Universal Life Church
This month saw a tragedy in Libya, where Muslim extremists reacted violently to a video put out by anti-Islamic extremists in America. Our thoughts and prayers are with our men and women abroad in harm’s way as we mourn those that we lost.
We can take lessons from our Jewish neighbors and friends as they celebrate both the New Year (Rosh Hasanah) and a day of cleansing (Yom Kippur) this month. As a community, we can turn over a new leaf and begin with a clean slate. For Pagans, the equinox marked the celebration of Mabon, where thanks was given for what has come before and focus is given to prepare for the coming winter.
Indeed, for many of us, this is a time of change and new beginnings. Many children will start a new school year, some businesses will begin a new fiscal year, the fun of summer is winding down, and people will prepare for the colder seasons. Let’s reflect with a spirit of gratitude, and dedicate ourselves to building a better tomorrow. Happy Autumn to our ministers!
Television and movie actor, former correspondent on
The Daily Show and Universal Life Church Monastery minister
Rob Corddry is planning on performing a wedding in New York City on October 6. Rev. Corddry will use the New York City
Wedding Officiant Package he acquired from the Ministry Products section of themonastery.org to officiate this legally-recognized ceremony.
The writer, director, and star of Adult Swim's Childrens' Hospital has been an ordained minister through the Universal Life Church for years and found that his ordination brought him some unexpected benefits.
"I was ordained the whole time I was on The Daily Show because the [ULC's]
parking pass worked like a charm if I parked anywhere near a church," Corddry said in a recent correspondence with the ULC Monastery staff. "I saved hundreds if not thousands of dollars in parking."
PHOTO CREDIT: Lester Cohen, WireImage.com
The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of Buddhism, one of the world’s major religions. People look to him for wisdom and spiritual guidance, so his latest thoughts might catch some by surprise. He affirms that religion offers necessary ethical wisdom, but says that very wisdom can be derived from non-religious means. He suggests society shifts to finding universal values through a secular path.
We appreciate this view, in that it focuses on overlapping consensus between different systems of belief rather than what makes them different. We can all readily agree to some basic morals, regardless of our religious views. From here, we can construct a moral, secular society that still has the utmost respect for the practice of faith. Read more about
his view and tell us what you think.
Speaking of the secular and the religious, many American preachers are banding together to preach politics from their pulpits on a day they are calling “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.” They claim that certain restrictions on politicking for non-profit organizations stifle their free speech. They are failing to realize (or simply don’t care) that their tax-breaks are funded by the government, and thus to use them for partisan means would subvert the separation of church and state.
The ULC doesn’t want the government telling people of faith how to practice their religions, but this is a two-way street, and we cannot have government funds directed towards endorsing any specific candidate or political issue. We encourage any churches who want to tell their congregations how to vote to do so, but with the expressed understanding that they cannot also accept government tax-breaks. View the blog to
read more about this event.
The book of Genesis makes clear that God does not want man to be alone – that it is right and good for him to have a companion. For ages the church has said that Jesus was the exception to this rule. Despite being completely human, they argue that he was exempt from the need for a companion, but did Jesus actually have a wife? According to a Harvard historian, an ancient papyrus mentions Jesus’s wife, as well as a female disciple.
If authenticated, the papyrus could open doors for those who become ordained by undercutting centuries-old beliefs about priestly celibacy and female authority. If the 4 Gospels were written by people separated from Jesus by generations, why are those accounts taken more seriously than other documents on the subject?
Check out our article to discover more.
Hope & Tragedy in Libya
In closing, we'd like to bring the discussion back to the violence in Libya. We feel its important to keep things in perspective, and remember that extremists don't represent everyone. In fact, most people abhor the hate and violence espoused by extremists on both sides.
Following the attacks, many Libyans participated in Pro-American rallies denouncing the violence. They expressed support, condolence, and a desire for unity - holding signs such as these:
We'd like to thank the moderate people of Libya for their support and condolences, and their efforts to remind everyone that the true enemies of either side are not Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or any other peaceful religion... but the extremists who use their beliefs to justify violence and hatred.
The Universal Life Church firmly believes that
we are all children of the same universe. We believe in both freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but we assert that true faith should challenge us to be better people, to grow as individuals, and to love those around us - not affirm and validate the worst parts of our humanity.
To quote Anne Lamott - "You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."
To learn more about the pro-American rallies in Libya, please visit this
Libya Herald article. Credit to
salon.com for the images.