Friday, February 20, 2004

The hired hand

Earlier in the week, I read Gospel Guy's blog with the Gospel of John 10:1-8 on the true shepherd versus the thief and bandit and the hired man. Jesus is the good shepherd who loves and protects his sheep.

"I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him, abandons the sheep as soon as he sees a wolf coming, and runs away, and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep; he runs away because he is only a hired man and has no concern for the sheep."

I posted this comment:

"The imagery of the shepherd is the most beautiful in the Bible and the most beautiful metaphor in all literature, I think. The shepherd who guides, protects -- literally lays himself down at the sheep gate to protect his flock from nighttime predators; who clears the rocks to provide a green meadow for them; who cleanses the infections and parasites from his sheep, literally anointing their heads with oil; who speaks and sings to them so they recognize his voice out of all the other ones and follow him to safety; who does not leave even the least one behind, but carries him close to his heart.
I love my Shepherd."

Two conflicting images: the hired hand, who has no personal concern for the flock, versus the loving shepherd. The role of the bishop is modeled on the role of the good shepherd.

The good shepherd does not hand his flock over to others, bartering them for political advantage.

"...we do hereby affirm the moral and spiritual authority of you, the "Concerned Primates" of the Anglican Communion, and do join in commitment with
you to address the situation under your leadership. We desire to act in concert with you, and are ready to take counsel from you. We pledge solidarity with you in
sharing common faith and practice within an Anglicanism that is submitted to her sovereign Lord.."

This is from the AAC-bishops' letter to the "Concerned Primates,"
(which means these primates agree with them on the issue of homosexuality but carry a lot of other baggage -- see my objections to them in Wednesday's Feb. 18 blog entry). These AAC-bishops would be ready to hand their dioceses to these primates' authority for their own political advantage. I feel like nothing more than a pawn in such hands.

Are these bishops acting as good shepherds or as hired hands?

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