All We Like Sheep

“People, like sheep, tend to follow a leader – occasionally in the right direction.”  
      ~Alexander Chase

Some designated leaders of American institutions seemingly possess little or no leadership ability, and many who hold high profile positions follow the loudest voices, thus abdicating the role of leader for the role of follower. Perhaps they could learn from Greek Mythology and the tales of sailors who followed the voices and music of the Sirens. The result of following the voices of these beautiful femme fatales, without exception, was shipwreck.

Arriving at his daughter’s Michigan high school in uniform, an Army Lieutenant Colonel was denied permission to enter for a meeting with her counselor. He was informed that some students might be offended by having a soldier in the building. So-called leaders in this school district were following the voices and music of political correctness.
Ironically, thousands of soldiers have sacrificed their lives so these foolish people have the right to express their ignorance in any way they choose.

Modern leaders of organized religion often follow the voices and music of feminism. One result is change to Scripture in order to achieve gender neutrality. Hence, we have translations such as, “For God so loved the world that God gave God’s only Child.” (ILL) This causes me to wonder what makes some women so insecure. These same voices of insecurity have fostered the idea that just being a woman is sufficient qualification for becoming a minister.

A picture of Christ, the Good Shepherd, hung in my Sunday School classroom when I was a child. This image imprinted on my mind the understanding that a shepherd is one who cares. Regrettably, many local church pastors are influenced by the voices and music of professionalism rather than by Christ’s example of shepherding the sheep. In Brothers We Are Not Professionals, John Piper says: “Professionalism has nothing to do with the essence and heart of the Christian ministry. The more professional 
we long to be, the more spiritual death we will leave in our wake.” While a pastor follows the path to professional image, abandoned relationships with parishioners are found along the trail. To me, this seems a high price to pay for fitting into the world’s mold.

Scripture provides guidelines for leaders (shepherds) of believers. Getting his/her own way and promoting personal agenda are not included. Despite this, many ministers follow the voices and music of social comparison and demand that their desires be honored. This selfishness results in such things as the removal of patriotic symbols and all patriotic references (including traditional national hymns) from the church and services. Why guests would not understand the desire of Christians to honor their country is beyond my understanding.

In the sanctuary of a Methodist Church I attended while in London, the British flag was prominently displayed. I did not feel disrespected. I admired these patriots for their loyalty to a country that allows them to worship freely. 

Totally inexplicable is the decision of a New Jersey minister to remove from the sanctuary of her church a picture of Christ that was drawn and signed by Warner Elias Sallman. This picture is not a print of one of Sallman’s famous works. It is a picture he drew while visiting the congregation (something he did often when he visited Covenant Churches). The problem with the picture? Well, Christ appears to be Caucasian and this could be offensive to people of other races who might attend. The issue here isn’t that we know how Christ appeared. The issue is that the voices and music crying “discrimination” must be followed.

I have no appreciation for the wearing of designer jeans while preaching or messages that distort meanings of Old Testament passages in an attempt to support personal points of view. I do, however, appreciate organized, caring, shepherding pastors who surround themselves with excellent staff to care for day-to-day administrative duties, welcome visitors and facilitate connections for them, baptize babies, baptize new believers, welcome new members into the church, preform marriage ceremonies, serve communion, counsel those who are troubled, visit and pray for the sick, give funeral sermons, know and care about each parishioner, regardless of societal status, and, most importantly, preach the gospel. Simply put, they care.

All we like sheep need shepherds.

Picture by Warner Elias Sallman