Speaking of the Roman clergy, the late G. K. Chesterton said: “The direction of preferment should begin after seminary with the office of Bishop, and only after years of accumulated wisdom and experience should it result in promotion into the parish ministry.”

In the contemporary scene, some students see a movement that, if unchecked, could bring some very undesirable results. I refer to the movement of trained people away from the areas of difficult work, up (?) or into positions of programming and administration; in other words, the movement of skilled people from the areas of the particular and the specific into the areas of the vague and the general.

I have a dentist friend. He has applied at several dental supply houses for a position to sell and demonstrate dental equipment. He is no longer interested (after only a few short years) in the drudgery of office hours, appointments, human beings. This is prosaic and wearying—and no place for a person of talent in search of status, power, and position. He anxiously awaits the chance to leave his working profession for an administrative, selling position. He tells me that within his profession such a change represents promotion, such a change is up on the ladder of preferment. But is this really true? And it so, who says so? And if so, is this as it should be?

Obviously I cannot jump from this one incident to a conclusion about all of life. But I can note something very similar in some areas of the Protestant ministry. Here there is what may well be called a movement away from the parish into areas that have little or nothing to do with ordination vows. Along with this movement away from the parish is also developing the idea that this is a promotion up the ladder of preferment, ...

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