Thursday, May 3, 2018

Replacements for the Shepherd Parable/Metaphor

Any time we read about shepherds in church, I wonder how many people lose the metaphor.  Maybe we think of cute, fluffy sheep--most of us have never met the real animal and have no idea that they're smelly, and they're often stupid. 

When we hear about the shepherd going after the one lost sheep, we likely see the story through the lens of that single sheep.  We don't think about the flock left behind, the flock left vulnerable by the one feckless sheep.

Any time we read about shepherds, I start thinking about a better metaphor, a better parable.  Let me list some here:

--The Good Boss.  Even if we haven't been fortunate to have a good boss, we know what we'd like.  The good boss is one who is fair, even if that doesn't mean that everyone is treated exactly the same.  The good boss can keep an eye on the larger vision, while focusing on particular goals and tasks that must be done.  The good boss believes the best of the workers and coaches individuals to help them evolve into better versions of themselves.

--The Best Teacher.  The best teacher is schooled in the ways of pedagogy that help each student shine.  The best teacher has expectations but realizes that there are many ways to get to the end result.  The best teacher sets up a classroom that gives students a chance at creativity and inspiration.  The best teacher gives feedback that helps the pupils grow--which means a mix of constructive criticism and praise.

--The Attentive Doctor.  This doctor listens to our symptoms and considers all the possibilities.  The attentive doctor knows a variety of remedies and tries the less intrusive ones first.   The attentive doctor has a expansive vision of health for all of us that is such a large vision that most of us can't even conceive of it. 

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