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    How Not To Die During Foreign Ministry by Constantin Baracca

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    Lunarisse Aspenstar

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    How Not To Die During Foreign Ministry by Constantin Baracca

    Post by Lunarisse Aspenstar on Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:42 pm

    Recently, I've been receiving a few comments and mail rounds asking, in their various ways, how precisely I am alive and not imprisoned if I preach the Word in foreign space. I suppose, after so many years of doing it, I forget how dangerous it sounded even when I first began working in foreign ministry. The Theology Council was very concerned that the program was literally sending us to our deaths. They foresaw four results: that we would die, that we would be imprisoned, that we would be exiled back to the Empire with nothing to show for our efforts, or that we would need to alter the message so much that it became uncontroversial.

    Yet, here we are today, with a far-flung but otherwise thriving church community in foreign space. I regularly preach the Word as I taught it in Amarr in foreign space, and I very rarely see a legal challenge these days, much less a lynch mob.

    Given recent posts on the subject, I suppose it has become somewhat surprising that I have so little difficulty when even the IGS is a fairly combative place rhetorically. As such, I decided to give a short survival guide for presenting often controversial opinions in somewhat hostile places. These will be very general points; I would hope people would give some more specific legal advice if they are schooled in their local laws. I would also say that the official number ten on this list is to get a good local attorney or team of attorneys that can keep you out of hot water.

    So, without further ado, how do I not die during foreign ministry?

    RULE 1: BE POLITE!

    Rule number one would be rules one through ten if I were listing them in order of importance. Ninety percent of all of your problems will be avoided in foreign space if you leave your attitude at home. Remember that you are essentially being welcomed into someone else's house in foreign space. Call everyone you don't know by name "sir" or "ma'am", mind your etiquette, wipe your feet and remove your hat after you cross the threshold. Some places have different customs which you may need to adapt to, but courtesy is fairly common throughout the cluster.

    This is especially important when applied to law enforcement. If you do what I do for a living, you will eventually run into police who might question your legal grounds for saying what you say or doing what you do. I will cover that later, but it is important to realize that law enforcement officers are simply doing their jobs the way they have been trained to do it. I can only remember a few instances where being courteous and even-handed with the police has not been reciprocated. This also applies regardless of class. Treat every laborer as you would like to be treated. Be gracious, be understanding, and most of all, keep your anger in check.

    RULE 2: BE POSITIVE!

    Rule two is another great way to present your ministry no matter where you are. Trust me, people almost fetishize negative points and debates. When you open the floor for questions or you listen to someone else present their views, nearly everything is going to begin with how terrible something or someone else is. My own thread in which I field questions from the IGS is essentially a long list of explaining negative topics. People almost get a sense of satisfaction from such things. One would wonder why we live anywhere if it's so horrible.

    So start with the positives. Talk about how lovely it is to be wherever you are and what you like about what you see. Find common ground and praise what is around you. Talk about how it reminds you of things and places you like at home. When you get to control the flow of conversation, always swing the conversation into the positives and try to find agreeable points from which to start more controversial materials.

    RULE 3: START AT POINT A, END AT THE END!

    Every time you begin a sermon in a place where government agents are literally across the street listening intently to you, the temptation is to give your thesis first and then present the evidence of it. This isn't always the best approach. My grandmother taught me my favorite rhetorical style, the "how did we get here?" method. You begin at the evidence, presenting the thesis last.

    It's going to get you quickly arrested if you step onto a soapbox in a Gallente high street and begin vigorously accusing everyone around you of sin at the top of your lungs, even if it's technically legal to do so. Not only does that break rules one and two, but people are going to very quickly recognize the abuse for what it is and will find a valid reason to arrest or assault you. Instead, you start from the positives, as described above, and work into things you see that could be better. Common points that are objectively things everyone agrees needs some work. By he time anyone realizes where they are, they are listening to a sermon on Scriptural moderation and agreeing that, yes, it seems like a good idea. From there, they may want to see what else the Scriptures teach.

    You would be amazed what you can get away with saying in even the most totalitarian areas if people follow your argument and you leave the hypothetical means up to them. Ease them into your thinking, don't it them with it headfirst.

    RULE 4: GET INVOLVED!

    Rule number four is the most difficult for most people to follow and takes a lot of presence of mind. However, it is far and away the most satisfying. Are you in Minmatar space preaching to laborers in a quarry about hard work? You have better be ready to break some rocks and get involved. If Caldari are playing a card game, ask if you can join. Most would be more than happy to teach you the rules as you go. You have to be careful not to get carried away and start doing drip with Gallente drug addicts, or you become part of the problem. But if that same addict is recovering, wants to go to an art gallery and invites you, by all means go!

    -cont-

    (Source with Comments: https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=3687786#post3687786)


    Last edited by Lunarisse Aspenstar on Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:50 pm; edited 2 times in total
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    Lunarisse Aspenstar

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    Re: How Not To Die During Foreign Ministry by Constantin Baracca

    Post by Lunarisse Aspenstar on Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:43 pm

    (part two)

    turns cultural dictation into cultural exchange, and people are much more likely to listen to you talk about the Scriptures when it's clear you aren't offended by their culture. Who knows, you might even have some fun! One thing that getting involved all across the cluster has done in addition to really helping the ministry is that I’m never bored.

    RULE 5: KNOW THE LAW AT ALL LEVELS!

    Rule five is getting back into serious territory. Know the law before the law gets to know you. If you are planning on holding even a little get together in a park to talk about Scripture in Gallente space, make sure you don’t need a permit. If you are visiting a prison or mental institution, make sure you follow procedure, for your health as well as your ministry. If you are in a totalitarian regime’s backyard, make sure you know what will get you shot in the street and what might be disliked, but tolerated.

    More than just having good lawyers, this means the law everywhere you are, which might not necessarily be related to the official authorities. If you are in tribal territory, odds are that the tribe has certain rules, then the local administration gets the brunt of the administration and enforcement of legislation. You could cross the street and be shot for something you said on the other side of even run-down areas of Amarrian space. Know who is in charge, know who you will be dealing with if you screw up, and make sure you can have someone to help deal with them. Good lawyers won’t help you if you preach in an area run by a criminal organization where the police won’t go.

    RULE 6: DON’T PANIC!

    Rule six is the basic rule of any stressful situation. If the police show up and you have the crowd in a frenzy, you might think intimidating the police by calling them out in front of a crowd is a good idea. It never is. Follow rules one, three, and five especially when trouble starts brewing. If it looks like a mob of people are coming to break up your sermon, go out to meet them personally and be pleasant. Don’t be angry, don’t be judgmental, and listen carefully to what is being said. If you have control of yourself, you will take control of any situation you walk into.

    It’s all too easy to get angry and violent when you get scared. You cannot be afraid in the face of intimidation, whether legal or illegal, because people can very often sense that fear. Be reasonable, rational, and inclusive. More than one angry mob has joined the sermon when I’ve guaranteed that as soon as I’ve finished speaking, they would have the chance to ask any questions they wanted. It saves us all a lot of grief, and teaches everyone a little bit, even if they didn’t want to listen.

    RULE 7: WHEN IT COMES TO GUNS, LESS IS MORE!

    A somewhat surprising rule, but one I simply swear by. ] I don’t carry any personal weaponry on me wherever I go on ecclesiastical business outside Amarr space. It sends the wrong message most of the time and it tends to encourage more trouble than it prevents. My official formal dress includes a functional sword that I have been trained to use. I carry a wooden one to ceremonies in foreign lands instead. Don’t give anyone a reason to think you will be a physical threat. When push comes to shove, you are rarely going to outnumber the people you preach to or their detractors. Be proactive by monitoring the situation and avoiding violence at all costs through nonviolent means. At the very least, most cultures have an aversion to shooting unarmed men in cold blood, but situational awareness is a valuable tool in any walk of life.

    RULE 8: MAKE FRIENDS!

    Rule eight is the one that takes up most of your time. One of the best ways to ensure that you won’t be accused of destabilizing the Minmatar Republic is if you help out by shooting pirates once in a while or assisting local communities with their issues. Of course, make sure you don’t saw off the branch of the tree you are sitting on, but there are usually plenty of domestic problems to handle with the current factional warfare situation as it stands. As an added bonus, people see the priest helping when the authorities are away and will give credence to your message of goodwill. At the very least, it makes people think twice about what a bastard you must be if you’re helping out the community.

    Follow rule four and rule one by being friendly! Don’t speak down at people and use only informal titles if you use any. Remember people by their first names, not their official last names, so that you can start conversations as men and women, not representatives of disparate groups. Don’t ever look at someone who initially disagrees with you, however vehemently, as an enemy. Hate and anger are empowering responses that say more about you than about the subjects of your venom.

    This rule is probably the most useful in the long-term. I have plenty of people in all three of the other empires that I can call on to vouch for my character and that I am a friend of their people. One of the best ways to make friends like this are to field questions, no matter how infuriating, with grace and dignity. Most people eventually come around; hate is simply too exhausting to keep up for that long in the face of continued resistance to reciprocating it. Keep in touch with people of other cultures, because you never know what will happen. I’ve very often made friends through getting involved in their cultural activities, such as sports and arts, and then been invited by those friends to speak on behalf of the Empire at places of respect and learning. More than one person I met by helping a local volunteer group at a homeless shelter invited me to preach and answer questions at a university.

    -cont-

    (Source: https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=3687789#post3687789)
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    Lunarisse Aspenstar

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    Re: How Not To Die During Foreign Ministry by Constantin Baracca

    Post by Lunarisse Aspenstar on Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:45 pm

    Part 3:

    RULE 9: BE AS SAFE AS POSSIBLE!

    Last and most importantly, we know that no matter how outgoing a society is and how universal your message is in that culture, speaking publicly always has an element of danger. Do your best to minimize the danger for everyone involved. If you know going somewhere is going to get people hurt, work on making sure you can eliminate that threat before going. If you know there is a civil conflict brewing, don’t drop in and make matters worse if you can remain distant and attempt to mediate the situation. Don’t fly into dangerous situations where you know there will be no way out, instead see if you can choose more neutral and safe ground. The most important weapon to use in survival in these situations is pure common sense.

    You’ll make everyone happier with you if you try your best to minimize the possible problems. A governor might attend and attentively listen if you go out of your way not to cause a problem in his jurisdiction, even if you have warranted criticism that you bring up (remembering those rules above!) If you set up unannounced at his doorway and preach for his demise, you’re not just breaking the rules above, but you’re just asking for trouble.

    It’s maybe not the most complete list and anyone can feel free to voice their opinion on it, but it’s part of the methods I’ve developed that work. I’ve done the things above and found that, as long as I plan ahead and work with the locals instead of against them, not only has the ministry been better received but the headaches are almost nonexistent. I really do mean it when I say that surviving in this ministry is easier than you’d think. Most people are just trying to do the best they can by their families, friends, and fellows. Come to them with unnecessarily judgmental and bombastic rhetoric, and you will both make your ministry ineffective as well as your legal prospects difficult. Come to them with open arms and an understanding, pleasant demeanor and you will be usually tolerated, at the very least. You will more than likely make a few friends, and even learn something yourself while you are at it!

    Above all, remember that you aren’t just representing yourself. You are representing every people that your parishioners and audience associate you with. Everywhere I go, I know that not only are the stereotypes of all the people they have ever met that I resemble going to be applied to me, but that I will then inform stereotypes of all those people and even people they have not met yet. People are often desperate to make you fit, so you have to stand strong and set the best possible example. Be precisely what you think those stereotypes should be and accept nothing less from yourself than that model perfect person in your mind. Perhaps you will always fall short of that goal; we all do. But you will always have something to hone in yourself and will have something to work towards.

    Do all of that, and even you might be able to say what you want to say without fear even in hostile environments. God did not make a universe in black and white, it only seems that way when you look at it from a distance and ignore the multitude of people around you. Be confident, gracious, and humble in all your dealings. You’d be amazed how well people will listen to you, even when you’ve been told all your life they’re sworn to kill you instead.

    I suppose the best thing to have when you’re preaching on dangerous ground is a little faith. People will feel it before you even open your mouth.

    (Source:https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=3687791#post3687791)

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