A lot must be considered when picking the right religion to be on-line ordained into. Due diligence is key to finding the right path to enlightenment, and whilst it looks very easy for those tambourine-rattling, devil-dodgers on Songs of Praise and The Only Way Is Amish, a degree of actual commitment and clarity of mind is critical for spiritual success. My personal journey began on a Saturday morning, and only after I had managed to sit still for a full five minutes without the need to check football scores or snipe on Twitter.
During a rare moment in which my kid wasn't trying to break my spirit and with absolutely nothing better to do, I managed to reach a strange inner stillness - the kind you get when idly watching the fat bloke in your office stuffing a KFC into his monstrous face. Almost without thought I reached out to my laptop and clicked the Google icon. Courageously battling the obvious urge to immediately watch porn, I entered the mystically sensitive sentence, 'Ordain me, bitch', and sat back.
I was now locked into a sea of organised beliefs, all clambering over themselves to stake a claim on my soul (such as it is). This is when the real inflection and quest for the glorious and the divine began in solemn plight.
There were so many to consider… The Universal Life Church, Spiritual Humanism, The Open Ministry, The Pacific Life Church, First Nation Ministry, to name but a few. If enlightenment was on the menu, then I was starting to feel a little stuffed - a feeling said fat bloke from the office will never experience.
The Universal Life Church was very appealing and offered a lovely line in redemption, soul saving, and a very reasonably priced Ordination Package. For a measly $26.99, you could own a "… beautiful credential for your wall, a clergy badge, a plastic personalized wallet card credential, parking placard, and a Minister Window Cling."
As an opening offer this one was hard to turn down. $26.99 for all that lovely plastic shit! It was tempting. However, I was soon turned off The Universal Life Church upon reading what I could get from the Spiritual Humanism site.
Not one, but three packages to choose from! $14.95 would get you the Basic Clergy Service Pack (Really… who wants to be a basic clergy?), the Advanced Clergy Service Pack came in at $39.95 (now we're getting somewhere), and finally the Deluxe Clergy Service Pack walked on water at $89.95 (I want to be a righteous weapon of God, please?).
The deluxe package was bringing all the good shit, Ordination Certificate, quality ID badge, manuals, CD-ROMs and lots of other stuff including a whole mess of baby naming certificates, marriage certificates, affirmation of love certificates, to name a few. Ok, so an official pardon certificate for molesting altar boys was not included, but I'm pretty sure you could have ordered one via their online store.
Now, you would think that my quest for cost-effective enlightenment was over, and deluxe divinity was awaiting my PayPal account? Hell no. Much like the road to Damascus, my journey would be long, difficult, and littered with the occasional mound of donkey shit. So with this in mind, I made myself another torturous cup of coffee, laboured hard to open the second bag of chocolate, and pushed my twisted and gnarled body back into my wonderfully comfortable sofa (cross-shaped), and flicked on the TV.
In between episodes of The Real Housewives of Orange County, I continued my quest. The First National Ministry had a very basic web design, and for those blessed with a higher calling, they seemingly failed to make use of higher jpeg resolutions. The Pacific Life Church appeared to be more interested in selling T-shirts and tote bags to religious zealots with healthy bank balances.
… and as for The Open Ministry, well, they looked cheap and nasty - religion for the pound shop brigade.
In short, the more I searched for the perfect religion to be ordained into, the more I was getting side-tracked by the lovely Heather and Tamara from Orange County - two women that once ordained, I fully intended to brain-wash into my new cult.
Holy shit… I would need to sort out a cult!
All of that organization and grooming I would have to do. I would need to find a compound to preach from, stock up on food and water - enough to outlast any police stand-offs. Where the hell was I going to buy Ak-47's and rocket launchers from? It was all getting too much. I'm naturally lazy and shiftless, hard work is something I try to avoid at all costs. Seriously, I get a little clammy when asked to do the washing-up, how was I going to handle the logistics of my congregation's eventual mass suicide?
Un-nailing myself from the sofa, I paced the room in lonely contemplation and inner reflection.
Suddenly, as I walked past my DVD collection, the enlightenment I sought was blasted into me like the sound-waves emitted from a celestial chorus.
Falling to the floor, with the tears of a thousand sinners upon my cheeks, I gathered myself up and three minutes later was ordained into the one religion I could fully commit too. I was now a recognised minister, capable of marrying people, christening kids, procrastinating spiritual advice, and a worthy foot-solider awaiting the Rapture.
I could now drink White Russians, go bowling anytime I liked, wander around in a bathrobe and generally mimic one of my all-time favourite movie characters - safe in the knowledge that I was doing all of the above in the name of spiritual harmony, wellbeing and sanctified lethargy.
The Church of the Latter Day Dude is my sunbeam, and in The Big Lebowski I had found my shepherd.
Rev. Paul Millard - 2014