Dear Job-Seekers:

“WANTED: versatile YOUNG MEN. For job opportunity requiring multiple skills,” announced the full-page magazine advertisement. Here, I excitedly thought, might be my big chance for a fantastic new career in the space program or corporation management. So I read on. “Applicants must expect to serve as teacher, counselor, administrator, psychologist, preacher, and brother to people in all walks of life.” How could any mortal handle such an assignment?, I mused. The ad further stated: “Compassion, understanding, patience and endurance necessary qualifications.” Finally came the appeal from the United Presbyterian Church Council on Theological Education: “Interested applicants should address themselves to: The Christian Ministry.”

I hate to reveal my naïveté, but I had always thought that basic requirements for the Christian ministry were Christian conversion and a call to this sacred office from God (rather than an advertising copywriter). But it seems that such hoary requirements may no longer be operational in modern Protestant seminaries.

Another ministerial recruitment ad apparently supported this conclusion. Placed by the Episcopal Seminaries, it was entitled, “He Didn’t Wait for Voices in the Night.” Under a picture of a thoughtful seminarian the ad stated, “Like most young men searching for a career he gathered all the facts he could … and made up his mind. But instead of deciding to be a lawyer or an engineer, he decided to be a minister.” How embarrassed, I thought, this seminarian would have been by divine illumination! The ad continued: “He didn’t see the ‘light flash’ or hear ‘voices whisper.’ Neither have most men in seminary! Because the call to the ministry is much like the call to any other profession, ...

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