This is one of those days.
It’s my grandfather’s 86th birthday, which is bittersweet because he has recently been diagnosed with liver cancer. To add to that, my uncle’s best friend (George, not to be mistaken with my father, by the way) for the past 50 or so years just passed away this morning after his battle with liver cancer.
Nasty, nasty stuff.
Unfortunately, our family, having been close to George for so long, is in no mood to celebrate the fact that we still have my grandfather.
Just have to wonder sometimes.
So, the first of the two expected funerals I mentioned in this post has come to our door. Not unexpected, and not a bad thing (George was not in good shape from all the reports I’ve heard), but it is difficult to see the generations before having to deal with the loss.
Either way, I’m happy to see my grandfather still pushing forward after everything he’s been through. I really wouldn’t have expected him to still be here, but he is…
Okay… I do not have a degree in divinity and my theological training is limited to theology classes from grades 9–12 at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy. But I’m now an ordained minister (and a lama) in five churches (four if you don’t count the schism I mention below) and will be a recognized Jedi Knight.
I will admit that really, I’m not supposed to be in charge of a Christian flock… so, what else is out there for a non-denominational soul like myself?
- Well, there’s the Universal Life Church (ULC)… but which one? Turns out there has been a schism of sorts and the (original?) ULC has seen the Universal Life Church Monastery (ULCM or ‘The Monastery”) split from it. The ULC does seem to have the original organization, and there seem to be concerns about the UCLM not being a properly recognized church. So, to be safe, I got ordained in both (UCLM does seem to be the sexier of the two, and the better presented, but I didn’t want to choose sides based on two websites).
- Next one is Spiritual Humanism. I like this one as a “religion based on the ability of human beings to solve the problems of society using logic and science.” Its scientific view of the universe is a refreshing one. Got that one.
- Then I came across the Temple of Earth, billing itself as a “religion-free religion” and, frankly, it’s another philosophy that is astonishingly close to my most recent views of the universe. So that’s done… and I got to choose my title — so I’m a “lama” in their religion.
- Last, but definitely not least… I’ve toyed with the idea of joining the Church of the SubGenius for quite a while, but their ordination is not free (well, it’s free when you buy a $30 package, plus $5.90 shipping and handling… which means it isn’t free). But, that’s what PayPal is for, so I guess I’ve been instantly ordained since I sent the Church of the SubGenius money…
- Oh, but there is another… well, maybe not another ordination per se, but the ULC Monastery will actually call you a Jedi Knight, too, but that’s $4.95 (might as well order it with the official certification of your ordination). Then comes the Jedi Sanctuary, which is a ULC ministry. I think I’ll be checking that out (but not today). There is another Jedi organization, the Temple of the Jedi Order, but they seem to take themselves very seriously (going so far as to rank people as padawan, knight , and master), and I have to look at them more closely before I consider doing anything with them. I wonder if there’s a Sith organization about… (or not).
So, is this silly? I wouldn’t call it silly. Okay, the Jedi Knight is definitely silly (though no one would argue that the main Jedi virtues are not ones to stand by but, as Mark Hamill has said, the Force and the Jedi are “religion’s greatest hits!”) and SubGenius stuff can come across a bit silly in its imitation, but that’s what makes them worth it.
But Liza did ask why I did it, and I would have to say that it is because of two things:
- The first is external validation of my non-denominational beliefs by others who have much the same beliefs. I did not do this lightly and looked over each of the sites before I signed up (and I passed by at least three other sites because I did not agree with them). It’s always nice to know that you are not alone in your beliefs.
- The second reason is, frankly, it was too damn easy. 😉