"The future greatness of Orisa Lifestyle belongs to those leaders who are ready, willing and able to develop great disciples. They will appreciate the fact that talent, like water, will always find its level. And so, those who refuse to create opportunities for their people to develop will see those people rise through other channels. Let us be clear, initiation is not development. Charms and potions are not development. Compiling thousands of random verses is not development.
Development requires VISION, first and foremost. Leaders of spiritual communities must define and articulate their visions. Answer the simple question, 'Where are we going and why?' Once the vision is clear, you can more easily define acceptable standards of behavior. When you consider the broad range of controversy associated with 'interfaith dialogue' (i.e., Cuban vs. Nigerian orisa traditions), one huge reason for the confusion is the total absence of a shared vision.
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Let's try this, just for the sake of example: OUR VISION IS TO HEAL THE PLANET BY THE YEAR 2020. That statement provides the framework for defining and measuring behavior. Once you have defined acceptable behavior and created the means for measuring it, you can go about the business of developing people accordingly. To continue the example given above, if our vision is to heal the planet by the year 2020, we can then articulate 5 areas of healing activity. Based upon what people actually do or fail to do, we have tangible evidence of our community's developmental needs.
On a much simpler level, we tend to define our temples as 'houses' and many refer to the relationship between teacher and student as 'godparent and godchild.' The elders will sometimes use the proverb that says, 'A mother will never call her child to suffer.' Indeed, a parent calls a child into the world to love, nurture and guide that child to personal greatness. The child reciprocates by allowing herself to be developed and then passing on the practice to younger siblings and eventually her own children. This is a time-tested development cycle that will continue to prove its value, should we apply it to our spiritual lineages with the same discipline we do our blood lineages. This is what it means to Live the Medicine.
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | www.ObafemiO.com