I think we have a problem with cops and pastors. I don’t mean that cops are having problems with pastors and vice versa, but that we choose who should be a cop and who should be a pastor based on criteria that don’t really match up with their real-world performance.
For instance, if you ask cops what they spend most of their time doing, you’ll find out it’s paperwork and relational work. Very, very little policework involves things like running, jumping, wrestling, and bench pressing. Why then do we choose cops in very much the same way we choose soldiers? After all, the EMF/SWAT version of policework we see on television is in reality a very constricted, minor part of real policework. From what I understand, police spend a lot of their time resolving disputes. Do you really need to be able to wrestle a bear to resolve a dispute? (Keep in mind that, at least here in Canada, the cops are also the ones with the guns.) This is why I think women generally make better police officers than men; also, it’s a tragedy when policewomen try to bitch themselves up enough that they can run with the dudes. If anything, they can probably do their job better than the guys anyways.
The same thing applies with pastors. Where I come from, the most spiritual, well-mannered men are advised that they should go to seminary, where their heads are filled with facts, and the come back to a doctrinal examination after which they’re called to a church. Is it a co-incidence then that most of these pastors aren’t good at preaching or relating to people? After all, what is being a pastor about, really, if it’s not leading people to a closer walk with God? And what is leading if not teaching and inspiring?
We pick our cops as if they’re soldiers. We pick our pastors as if they’re professors. Is it just me, or is there something wrong there?
The solution is, of course, to widen the pool of potential cops and pastors. You can certainly have a SWAT team, and you can certainly have masters of theology, but must every potential recruit be a potential SWAT team member or master theologian? I don’t think so. It certainly doesn’t seem to be making those professions any better.
I think the police force could use fewer beefy adrenaline monkeys and more level-headed problem-solvers. I think the pastoral corps could use fewer theologically astute snooze-fests and few more dynamic individuals who have the ability to teach, the ability to inspire people and engage them in their faith, and if possible both.