It was at dinner the other night when the woman next to me said, "I'm an artist too, I love to paint." That, in and of itself, seems pretty innocuous, unless you are married to an artist; an artist who has trained all her life, gone to school, and put in the long hard seasons of galleries, art shows, juries and teaching. We would not accept someone's statement that "I'm a surgeon too. I love to cut steaks, am good with knives and am not afraid of blood." It takes more than that. Yet in the arts and the church, simply the desire of person makes him/her an artist, pastor, teacher, spiritual director, worship leader, or mentor (I love the wide use of that term. Who licenses and oversees mentors?).
As Martha and I talked about this phenomenon today, we thought that an affluent culture of entitlement promotes vocational dabbling. People flit from one interest to another, declaring themselves experts in things they like for a while, but not putting in the long years of training and hard work. I know some wonderful persons who are pastors without any seminary training, no Hebrew or Greek, no church history or theology. They just started doing it.
In some cultures and some professions, there are required years of training, study, apprenticeship, and testing before taking the reigns of the profession. Why not the arts and church?