Meeting of the Clergy 23 April 2016 18:00 UTC

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25 Apr 2016 01:28 - 25 Apr 2016 01:43 #239053 by MadHatter

Proteus wrote:

MadHatter wrote:

Proteus wrote: Because if you don't much care, then you can continue to cling to those safe, "recognized" titles at the cost of being branded with ignorantly assumed imagery attached to them. If you insist on doing that, then you might as well not say you're a Jedi either and stay safely in your conditioned conventions.


But you are not telling people if they dont like it leave? I agree with Snowy here. Your statement is if we dont view things the same way as you do then we might was well give up the title Jedi and find something else. That is exactly how I read your statement.


It is not telling anybody to do anything. It's an expression saying "I don't quite understand the logic in worrying about one thing, but not another from which it is coming from. According to this logic, one would THINK that if one worries about the clergy titles to reject it, then one would worry about the term Jedi enough to reject that too."

See what I'm saying?

I can get your intent. I can even see the logic behind it. However that is not how it comes off when reading it without this explanation. Now not to sound arrogant but I am fairly clever and being a sailor I am far from sensitive to things. So if I read it that way I can see where others are going to take it that way. I even asked my boyfriend to come read it to make sure I wasnt going nuts. He agreed. So it indeed sounded like you were saying like it or lose it.
Now onto the concern about the terms of clergy vs the term Jedi. It is one thing to be a Jedi in your day to day life and not give a flying fig what others think of your path. Its quite another for someone say like me that while I was in the military might have gone Officer as a Chaplin if I was ordained here before I got out. Now I know for a fact which set of titles will make my life easier and lend my words more weight while dealing with the chain of command. That is the point that is being made. That we are not worried about it when just being ourselves but when acting in an official capacity. If the clergy were never going to do anything outside this Temple I doubt people would care. But because we may well have to act in official capacities outside the Temple then we do need to at least lightly take into account how we appear to others.

Darren wrote: I I'll explain what I'm called, even if by that point I'm High Heffalump.


Ok I am in favor of using this title along with Grand Poobah.

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Last edit: 25 Apr 2016 01:43 by MadHatter.
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25 Apr 2016 01:46 #239055 by Avalon
If I may...

Someone brought up a point a few pages ago that seems to have gone somewhat overlooked, though not completely. By changing the name of the ranks currently used to "Guide" or what have you, you will be inherently making it more difficult for individuals to perform clerical duties outside of the site. Hospitals and public service buildings/organizations are not going to take "Guide" as a religious term or a spiritual leader. Even with a license, a person still has to get approved by their local jurisdiction in order to perform as basic of a clerical role as presiding overing a wedding. As that person pointed out, there are non-Christian organizations that utilize the word "minister" in their rankings.

Now, in response to that someone else responded that what the clergy of TotJO does is only about 10% of what a clergy typically does. Otherwise the role is different. I would disagree.

Take into account the definition of the word minister:

A minister
  1. Leads church services. Check. Our ministers, priests, and so forth lead our church services in the form of the sermons, both written and live.
  2. Performs religious ceremonies. Mostly a check, depending on the individual. Some preside over weddings where they are legally able. But beyond that, religious ceremonies could include the ordination of future clergy members.
  3. Provides religious or spiritual guidance to members of the congregation. Check, check, and check again. I mean, that's why you want to use the word "guide" right?
  4. Is a member of some Protestant churches Eh... not a check. ;) You got me there.

Minus the whole protestant business, based on my understanding of the purpose of our clergy, you all are indeed ministers.

Ok, well someone recommended the use of the word "priest" instead. A priest is an individual authorized to perform religious ceremonies. Not much different from a minister.

How about we evaluate our current rank of "deacon". "One of the laymen elected by a church with congregational polity to serve in worship, in pastoral care, and on administrative committees" Deacon is a bit less applicable to what our clergy do. I see a point for wanting to change that one.

"Pastor" is someone who is a "spiritual overseer". Somewhat applicable... a bit.

Now let's look at the word "guide". Guides are people who lead other people on a journey. Or someone who directs another person's way. Or someone who provides another with "guiding information". "Guide" has the connotation that the person doing the "guiding" has superior knowledge and the ability to say what is right and wrong. But at no point in time does it mention anything about spiritual growth. At least priest and minister are specifically guiding a person's spiritual growth.

To be fair, I fail to see how this quote is accurate, based upon the definitions of what ministers and priests do:

So we could say "The guides are our ministers, our mentors, our lecturers and professors, here to help in times of need and guide in times of uncertainty". And so a Guide is still a Minister, but we don't DEFINE them as Ministers... because most of the time that's not the term for what they're doing. In fact, more often than not, we're guiding.


Based on precisely that quote and the definitions, you are in fact ministers. You are priests. Why change the name to something completely obscure to the outside world, when we can provide names that continue to show the same spiritual meaning and are identifiable to that outside world? And why take on the attitude of "if they want to know, they'll ask" or whatever it is that is the reasoning behind making it something that has no spiritual connotation what so ever? I'm sorry, but that just makes the whole thing less relateable and less approachable.

I happen to think that "minister" is precisely the title that is most applicable. Are we Christians? No. But again, as has been pointed out, minister is used by non-christian religions. As has Priest. But "guide"? No... no, I don't think that quite cuts it. "Guide" takes away the religious aspect of what is the site. And "Guide" just won't cut it for your average individual's public officials or local hospitals either, which really is something that should be taken into very, very strong consideration. Otherwise, why be a recognized religious organization? Why have a clergy? Please, keep it relateable, spiritually and religiously, to the general public.

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25 Apr 2016 01:53 #239056 by Proteus
Take 2:

I kinda like the suggested names, even if they could be adjusted. Regardless of if they are taken or changed at all, it kind of gives me a bigger understanding of the actual intention of the clergy, while stripping away the stigmatic image that more religious terms tend to hold to it.

I kind of feel like doing something like this is in the spirit of shedding the baggage of mainstream convention, and giving us a chance to put our own meaning to terms that we choose. I kind of feel like that has been an underlying factor behind the overall essence of using a term such as "Jedi".

Legally speaking, I understand that it may come with some obstacles to adapting it to official events. Could there be a way to get around this a bit easier? Maybe. There are some very clever minds around this temple afterall! ;)

I've always been one to consider the "rose by any other name" quote in almost the majority of my experience here. But something about this particular proposal kind of informed me of a lot of things surrounding our roles and the potential of how we choose to define what we do in a different and un-binded light.

Even if we don't go with those names or just keep it as it is, that's fine. It just seems to me that if I'm going to redefine myself with the term "Jedi", why not go the next step and do the same thing with [insert whatever replacement name for clergy title here]?

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What I would like to see is the 'I' that knows me when I know that I know that I know.
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25 Apr 2016 02:08 #239058 by Rosalyn J
Hi everyone,

I plan to allow after-meeting conversation for a week. So please try to get your points in by next Saturday. Sorry if there was confusion as to where to put your input. Please post it here. Synod will look at everything once the week is over. Thanks,
Ros

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25 Apr 2016 02:24 #239061 by MadHatter

Avalonslight wrote: If I may...

Sum things up perfectly in my opinon? Yes indeed Seriously I'll post my own thoughts below but you kind hit the nail on the head with a sledgehammer here.

Proteus wrote: Take 2:

I kind of feel like doing something like this is in the spirit of shedding the baggage of mainstream convention, and giving us a chance to put our own meaning to terms that we choose. I kind of feel like that has been an underlying factor behind the overall essence of using a term such as "Jedi".

Legally speaking, I understand that it may come with some obstacles to adapting it to official events. Could there be a way to get around this a bit easier? Maybe. There are some very clever minds around this temple afterall! ;)


I can get this. I even agree with it to a degree. I simply think that what you had originally said was misunderstood and when clarified was much better received, So seriously thanks for explaining. Further thank you for seeing the concerns that are being brought up. Not a lot of people are willing to cede ground in debate so thank you.

My own thoughts on the matter at hand
[/b]

My thoughts are as follows:
1) I dont care for the suggested names as they sound like boy scout troupe titles to me but that is really a minor matter
2) I think that we should consider the outsiders view for clergy titles as this can impact the work of the clergy
3) I think Avalonslight's post is a slam dunk on why we should consider other titles.
4) If we insist on going with the current titles a system of titles for outside use would be handy as someone else suggested

Those are my thoughts on the matter and I think that this post is important not only for debating the issue at hand but for us clarifying the role and goal of the clergy. This thread has a lot of great material and frankly brought up some important concepts that I think we should all mull over.

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25 Apr 2016 03:19 #239062 by Jamie Stick
Replied by Jamie Stick on topic Meeting of the Clergy 23 April 2016 18:00 UTC

steamboat28 wrote:

Jamie Stick wrote: Was there any good faith effort to give the Synod the benefit of the doubt that maybe they weren't doing this all willy-nilly to upset the established order?

In my never-humble opinion, that sort of thing goes out the window when the Synod clears the changes with the Council before asking the Clergy and Seminarians what they think. That's completely backward of the way those suggestions should run; this is a conversation that should've happened among clergy first before being taken to Council.


O, such arrogance! "If things don't go my way, I'm going to disrespect everyone and everything that created the space for me to be here." It's moments like this when I think the Synod should go full-on oligarchy and forget trying to include the rest of the Clergy in the decision-making process.

Consider this: Given the tendency for every single change at the Temple to cause an uproar and that the Synod falls under the authority of the Council, wouldn't it be prudent to get an okay from the Council before making plans to change something about the structure of the Clergy? If the Synod announces that they're in the planning stages of a change that will affect the whole Clergy and then the Council comes back and says, "We didn't authorize this, stop right now!" then the whole Clergy and possibly the Temple at large will be thrown into an upset over nothing.




Apparently I misunderstood that you can in fact submit comments and suggestions directly to this thread.

After considering the arguments of everyone present at the meeting I feel as though the reason for changing the clerical rank names is a good one: eliminating or negating the historical baggage that comes with our ranks. I have long felt that those terms were uncomfortable and whenever I have conversations about my ministry with people outside the Temple they are often taken aback to hear the word "Synod" I take from this that if any singular point of historical baggage exists within the clergy then it is within the name of our clerical governing body. That said, I'm all in favor of changing the rank titles and I'm generally not the type to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I must agree that the names decided upon feel a bit too uninvolved or dispassionate. I wouldn't go so far as the camp counselor metaphor Snowy used, but guide definitely implies to me less of a role in the spiritual formation and care of the Temple congregation than the baggage-heavy minister/deacon/priest/bishop rank names.

On the other hand, I like the term guide because it has less prestige. Frankly, I feel that too often these ranks and titles are more of a burden than they are of a help. Too often it feels like just another notch in the belt or a virtual trophy to display rather than a symbol of the obligation we have to the Temple and to Life itself. I think the Synod and presumably the Council were on the right track with acolyte/guide/senior guide/master guide rank names in both reasoning for wanting to change the name of the ranks and in choosing something that speaks to what we do as Clergy. The only one I really don't like is Acolyte as a replacement for Licensed Minister. It really does feel like a demotion. Maybe that’s pride and I just need to let that go and accept the new name, but perhaps Acolyte could be the name for Seminarians? When I think of an acolyte I think of either Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (in the game low level Sith baddies were called Sith Acolytes) or I think of laypeople in the Catholic Church (altar boys, musicians, etc).

In regards to the legal credibility of the proposed rank names, can anyone cite me a legal precedent that would suggest Guide is any less legitimate than Deacon, Priest, or Bishop? To me, this argument seems like the least plausible considering there are so many cultures and religions with their own titles, names, and ideas about Clergy that to regulate what titles are acceptable seems absurd. In my research on laws regarding Clergy responsibilities for the Seminary, I did not come across anything that suggested there was any legal definition of what constitutes of member of the Clergy except that the religious organization designates them so. Maybe its different in other states or countries, but in Illinois the law simply uses the generic term "clergyperson" to speak to the rights and responsibilities of a person of the Clergy.

In thinking about what names might be given to the Clergy I tried to ask myself what it is the Clergy do. I'll admit, guide is pretty apt word considering we don't really teach (a la Rabbi) nor are we officiating some vastly complex ritual in series of liturgical rites in hopes of appeasing the gods (a la Priest). I came up a few one-sentence descriptions that articulate what it is we do as well as including guide.

“Temple clergy guide the congregation in their spiritual journey.”
“Temple clergy care for the spiritual wellbeing of the congregation.”

And then there’s a few that utilize metaphor:

“Temple clergy endeavor to walk alongside Jedi who have chosen to take the Path as a spiritual journey.”
“Temple clergy are the gardeners of the parishioner’s soul, helping the seed of spiritual truth germinate and grow to maturity.”

From these sentences we get the original idea of guide as well as caretaker, walk along, and gardener.

Another aspect of this that I think bears consideration is whether it is truly necessary to have separate titles for LM, Deacon, Priest, and Bishop. Whatever is decided, be it guide or something else, does it really need a modifier to indicate what level they are? Since we don’t use ranks in hierarchical command structure, it seems like the modifiers are unnecessary. The only time it seems to matter is when it comes to ordination for the purpose of privileges associated with that responsibility (eligibility to serve on the Synod, for example). In that case, adverts for Synod positions could say something like, “this position is open to ordained guides/caretakers/gardeners/walk alongs.” We could either eliminate the distinction between Deacon/Priest/Bishop altogether or refer to them as degrees or levels Priest = 3rd degree/level Guide where Guide would simply be how the Temple refers to all clergy and the level/degree would only be used internally among the clergy whenever that distinction was necessary.

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25 Apr 2016 03:52 #239066 by Adder
Minister and Priest seem pretty universal, perhaps just use them (plus Seminarian) and throw on some latin words for the ranks of each.... like Latin colors;
Licensed Minister -> Minister Caeruleus
Deacon -> Minister Indicus
Priest -> Priest Indicus
Bishop -> Priest Violaceus
:lol:
The latin being just for internal use.

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25 Apr 2016 11:21 #239075 by Aqua

Jamie Stick wrote: Yeah, Guide might sound impersonal or too much like it disregards the work put into being a minister, but if we're going to be all about humble service then shouldn't we have a name that doesn't have the same prestige and bragging rights as our current rank names? Sometimes it feels like all these ranks and titles have just become accolades and self-congratulatory adornments, but perhaps I'm the only one and I just need to examine my attitudes about clergy ranks.


Mmm.. If the clergy consist out of different ranks, completing different tasks, it must be displayed within the clergy. If a person is requesting the help of a clerk, they only seek a clerk that is identified as a clerk to help them. I feel a little bit double about this. Giving more information can be like an overkill for the image of being humble, but on the other side it is also a way to identify the different tasks and responsibilities. When a system becomes more simple, the weight on the remaining parts will be more heavy, and should be credible.

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25 Apr 2016 11:54 - 25 Apr 2016 12:11 #239077 by Trisskar

MadHatter wrote: Its quite another for someone say like me that while I was in the military might have gone Officer as a Chaplin if I was ordained here before I got out. Now I know for a fact which set of titles will make my life easier and lend my words more weight while dealing with the chain of command.


"It will be a hard life; one without reward, without remorse, without regret. A path will be placed before you. The choice is yours alone. Do what you think you cannot do. It will be a hard life, but you will find out who you are."
―Qui-Gon Jinn, to Anakin Skywalker


In a modern time where everyone is accepting everything and against discrimination and......so forth and so on.

I feel it is incorrect and spiritually unwise to simply accept some other Religions system just to make life easy in a Christian heavy world. We may as well just call ourselves Christian. Or Catholic. Or....Whatever.

Which is why I have been against the ranks since the beggining.

We are Jedi.

We are unique

We are spiritual not religious (At least to me)

We should have our own system and not bow down to greater powers just to appease other people.

If everyone else can fight for there rights to be heard and appreciated. We should as well.

But.....Thats just me :)
Last edit: 25 Apr 2016 12:11 by Trisskar.

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25 Apr 2016 12:11 #239078 by Gwinn
In my opinion, the clergy of any religion are there to support and serve their community.

If the names are changed, I believe they should be changed to something that is more easily identifiable to newcomers and those unfamiliar with our Temple structure. Guide may be an accurate term for what clergy do here, but it is a bit ambiguous. "To make my life easier and lend my words more weight" is on the right track, but I think it would be more accurate to say "To better facilitate my serving my community."

I completely understand the idea of getting rid of the old terms and their baggage. I don't completely disagree with that, either. But I think if the the names are changed, they need to be a bit more descriptive. If the community is going to change the name to make themselves "sound" more humble or "sound" more unique, at the expense of the ease of serving others, I have to question whether the name change is not egotistical in nature itself. Make others see you are humble by your actions, not by your titles. But make it easy for those who need to know you are there to serve to find you.

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