10 reasons why we shouldn’t call church members sheep anymore

church members sheep cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward


I suggest that the sheep metaphor has largely lost its power. Most people don’t understand sheep, flocks or farmers. Shepherds are a mystery just as much as sheep are. Most of us certainly do not understand the bedouin culture it has its roots in where the metaphor was rich with meaning.

So I thought I would have fun with this during Sheep Week. Should we be comparing people to sheep or community to flocks? Here are 10 reasons why I think the metaphor could be dropped:

  1. sheep are stupid
  2. in flocks they are even more gullible
  3. they have to be owned
  4. we eat them.
  5. some people rape sheep
  6. sheep have no defense
  7. they’ll eat anything even if it kills them
  8. they are easy to fleece. In fact they come fleeced!’
  9. they spook easily
  10. they’ll follow anybody

Maybe you can think of more?

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6 Replies to “10 reasons why we shouldn’t call church members sheep anymore”

  1. Mary had a little lamb,
    Her father shot it dead.
    Now Mary takes the lamb to school
    Between two pieces of bread.

    You said to have fun with this, right David?
    Just so you know, I’m a vegetarian.

  2. John W. Campbell, the editor of Analog (formerly Astounding) Science Fiction, once wrote an editorial remarkable for the contrarian points he brought up (among other things, he came out against motherhood and for the man-eating shark). Regarding sheep, he posed the question as to which was more gentle, the lion or the lamb? His conclusion was that the lion was more gentle: Its jaws could bring down a wildebeest yet at the same time pick up and carry a small cub w/o harm. Lambs, on the other hand, would bump into and climb over one another to get to food; they were harmless because they lacked claws and teeth that could do harm.

  3. I don’t know. I think the metaphor still works to illustrate what happens in many churches. But then again, I’ve been in the Church most of my life, so I get the metaphor.

  4. “The merest accident of microgeography had meant that the first man to hear the voice of Om, and who gave Om his view of humans, was a shepherd and not a goatherd. They have quite different ways of looking at the world, and the whole of history might have been different. For sheep are stupid, and have to be driven. But goats are intelligent, and need to be led.”
    ― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods

  5. I think the ten reasons are the very reasons why we should consider Christians as sheep before the Lord our Shepherd. May i never forget my vulnernability, stupidity, gullibility, and forgetfulness and follow my Shepherd!

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