I know a number of folks who have been ordained online by the universal life church. Don't get me wrong they're good people, but something about it really irks me. It feels like a mockery of what I've worked for. I realize it's not quite the same, but let's say I could earn my medical license online, or my bar accredidation or my teaching credential, wouldn't that undermine the legitimacy of all the requirements, education, and standards for doctors, lawyers, and teachers? (Teachers already have this problem with emergency credentials) .
Yes, my work still has the integrity it should because of my studies, my eternally long process, and my painfully long essay examinations, not to mention my own commitment to the office, but still. Maybe I'm just hyper sensitive, but it seems so easy for those outside the church to look at ordination or pastors and discredit what we do or the importance of education or preparation because they can walk down the hall and find the latest person to have a Universal Life ordination certificate. I don't know. Maybe I'd feel differently if I were baptist or in another denomination where the standards for ordination are not quite so rigorous. But it bugs me that people that aren't even partcipating in a church, heck, people who aren't even Christian, are getting ordained in the Universal Life Church. And meanwhile, back at the parish, I'm preparing to write 75 pages of theological, personal, and pastoral reflections in order to have the privileges I already have (as a probationary member) sealed and certified.