Maligned Vocation

Margaret and I were listening to Marketplace on the radio last night, and we noticed that a reporter referred several times to “preaching.” He was not, however, honoring the practices of skilled orators; he was using the verb “preach” unambiguously in the sense “harangue,” or “scold,” or “wheedle for nefarious purposes.”
 
Most readers: imagine how it would feel were you to know that your vocation were synonymous with its worst manifestations? Even lawyers and politicians don’t suffer the same obloquy; however many lawyer jokes we may tell, “practicing law” doesn’t convey chicanery, nor “legislating” influence-peddling. Maybe “used car sales” comes closest to “preacher” in this regard.
 
Friends, I’m a preacher. Next time you’re tempted to use “preach” in a solely-pejorative sense, please recall some preacher you respect (perhaps not I, but the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King? William Jennings Bryan? Fidel Castro? Ronald Reagan?).

3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Don’t feel too bad. 5% of radio listeners listen to public radio on a weekly basis. Not all Americans listen to radio, so the overall percentage of Americans tuning in to NPR is lower. How many tune into to preaching in some form? Most all churches have some type of preaching content. Barna surveys show 40% of Americans choose to listen to someone preach. Other studies show this is high, and the figure is closer to 20%. Still more than 4 times the number that choose to tune into public radio. So, don’t feel too bad.

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