Clergy: Explaining Sermons, Themes and Reflections
Sermons are and always have been a platform for people to write about things they have been contemplating, or lessons they have learned/still learning, or simply experiences they wish to share. Despite the changes we have introduced this remains the primary purpose of sermons. If someone wishes to ignore both the theme and the reflection then they are welcome to, but this short 'guide' should give them some understanding on how best this might be done.
Going over some of the initial sermon changes:
Sermons used to be every Sunday with a live service once per month. One of those Sundays used to be an 'Open Sermon' in which any member of this forum, guest, temple member or master, whether they are a member or not, may submit a sermon.
Sermons now work like this:
Instead of every Sunday we now have a sermon every five days. This change serves two things, the first is that it allows us to have a greater number of sermons each month, and it also gives our Temple something unique, it gives our Temple a procedure that has been wholly created to serve our own, Jedi, purposes rather than simply 'borrowing' from another faith. Borrowing is no bad thing of course, but these slow and steady changes to procedures is what will eventually distinguish Jediism as something wholly its own.
With the changes from sermons being every seven days to every 5 days also allowed us to increase the number of live services from once a month to twice a month (every 15 days, or one live service for every two sermons).
We also decided to make every Wednesday a 'Open Sermon', to allow for more people to submit from outside the clergy to submit sermons.
What is a theme:
A sermon theme is a general topic that we encourage members of the clergy to write a sermon about. Since December the theme was 'Basic Teachings'. The theme for the next 6 months or so will be the '16 Teachings' from the Doctrine.
The main reason for the theme is that having thematic sermons will allow us to more easily organise them together into a collective clergy works. This will hopefully take the form of a 'Book of Sermons' in which there will be entirely Jedi created work! The finer details of this project have not yet been completed, but with luck a draft form should appear before the year's end.
Monthly Jedi Reflections
One version of the code goes:
Emotion, yet peace.
Ignorance, yet knowledge.
Passion, yet serenity.
Chaos, yet harmony.
Death, yet the Force.
But there are also all of the teachings, the creed and the maxims. Those cover things which are not covered in the code. So we thought it would be good to highlight some of the other 'lesser considered' aspects of human nature, like emotion/peace.
So as with themes the clergy, and non-clergy, are welcome to write a sermon around the idea of that particular month's 'reflection', but again this is only suggested because:
Sermons are and always have been a platform for people to write about things they have been contemplating, or lessons they have learned/still learning, or simply experiences they wish to share. Despite the changes we have introduced this remains the primary purpose of sermons.
The reflections are intentionally open. It is our hope that people will find novel, interesting and out-of-the-box ideas on how the reflection might affect us in our daily life.
For example I wanted the Reflection: Tradition, yet Originality at the very beginning partly because it is at the start of the year, but also this reflection covers all of the ideas NOT included in the reflections... A Jedi for example is welcome to write about an 'original' reflection that they have thought about.
Ultimately if these reflections in any way promote someone to think about that particular topic then they have served their purpose.
Additionally these reflections are a natural development of Jedi teaching that has come solely out of the Jedi themselves. As with the book of sermons, this is the path we will be taking - the creation of our own material for our own purposes, a self-sufficient religious community
Open Sermons explained:
Open sermons are opportunities for any member, or non-member, of the temple to write a sermon. Further while it is preferred that all clergy sermons tie into either the general theme, the reflection, or both, the open sermons can be about whatever one wishes them to be about. This gives an opportunity for those clergy members who wish to write a sermon which isn't about the theme or reflection to do so.
Traditionally there has only ever been one 'open sermon' in each slot, but if ever they increase in popularity even more then we may well open more slots each week or have two sermons on that slot. This too applies to the regular sermons, if people want to write more then we will likely find a way to publish more.
This covers what I can think of, if something else comes up then I will add to this post!