Meeting of the Clergy 23 April 2016 18:00 UTC

25 Apr 2016 13:32 #239085 by steamboat28

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?

I have never in my life been accused of holding a clerical title that held "prestige" or "bragging rights." Clergy might be appreciated, but they're not congratulated. The titles themselves are marks of ever-increasing selfless service to their community, every rung of the ladder taking more and more time and effort away from personal pursuits to be put toward aiding the community toward finding itself, helping itself, fixing itself, and teaching itself.

If anyone views the clergy as having "bragging rights", then either we need to fundamentally change the clergy, or they need to get an eyeful of what the clergy actually do, because it denotes there's a problem somewhere. Being clergy is not prestigious or glamorous. It's g**damned exhausting on every conceivable level.
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25 Apr 2016 13:45 #239087 by Trisskar
I PM'ed this....but was asked to post it here instead so....

Just tossing out a suggestion/idea :) Keep...don't..... I went to the clergy page and edited according to my suggestions.

Clergy ---> Jedi Shepherds

What Shepherds are not: Our Shepherds are not mental healthcare professionals, or medical councolors. It is adviced that if you require such, to seek out your local health care provider or contact your your regions help line phone contacts which should be available in your phone book or easily googled online.

Our Shepherds of Temple of the Jedi Order are specifically trained with the spritiual well-being of the community as a whole. Our Shepherds are not spiritual authorities, but they are entrusted with helping guide people along their Jedi journeys.

As a non-profit religious organisation TotJO has the ability to licence and ordain ministers to serve in a clerical capacity. All Ministers can officiate weddings and conduct other religious ceremonies. Both licenses and ordinations are Legal in every state in the USA and may be in foreign countries (check with your local civil authorities for guidelines).

To become a Minister of the Force you must be Licensed or Ordained by TotJO; it is not a Certificate that makes you a minister but our records on file.

Synod ---> Shepard Conclave

(Note:: I honestly don't see why this is here. Just pick your team and hold your meetings and call it the Shepards Conclave - For the record I feel the same way about the Rank "Council" It shouldn't be a rank...just the deffinition of meetings.)

The Conclave is made up of lead Shepherds that oversees and facilitates the process and organization of the Shepherds duties. Providing direction and implementing changes and updates.

Seminary ---> Assembly

The Assembly is the section of TotJO that deals with the Shepherds Training Programme. To join the Shepherds you should first contact a Priest. You will then be interviewed by one or more members of the Shepherds Conclave and, if successful, invited to join the Assembly.

There is a difference in the kind of training done for the Shephards Training Programme in the Assembly compared to the training done for the Degree Scheme. The degree training is there to help individuals and members with their own understanding of the Jedi path as it applies to them. The seminary training is there to provide assistance and to further expand another individual's understanding of their Jedi path.

Training consists of a series of exercises that require your understanding of various topics including: relevant terms such as “liturgy”, the duties of a member of the Shephards, legality, empathy and role-play situations.

Upon completion of the Shephards Training Programme your work will be reviewed by the Shephards Conclave and, if your work meets the expectations required of a member of the Shephards, you will be interviewed by the Shephards Conclave which, if successful, will promote you.

There is a requirement of having reached the rank of Initiate and being at least sixteen (16) years of age prior to being admitted into the Assembly (our Shephards training area).

If you would like a certificate detailing your Priesthood Licence, these may be sent, for a small fee, by post.

5. What are the Shepard Ranks? What are their roles?

Seminarian ---> Shepard Novice

Temporary Minister---> Shepard Adept

Licensed Minister ---> Shepard Priest/Priestess

Deacon ---> Lvl I - Brunis (Brown) Priest/Priestess

Priest ---> Lvl II - Viride (Green) Priest/Priestess

Bishop ---> Lvl III Album (White) Priest/Priestess

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25 Apr 2016 13:51 #239089 by steamboat28

Trisskar wrote: 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.

No. See, the funny thing about being Christian is that you have to actually hold Christian beliefs to be one. Same with Catholicism; you're not a Catholic unless you're a Catholic. Buddhism, Shinto, Hinduism, Santeria, a whole host of neo-Pagan and reconstructionist groups, and many, many other non-Abrahamic religious groups use terms like "deacon", "priest", "bishop", "abbot", "monk", "nun", etc. when speaking to Western audiences so that they are understood. These terms are not owned, trademarked, or otherwise indicative of Catholicism. People who believe they are have not experienced them in use among other faith groups, or have a serious issue with Catholicism they need to work out on their own. I am growing very tired of rebutting this point which has zero factual evidence to support it, and is only borne out of the overwhelming anti-Christian bias evident in so many in this Temple.

We are Jedi.
We are unique

But we're not speshul snowflaykes. Being unique is great from a doctrinal standpoint. Being too unique, in terms of accessibility to outsiders (which, btw, is already ludicrously difficult) is just going to make everything the clergy do outside of this digital site immeasurably more difficult.

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

That's what these new proposals are doing, though, Trisskar. They're bowing down to the pressure against these specific terms because of the associations that other people have built up against them in their private lives, and are a move to appease those people. Those people who will hold a bias rather than explore the origins of the terms or their meanings, or how they're put to use in myriad other faiths in the English-speaking world. The Synod is, by proposing these name changes, doing exactly what you're claiming is a bad thing: they're bending the knee to opinion to please others. Rather than help disassociate these terms with whatever problems people have with them (which can be done, mind you, by changing the way the clergy act and not what the clergy call themselves), we're choosing to safety-pad the clergy for their benefit, which actually obfuscates the role the clergy should have in the Temple, and makes their lives more difficult when dealing with outsiders.

In the meeting, you'll note that many of the concerns brought up about interaction with non-Jedi were hand-waved by a simple "if they get confused, they can ask." This is, to me, indicative of what's wrong with TOTJO-style Jediism. They shouldn't have to ask. They should either intuitively know, or we should go out of our way to tell them. The former is best when dealing with legal and secular bodies, like trying to get on approval lists for hospital visits or prison ministry, or when attempting to deal with local authorities about authorization for weddings. The latter is best when dealing with journalists, who are the only people who will really sit down and take the time to listen to any longwinded nonsense about how clergy are "just guides" now (which, for those of you in the back row, is exactly what clergy are, no matter what you choose to call them), rather than having a more accessible term.

The reason clergy use clerical titles and modes of address is so they stand out--not out of arrogance, but so the people who need them can find them. "Guide" is too generic and non-specific in a religion where we also have Masters. It doesn't say "Hi, I'm clergy!" instantly to anyone outside of Jediism, and those are the people who are most likely to need to know without an explanation. We keep circling the same three or four points, and there are only so many ways I can explain that if this name change takes effect, the job of the clergy will become much, much harder on people who attempt to do their clerical duties out in the real world. Everybody scoffs at the notion that we should be taken seriously, but sometimes it actually matters. This is one of those times.
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25 Apr 2016 14:05 #239091 by MartaLina
Replied by MartaLina on topic Meeting of the Clergy 23 April 2016 18:00 UTC

Trisskar wrote:

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 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 :)

No Triss its not just you !

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25 Apr 2016 15:40 #239098 by Kit
Humility is an admirable trait but can be detrimental if taken too far. "time and a place". I've always been one to prefer proper application.

I understand the idea of changing the titles. I've never had a problem with it, I remember being a bit confused but I wasn't raised with those specific titles in that way and had to learn them.

"Guide" however, is too...general. Honestly if I walked in brand-spakin' new and saw someone with "Guide" under their name I would assume they were there to direct me to where the IP is, or if I had questions on the workings of the Temple. It doesn't sound at all as if they were intended to guide me in a SPIRITUAL sense. It just doesn't carry the proper weight. By the same token, Acolyte, although I like the term, at it's current position for LM, it is a demotion. Magister makes me think of government.

As far as what they SHOULD be instead? I still need more time to think about it ;)
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25 Apr 2016 15:56 - 25 Apr 2016 16:01 #239100 by Avalon
To the comment on legal legitimacy, or lack thereof, following such a change... It's not a matter of an actual lack of legal legitimacy so much as it is a matter of perceived legal legitimacy. And perception is everything. Even in the US, where most jurisdictions simply say "ordained clergymen", some locations require the registration of said "ordained clergymen" to perform roles such as marriage officiate. In my own state, state law does not require said registrations, but some county and city laws do. I imagine that anyone one of us going to do such a registration and saying "I'm a Jedi Guide and I want to [insert clerical thing here]" would get scoffed at and their certifications of ordination heavily scrutinized. That is within the US; we need to remember that we have many active members, both regular and clergy, in other countries which are far more restrictive over who can and cannot perform such duties.

As someone else already stated, this is one of those instances where an effort to make it relateable to the outside "non-Jedi" public is necessary and where the ability to take such things seriously should be taken into strong consideration. If you simply don't care about that, that is to say the relateability to the general public or the seriousness of it when performing clerical roles off site (marriages, hospital visits, prison visits, etc etc etc) then why do we have an official clergy to begin with...? And don't say it's for the benefit of the site, because as we all know, anyone can conduct sermons.

Not all those who wander are lost
Studies Journal | Personal Journal
Last edit: 25 Apr 2016 16:01 by Avalon.
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25 Apr 2016 16:17 #239102 by Breeze el Tierno
I appreciate people giving this issue so much attention and, I hope, some sober reflection. I am also pleased to see people not directly involved with our Clergy taking time. I believe some good will come of this.

Also, we should be mindful not to let a disagreement about this become fuel for further division and suspicion. If we disagree, it can be amicable disagreement. Bear the code in mind as we move on.

The goal of these name changes was never imposition. In fact, it was meant to take some useless weight off of those called to serve in this capacity.

Our titles come from traditions that express the role of the spiritual helper in terms that are paternalistic, if not explicitly parental, or with shepherd imagery. But, as an ordained clergy person, I cannot regard the people of this Temple as either children or sheep. Nor am I willing to go where those names would tend to lead me. They were chosen for their familiarity, and I do not think that was a mistake. They have certainly served their purpose, but I do think it is time to move on. There are elements of this spiritual endeavor that are quite different than those of the traditions from which we might borrow labels. I believe we are strong enough to forge our own identity.

If we want to talk about familiarity and legitimacy, we need to be honest with ourselves. Yes, the term Priest is highly recognizable, but throw Jedi on the front of it, and you are communicating less than you think. In my experience, and talking to people in the public about it, I find it causes more confusion. As it is, I describe myself as an OCP, an ordained clergy person. And that will still be true if the term Guide (or some other term) is adopted. The Rev. title will remain before one’s name, as well as the OCP after one’s name. Those legal bits serve a purpose and there is no reason to abandon them.

I also know that the seminary though which I passed did not make the same demands of me that the seminaries of many other traditions do. I did not set aside two to four years of my life, setting aside all other ambitions or the hope for a family, to get where I am today. If the concern is legitimacy, consider then people who call themselves doctors but have no MD of Ph.D. No, it is not quite the same thing. The difference is not, in my opinion, great enough. The mantle we put on ourselves may have diminished us.

If people within our community, be that the larger Jedi community or our Temple in particular, have questions, we should have no fear of making an explanation. It is just another occasion for exploration. We would be making something of a break with the past, yes, but I have no fear of that. As I write this, I am willing to give people credit for being reasonably bright. People will ask questions. We will be up to the task of answering them. I believe people will be able to make sense of it.

One might argue that they should not have to, but to that I would say, again, that I think co-opting the titles of other faiths and appending them to this spiritual endeavor that we are constantly refining and redefining actually obscures more than it clarifies. I suspect the explanations will get better with a clean slate upon which to work.

But, all that aside for a moment, this attempt at renaming speaks to a reorientation of our mission and I ask you to be flexible in considering it.

Some of you have read my last sermon. I meant what I said. It is time for us to step away from the conceit of “providers of spiritual Truth.” Our mission should be, when invited, to share the journey with anyone who asks, walking side by side with them. Even the Master Guide does not provide answers as such. That title simply denotes their greater education and experience in the hows and whys of walking alongside. This is, and must be, about service. The terms Acolyte and Guide are not particularly lofty. But, is that what we need?

Could a friend do it, or a Teaching Master? Sure. Why not? But, should one need such a spiritual partner, here are those called and committed to that task. The Guide listens, presents the unasked questions, points to what may not yet have been seen, and reminds you to stay on your own Path when ease or expedience would beg you to do otherwise.

All of it will have to be explained. That was always true. A Deacon here is not the same as a Deacon elsewhere. And any change can be difficult, if not outright intimidating. All that being true, the Clergy must evolve. I suspect most of you sense that. The push for change has been present in this Temple longer than I. These title changes were designed to introduce and reflect the Clergy that we must, in my opinion, mature into.

Sit with this for a moment. Take at least a few hours to think it over. I am very interested in your considered response. You will agree, or you will not. I do not demand consent. I simply ask that you roll it over in your mind for a while.

Quite frankly, if I am asked to choose a much better term that more effectively describes the Clergy that seeks to serve this Temple, as the Jedi seek to serve the world, a term that I did not imagine before, that seems like a pretty good problem to have.

Thank you for your time. Please give each other the courtesy of remembering that we have such strident opinions because we care about what comes next. We may see the problem and potential solutions differently, but I think we all care. Do bear that in mind.
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25 Apr 2016 16:43 #239105 by Trisskar
Shephard (See post above)- Is something that I like :) It is much more (in my opinion) What I see the Clergy as it is now. A group of people helping to Shephard members towards the doctrines, beliefs, and structures of this temple. It has the same idea behind the "Guide" and in Latin it actually means Pastor XD haha but also maintains the humbling factors desired.

Priest/Priestess is used for Jedi even in the Star Wars universe and fits alot of what the more spiritual sided Jedi do. So the two. Shephard and Priest fits well IMO.

Which is why I made the suggestions I did above after a night of reflection. :) Good luck guys and again. Thank you for considering the cry for change ;)
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25 Apr 2016 17:08 #239109 by Goken
I am not yet a member of the clergy or even a seminarian. I intended to so so between finishing the IP and becoming an apprentice but I got scooped up pretty quick (oh darn, right? :lol: ). It is still my intention to join the Clergy but I chose to focus solely on my apprenticeship at the moment as Edan and tzb can tell you I like to take my time on things. :laugh:

It has always seemed a bit odd to me that we used such Catholic sounding terms for our clergy. I get it, but it still seemed odd. I am in favor of finding terms that are more...for lack of a better phrase here...more Jedi in nature. We are our own thing, separate from anything else, so having different names isn't a problem for me. I can understand the arguments of not having them recognized, but I think it was said earlier that we could use two names. I see nothing wrong with having our own term for things and being able to say "It's like a minister." Easy, quick, explained, done.

I'm not super keen on the term Guide though. I see where it's going and I like it, but it just seems off still. I like Shepard but it does carry implications of the non-Shepards being sheep, which I don't like (though I have said as much on more than one occasion, different context though :unsure: ). I'm also not too fond of Acolyte, but that's probably just because it's a term I'm less familiar with.

I like Priest. It carries the recognition in the general public as a religious title but isn't super specific to another religion as I'm pretty sure many others use it. To me it also feels a bit more spiritual than Minister. I'm not sure why, but Minister just doesn't feel as spiritual as Priest/Priestess does. If we could have the title all center around Priest/Priestess in some way I think that would be the best naming convention. Priest, Senior Priest, High Priest, Head Priest, Junior Priest, Grand Priest, etc.

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25 Apr 2016 17:13 - 25 Apr 2016 17:14 #239111 by Trisskar
I was asked to explain my reasoning behind the Leveled Preiets ranks. Thought id share it here....

I just looked up the Latin Name for each color XD And then used the common colors seen in druidry and other pagan circles.

Deacon ---> Lvl I - Brunis (Brown) Priest/Priestess
Priest ---> Lvl II - Viride (Green) Priest/Priestess
Bishop ---> Lvl III Album (White) Priest/Priestess

Brown being the Earth and Soil in which seeds grow from

Green being the foliage and growth of plants and life

White being the usual "Purity" symbolism it usually holds
Which, Depending on who you talk to ---- Is just another level of beginner :-p In other words one went from one level of begginer to another level. In which case the White will eventually return to brown with the hardship of training ((White Belt Japanese theory))
Last edit: 25 Apr 2016 17:14 by Trisskar.
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