A Mission Statement

by Atticus

I struggle sometimes to explain what it is that the Clergy are called to do.

Recently we took a climate survey here at the Temple.  As a result, we learned that many of our members and guests aren’t completely certain what the Clergy are, much less what we do.  And I learned that I have trouble putting what it is that I do into words.

We are called to serve as spiritual guides for those seeking to walk the Jedi Path.  We are charged with a responsibility for the spiritual well-being of our members and guests.  No two of us see our mission the same way.

But I have trouble journaling about what my ministry looks like.  It’s always there, whether I’m parenting or playing music, practicing law or working retail, teaching or learning.

How in the world do you describe something that just is?

A friend suggested that perhaps what I need is a mission statement.  As a body, we in the Clergy have been mulling that over for years now.  As a new Minister, I once wrote a mission statement for my personal ministry.  It talked about service, and tolerance, and meeting people exactly where they are.  It had a nice turn of phrase or two.

I threw it out.

Tolerance, understanding, service – those things are important.  But they’re not the mission statement.  Not the real one, anyway.

And I came to realize that the reason it is so hard to describe what I do as a minister is that I never know exactly what I’ll be called on to do as a minister.

So I start with the things I do know.

I believe that as a Jedi, I am called upon to make love and compassion the constant, the central animating principle that informs everything else I might do.  Each small action, done with compassion, influences the world, whether we can see its effect or not.  This I believe.

I believe that as a member of the Clergy, I am called upon to cultivate empathy.  It’s not enough to listen.  We have to listen with the intention to remove the distance between us and another, to put ourselves in the metaphorical shoes of the person with whom we are interacting.  We have to listen with the intention to truly understand, as best we can.  This I believe.

Compassion should make us willing to practice empathy.  Empathy in turn fuels our compassion.

Compassion.

Empathy.

. . . and then it feels like there should be a third thing, doesn’t it?  These kinds of things come in threes.  It should be a really good thing that sums up the action that derives from the practice of the first two.  A single word would be good; that would make it snappy, impactful.

But I just can’t find a single word that fits.  All that important stuff about service, and tolerance, and understanding, caring for the spiritual well-being of others, serving as a spiritual guide, trying to improve the world through uncounted tiny acts of compassion -- how do you put all that into a single word?

The reason it is so hard to describe what I do as a minister is that I never know exactly what I’ll be called on to do as a minister.  What that looks like from moment to moment is doing whatever the moment requires:

It might be just a smile and a positive vibe.It might be a heartfelt expression of gratitude, showing another that you recognize the divine in them even if others don’t.

It might be listening without judgment, an empathetic ear, a shoulder upon which to lean or cry.

It might be an insightful question that helps another examine what they are doing or feeling.

Or it might just be being there, being available and reliably so, for what my friend Twigga calls “allowing people to be ‘people-y’ on you.”

Just as the moment requires.

So:

Compassion.

Empathy.

And that elusive third word that means, “Appropriate act, TBD.”

That’s the mission statement.

Comments (10)

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Very nice Atticus,
May I suggest that it is Leadership. I have found that sometimes it is up to me to be someone that is worthy to be followed, someone who carves a path for others to journey or even walk on while they are to weary to forge their...

Very nice Atticus,
May I suggest that it is Leadership. I have found that sometimes it is up to me to be someone that is worthy to be followed, someone who carves a path for others to journey or even walk on while they are to weary to forge their own.

While I am not perfect and sometimes look for other's paths as guideposts or even a paved road because I myself are too weary to carve one myself, it is in the attempt to bring myself and others to a life that works for them that my true leadership lies.

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Thanks for your friendship too

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Please don't take offense to this, but this actually still leaves me wondering what the clergy does.
To me, it seemed like your message was that the Clergy does what is expected of any given Jedi.

Put simply: This didn't tell me what the...

Please don't take offense to this, but this actually still leaves me wondering what the clergy does.
To me, it seemed like your message was that the Clergy does what is expected of any given Jedi.

Put simply: This didn't tell me what the Clergy's job is, here at the Temple.

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You know, you're absolutely right. In part, this was designed as sort of a State of the Atticus address for today's ceremony. I didn't spend too much time on what i do here at the Temple because that's a comparatively small part of my ministry....

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You know, you're absolutely right. In part, this was designed as sort of a State of the Atticus address for today's ceremony. I didn't spend too much time on what i do here at the Temple because that's a comparatively small part of my ministry....

You know, you're absolutely right. In part, this was designed as sort of a State of the Atticus address for today's ceremony. I didn't spend too much time on what i do here at the Temple because that's a comparatively small part of my ministry. I'd be happy to talk with you about the role of the Clergy here, though; I'm especially interested in hearing what you feel our Clergy should provide.

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Please don't misunderstand. The entire message was incredibly positive, inspiring, and very well written.
I just got to the end and was like, "So what does the Clergy do?"
It was like, your opening statement, ya know? Lol.

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Thank you for "putting yourself out there " brother - may we learn and follow your continued example.
We each need to figure out our own mission here's as individual clergy as it is to every Jedi to decide their own path. People are difrent and...

Thank you for "putting yourself out there " brother - may we learn and follow your continued example.
We each need to figure out our own mission here's as individual clergy as it is to every Jedi to decide their own path. People are difrent and your ministry may not be like mine. Doesn't have to. That's the best part and ... I can support yours as well as every one else's along with the service of mine. To serve our temple and those who come to find and build their own faith ... what a calling ! To serve those - not like me and still be able to encourage them in - their own faith- wow ! That takes time and some great balance. This will look difrent in practice from each heart and life it flows from! As we serve may we continue to shape and re shape out practice and our faith. May we continue to grow with leaders willing to step out and step up to the plate like you Atticus! Lead on brother ! Thank you anday the Force we seek serve and share be with us all!

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My wife and I are starting a ministry based not on charity, but on opportunity. But my most important role is to help others find their true authentic selves and find ways to express their highest selves in their daily life..

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May I humbly suggest the third word you are looking for is... Loyalty.

Consistently offering service, tolerance, understanding, and caring for the spiritual well-being of others both requires and demonstrates loyalty to those you serve; or else...

May I humbly suggest the third word you are looking for is... Loyalty.

Consistently offering service, tolerance, understanding, and caring for the spiritual well-being of others both requires and demonstrates loyalty to those you serve; or else why does one do it?

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Not to resurrect a dead thing but third word...Hope? All this, I read it and smile because as I walk around I like to think that through my actions--which are not dissimilar to the ones stated here--I provide the people with hope. Hope that maybe...

Not to resurrect a dead thing but third word...Hope? All this, I read it and smile because as I walk around I like to think that through my actions--which are not dissimilar to the ones stated here--I provide the people with hope. Hope that maybe everyone isn't an asshole, maybe my day won't be so bad, maybe somebody does care, maybe I'm not alone. Because yes compassion makes us feel warm and fuzzy, yes empathy eases our burdens of life. But Hope...Hope is what gets you out of bed in the morning, hope is what keeps you going when you want to give up, hope is what moves you when everything is weighing you down. Without hope there is no drive, there is no motivation. Without hope why do we do what we do. I do what I do in hopes of making a better tomorrow.

"The reason it is so hard to describe what I do as a minister is that I never know exactly what I’ll be called on to do as a minister. What that looks like from moment to moment is doing whatever the moment requires:

It might be just a smile and a positive vibe.It might be a heartfelt expression of gratitude, showing another that you recognize the divine in them even if others don’t.

It might be listening without judgment, an empathetic ear, a shoulder upon which to lean or cry.

It might be an insightful question that helps another examine what they are doing or feeling.

Or it might just be being there, being available and reliably so, for what my friend Twigga calls “allowing people to be ‘people-y’ on you.”

Just as the moment requires."

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