Something has gone terribly wrong with Protestant clergy. The majority of them say that they are “happy, content,” as a recent Christian Century news headline proclaims (March 27-April 2). And since the Century says it, it must be true. Evidence comes from polls backed and perpetrated by the Lilly Endowment, the National Opinion Research Center and the Pulpit and Pew research project at Duke University.
What has gone wrong? The Protestant clergy is not living up to its stereotypes. For years other polls and articles or bishops and others who deal with church conflict have assured us that things are amiss. Protestant clergy are supposed to be sad. Instead, more than not are more or less happy. Most have never doubted their call to ministry and have never thought of leaving the ministry. Few spend time fighting about issues like the ordination of gay people, issues that tear denominational conventions apart.