Friday, May 01, 2009

Sine qua non?

It’s interesting, in the wake of Ewan’s visit to S3 pupils at his old school, to consider what attributes are most desirable in different areas of work. For some professions/jobs/careers/vocations – take your pick – there are, of course, ‘givens’, like being literate if you think you might want to teach English - though I used to cringe when fellow English teachers mixed up their subjects and objects in a sentence involving personal pronouns. To say nothing of these careful souls who, hopelessly muddled as to why they are doing it, say “whomever” regardless of grammar simply because, I suppose, so few people ever get it right that they choose the harder option in a sort of blind faith.

And that brings me neatly to other apparently obvious attributes, for one would expect anyone going for ordination to the ministry/priesthood to have faith. Wouldn’t one? But what else besides? Education? Leadership qualities? Empathy? What other attributes make for an outstanding pastor – or even a good one? Are there particular qualities without which a ministry will fail? And is that something that can be said of other callings, such as teaching?

I suspect there are actually several answers to the above, but I’d love to hear what others think. There might even be a resurgence of the Mars Bars prize…


  1. Okay, I'll play.

    I think passion, and an ability to communicate that passion are pretty important attributes for any job where you have to impart your knowledge/wisdom to others. A sense of humour doesn't go amiss either.

    Do I get a Mars Bar?

  2. Oh and I'd choose passion over pedantry any day.

    Do I get another one?

  3. Well, between you and I....hehehe...another one that makes my own skin wanna CRAWL!!!!

    I believe that God has "wired" individuals with particular passions. If we are in tune with Him, he will lead us in the direction we should go. Hmm..that reminds me of a verse in Proverbs! (3:5-6)

    Perhaps there are those who would say I tend to "spiritualize" everything too much, but I do believe that in the end, it is God whom we are trying to please...not man, nor ourselves. We must remember that in this life, we are as unique as our fingerprints, and each called to fulfill our own mision.

    My two cents!

  4. Aha - I can't resist this one: pedantry vs passion. Is it not possible that one person's passion is another one's pedantry? Just think of the examples of that one - music, language, historical accuracy ...

  5. As one pedant to another, I'd still choose passion over pedantry, because it's quite possible to communicate the passion without pedantry, whereas the other way round it doesn't do much, does it?

    Where's my Mars Bar?

  6. Ah, but what if the passion is about the thing that you call pedantry? The Mars is still lurking in the fragmented state in which I imagine emails in transit...

  7. Going for piety rather than pedantry, I would offer a calling as an essential for ministry. It is possible to be an excellent teacher, doctor, whatever, without a specific calling to that profession but a minister who has not been called by God is surely in trouble.

    For the piety points alone that's got to be worth a Fun Sized Mars Bar... or is calling a "given" along with faith?

  8. I think a fair dose of insanity is required in the ministry, plus skin like a rhino hiding a softer, inner core.

  9. Tony, I tried to leave a comment on your blog, but like all other Blogger blogs with the updated comment facility, it ate my comment. But I just wanted to say that blogging has to be interactive, and that because you commented on my blog I followed you back and read yours!