I was surprised that more of you did not have an opinion on the Highest calling. (Maybe you did have an opinion and preferred not to share it?)
That post on whether the pastor might be the highest calling brought my thoughts to this issue, the exaggerated clergy-laity distincition in modern Christianity. IMO, as a whole we Baptists tend to overemphasize the gifts/calling of pastor/bishop/elder and underemphasize the gifts/calling of other members of the church body. Below are a few quotes and some links containing discussion of the clergy-laity divide. Any opinions on them?
"The fact is that all of God's clergy are laity, and all of God's laity are clergy. Every child of God is a priest." -- The Clergy System, by W. Carl Ketcherside
"The lambs have been silenced by the example of their teachers. 'Be silent in Church and let the professionals do the talking.You are nothing but a support system to keep their mouths working.'
"Now contrast this with the typical gathering in the early Church.They had fellowship.They were family and not a family where the children were to be seen and not heard, either. Consider what Paul taught them regarding their coming together as the body of Christ.
"There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
"There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.
"And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.
"But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:" -- The Silencing of the Lambs, by Michael Clark
"The New Testament teaches that the congregational meeting is to be a place where Christians exercise their spiritual gifts and encourage one another to love and good deeds (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-14; 14:12,26; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 Peter 4:10-11). This being true, why do most of us not say or do anything within the church service? Why is coming to church primarily a spectator event instead of a participating event? Why have we placed our responsibility of mutual edification and ministry into the hands of professional clergymen?" -- Is my church really a New Testament church?, by Darryl Erkel
"The clergy/laity divide, which has dogged Christianity for two millennia, didn't originate with either Jesus or his apostles, and is therefore nothing whatsoever to do with the teaching of the New Testament. It rather originated with a guy called Clement who took church leadership, as set up by the apostles (non-hierarchical, plural, co-equal, indigenous elders/bishops or overseers/pastors or shepherds), and turned it into a priesthood quite separate from the laity." -- The Early Church Fathers - The Heart of the Problem!, by Chigwell Christian Fellowship
It Shall Not Be So Among You, by Norman L. ParkWhat Is A Minister?, by Jon Zens