On an e-mail forum recently there has been a ‘useful’ discussion on the notion of what it means to be a ‘professional’ in the context of being a youth worker/minister. One of the observations made, reflecting on the current economic climate, was that it was so called ‘professionals’ that caused the problems. Is to be a ‘professional’ a good thing or a bad thing, is it contary to a calling, to being spirit led ….. or in harmony with it? (I have a colleague who prefers to talk about doing things excellently, which I like). This whole debate being very important for the UK context where we professionally train Christian youth workers who often serve as youth ministers for the Church.
Towards the end of thread, a colleague who I respect a great deal added this ….. :
Looking at the ‘roots’ of such things … from the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary, we find:
Main Entry: proÂ·fesÂ·sion
Etymology: Middle English professioun, from Anglo-French profession, from Late Latin & Latin; Late Latin profession-, professio, from Latin, public declaration, from profitÄ“ri
Date: 13th century
1: the act of taking the vows of a religious community
2: an act of openly declaring or publicly claiming a belief, faith, or opinion : protestation
3: an avowed religious faith
4 a: a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation b: a principal calling, vocation, or employment c: the whole body of persons engaged in a calling
Have a look at look at Visual Thesaurs for a ‘thinkmap’ on the word ‘profession’
…. clearly calling and vocation are central to any understanding of ‘profession’ ….
….if the professions have power, then professionals are called to use that power wisely and with integrity … it is sad (understatement) that professionals in some disciplines have abused their position and in so doing have brought into question the very nature and status of others who resolutely honour and uphold the ethical code and tenets of their ‘chosen’ profession ….
.. a re-discovery of that sense of calling and vocation maybe what is needed across the professions ….
(re-produced with permission)