Monday, April 30, 2012

How nice...

"Anyway - I broke his leg
so he won't run from ya
no more."


The Good Shepherd breaks the legs of his sheep.

I never heard that one before, but apparently that's what all the Israelites who listened to Christ's teaching would have known:
Jewish shepherds would leave the flock, and go in search of the lost one, the reason why he would carry it on his shoulder is because he would break or dislocate its leg, which meant until it healed the shepherd needed to carry it around.

The important thing was that whilst it was getting better it was also learning to stay with he flock and while it was disabled it could not teach the rest of the flock to run and it itself learnt to listen to and follow the shepherd. - Source
Really?  Don't tell PETA or the Humane Society.

How to wreck a lovely story, huh?  Although I suppose this angle of the Good Shepherd story might be helpful in childhood abuse cases - "I just maimed the little bastard so he'd keep to the straight and narrow Judge."  

"Oh that's okay then, case dismissed." 

Tough love. 

Break the sons a bitches legs! 

Just kidding... kinda.


29 comments:

  1. I was more than a little disturbed by that little reflection. I'd like to see some source material that supports it.

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    1. Don't worry Thom - I've checked and all I can find out is that the story is a myth and surely not what a Good Shepherd does. The exegesis seems to have made the rounds a year or two ago in protestant homilies and prayer groups.

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    2. I thought as much. Thanks, Terry.

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  2. +JMJ+

    A fascinating angle! But Thom's skepticism is contagious as well.

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  3. I could see it from the perspective of God chastising whom He loves, or even if God permits us to harm ourselves, to a degree, so that we come to learn that He must "carry" us.

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  4. I also thought of Job, and particularly what Pope Benedict said about that story in "Jesus of Nazareth": basically, that what God 'guarentees' us in this life is that all is working toward our primary end of union with God; that even the sufferings that happen which God permits are not the final word, and so are not the 'true' evil so long as they do not draw us away from Him.

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    1. WWTD? What would Therese do/say? Jesus rejoiced over the prodigal - he didn't break anyone's legs.

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  5. That was ... well, interesting.

    That picture of the Boystown boys has always been one of my favorite.

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  6. Heard and read this a few times. It would also help the lamb familiarise itself with the voice of the shepherd and his smell. Why would you even WANT to doubt this story? It's possibly the most perfect analogy of what the Christian life is all about.

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    1. How do you know I want to doubt it?

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    2. I dunno actually. You do seem relieved to hear that it might not be true. Accusation was levelled more at other commenters who sounded like they were getting weepy.

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  7. doesn't it say somewhere in the psalms he chastises, but also heals? punishes but saves? makes sense to me.

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    1. That's because you are drunk.

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  8. Kinda like getting smacked by the proverbial spiritual 2 x 4.

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  9. Larry D, don't you mean Clue by 4.

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    1. Needing a clue is the usual reason for being smacked by a 2 x 4, thus, clue by 4.

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  10. Austringer11:28 PM

    I first heard of this -- the leg-breaking --about 5 years ago, from a Calvinist.

    Someone ought to ask Father Stromberg, the smartest man I know....

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  11. Our priest was on about the sheep needing to be punished! Didn't go down well with us Parkeses!

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  12. I was trying to respond directly to your comment, Terry, but it kept saying "javascript" - I'm not sure what that means or how to fix it at the moment.

    I didn't mean to suggest that Jesus is out to punish. I think everything that God does or allows to happen, including the suffering He permits or even inflicts (if He even does inflict suffering) is ultimately at the service of what is good for us. I was thinking about Job, and I read the story related above about the Good Shepherd, in that light. I also don't think that means we should go around "breaking legs."

    In terms of Therese, I wonder if it's possible to understand the "broken legs" as the means God can use to get through to us: so we will stop trusting in ourselves most of all perhaps, and instead turn to Him. I see the suffering as a potential doorway where the true goodness can be learned: we come to know God as good because He is the only one that can truly, finally "carry us" and any searching for good apart from Him is in vain.

    That was also my sense from reading Pope Benedict's book, as mentioned: the primacy of God, the primacy of Christ. And, with that, something of a challenge to re-think how we understand what is "good," including especially our conception of God as good.

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  13. Here's a thought: "Go and learn the meaning of mercy - it is mercy I desire, not sacrifice."

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  14. I believe there is a distinction between God "breaking" (or allowing one to be "broke") for the purpose of "sacrifice" or some form of punishment, or really any purpose at all which is not ultimately directed towards union with God - all of which I believe is NOT what God does - and God "breaking" (or allowing one to be "broke") for the purpose of transformation and purification.

    Also, I believe it's possible for there to be another link with God's desire for mercy: that in being "broken" ourselves, we can in turn be more compassionate, more merciful and open to others.

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  15. It should read as a warning to Schismatics... sheep leading sheep astray and all. Now Jesus has to carry a little lamb around that's all busted up. More legs should be broken not fewer...Pelosi...Sebalius...Biden. Breaking a leg or placing a millstone around their neck and casting them into the ocean which is more merciful? There is nothing more serious than the immortal souls of the faithful and leading those souls astray is grave, especially if it leads to abortion. Anyway that is just another take; break a leg!

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  16. There is no justification for perverting the meaning and intent of a Gospel passage, especially a parable that is as significant as this one.

    I would think that "traditionalists" would agree.

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  17. I am not so concerned about being a traditionalist as a clear thinker. Is it not better to correct a Heretic than to allow the flock to scatter. I loved to pick off the weak sheep as an atheist. The threats are real. Correction is a form of love and mercy, one of the Acts of Mercy in fact. You are correcting me are you not?

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  18. You can make your point however you like, but you can't modify a parable to do it.

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  19. Point taken. Thank you.

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  20. http://greenegem.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/myth-busting-8-breaking-a-lambs-leg/

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