This post is continued from Should We Have Clergy? I…
However, there are a couple of problems I perceive with this proposal of relying solely on those immersed in academia.
First, a classics degree does not provide people skills. We need not only people who are trained not only to offer accurate information necessary for practicing our religion, but also who also are trained to be spiritual counselors.
This is not to say that one person or a small group of people should be deemed “right” in all things or the supreme authority, holding elitist power over everyone else. As I’ve stated earlier, I abhor dogma. And no, I don’t think anyone should be considered to have exclusive hot-line to the gods. We all must take responsibility for our religion and practice and have a sense of ownership for its direction.
I’m talking about the use of (and dare I say, need for) a trained group who are equipped to handle crises. Chiefly, I’m thinking of death. Having observed my parents serve in these situations, grieving families aren’t just asking “how”, the are asking “why”. And in my profession (Psychiatry) I work with a lot of families who make use of religion, and spiritual counselors within those religions, to help them cope with mental illness and family members who are mentally ill.
Second, we are trying to reconstruct a religion. Yes, that does not mean reenacting it in ALL of its details, but priests and priestesses played an important role in antiquity. They were a major part of the religion and we should have a mind towards restoring that aspect of Hellenismos as well if we mean to reconstruct it. HOWEVER, I strongly feel that we can update the practice of priest/esshood and them into what we want having learned the lessons from other religions, but with an optimistic eye towards the future.
Please know that this is my opinion, and I do not represent Hellenion with it. Please also know that I respect caution expressed on the abuses other religions have made through clergy institutions. However, I must respectfully disagree that clergy = bad, priest = bad, but rather see preventing clergy from forming as both problematic and unnecessary.