I have a Yale Div School educated friend, who as an ordained minister offers blessings, quite rightly, only to those who follow the prescribed rules of inclusion in his church and its traditions. He, even after many years of friendship, does not bestow blessings on me, not officially, even when I asked, partly playfully, partly hoping to be saved on the cheap. He demurred since his cure extends only to those who are committed to its requirements. Yet, in a recent note, he signs off, "Grace and Peace." This makes me think he could become a Secular Priest, with his holy orders on a kind of dimmer or on and off switch. With his true calling in the "off position," or turned up just enough to cast a faint religious ambiance, he could moonlight among the wealthy, offering not real blessings, but pieties, homilies, and generic lessons from a variety of world religions. He might be handsomely paid for helping high capacity clients sort their values cards, if they are too busy with more pressing business. And he could provide their children with moral mentoring, if the parents are otherwise engaged. I believe my friend could use the money, and many families of all levels of wealth, could use a gentle counselor as wise and virtuous as he.
In the old days, priests would bless the fishing ships in the harbor. Today, maybe a priest-person could bless the bankers and brokers in their cubicles and the financial advisors and the tax and legal groups. My friend, I assume, might balk, since he would probably consider it a betrayal of all that is holy. Damned among the damned, with no downside, I will do it on speculation. My lessons are easy, the message motivational. As the sun shines on saint and sinner alike, so I bless whomever you put in front of me. I have got one of those long handled collection baskets, and after the sermon I will be passing through aisle. If you can't stand a secular priest, God help you with a real one.