything) that i was wondering what the perspective was about ministering. thanks , and again i hope this doesnt come off weird its 1AM i shouldnt even be online, probably!

with respect and openness,

kama'aina mama's Avatar kama'aina mama 06:55 AM 03-14-2005
My best guess would be that they want to minister, in very specific instances like marriage and baptism to dear frieds who do not have a formal faith community.
Clarity's Avatar Clarity 11:22 AM 03-14-2005
Kama's guesss is why we did it. Dh has done 3 weddings now, and our own was by a friend who got ULC ordained. It was easier in all cases than "shopping" for some other minister where we might have conceal or pretend certain beliefs. I know more than a few friends and relatives who have done so in order to marry in a certain church or with a certain clergyperson, or to be godparents.

It's also a legal shortcut for people who legitimately want to start a ministry, the paperwork to legally perform weddings in some states is eliminated. But the process to prove tax exempt status remains.
Oh the Irony's Avatar Oh the Irony 01:13 PM 03-14-2005
some people believe you can minister without going to school for it. if you have a call from a higher power a piece of paper is a piece of paper. online certification is a way to "jump through the hoops" to be able to do it legally.

there is a bias in our culture towards formal education.

eta: i just reread your post about your background so i see you believe that as well. the bias towards formal education in the states really upsets me.
Oh the Irony's Avatar Oh the Irony 01:17 PM 03-14-2005
it is also a loophole for bodyworkers.

ordained ministers are allowed to lay on hands.
stirringleaf's Avatar stirringleaf 03:17 PM 03-14-2005
but , ok dont take this as a personal debate, just me prying into the topic more...so i really dont want to bug anyone with my questions/thoughts! but i have more, lol

so why woulndt you just get married with a judge present? KWIM? why a minister of a nonspecific religion? again, i come froma belief system that we dont need ministers, no intermediary for marriage ceremonies, funerals, etc...these ceremonies are mediated by the people in general. like even if i werent bahai, i think if i had thought i could marry by just saying vows in front of my friends without a priest of any kind i would have done that anyway. but also you can have your own kind of ceremony and then just go with your spouse to ratify it in front of a judge. so when i think of people who dont belong to a certain faith, i just think they would be the ones who would find it most empowering to do these things without a minister...hence my questions. i **** respect it, just trying to discuss i want that to be ever so clear cuzi know religion can be very personal and i dont mean to offend or push my views at all.
menudo's Avatar menudo 05:24 PM 03-14-2005
Aye! lol Why I got ordained...Sure it was odd at first. Sorta funny. BUT the discussion came about because I am heading somewhere with my life that involves humans in times of great joy and great suffering. I filled out the ordination information but then began reading. I saw how maybe this may be part of my true calling, as hokey as that may sound to others! Through the urging of some great people I have decided to move forward with this new title-that is all it is FOR NOW! I am reading and EDUCATING myself (ie. homeschooling) in regards to the tenets of what I feel my ministry should reflect! Learning about formal ceremonies, refreshing myself on many important aspects of spirituality.

I have always enjoyed theology. Even in High school I did an in depth report on the The Muslim faith although I did not know any people in the faith and at that time I was so eager to learn! As I grew I met and worked with mamas of many faiths from around the world. I knew no current organized religion was FOR ME (I was brought up Catholic) but my spirituality grew stronger daily.

I know plenty of people who go to a church because they feel they have too, no other reason. Some people become clergy just to take advantage of others (monetarily, physically, etc.)! Formal education has NADA to do with it, unless you are fulfilling the specific requirements of a said religion and you truly beleive in what you are doing.

Too each there own. I know my heart is in the right place. I would never LEGALLY use the title of Reverend until I feel I am ready too. I do not and will not ever intend to MISLEAD anyone. I am Real! I want Good for the world. I will marry those who want a legal witness of a Higher power to marry them. I will gladly perform a commitment ceremony also (when the time comes for these of course!). Foremost, I would like to counsel the grieving in an alternative (And less expensive) form of burial and mourning process. But I do not plan for that to be UNDER any church name, as that will be a business like a modern day funeral home. Now if I perform grief counseling-that would NEVER cost, it would be as a human whether with the title Reverend or not.
stirringleaf's Avatar stirringleaf 05:35 PM 03-14-2005
one thing that excites me about what you are doing is that you are creating a group that will help epople get religious exemption for vax. but bebe i am not saying you are doing something corrupt or anything of the sort, i was honeslty wondering about it in a sincere way, because it is so different from my reality.

a legal witness of a Higher power
is a foriegn concept to me, is all. i think people just have different perspcetives on the necessity of another human witnessing you to God. i personally dont believe in that, so i guess it really just comes down to that. thanks for experssing your views it was insightful and thank you everyone for not taking me as being judgemental-- i was nervous about asking.
menudo's Avatar menudo 05:42 PM 03-14-2005
I do not feel you are being judgemental at all! And I understand your human witness perspective, I actually agree in many ways! I feel no human is necessary as a go between for a human and G-d! But I also realize many people feel more comfortable having someone as a legal and loving witness who also openly believes in a Higher Power-not just a Government official.

This goes for many things. We are all equal but some people are born leaders and are born counselors. They attract people in need and are happy to help. Sometimes they are intuitive, sometimes well read, it all depends. I hope I am making sense-I have some distractions at home as I am writing this! lol
Clarity's Avatar Clarity 05:51 PM 03-14-2005
Stirringleaf, I understand your perspective a little, since a number of my family are Quaker, where wedding are similar. Vows in front of witnesses. Witnesses sign the marriage certificate (which is very large...) and someone from only the church committee signs the license to fulfill the legal requirement. But in my state, judges may only preside at the courthouse, and use a standard ceremony without variation. So if you have a spiritual or intellectual interest in the place, vows or wording, you're out of luck. It might not be a "nonspecific religion" to the people involved...in many cases, such as one of the weddings my DH did, the individuals involved were deeply spiritual, and DH's role was opening and closing the ceremony and signing the license. The couple themselves did the rest.

But sometimes, I think people on an individual spiritual path might just want someone who can express what they want to say in a more formal way, and finding someone likeminded is difficult. And makes the "lets pretend to be X institutional religion" all the more distasteful. Weddings, of course, involve families too. Mine for one didn't know you could get married outside of a church and have it be legal! So for some families, as well as the state, it adds a legitimacy that should be totally unnecessary.
tricia80's Avatar tricia80 11:08 PM 03-14-2005
You know what if it aint hurtin nobody who cares..
kama'aina mama's Avatar kama'aina mama 11:19 PM 03-14-2005
If only that were true Tricia.

In some states it is harder than others to get married without "an officiant". Some people have no idea that is even possible. For others there are things they want to have said during their ceremony, things they want done, but they lack the confidence to do it themselves, particularly on such a big day.

I was glad to have a dear friend who is legally ordained officiate at my wedding because I knew he would do it just as we wanted... that he would be up front with us about what he planned to say and that he would say what we wrote and say it well. I think that is largely why he got ordained.
its_our_family's Avatar its_our_family 01:16 AM 03-16-2005
2 words.... TAX BREAKS

Ordained ministers get tax breaks like you woldn't imagine. We get a housing allowance. It comes from dh's salary but isn't taxed. So, if he makes 35k a year and we claim an allowance of 15k he only pays taxes on 20k.

Not to mention the whole "religious reaosns"

But tax breaks is big one.
tricia80's Avatar tricia80 01:40 AM 03-16-2005
not everyone does it for a tax break...

some do it to marry family and friends who otherwise might not like their minister etc... its a personal as the person who does it...
its_our_family's Avatar its_our_family 02:02 AM 03-16-2005
Originally Posted by tricia80
not everyone does it for a tax break...

some do it to marry family and friends who otherwise might not like their minister etc... its a personal as the person who does it...
I didnt' say everyone did it for tax breaks. My dh had been ordained for 2 years before we knew about them. Not to mention he has no deisre to do weddings. There are some churches that will not consider a person who isn't ordained.

Basically you are being sent by a congregation. Those are the men you "answer" to. NOt that you really do but those men take an oath to be a part of your spiritual growth and development. Dh's odaining elders dont...which is fine by us!
merpk's Avatar merpk 03:50 PM 03-16-2005
stirringleaf, first, in Judaism you do not not not not not need any 'intermediaries.' Oy vey, no. That is entirely *not* a Jewish concept.

A rabbi is simply someone who is well-trained and educated in the intricacies of Jewish law and lore. THAT'S ALL.

In Judaism you also don't need a "minister" to marry. You need witnesses. And in some Orthodox communities seemingly most of the men are rabbis just because they've had the requisite education just as a matter of course. And all those people who also happen to be rabbis are also English teachers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, plumbers, auto mechanics, bakers ... etc., etc. ... The rabbinate is a poor way to make a living in the Orthodox community, as there are few who can actually make a living running a synagogue or doing all that "pulpit" stuff.

In the liberal denominations (Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist) the concept of the rabbinate is a little different, more along the lines of clergy required to "perform" (read: coordinate, or officiate at) this, that and the other lifecycle event, etc.

That said ... long ago, before becoming Orthodox, I planned on going to rabbinical school. And why get ordained? I could have just gotten the education and know a lot about Jewish law and lore and that would be that. However, the actual ordination would have been a career choice. Getting a title for the purpose of making a living with it. And grooving on the title itself, of course. To be honest, the grooving-on-the-title thing to me was huuuuugggge.

And that's not to say that all who get the title are doing it for economic reasons or self-aggrandizement. No offense intended.

Not entirely sure how that translates into your question ... but that's my experience.