in the church shepherds are sheep too

Many leaders forget they're just one of the flock as well. Shepherds are sheep too. It's been said that even Jesus was the lamb of God.I think it would be helpful and healthy for churches and her leaders to remember this.Don't you?Did you enjoy this cartoon? If so, maybe you'd like to donate $1, $3 or $5 to the nakedpastor site. Thanks so much!Or for just $7/month you can support our online flock (haha!), The Lasting Supper! … [Read more...]

suspect shepherds

Again, I'm a fan of Gordan Ramsay. I like his shows and I like his website!I saw this picture and I was immediately struck by the irony of it. We all know what Ramsay's planning on doing to this little lamb. I love lamb. Ramsay loves lamb. But he's a chef. Chef's cook lambs. Soon enough this little lamb is going to be converted... into meat.There are vegetarian chefs and vegan chefs. The lamb would be safer with them.I remind my readers that not all pastors devour their sheep. There … [Read more...]

church growth is sexy

When I pastored a local congregation I was well aware of the fact that most often the visitors were disaffected members from other churches. We created our own disaffected members as well that went elsewhere.┬áIt's an elaborate exchange program. Or, in keeping with the analogy, swapping program. A real swinging time!Once a whole bunch of people left our church and started their own. Others left and populated other churches. One church got so many of our members that they actually asked if … [Read more...]

a sheep’s attempted escape

There's really no theological commentary to add to this one. Sheep don't intentionally try to escape and hide. At least I don't think so.However, just the other day someone asked me how it felt to be lost. I politely replied that I'm not lost, but escaped. And then I thought of this cartoon and realized that even though I have escaped, I keep getting dragged back into the fold, engaging in the conversation around theology and the church.So I guess some of us are like sheep in the desert, … [Read more...]

sheep in sheep’s clothing

When the earliest Christian movement was criminal the real danger came from infiltrators. These were called wolves in sheep's clothing. It was an "us vs. them" world.But now that Christianity is popular and inculturation is complete it is no longer "us vs. them" but "us vs. us". There is no need for wolves to devour other sheep. Sheep can do it themselves!You can see it all the time on such fun places as Facebook. That is a regular sheep-fest where you can experience first-hand the … [Read more...]

SHEEP WEEK: culling is killing

Welcome to SHEEP WEEK, a week of my sustained critique of the shepherd/sheep analogy illustrated by my cartoons. This morning's cartoon is "Culling is Killing".If you have a particular vision of what you want your people to be like that isn't universal, that doesn't include all, that isn't all-encompassing, you immediately prohibit community. To pursue purity of the flock actually destroys it.Everyone de facto belongs. I claim that the problem isn't who belongs. No. The actual struggle … [Read more...]

sheep week: the new black

Welcome to another installment for SHEEP WEEK! This sheep is the new black sheep. This is what I mean:At the root of our divisions is the fear of the Other, the Different, the Not-Like-Us. I suggest that this deep-rooted fear spawned the scriptures that preach separation and segregation, which in turn spawn our established separations and segregations.That is, those scriptures that we appeal to that sanction our segregations actually appeal to the divisions that already exist in our … [Read more...]

the danger of being choice sheep

Welcome to SHEEP WEEK!The problem with any analogy is that those is power will stretch it to its unintended extremes to secure and increase their authority. This is the problem with the shepherd/sheep analogy. What was originally intended to illustrate care mutated into illustrating abuse. The famous Ezekiel 34 describes this sad mutation: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with … [Read more...]

how close do you follow the shepherd?

If we read this post carefully, "What Should I Do If I Disagree With Something My Pastor Said?", we can see that, right from the start, questioning a pastor is a problem to be dealt with rather than a normal dialogical process. A few major elements need to be in place to make this kind of prescription work:First of all, one of the key words appears in the fifth point: "leadership". This, I argue, is one of the major problems with the church. I've written a book on it, called "Without A … [Read more...]

welcome to Sheep Week

I thought it would be fun to launch "Sheep Week"... a play on "Shark Week"... a whole week devoted to cartoons about sheep.Although the analogy of sheep and shepherd has served a purpose in the past, and even though some aspects of the metaphor still work, it has generally lost its appeal. Sheep are stupid followers and that doesn't work for most people anymore.However, this week I'm going to focus on drawing and showing my sheep cartoons because... well... they make me chuckle and … [Read more...]