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Friday, June 03, 2005

The Greek Priesthood: Politicians and Gynecologists Need Not Apply

I almost classified this one under the "no comment" section, but I guess just the fact that I'm putting it here is a comment of some sort.

The latest news from Athens. The Greek Orthodox Church recently declared that men who desire to enter the priesthood from other professions are welcome to apply...unless they are politicians, gynecologists, actors, coroners, lawyers, soldiers or wine-shop employees. Welcome are bee-keepers, candle makers, and cobblers. (I'm not making this up). Apparantly the listed professions are "unsuitable" for future clergymen.

I don't get it. Is the suggestion that all politicians are dishonest? Or that there is something lewd in being a gynecologist? As I see it, there are very few professions which are inherently wicked. Prostitution, for instance. In most other cases, it depends upon the individual. If a man should be disqualified purely on the basis of his former profession, then maybe Jesus shouldn't have chosen a tax collector (St. Matthew) to be one of the big twelve.

In Lutheranism, we commonly speak about the doctrine of vocation. And this is the biblical notion that God uses us as His instruments for preserving His creation. Not only did God create the world we inhabit, but He continues to bless and keep it. Believe it or not, but God uses politicians, lawyers, gynecologists, coroners, soldiers, actors, and even wineshop employees as the means to serve your needs. And he uses you to serve theirs. We are flawed utensils, to be sure. Poorly tuned instruments. But each person should view his daily work, his ordinary responsibilities, his mundane tasks, his station in life, as a divine calling to serve his neighbor.

When I read about this in an Australian paper, I thought it must be one of those satire publications like The Onion. But it's reported in the Greek news too. I'm still not sure if it's real.

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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

No actors, eh? Good. I always thought that John Paul fellow had a shifty look to him...LOL Jerry

Susan L said...

Gene Edward Veith's book "God at Work" gives a pretty clear exposition of the doctrine of vocation... It turns my stomach when I hear people talk about "serving God" in a way that excludes everything but "church work" and I'm a church worker!
Whatever the case, the creators of that list seem to be making quite a few assumptions.

Athanasios said...

I'm going to dig into this a little further. Sounds a little dubious. One thing I must point out: unfortunately while Orthodoxy is one faith, one church and one doctrine, we are split along ethnic jurisdictions. If the Greeks did do this, it would not apply to most other Orthodox in the world.

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Hi. Yes, that's good to point out. I don't mean to paint all Orthodox with the same brush. And I agree that the story sound a little dubious. As I said in the post, I'm still not certain it's real. If you uncover anything, please let me know.

Abraham said...

Whoops. Satan was cast down to Earth and is the ruler here. Or did he go back to Heaven with his host of angels?

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Our church believes that Jesus is the King. Right now. Jesus said, when speaking of His death, "NOW is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out (John 12:31)." And later He says, "the prince of this world now stands condemned (John 16:11)." So, with all due respect, you may think Satan is the ruler here, but I think Jesus is.

prying1 said...

Amen to your last comment re: Jesus is the ruler. Just wondering. St. Paul was a tentmaker. Was that on the list? - Seems to me if the concentrated on 'preparing the saints to do the work' then they need not worry about said secular jobs. Trick is to find which people have which apptitudes for which jobs (teacher, pastor, helps, etc.) and put 'em to work so they will feel fulfilled in their calling.

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