Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Like many people I have had my share of Nick Names. My middle name really is Merlin and so I was teased A LOT when I was young, fortunately they settled on the quite merciful name "Presto".
While I was a job corps student I was a passionate follower of a more native path and wore a bone choker, earning the title "Injin Joe" and/or "chief". In the military, you are called by your rank or lack of, and your last name, which becomes your first name. I have one of those names thats not pronounced the way it's spelled, So I became "Nick" and later Sergeant Nick.
After the Army I returned to Job Corps as staff. It didn't take long for students and co-workers alike to cut my name back down to size, Mr Nick. Nick has stuck with me all these years and become my default professional persona, one I have carried to the prison.
I have never been one for titles, however I am preferable to...
Low priest of the temple of dirt ...it has a nice ring to it I think. But at the prison I am "Pastor" Nick, just like all the other chaplains.
Just recently Rubeus told me he had an issue with the title "Paster". He said it just makes him shudder. He wants to call me something else, something that denotes "teacher" or "elder" something, more Pagan. I told him to just call me Joe.
Dagonet Dewr wrote a really cool book about the sacred archetypes of men. I had to buy it, there is a chapter on the Craftsman, The cool thing is I found it after I wrote that post, so like I said, I had to buy it. So in his book he writes about his mission:
"My mission is to free the present from the chains of the past through education, empowerment and example."
The operative word here is example. Today on a local list there was a very good discussion that grazed the subject of example, the example we set as Pagans. I share in this mission, it's part of my motivation, to set a good example. I can goto the prison, show up looking like I raided a renaissance fair with my long flowing robes and staff. Like the Hierophant with my thrown and huge crown.
"I, Master Magus Merlin the Magician, 99th Degree, Supreame Grand High Poobah of the Noble Temple of the Sacred Twinkie, I have come to perform the Sacred Full Moon Ritual for the Blessed Coven of the Sacred Path of Pagans and the Grove of the order Carcer Via... Kiss my hand..." too much?
"Where are you all going? Don't run! What's wrong? Is that Holy water?!? Aaaw my eyes! Is that pepper spray?!? Aaaaaaagh! Come back with that Holy water!!!"
I have found that the words I use have a profound effect on the people in my universe.
"Hi, I'm paster nick, the Minority-faith Chaplain (volunteer). I'm here to conduct inter-faith services in the Chapel... fine thanks... how are you?"
Am I lying? No. Am I misrepresenting myself? No. I am in fact, being INCREDIBLY accurate. I am only using words that don't provoke fear, stress, anger or hate. I am clean cut, with a trimmed goatee, black suit, dress shoes. I look like a Chaplain, I act like a Chaplain and I get treated like one. Lead by example. Learn by example. Teach by example.
I am not the Hierophant, nor do I aspire to be. I'm just a dirt worshiper. The Earth is my Church, not my Throne. No scepter in my hand, I am too busy pointing at the ground.