You may laugh if you want and you probably should, but I actually had a great deal of trouble drawing close to the Lord on account of the fact that I love goats and do not care for sheep very much. That sounds rather childish and petty but it’s actually far more complicated than it appears on the surface.
“My sheep know my voice,” is really problematic if you flat out refuse to self identify as a sheep in the first place. Also, if God is actually planning to separate the goats from the sheep, obviously I will not be trotting along complacently into the sheep pen, like a lamb to the slaughter.
Everyone is different, some people are very visual, some are literalists, some are very musical. I happen to be all about the symbolism and the analogies. Signs I tell ya, signs and wonders, patterns. So as a result I have a collection of really poor Christian sheep analogies, triggers if you will, a whole repertoire of them.
I’ve actually considered putting them all into a collection and rifting off of the “Silence of the Lambs” with something like, “Bloodthirsty Devotionals from Clarisse.”
Have you heard the one about the shepherd with the errant lamb who must break its legs so it can’t run away anymore? No people, that is so NOT God, God who will not even “crush a bruised reed,” let alone hobble a lamb so it cannot escape! Really bad analogy. No communion wafer for you.
Then there are a myriad of tales about lambs having their throats cut and how wonderful that is and how we should all emulate that mindset and just let the Lord cut our throats with His sword of truth. No, just no.
Sigh. This people, this is why so many flee the faith. I’ve been around the bend far enough to understand the greater point people are attempting to make and yet it is still an epic fail every single time, and probably responsible not just for a number of atheists in the world, but also for some very strident and obnoxious vegans and vegitarians. Like literally, if you use a blood-lusty lamb analogy, you have butchered the whole sermon.
This is so not what the Bible meant by “meat.”
My delicate sensibilities are definitely offended and have been for years, but I’m going to cut some men, some slack, some. I’m going to intercede on their behalf, dump some grace over their sorry heads. I’m going to celebrate and honor a bit of gender diversity, a bit of design. Sometimes coming up with the most graphic, gruesome, bloodthirsty, violent roasted meat analogy, is how some men try to trigger some emotion, some passion.
Personally I happen to believe the fastest way to a man’s heart is right through his sternum, but some men apparently believe it is through their stomachs and involves roasted meat. Go figure.
It’s forgivable. Or at least I hope it is forgivable. I have certainly had to throw a number of men onto the altar like an oxen sacrifice offered up to the Lord as evidence of stubborn human foolishness. Lord, help this poor man, he’s so not right in the head. Metaphorically, of course and the “altar” in this context is the foot of the cross. In fact, Jesus is The Lamb, our Lamb, the final sacrifice, the end of the old covenant, the start of a new way of being in the world.
Get with the program people, it’s been a few thousand years. Time’s a-wasting.
This post is a bit tongue in cheek, but here’s the more serious point. These kinds of analogies portray God as butcher, God as cosmic child abuser, God as malevolent slayer of innocent Lambs. It’s not just blood lusty and graphic, it’s actually some really poor theology.