The Good Shepherd

Last night, my church started its six-week Bible study on Margaret Feinberg’s Scouting the Divine: My Search for God in Wine, Wool, and Wild Honey.  There were ten people who showed up, and I appreciated that they offered their experience, strength, and hope about how they believe that God is working in their lives.  Here are some reactions to what I heard last night:

1.  I may have issues with the notion that God provides a person with a job, especially since there are so many people in the world who do not appear to be beneficiaries of God’s provision, since they are jobless, or they go hungry.  Where is God for them?  But I still respect what people who are older than me have to say about how to get through life, and how their faith in God has helped them to do so.  I also identified with something that Margaret Feinberg said in the book and also on the DVD: that she (like sheep) shuts down when she faces a crisis.  I know that I need a shepherd in crisis situations—-so that I can calm down and get perspective!

2.  A couple of people in the group felt that God guides them through Scripture.  One lady remarked that, when she has agonized over an issue, she has turned to a page in the Bible and has found exactly what she needed.  I myself have a “glass-is-half-empty” view of Scripture.  For example, many Christians see John 10 as a comforting passage about how Jesus is a good shepherd who cares for his sheep.  When I read John 10, however, I see Jesus taking an “us vs. them” stance, as he says that those who believe in him are the ones who hear the shepherd’s voice, whereas his opponents who do not believe in him have not heard from God.  What I see is not exactly pleasant, is it?  But there are still things that I read that give me encouragement because they promote positive thinking mixed with a degree of realism—-things by such teachers as Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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