Below is a quote from Eugene Peterson, author of the Message, the Message Remix, and many other books, speaking with Laity Lodge about distinctions we have put between laity and clergy. The video interview can be found at

I went through a list of people the other day of who have influenced me the most.  In England it was Charles Williams, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Owen Barfield, and Baron von Hugel.  All of them were lay people, not a single clergyman or priest in them.  In America, Wendell Berry, Wallace Stegner, Bill McKibben, William Stringfellow, all laymen.  Stanley Hauerwas, one of our best theologians, was a layman.  Kathleen Norris, Marilynne Robinson, both lay people.  I think we cannot just lay down and accept that distinction between laity and clergy. Or let people make that distinction. We can’t try to deal with it by saying, “We’ve got to bridge this gap between laity and clergy.”  There is no gap. It’s just a perception gap.  Our witness and the way we live can take care of that or do something about it. 

In my own thinking, I have often perceived that there is this gap between us & them (church attenders & pastors). The truth is we have all been called, the difference is what we have been called to. I read in Glen Daman’s book yesterday that the only thing that separates a pastor from his flock is His calling. We’re all under Christ, we’ve all been command to share the gospel, we’re all commanded to make disciples, and we’re all going to stand before the judgment seat.

So what is the difference? Some of us have been called as overseers or shepherds. But when it comes to living and doing and dying for Christ, do we not all have the same call? What do you think?


About Chuck Mullis

I am the husband of Valerie and the father of Russell & Hannah. I am a self-employed contractor living in rural North Carolina as well as an ordained Southern Baptist Minister serving Living Water Baptist Church.

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