Textual Arachne

A weaver of threads.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ministry

Continuing, albeit slowly, on the theme of translating faith into action...

On the personal level, rather than the activist level, there is the action of reaching out to someone who needs reassurance, or strength, or hope, or simply to hear that they are loved. I tend to call this "ministry" to emphasize its roots in faith. This reminds me to extend it beyond friendship or acquaintance, beyond the initial tribe.

Because the majority of people I interact with aren't Pagan, I feel that I have to translate my beliefs to some extent when I offer to help, or minister to someone. Lately, I've been clearer in expressing that many these acts come from my beliefs about the world, and about the Divine.

My ministry most often takes the form of Tarot readings. That's why I took the time to go through the Major Arcana, to become better at what I do. I try to give people this space to think about their lives and what's affecting them. I present these strange symbols, with their many meanings, and the few insights I can offer, as possible ways to rework their problems. And, sometimes, someone whispers a few words inside me, and I pass them on.

In a way, it's like a reading of Scripture. I take something that can be interpreted many ways, and offer a reading of it that reflects their situation.

But ministry can also be the sympathetic ear, the letter of hope and friendship at the right time. (This is another place where I should work to become better at what I do...but this entry shouldn't be about guilt!) It can be the good food, the tea and conversation, the gentle push or the swift kick in the behind.

Pagans who work in groups--how does ministry work for you?

When these acts of care are done on the more-than-personal level, it isn't ministry anymore; it can't have the same degree of individual love and personal attention and still have a large-scale change. But it does just as much good, if not more.

We need both kinds of action, and we need to be devoted to them.

1 Comments:

At 3:56 PM, Blogger Interfaith Today said...

Interesting. Ministry isn't really a word that comes to me for my practice. Nor Pastoral counseling. Yes, I read Tarot for strangers or for covenmates. Yes, I am often there for people. Yes, I perform handfastings but only now after decades of that have I had a request for pre-nuptial counseling. How odd it is to have my Priestesshood slide into ministry.

I became a Priestess because the Gods called me. I see my role more as a mediator between the Gods and the world of form - turning the wheel as of old. I see myself as an advocate for those of the wild who have no voice. I see myself as a visionary artist and archivist. How *did* I get so involved with people?

(Since Blogger knows me as Interfaith Today because of my podcast I'll just say that this is Rowan Fairgrove, not a blogger but a journaler - rowanf.livejournal.com - a chronicle of my life without pretentions to essaydom. *grin* I'm so glad the_wildhunt rss feed on Lj pointed me at your blog!)

 

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