AP-NORC Poll: Americans rarely seek guidance from clergy - Religion News Service

Patrick, once again I’m not quite sure why you found this news item noteworthy. I rarely consult my clergy colleagues when I make decisions and I can say the same for most of my Christian friends. Jesus never taught that we must consult the nearest minister when making major life decisions—or minor ones.

Yes, some Christians do consult their pastors about their most difficult decisions in life—but just as many or more consult a trusted friend or their wisest relatives. When vexed by difficult decisions, we may naturally seek out those we know best and who are most likely to be helpful. That can include clergy but not exclusively so.

Of course, in past centuries the local shepherd was very likely to be the most educated, the most traveled, the most schooled in the law, and the most connected to the regional governing authorities— and even potentially able to influence them to help in one’s plight. (And for many centuries the local clergyman was likely to be the only person in one’s village who could read and write at all!) So it simply made common sense for someone making a major decision to seek a minister’s advice. We live in a far different world today.

The New Testament demolishes all notions of strict clergy versus laity divides. All Christians are called ministers of Christ:

Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
— 1 Corinthians 4:1 (KJV)

Martin Luther further underscored what came to be called the doctrine of the universal priesthood of believers. So it is no surprise that Christ-followers aren’t rushing to consult the nearest clergy every time they make a decision.

Perhaps Patrick is simply observing that most Christians recognize that knowledge and wisdom is not the exclusive domain of the full-time professional clergy.