twice in two days - i obviously have more time than i know what to do with (ha ha)
whilst i wait for a friend to turn up and help me transport an item of garden furniture half a mile up the road i have a few moments for reflection, and these reflections have been inspired by the excellent thoughts for this week, and a link to an earlier blog, by sarah dylan breur http://www.sarahlaughed.net/lectionary/
I have problems with the idea of pastoring in the Church in the classic sense. By that i mean that the word pastor means, in its etymology, something akin to animal husbandry, which at worst suggests that there in an inherent superiority of human beings over animals and that somehow this idea spills over into the relationships a minister has with her/his people. In other words, to quote one of my lecturers at Theological College 'I don't like calling myself a pastor because you aren't sheep'.
I do see the positive side of that image, of nurture and self-sacrifice that comes with the image of shepherd, but i see the danger of patronisation, control and a latent superiority complex that can come with ministry (not with any of the minsters i know obviously...)
To carry the image on further, as we think of Christ the Good Shepherd - an incredibly powerful and important image, i agree, but one open to abuse as congregations and ministers are too quick to take on the sheep image and divest themselves of the Christian responsibility to "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling" ( Philippians 2.12). There is way too much 'spoon fed religion' in Christian circles and taking the image of sheep and shepherd too far is, i believe, contributing to a faith where people are more concerned with 'teaching' (ie what the minster says) than 'learning' (discovering through prayer, scripture and study, as well as actually getting on and living the Christian life).
Here endeth the rant for today...
baaaa humbug (geddit??!!??)