Listening as Shelterkeep

the Basica

  If you act as shelterkeep to others, you assume this role whenever and wherever you are called upon and are willing and able to rise to the task. Be honest about this. Know also that you are not limited to carrying out this function only for other Basicans. You are restricted in whom you may aid only by the willingness of those in need to accept your help. Neither push them to allow it nor turn them away. Outside the performance of such duties, let yourself simply be a Basican and a human being. Live your life. But do not think you can or should casually take on and throw off the label of shelterkeep whenever the mood strikes you. Overall, regardless of what occurs in any given moment, either you are a shelterkeep or you are not.

  Your place as a shelterkeep is not to judge others as people or by their faith - or lack thereof. It is to attend to their wellbeing, peace, and happiness. When this involves those who are spiritually inclined, it includes supporting them in their faith and in living by it, whatever it may be, so long as your support does not conflict with your own personal moral and ethical requirements or the precepts of your own faith. The same holds true for your end with regard to someone who is not spiritually oriented but who might still have to deal with various moral or legal considerations relating to their situation. In deciding whether or not it is appropriate to promise and keep a confidence, consider whether or not you are helping to conceal either the commission of a crime or other abuse or the planning of and intention to commit a crime or other abuse. Where protecting privacy is in conflict with protecting the safety of others or preserving that which they value, you must make a responsible choice, even in instances where you believe the law is somehow not at issue. And, of course, before you listen, you should learn what the law might demand of you.

  Remember, wherever you may be in the world, that the law may not necessarily recognize you as a legitimate spiritual advisor anywhere where Basicanism is unfamiliar or where only some other single religion (or no religion at all) is considered acceptable. You must decide in advance your policy and what consequences you are willing to endure in order to maintain it. Take care, as you proceed, with the reputation you are building both for yourself and for shelterkeeps generally.

  In acting as shelterkeep, inform those who ask to confide in you of your position, intentions, and standards. Think in advance of how you might accomplish this so that it may be done quickly and easily, without disturbing the relaxed flow of conversation. If there is a problem, conveying this information first will allow one or both of you to see it and respond accordingly. If there are no issues of conflict, this will allow both of you greater trust and comfort in your discussion. The more you show that you hold to good standards, the more others will know they can rely on you.

  If you do become aware of either potential or past misdeed, whether it involves the law or not, look beyond the immediate concern of the individual feeling better and consider if there is a larger matter to be addressed. Encouraging and helping someone to set things right may have to take precedence over the soothing of a guilty conscience. But also console or reassure whenever you legitimately can. Care of emotions should not be handled with a dismissive attitude.

  Basicanism does not allow for clever twisting and manipulation in order to justify, accept, or ignore that which is known to be wrong. Remember the Call to Act with Conscience and Integrity. By being mindful of responsibility and accountability, you can best decide whether or not you can help someone and how.

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