the weblog of Alan Knox

Two good analogies…

Posted by on Jul 19, 2007 in blog links | 5 comments

Here are two good modern-day analogies related to the church:

A Former Leader writes a post called “Midwives and Shepherds“. She examines biblical leadership in the church by contrasting midwives and doctors. Here are a couple of examples:

Midwife: Comes alongside the birthing mother as a servant. One to help. Not one to direct.
Dr.: Immediately upon arrival at the institution, he starts to tell you what is needed. He is there to direct you and the whole birthing process.

Midwife: Tries as much as possible not to intervene. Only intervenes if there is true danger to the woman or baby.
Dr.: Intervenes as soon as you arrive – with monitors, IV’s, blood tests, etc.

Also, Robby Mac shares a story about throwing out his old, worn out, but most comfortable, “Faded Jeans Blues“. He says:

Sure, these faded, worn-and-torn, ripped up blue jeans were hardly even functional by this point, but they were comfortable, familiar, and getting rid of them would mean starting all over with a new, unbroken-in, unfamiliar pair. It was surprising how tenacious the desire to just keep wearing them was.

Could he be comparing his old jeans to old wineskins?


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  1. 7-19-2007

    Interesting analogies. Yes, could fit the new and old wineskin parable. But, I was more interested in the Shepherd comparisons.

    Let me start with what Jesus said:

    “…and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:16)

    I believe a pastor can shepherd/lead(verb), but should not be called A shepherd(noun). I sense a few gloves coming off, so let me explain first.

    Saying a pastor is also a shepherd is placing him outside/above the flock. Two different beings. Two different classes. Different intelligence levels. (i.e. human v.s. animal, smart v.s. dumb, attuned v.s. nieve, clergy v.s. laity) I’ve never heard of a sheep also playing role of shepherd. Yes, I know Jesus was the “Lamb of God” and is now the “Shepherd”. But He was/is also dually flesh and God at the same time.

    A pastor/leader can shepherd(verb), or, a better word I believe is lead.

    Jesus said we are like sheep so here are some interesting facts about sheep(the animal). Contrary to popular opinion sheep are just as smart as a lot of other animals.(cannot list them all here, but google sheep facts 101 sometime) Some sheep in Europe learned they could go over a cattle guard(rails separated by deep voids) by laying down and rolling over it. They can regognise up to 50 fellow sheeps’ faces for up to two years. One potentially hazardous thing that they do do though is follow the leader. Notice I said “potentially hazardous” as it can be potentially advantagious as well.

    Picture this:

    A shepherd watching over his flock. He sees that the pasture the flock is in is getting depleted and the water is drying up. Most of his sheep have spent time with him and they can discern his voice. He says, “come over here sheep”, so he can lead them to new pastures. The sheep that have been around a while know that when he calls them it is for their benefit. A few of the older sheep hear him and begin to walk towards him. By instinct(survival) the other sheep, wanting to stay in a flock, follow them. Those leading sheep didn’t have to turn around and tell the other sheep, “organize, get in line, stay plugged in, be a part of the core, let’s go.” They simply walked towards the shepherd. As a result of the leading sheeps’ actions(example), trusting the shepherd and stepping out of the flock in faith, the other sheep following them are ultimately served as well with lush new pastures and fresh water. As a plus, they too are learning what the shepherds voice sounds like and next time they could lead the flock should they hear him calling. Or…they could be mistaken and lead the entire flock off a cliff.

  2. 7-19-2007


    My gloves are still on… I like your “older” sheep analogy.


  3. 7-20-2007


    Good analogies!

    I also like what Jeff is saying, so my gloves are staying on also. The elders who shepherd usurp the position of Christ when they claim the title of “shepherd”. As Jeff reiterates, there IS ONLY ONE Shepherd.

    The important issue regarding the “flock” concept is the lack of the individual sheep standing out as more important than the others. Those who are recognized as “leaders” are simply members of the flock who are gifted and called to function in harmony with the gifting and calling of the rest of the flock. They are recognized, during LONG ASSOCIATION with the flock, because they have reflected maturity, ability to open the Scriptures to their brethren, wisdom and good counsel.

    Without taking away, in any way, from Jeff’s wise words, his analogy, like all human analogies, breaks down (maybe it points out another danger).

    The only time we see a sheep which IS more important is in the abattoirs, which use the natural “follow-the-one-in-front” habits of sheep to lead them to the slaughter-man. The “leading” sheep is specially trained (hmmmnnn?)to do his deceptive task. The rest follow to their death.

  4. 7-20-2007


    Please edit the “who shepherd” from the second sentence.

  5. 7-20-2007

    Aussie John,

    Unfortunately, I can delete comments, but not edit them. I think everyone will understand what you meant. Thanks for continuing this discussion. It looks like you could produce a nice blog post by expanding that comment a little.