February 21st, 2007

Cat - Felix Face

The HPS True Calling

A recent fun "trollish" blog questioned, "How many people do you think are moved to become HP/HPS for the power it seemingly has and the adoration of others instead of a true calling?"

(Note... for brevity sake I will use "HPS" in this blog to represent "HP/HPS". )

I found this question to be thought provoking as well as entertaining.

To reduce the scope of my analysis, the first thing I will do is differentiate between the HPS, the 3rd Degree person and an Elder. The original message only referenced the HPS, a very specific position in the Craft community. This is what I will address here. While the Elder and 3rd Degree person have their own experiences of "power and adoration", they are not an HPS. It is the matter of another article to examine these related, but dissimilar, Craft roles.

So what is the role of an HPS? The most exalted role is that of clergy. The dictionary.com definition for clergy is:
The group or body of ordained persons in a religion, as distinguished from the laity.
The definition of ordained is:
To invest with ministerial or priestly authority; confer holy orders on.
This puts the clergy role of the HPS into the proper perspective of having authority over holy matters. This is a role that the HPS has all at times. This is not a matter of compromise. If need be, an HPS may step down to 3rd Degree/Elder status if they chose not to embrace the role of religious authority.

The critical secondary role of an HPS is as teacher and mentor to students. The overarching goal of the HPS is to create 3rd Degree students capable of becoming an HPS themselves. While it is not a requirement for an HPS to have students at all times, a successful HPS will have a good track record as teacher and progenitor of HPS offspring.

What of the power and the adoration? The role of HPS is not mutually exclusive from power and adoration. These do come with the job of HPS. The authority of clergy has a power in itself. A good teacher will have adoration from their students. A respected HPS will have a place of both authority (power) and respect (adoration) in the Craft community. These are perks of the position.

The position of HPS carries a lot of responsibility. The dual position of religious leader and teacher is double burden. Burn-out is not uncommon, causing the harried HPS to step down. When the hats of public relations official, politician, deal-maker, parent, and world-mover are thrown in, the perks of the job help make it palpable. Sometimes they are desperately needed to maintain sanity while being an HPS. Sometimes they are absolutely necessary to continue efficiently functioning as an HPS. Without a power base grounded in respect and recognition, the HPS is little more than a 3rd degree person with a title. More than just a title is needed to support calling of the HPS.

What is the true calling of an HPS? My brief analysis shows that an HPS must have the calling to be both a religious leader and a teacher. These blend into subtasks of mentor, energetic mate, counselor and task master. The HPS has power. With this power comes responsibility. The salve for the harshness of responsibility is adoration. In the end, the calling of the HPS is one of simultaneously ruling and serving. There are not many people who are equal to the challenge of mastering these. Thus, it is the rare person truly called to be an HPS.

What is the true measure of an HPS called to service? How does a person recognize the power hungry 3rd Degree person from a functional HPS? IMO, when respect is given to the way power is wielded, and students are successful both in the Degree path and outside, a person can be considered to have a true calling. Those moved for the wrong reasons will fail in some way, while those worthy of the title of HPS will thrive even as they help the Craft thrive.

Does anybody have more to add to what the a "true calling" is for the HPS?