?

Log in

No account? Create an account
On the role of an ADF Priest - Chronarchy — LiveJournal

> Recent Entries
> Archive
> Friends
> Profile
> Chronarchy.com

Links
Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
MySpace
Chaos Matrix
OSU PSA

October 13th, 2009


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
11:06 am - On the role of an ADF Priest
I have been spending a lot of time, recently, on examining the role of the Priest in ADF (and, slightly more broadly, in Neo-Paganism in general). In a lot of ways, I find it very straightforward and simple, while in other ways it is very complicated. There is a lot of good information in a variety of sources that expand on the basic question of "What is a Priest and what does he or she do?" Really, reading a few articles answers a lot of questions.

Ian's words ring very true: we are not shepherds, we have no flocks.

The "ritual specialist" language is too simplistic, though, and speaks to a very limited role. I'm not overly pleased with it, so I expect to mostly abandon it soon, or at least modify it with additional terms.

Over and over, though, I come back around to three things: partnership with laity, commitment and training.

The commitment is really the central piece; training is an addendum, really, that leads to obligation and commitment, a sort of *ghosti relationship where when you do the work to get trained, you find yourself committed to training others in the ways of Our Druidry, and to use the skills provided by that training to ensure that the proper rites and sacrifices are made in the proper way at the proper time. In many ways, an ADF Priest is first and foremost a person committed to serving the folk through their training and making sacrifice to the Kindreds.

In any case, there is a two-way commitment: one to the Kindreds, and one to the Folk. I am generally not of a mind that a Solitary member cannot become a Priest, but I think about the oath I took and I wonder how I could fulfill it from a Solitary point of view. I also, though, accept that every individual will find a different vocation, and that they will be called to serve the Folk in different ways. Because of that, my own notion of how someone else might fulfill their oath is fundamentally flawed: not knowing their vocation, I cannot question their fulfillment of it effectively.

It occurs to me that there is also an ineffible quality to priesthood, within ADF and (I suspect) outside of it: those who have been through the processes of consecration and ordination (and now, initiation) will view their role differently than those who have not passed those boundaries and have not made those commitments, and differently than those who have not done the training. I suspect that there is an element of intent to the training, as well, since a trained Liturgist might find similar courses but a very different experience in them, as I know I have.

I think that, because of this, I can only see the role of the Priest in ADF as a partnership of sorts: just as you cannot define a "partner" in ballroom dancing without discussing dancing, one cannot define Priests without discussing the relationship and interaction between Priest and laity. If we consider separating the Priest from the laity at all (either by defining one group as "useful" or one group as "useless"), each category must understand and express the value of the other in order to find value within itself.

A book that I love describes it like this: "We can ask, What is a wombat or an edible dormouse?, but not, What is a priest? The priest is no independent species – the 'laity' are part of the picture of what the priest is, and the priest is part of the picture of what the laity are." The notion that priests can be defined in isolation from the congregation is a ridiculous one, and I suspect that the true issues that surround "defining a Priest in ADF" likely revolve around insecurity about what an individual's role is in relation to the ADF Priest, not insecurity about the role of the external priest.

My initiation into the ADF Initiatory Current was a very reflective thing: I am deeply engaged in retrospective thinking and considering new things that are coming up. My actual essay on this topic (meant for Oak Leaves) is already stretching several pages, because the question of the role of ADF Priests is so very complicated, so I won't dwell on it here much more.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: peacefulpeaceful
Current Music: "Who's the Blonde Stranger", -JB
Tags: ,

(25 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:dubhlainn
Date:October 13th, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
(Link)
People describe themselves as "suspicious" of our clergy, that they believe the CC has "too much power." This insinuates that we lack integrity as a body, that we are not people who can be trusted or people who should be invested with trust.

I am one of those people and I never implied or insinuated any such thing. Let me present this in another way, why hasn't ANYONE on the Clergy Council wrote or called to work with me or speak to me about this? I fear it is just easier to assume what my motives are than to actually talk about this.

You all had a prime opportunity at the retreat. I could have come up for a couple hours on one of the mornings or for dinner or whatever where it would not have affected the private nature of the retreat, and I would have been glad to do so.

What does that insinuate about how Clergy feels about non-Clergy? What does it insinuate about the work I do, my experience, and my role in our organization that no one even bothers? I do not have as high a level of training and am, therefore, not even worth talking with? Laity is such a pain that we should not even take the time to talk with them but just figure it out on our own? And then be shocked when our conclusion is not what they expect or want?

For the record, I do not believe any of that is true. I think you all had a busy and full weekend and my being there would not have really added enough to the discussion to open up your retreat. I was just making a point that insinuation can be a dangerous slope.

For me, personally, the last talks about the role of Clergy were very helpful. A lot of people shared their perspectives and if gave me a great deal to think about and a lot different perspective.

I have to ask, do you see the danger in us not even being able to share our fears and concerns? If I cannot even say that I perceive a power imbalance in ADF without the Clergy feeling that somehow I am saying you are untrustworthy or have no value how can we ever work through these issues?
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:October 13th, 2009 08:25 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I can only tell you how I feel about it. I cannot tell you whether it is true. I also do not believe it is true.

But it is exactly how I feel about it.

I spend a great deal of my time seeking to separate the comment from the person. I often start my day on the lists by saying, out loud, "No one means this about me." But I often end my day saying to myself, "Man, I'm one slimy bastard."

You asked for a specific example from a list, so I provided one from the list. I could have chosen other ones, I suppose, but this one stuck out when I did a search for the term "clergy." The CC is a body, and we are individuals on it. If the body is corrupt, then the individuals are, too. If the body is abusing its power (or is capable of doing so), then so am I.

So, I have to go back and wonder: "Am I the kind of person that would do that?" And that sort of exercise is healthy.

Until you find yourself doing it every day.
[User Picture]
From:dubhlainn
Date:October 13th, 2009 08:42 pm (UTC)
(Link)
So, I have to go back and wonder: "Am I the kind of person that would do that?"

From what I know about you, which is -- granted -- mostly from only talking with you and reading your thoughts and ideas online. I would way "absolutely not!"

Which does not mean that I do not believe there are other members of our Clergy who would not or who I do not believe are capable of abusing its power.

And that sort of exercise is healthy.

Until you find yourself doing it every day.


This may a little like Dr. Phil but you do have a choice to not do this every day. You can say to yourself, "today I need to concentrate on (insert whatever)". That kind of exercise is healthy too. I know a lot about it because those are the kind of exercises I have to do pretty often.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:October 13th, 2009 09:08 pm (UTC)
(Link)
"absolutely not!" ... Which does not mean that I do not believe there are other members of our Clergy who would not...

Right. Part of my issue with this, though, is that this second part comes back on me, too: I'm (currently, term up at Samhain) an officer in the CC, which means that I am ultimately responsible for both the perception and the power of the CC. There is this distinct feeling of, "Well, I feel like this whole thing is my fault," going on, one that is irrational and virtually impossible to sanitize, but very real.

This notion of "too much CC power" is what led the CC to hand the entire Order thing back to the MG, and why the CC never voted on any proposal and refused to do so at the CC Retreat. We've provided advice here or there, but we've not pushed for anything or tried to implement anything with Orders, except when asked. Individual clergy have responded (particularly myself and Carrion) because word has leaked out that we're done-or-mostly-done with creating an Order and the MG asked us specifically for ideas. Orders, though, will be what the representative body wants them to be, with input from the CC and input from the lists.

Btw, conversations like this and the one below are common with me, though this part is almost always internal: here, I deal pretty strictly with my feelings on the matter, and below I separate them out and set them aside. I do hope that you understand that I can and do manage this, even if I do find it very hard. While I may be defensive up here, I am trying to keep the below conversation from being defensive and painful. It's what I generally do online with these sorts of discussions.

> Go to Top
LiveJournal.com