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Author Topic: To Priest or not to Priest?  (Read 5927 times)

HeartShadow

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To Priest or not to Priest?
« Reply #45 on: April 12, 2012, 02:54:07 pm »
Quote from: Rhyshadow;49909
I use the term 'Minister' when someone asks me, I try to help people find things out for themself, kind of a guide rather than a spoon-feeder

And Heart - how about "Lady High Puba?" :p

Please call me Shadow.  :)

As far as guru, it's easiest to say while being disgustingly cutest.  I mean, what other religion comes with a personal pocket sized widdle guru?????

Jenett

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Re: To Priest or not to Priest?
« Reply #46 on: April 12, 2012, 04:05:28 pm »
Quote from: Valentine;49821
It's so interesting.  I've become privy to some of these back-and-forths in the interfaith work I'm doing--a lot of folks like "minister" for the ways it means "servant," and in the sense of someone who ministers to someone, but I know a lot of folks, Christians included, who're allergic to "pastor," on the grounds of "Damn it, my people aren't sheep."  I tend to punt and say "clergy," too.

 
Part of why I'm really wary of 'minister' and other service-implied terms is that .. service is a good thing. But it can also be a very very broken thing, or a martyrdom thing, or a thing that people do rather than taking care of themselves.

And those are both a) not a great model and b) particularly problematic in some theological and practical systems, including (at least in my opinion) religious witchcraft.

(Why, hi, yes I *am* in a service profession that also has this problem, and digging out of two years of health consequences from trying to do it all with not enough resources. It's on my mind a lot.)

I refer to my preferred model of leadership as haptocracy (snagged from the Greek for 'work' - namely that the people doing the work get to make most of the decisions about how that bit of work is done. The people doing the most work get more say, but everyone gets to decide if they want to be around the results of that shared work.)
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Valentine

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Re: To Priest or not to Priest?
« Reply #47 on: April 12, 2012, 05:13:58 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;49912
Part of why I'm really wary of 'minister' and other service-implied terms is that .. service is a good thing. But it can also be a very very broken thing, or a martyrdom thing, or a thing that people do rather than taking care of themselves.


Yes, yes, yes.  I have seen this syndrome in...nearly every clergy I know of.  We take that good service thing and we go broken places with it, and not least because so many of the people with a call to service are a: people who have been hurt and have an urge to clean their hurt from the world and b: people who are especially sensitive to how very, very much work needs to be done in this world.  I'm not sure what the answer is, but you're right to point out the ways words have power.

(Sidenote:  I have a dear friend who is having similar troubles with her work as a doula, what with "doula" coming from the Greek for "slave," after all.)

Quote
And those are both a) not a great model and b) particularly problematic in some theological and practical systems, including (at least in my opinion) religious witchcraft.

(Why, hi, yes I *am* in a service profession that also has this problem, and digging out of two years of health consequences from trying to do it all with not enough resources. It's on my mind a lot.)

 
And I think it's also really helpful to point out, as you do, things like, "Clerical models developed for congregational/parish leadership systems do not necessarily translate to contexts like religious witchcraft systems, thank you," because they don't.  I think this is part of the divide in career for me--I'm simultaneously in training to be a parish minister, which is a particular job, and coming back to my training as a (religious) witch, which is a different job, but everything gets muddy.  And I'm not even in an initiatory tradition, and the witchery I was raised in was more along the lines of "village witchdoctor," which is at least a little closer to the notion of settled parish clergy than your model as I understand it.

I've wrecked my health with some of the very brokenness you're describing, and I'm currently in the process of digging myself out.  These are conversations that need having.
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RandallS

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Re: To Priest or not to Priest?
« Reply #48 on: April 12, 2012, 06:22:54 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;49912
I refer to my preferred model of leadership as haptocracy (snagged from the Greek for 'work' - namely that the people doing the work get to make most of the decisions about how that bit of work is done. The people doing the most work get more say, but everyone gets to decide if they want to be around the results of that shared work.)

Yes. I think this is a good model for many volunteer-type situations, not just religious ones.
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Jenett

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Re: To Priest or not to Priest?
« Reply #49 on: April 12, 2012, 07:24:35 pm »
Quote from: Valentine;49919
Yes, yes, yes.  I have seen this syndrome in...nearly every clergy I know of.  We take that good service thing and we go broken places with it, and not least because so many of the people with a call to service are a: people who have been hurt and have an urge to clean their hurt from the world and b: people who are especially sensitive to how very, very much work needs to be done in this world.  I'm not sure what the answer is, but you're right to point out the ways words have power.


Yeah, exactly.

(And, among other things, the people doing the work breaking down from it is also not so great for the community, in all sorts of directions.)

Quote
And I'm not even in an initiatory tradition, and the witchery I was raised in was more along the lines of "village witchdoctor," which is at least a little closer to the notion of settled parish clergy than your model as I understand it.


Yeah. I'm really comfortable with "teacher" and I'm really comfortable with "facilitator of some specific ritual modes and models" (and really comfortable with "ritual designer", for that matter.) But I have no particular desire to minister to more people than can fit in my living room, in any sort of pastoral way. (And no calling, which is a convenient combination.) Do I more or less have the skills, or know how to get them? Yes. Do I want to do that? Really no.

I've been thinking about this a lot, recently, because one of my projects for htis fall is figuring out how to do more teaching (because, basically, I've taken the better part of 2.5 years off of group work and community work, for values of 'taking time off' that included writing 120+ essays, founding a sustainable Pagan community event, and bits and other pieces.) But there isn't much local community stuff here, for "hi, rural area" reasons, so if I want there to be some (which I sort of do), I'm going to have to build a way it can happen. Which means doing some of the stuff I really would prefer someone else did, at least for a while, plus pretending to be an extrovert.
 
(And on the breakage: yeah. I didn't break my health over the Craft stuff, though there are pieces that didn't help - but over the career stuff. But same problem. And librarians talk about it even less than Pagan clergy.)
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Lokabrenna

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Re: To Priest or not to Priest?
« Reply #50 on: April 20, 2012, 12:46:02 am »
Quote from: veggiewolf;49547
What's actually important here?


I'm not sure if anyone will find this relevant, but I found this article on WitchVox which I thought was interesting: http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usla&c=words&id=15004

There's also this one: http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usnj&c=words&id=14914

In a nutshell, the author of the first article says that the distinction between "layperson" and "priest/ess" is that "laypeople" are primarily concerned with their own individual spirituality, whereas "priest/esses" serve the community AND have a calling to serve as a priest/ess. I'm not sure if that speaks to anyone, but I'll just leave these here for your perusal.

Another thing I forgot to mention is that for me, "laity" is a term that carries a lot of baggage, coming as I do from Catholicism, in which there are endless debates over what a layperson (especially a female layperson) can do, wear, or say in what context. Can women be altar servers? How about Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist? Who can approach the altar, and when? Even interpretation of the Bible is left up to priests (who are the only ones who can 'interpret it correctly' naturally), just a few of the reasons why we had the Protestant Reformation.

I'm not saying that this would happen in many Pagan traditions, but to me there continues to be a huge gulf between what laity can do and what priests can do, so I am kind of wary when that kind of language crops up among Pagans, because I'm not so certain that what we would characterize as laity and what Catholics would see as laity are exactly the same.

Jenett

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Re: To Priest or not to Priest?
« Reply #51 on: April 20, 2012, 08:17:30 am »
Quote from: Lokabrenna;51006

In a nutshell, the author of the first article says that the distinction between "layperson" and "priest/ess" is that "laypeople" are primarily concerned with their own individual spirituality, whereas "priest/esses" serve the community AND have a calling to serve as a priest/ess. I'm not sure if that speaks to anyone, but I'll just leave these here for your perusal.


One of the things I make a point of talking about with students is that there is Absolutely Nothing Wrong with focusing on your own learning and development within a religious community.

I've seen a lot of people (including myself, which is why I think about this a lot!) come into situations, and feel like they *must* contribute to the larger community, and Make Things Happen, and so on.

And ... sometimes, no. Sometimes what you need is a period of learning, and accumulating experiences, and slowly melding them together, and deciding if this place is the thing you need to be doing, and so on. That's why the Dedicant or other pre-initiatory training stuff partly got developed in a number of paths (or what the period immediately post-initiation is for, in trads that initiate first and train later.) People are very firmly not expected to be running things, organising things, being the driving force between making things happen.

This isn't to say they can't sometimes be helpful, or shouldn't be expected to follow group courtesy, and all that. But there's a big difference between 'show up at ritual, be pleasant, participate appropriately, maybe tidy a few dishes from the potluck after' and 'plan ritual, show up, take a major ritual part, do the dishes, and spend 40 minutes talking someone down from an experience that shook their worldview'.

There's also a part where I think competent clergy have an obligation to nuture and maintain an awareness of larger community conversations relevant to them (which is to say, not everything everywhere, because we're human. But stuff specifically affecting their trad, their local physical community, and any other place they specifically hang out as clergy. But that's one of my own personal windmill-charging opinions.)

Laity, on the other hand, get to ignore just as much of those community politics as they feel like, and it is courteous and supportive not to drag them into it unless it is absolutely and fundamentally necessary.

Another thing I forgot to mention is that for me, "laity" is a term that carries a lot of baggage, coming as I do from Catholicism, in which there are endless debates over what a layperson (especially a female layperson) can do, wear, or say in what context. Can women be altar servers? How about Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist? Who can approach the altar, and when? Even interpretation of the Bible is left up to priests (who are the only ones who can 'interpret it correctly' naturally), just a few of the reasons why we had the Protestant Reformation.

I'm not saying that this would happen in many Pagan traditions, but to me there continues to be a huge gulf between what laity can do and what priests can do, so I am kind of wary when that kind of language crops up among Pagans, because I'm not so certain that what we would characterize as laity and what Catholics would see as laity are exactly the same.[/QUOTE]
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Re: To Priest or not to Priest?
« Reply #52 on: April 26, 2012, 06:22:39 am »
Quote from: Vermillion;49601
But that's the million dollar question, what IS the job description of a priest? Just the formal ritual, extra study and???? I, too, am kind of wary of those who use the priest title because in some circles it really does mean very little and in others it means something huge and it's hard to know which is which upon initial first glance. Sort of like when you meet Lady Dutchness Gummy Buns the High Priestess of the Sugary Pixie Dust Tradition.


For perspective: In the Orthodox Church, priests (addressed invariably as 'Father') are officiants in the seven sacraments, counsellors and administrators of the resources that the laity provide. Community is encouraged, in an 'all for all' sense, rather than 'one for all and each one for themselves'. There are several congregations that don't have a priest on hand all the time (our priest has three additional communities in his care, who get one Saturday liturgy a month, as opposed to every Sunday, plus emergency pastoral care), and there the laity are even more dedicated to supporting one another, but there's no stand-in for altar duty.
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