I love to joke about my job, in some ways it is how I keep my sanity in a culture where there are serious questions about the legitimacy of professional clergy let alone professional theology. But all joking aside I think that both of those jobs are very important. Over on the Regional ThoughtWorks Blog I pointed out an article by Vineyard USA director Bert Waggoner on the importance of theology. He begins that article begins with something I've been saying over and over - we are all theologians but the choice is whether we will be good or bad theologians. For me the choice to do academic theology has a very pastoral concern at heart: I think we can do theology, and by logical extension church and the Christian life, much better than we are. I say this as a committed evangelical in a neo-pentecostal movement who sees similar issues throughout the whole of the Church. I do it because I care and hope.
My pastoral work at Freedom Vineyard comes from a similar core value. I love the people God has privileged me to walk with. And I count myself right in there with them as a person who can always do better. But rather than getting hung up on what any of us is not doing as well as we would like - I try to find ways to engage with a life of faith and faithfulness that is both a model and an encouragement for those in my care. And for those in my care, or even just those I care about cause I am not the most formal guy, I try to make this central to our relationship. In a real sense it is how I am wired. Even in the IT workplace, I would look for opportunities to live out this part of my being.
So you might hear me joking around, poking fun even at my own chosen professions. But one thing I take very serious is that these are real vocations and I am honoured to feel chosen by God to take them on.