In recent blogs I’ve read, and in some e-mails I’ve received, I’m hearing a theme, a subtle one but one that appears to have plenty of punch and power with plenty. It is this: “this is an issue for the practitioners.” Perhaps it is related to what I have been calling the performance of the gospel vs. simple articulation of the gospel.
Here’s a question for us to ponder: Who exactly is the practitioner?
Evidently, some want to exclude the professional theologian (among whom I would count myself) because they are professionals or theoreticians. I hear this at times from the pastors. Why I think this is unfair will be evident in what follows.
But, should we include pastors among the practitioners? Some are so lay-emphatic in theology that they would exclude them, too. Why I think this is unfair will also be clear in what follows.
Who then is the real practitioner? Well, this depends on what we mean by “practice.” I think it ought to refer to anyone and everyone who is following Jesus, whether that person is a non-professional theologian or a non-pastor.
Is not the central vocation of each theologian or pastor or anyone else who wants to be called Christian to be a “follower of Jesus”? Is not practice the ground-level vocation of each of us?
So, whether theologian or pastor or neither, the practitioner calls each of us to a model of Christian behavior that we find in the simple call to follow Jesus wherever he might lead us today and tomorrow.
Practitioners ought to describe each of us.