Thursday, May 31, 2012

K is for Keeping Silent

My last post was about an achievement in our prison ministry, and I received a good n' provocative question regarding my experiences serving as a Minority Faith Prison Chaplain.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
"The link to corcoran prison lists some infamous inmates. Have you ever worked with any of the more noteworthy inmates or celebrities?"

This is a really good question because it gives me the means and opportunity to jump up on my soapbox and shout at the top of my lungs "NO COMMENT!" Why? Because as a professional (volunteer) chaplain I consider it an ethics violation to say yes (if I had) and /or identify anyone, famous or not.

It's funny, just the other day I read somewhere online about some self proclaimed spiritual guidance counselor to the stars, who's made some public claims and dropped some big names. I about chewed my own neck off. I'm normally not one for personal attacks, especially public ones, but what a hack!

To publicly advertize that you're a personal spiritual counselor for [insert insanely famous celebrity name here] for self promotion and validation is pathetic. I suspect serious embellishment, and smell something else.Okay, there, I feel better. Had to vent, and in my defense, I don't do that often if ever. My point being that there are some important legalities such as privileged communication and confidentiality. But moreover there is something else called respect; respect for your client, respect for your craft and the essential self-respect.

I do not in any way mean to exaggerate my role, but prison chaplaincy is not for the faint of heart, and Corcoran State Prison is a high security correctional facility with a significant reputation, so there's not really much room for exaggeration, but this is the big leagues and we take it pretty seriously. I would argue that all those who would shoulder the title and responsibility of Pagan clergy respect their clientele, preserve their privacy, their anonymity and their trust. Because one of  the most powerful and profound things we can do for some people is not talk about them.

Thank you Lord & Lady for my Trap-Jaw. Blessed Be!

PS and for those who were interested in hearing the rest of the Fijian Kava story, I was reminded that I wrote about it back in 2008, you can check it out here.BB


Pallas Renatus said...

I hate hate hate the type of shameless self-promotion you're describing. I understand the need to grow your business, but when you bill yourself as a spiritual "adviser" or "councilor", you're essentially using someone's spiritual need (I assume there's some need if you were hired in the first place) to line your own pockets or buff your ego. Perhaps it's good business, but "spiritual" it ain't.

PeterBeckley said...

Good Article, Joe. If more Pagans/Wiccans were as grown up about the work they do for both our community and the public we'd have less of a battle on the acceptance and equality fronts. Keep up the great work.

Raan said...

Yup, I work at a hospital for the criminally insane and I understand completely. You just don't talk. For me, its also a HIPPA violation, but yeah. Nice post. :)

WitchDoctorJoe said...

Holy cow, people are actually reading this blog? Hahaha, thank you all for your comments, I was starting to feel concerned about venting. It' nice to know someone agrees with me. Blessings.