I was reading an article recently that spoke of why people leave churches. Speaking out of a pastoral care context, something leaped off the page at me: postmodern people don't respond well to the mental image of a shepherd.
Really? I have never really thought much about it before. Personally, I have struggled with that metaphor b/c the image that I have of sheep and shepherds isn't a good one. First of all, I have never been around sheep. Second, I have always been told in my church experience that sheep are the most stupid creatures in existance. Next, what comes to mind when I hear the word shepherd is someone who has to discipline the dumb sheep. So could this be something that is not just personal, but more generational?
I probably struggle with this b/c I am in ministry. And yes, I want to look out for people and to help them spiritually. But is there a more culturally relevant metaphor?
This season on Nip/Tuck, there is a woman who is a life coach. This thought really intringued me. I have heard these type of people are really growing in popularity. Its like a personal trainer, but they help you not only physically, but with parenting, finanaces and with people skills. Many people have talked about the re-emergence of spiritual directors in the 21st century. Perhaps this could replace the image of a shepherd?