Monday, April 20, 2009

The shepherd and the butcher

Thirdly, the good shepherd leads his sheep. Here is another difference between oriental and occidental shepherds. In the West shepherds seldom if ever lead their sheep; they drive them from behind with the use of trained sheepdogs. Because of the Palestinians close relationship with his sheep, however, he is able to walk in front of them, call them, perhaps whistle or play a pipe, and they will follow him. Chua Wee Hian, former General Secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students, tells us in his book Learning to Lead of an Arab guide who was explaining this tradition to some tourists, who then 'spotted a man in the distance driving a small flock of sheep with a rather menacing stick'. Was the guide mistaken, then? 'He immediately stopped the bus and rushed off across the fields. A few minutes later he returned, his face beaming. He announced, "I have just spoken to the man. Ladies and gentlemen, he is not the shepherd. He is in fact the butcher!"'

John Stott, "The Church's Pastors" in The Contemporary Christian (p. 284)

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