Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The Problem with Shepherds in the Christmas Story

[I don’t normally blog here, but instead at www.elementalchurches.com…though posts there are typically geared toward church leadership.]


There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12)

In her preschool Christmas play last week, my four-year-old granddaughter Emmie was a sheep. I may be biased, but I think it was one of the more demanding roles: it required crawling to the manger on all fours and then sitting perfectly still while scriptures were read by an infinitely patient teacher.

Of course, every cell phone was in video mode. The Christmas story with kids dressed as animals is guaranteed a five star review.

But the truth is, shepherds were at the bottom of the food chain. The book of Genesis tells us that the highly-cultured Egyptians considered shepherds “detestable.” But think about this: the most important event in human history happens and who learns about it first? The guys on the third shift sidestepping sheep poop.

How about that for some cosmic irony?

I’m not sure anything has changed much. Don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I look around the “Big C” Church and I think, “God, is this really the best you can do?” And I’m well aware of my own history. For heaven’s sake, I’m a drummer…and I’ve heard every drummer joke in the cosmos.

One of the earliest non-canonical Christian writings we have is the Epistle to Diognetes, possibly as early as 130 A.D. The author gives a powerful picture of the early Christians:

“They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all others; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death and restored to life. They are poor yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things and yet abound in all; they are dishonored and yet in their very dishonor are glorified. They are evil spoken of and yet are justified; they are reviled and bless; they are insulted and repay the insult with honor; they do good yet are punished as evildoers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred. To sum it all up in one word -- what the soul is to the body, that are Christians in the world.”

Interestingly, the apostle Paul reflects this in 1 Corinthians:

Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of ‘the brightest and the best’ among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these ‘nobodies’ to expose the hollow pretensions of the ‘somebodies’? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:26-30 Message Bible)

Maybe that’s what I like best about the story of the God who slips into the world as an infant and sends His press release to sheep herders first: it’s upside down and “last-shall-be-first”-type craziness that somehow seems right to me.

So come on in, you losers. You outcasts. You thieves. You whores and pimps. You scammers. Come on in, you corporate cast-offs. You overlooked and underrated. Come on in and be seen, all you who are invisible.

Come on in, you drummers.
Come and bend your knee.

Merry Christmas to all! And may this be your brightest.

--> [I don’t normally blog here, but instead at www.elementalchurches.com…though posts there are typically geared toward church leadership.]


  1. I miss you Dave! I have some really good music to share with you:-) I'll have to find a drop off place for years of mixed cds… Merry Christmas to you and yours. Thank you for love, patience, and perseverance. Rock on Drummer man!!!


  2. spa manager  

    skin care

    learn eyelash extensions

    tattoo spray

    Class College Education training Beauty teaching university academy lesson  teacher master student  spa manager  skin care learn eyelash extensions tattoo spray

  3. BoyaQQ adalah situs Poker Online, bandarq, dominoqq terpercaya yang memberikan layanan terbaik setiap hari selama 24 jam penuh siap membantu dan melayani Anda. Agen poker online

  4. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you might be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will eventually come back at some point.
    I want to encourage you to continue your great posts, have a nice morning!
    Judi Slot Online

  5. Thanks for posting this info. I just want to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative. I can't wait to read lots of your posts.
    Sbobet Mobile Indonesia
    Idn Play
    www joker6699 net slot

  6. Great article with excellent idea!Thank you for such a valuable article. I really appreciate for this great information..
    sbobet88 slot

  7. 99Bandar adalah situs poker online dan bandar ceme online terpercaya yang memberikan bonus terbesar hingga 28 juta per bulan tanpa diundi bagi semua member.

  8. Bagi anda para penggemar permainan judi poker online, Berikut ini adalah beberapa tips dan trick jitu dalam bermain judi poker untuk menang hingga jutaan rupiah setiap hari nya
    trik bermain ceme agar menang

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Kraken Support Number +1-847-868-3847 is accessible 24×7 during that point for all clients. All clients should present their client enrollment subtleties, enlisted id, phone number and that we are going to be happy to support you.
    For more info call Kraken support number +1-847-868-3847 or visit our site https://krakencontactinfo.com/kraken-support-number-2020/

  11. Online trading of monetary norms is often inconvenient and jumbling once during a while which is where the purchasers look for help. Atomic Wallet Support phone Number +1-(856)-254-3098 is the mode to possess your answers. Notwithstanding the way that Atomic Wallet doesn't have a selected number to attach with them, you'll without a really remarkable stretch look for help from the outer techniques.

    For more info call Atomic Wallet support number +1-(856)-254-3098 or visit our site https://atozwallets.com/atomic-wallet-support-number/

  12. 99Bandar Online adalah situs poker online dan bandar ceme online terpercaya yang memberikan bonus terbesar hingga 28 juta per bulan tanpa diundi bagi semua member.

  13. jeniuspoker
    Situs Judi Online Uang Asli / Deposit Pulsa Terlengkap Dan Terbesar Di Indonesia

  14. Ada yang penansaran dengan gambaran supersix permainan yang menggunakan kartu ini terlihat mudah-mudah saja bagi para penjudi , namun pada nyatanya karena di anggap mudah banyak penjudi kalah banyak dalam permainan ini

  15. honda4d Toto adalah situs togel online terpercaya sekaligus terbaik di tahun 2020 yang menyediakan 12 pasaran togel resmi dan beragam game live casino juga game live ball dengan beragam game di dalam nya yang dapat di mainkan hanya dengan 1 user id saja, di lengkapi dengan layanan transaksi dengan bank - bank lokal indonesia seperti bca, bni, bri, mandiri, dan deposit via pulsa dari provider Telkomsel dan Xl yang minimal deposit nya hanya 10.000 rupiah saja para pemain sudah bisa merasakan sensai keseruan bermain baccarat online dan berkesempatan memenangkan game nya.

  16. Joker123 atau biasa juga dikenal dengan Joker Gaming merupakan provider bandar slot online terbaik dan terbesar di dunia. Para pemain lama tentu sudah tidak asing lagi dengan salah satu provider terpopuler ini. Karena memang hampir semua situs judi online di dunia menjalin kerja sama dengan Joker123. Ada banyak hal menarik yang membuat daftar joker123 begitu istimewa.

  17. Togel merupakan permainan judi yang dimainkan dengan cara menebak angka, cara bermain permainan ini sangat mudah hanya dengan memasang angka yang menurut anda keluar sesuai firasat atau bertanya dengan orang pintar atau dapat dilihat dari buku tafsir mimpi, dan lainnya. Perlu di ketahui, dalam permainan togel ada banyak sekali pasaran togel online yang dapat pemain mainkan seperti pasaran togel singapore, pasaran togel singapore, pasaran togel sydney dan masih banyak lagi yang lainnya.