Monthly Archives: December 2005

When Snow and Ice Cover the Pasture

“Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”(Matthew 15:14)

As a shepherd I try to repeat management practices that have worked in the past. However, circumstances change that may present a new situation, one that may lack a previous pattern to follow. I was amazed to watch some sheep earlier this month go for several days without eating because they did not know the hay in front of them was to satisfy their hunger.

Here’s some background. My lambs are born in April when the green grass of spring provides grazing for their mothers. When the lambs are about three weeks old they begin to graze as they follow their mothers. All lambs are weaned from the ewes in late summer and placed in different pastures to separate them from the older sheep during this weaning process. Each fall some of the ewe lambs are kept to replace some of the older ewes in the flock. Under normal circumstances these ewe lamb replacements are placed back with the older sheep just prior to the breeding season in early November. Except for the one period of about one to two months these young sheep grow up literally following the tracks of older sheep.

The fall/winter 2006 season was a bit different because we entered the winter feeding period with about 35 lambs that were in a field without any adult guidance. A winter storm that brought about four inches of snow topped with a hard crust of ice presented a new circumstance for those lambs, grazing land covered with snow and ice. They had no access to feed until I put some hay in the field. We had a problem because the lambs didn’t know the hay was a feedstuff. Their entire life up to that point had been spent in pasture without a trace of snow. It took about three days before they began eating the hay. I wasn’t totally surprised because I know the importance of adults leading young sheep. Much of the behavior of a young sheep is based upon what they observe in the older sheep.

We Christians should learn something from this model. Even the most basic and simple things in life are taught to young people by what they observe in other people. Young people in our culture spend too much time learning from one another, or from the filth found in some music and most all movies and television programs. Anyone who has given a casual glance at TV shows aimed at school children will notice the sales pitches made to our innocent children are not appropriate. We don’t need the television programming and advertising teaching our children.

And, we don’t need our children learning from their peers in some school system six to eight hours daily Monday through Friday. Many church congregations segregate age groups in such a manner that the programming is supposedly appropriate for each age group. Some people get the idea that a church youth pastor has to act like a crazy teen in order to relate to the younger set. You know the prevailing mentality; get a youth pastor who can relate to teens. That’s fine, but why not emphasize teaching young people to relate to adults, an age group they will inhabit much longer than the teen years? More often than not we simply feed the selfish felt needs of the teens.

Separating people in the church according to age may have some benefit, but I think it breeds selfishness in the participants. We need to understand that even in churches and Christian schools we have situations where young people are learning more about the culture from their peers than they learn from adults. One primary reason it is difficult to relate to teens is because we have let someone, or some entities influence them more than their own parents.

If we want our young people to grow properly into mature adults, it is best that they remain with the older ones in the flock to follow their ways as we might find in a homeschooling family. I am not saying homeschooling is the answer as to how adults give proper training to our children, however I do imply that the adult Christian influence on our children is below par. Why do teens seem to live in a different world? Answer, they graze in a different pasture, perhaps one covered with snow and ice. My young maturing sheep were lost in a winter situation with snow covered pastures. When the young are with the adults then they learn how to eat hay by following the adults.

I think it is worth noting here that the sexual revolution that began in the 1960s resulted in a proliferation of many unhealthy influences on our children. Examples include children’s rights, abortion on demand following sex on demand, and the general idea that sex outside of marriage is okay if two people have a “meaningful relationship.” Sure. And, sex is not the only issue; it is just perhaps the most visible one among several that catapulted two generations of people into such abnormal rebellion and selfishness based upon each individual’s felt needs. Then when the ice and snow blanket their pasture, they begin to starve.

I could give other examples as to how important it is to have the young sheep learn from the adults. I hope, however, this one example can give us a clue about how far we have gone astray by segregating people to give age-appropriate experiences. Let’s wake up and realize that the blind leading the blind is a very poor model for training our children.

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Public Schools: Gold Statue in the Plain of Dura

“King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.” (Daniel 3:1, NIV) “– Then the herald loudly proclaimed, ‘This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language: As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.'” (Daniel 3:4-5)

If you wish to make hamburger it is usually unwise to select a sacred cow for that purpose. While more and more people are being critical of public schools in America, the institution still holds a place of power, if not honor, that limits the criticism aimed at it. Few former employees of public schools and almost none who are currently employed will make open public comments about how bad the institution is. When former employees, even those of distinction, do make critical evaluation, their voices fall on relatively deaf ears. Many examples exist, and I give a few examples here;

John Taylor Gatto was selected 1991 New York State Teacher of the Year and has spent many years giving speeches and writing books and essays explaining why public schools have failed. Have many people paid any attention to him? Here is the title of one of his books, Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Education.

William (Bill) Bennett served as United States Secretary of Education from 1985 – 1988. The following quote by Bennett gives you some idea as to his opinion of public schools.
“Our schools should get five years to get back to where they were in 1963. If they’re still bad maybe we should declare educational bankruptcy, give the people their money and let them educate themselves and start their own schools.”

A National Commission on Excellence in Education during the Reagan administration produced a document in 1983 called “A Nation At Risk.” Here is a quote from that document. “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves. We have even squandered the gains in student achievement made in the wake of the Sputnik challenge. Moreover, we have dismantled essential support systems which helped make those gains possible. We have, in effect, been committing an act of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament.”

King Nebuchadnezzar had a massive 90-foot tower made of gold and required his subjects to bow down before that idol on command. He was a very wealthy and powerful man so that practically everyone in Babylon did as he said; they bowed to the big tower of gold when the king gave the command.

The public school system in America can be compared to the huge tower of gold in Babylon. The wealth and power lies not with a king, but with the lobbyists hired by the National Education Association, the US Congress, the educrats at the Department of Education in Washington, the departments of education in the states and the thousands of administrators in school systems throughout the country. Of course school teachers represent much of that power as well because there are so many of them. I don’t know how many public schools we have in America, but there are more than 60,000 elementary schools, which gives us an idea of how many teachers rely on the system for their paycheck.

We know that Nebuchadnezzar was serious about his command for his subjects to bow down to the idol of gold. The description found in the third chapter of the book of Daniel says that anyone who refused to worship his gods and his idol would be thrown in a fiery furnace.

We don’t have the threat of a fiery furnace today for refusing to bow down to the gold statue of public education, but millions of Americans are living on the economic ragged edge, and no doubt many of these are public school personnel. They face no fiery furnace, but the loss of their job would be a disaster for multitudes of these public school employees. And, of course, the elites who control public schools wish to retain their positions of power. Still others sincerely believe the woes of the world can be cured if our public schools could just receive more money. If there were a direct positive correlation between money spent and quality schooling then the public schools in Washington, D.C. would be one of the tops in the country. Instead, they have one of the worst school districts in the nation.

The good news during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar was that three young Jewish men defied the king, were thrown in the fiery furnace and came out of the furnace unharmed. How did this happen? These three Jewish men worshiped the one true God in heaven and were therefore protected from harm.

The good news today is that all do not bow to the public school ideologies, the elite leaders, the lawmakers, and others who have some faith in the system. Fortunately, many Christians have already taken action and others will soon follow. They are making a commitment to biblical-based training by homeschooling or placing their children in private Christian schools.

In some ways there is a fiery test when families choose to remove their children from public schools. However, with the one true God on our side, what’s to fear?

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Filed under Culture/Worldview Tracks

Wish I’d Said That

The paragraph that follows is a quote by BeckyLynn Black. I am in 100 percent agreement with her statement. In fact, that probably captures the essence of what I desire HisSheepTracks.com to be, a focus on what BeckyLynn stated. And, of course, that is why I wish I had said that.

“I strongly believe that the future of our country is catastrophic. And I believe that our Lord is calling out a remnant of His true church…those who are committed to Him and displaying Him in their personal lives and in their families and in their churches. I think the Christian homeschool movement, the age-integrated movement, the elder-led movement, the Bible-only movement are all feeding this remnant.” –BeckyLynn Black

The purpose of this post is to provide a link to a great story BeckyLynn and her husband Dave have concerning Christmas and how people celebrate the birth of Jesus. You may not agree with the fact that they no longer celebrate Christmas, but I URGE you to read their story at www.daveblackonline.com

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