Are Priests Salesmen or Consultants?
Each time I visit Indonesia I can’t help smiling at their immigration card. In the section where I shall specify my profession is a check box saying “sales/clerical“. After having been amused a few times about the idea that priests are thought to sell God and heaven, I had second thoughts.
I don’t think that priests are sales agents, they are consultants. Let me explain: having been in sales more or less my whole career, I cherish a secret envy for consultants. Why? Because they are being paid to join a company temporarily, analyze the situation, give some good advice and then, they can walk away. They neither have to implement what they recommended nor can they be held responsible for what goes wrong afterwards.
By the way, I never decided to become a consultant, because I would miss out on the sweet feeling of success.
Back to the subject: Why is a priest a consultant? Because he actually doesn’t sell God or heaven. People have already subscribed before they show up in the church. Priests consult how to get into heaven. And, as any other consultant, he won’t be held accountable. The dead cannot complain that they didn’t go to heaven, can they? Well, maybe the can and do, but who can hear them? 😉
And how about other responsibilities: for example, consulting people as a – how can I say this? … religious psychiatrist? Who would ever think of pointing a finger at a priest for not succeeding in giving people a peaceful state of mind?
Let’s look at an example too, shall we? How about …the abortion controversy? The church is making a great, solemn spectacle to convince women not to abort. They point out that it’s a grave sin: “You shall not kill!” But what happens after that? Women will have to stare at the backs of priests walking away. Which priest says to a fourteen-year-old pregnant girl: “Don’t kill that child inside you. If you can’t handle it, I find somebody who can. And if I don’t manage, I will look after it myself.”
Of course, I’m generalizing, and I do so to make a point. But I also want to stir some adrenaline to get people out of the box. I’m sure, there are many unsung hero priests out there who make a measurable difference in people’s lives. I haven’t met anyone personally though, but I watched the movie the Machine Gun Priest with mixed feelings. Ah … yes, there’s Mother Teresa, of course.
Who else is out there? Why don’t you add a testimony if you know someone! Let’s includes monks and nuns as well.