Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Biblical Metaphors

The sermon on Sunday was about how Jesus is the Good Shepherd and how we are like sheep. This metaphor works to make the points that Jesus knows his own and his own know him, that he takes care of us, that he seeks us out when we go astray.

But I don't think it should be taken too much further. I don't want to get into how we sheep might get fleeced or slaughtered. I don't reckon Jesus was going there when he compared himself to a shepherd. He never mentioned having a border collie.

The theme of the sermons in Lent revolves around the names and metaphors that Jesus used for himself. Many of these, such as the shepherd, the gate, the way, the light, the vine, the door are useful until you take them too far. Jesus is like each of these things in some ways, but not in all ways. Jesus is like a vine in that he bears metaphorical fruit, but he is not like a vine in that he does not engage in photosynthesis, nor is he subject to fungal attack on his roots. Jesus is the light in that he enlightens us, but he does not travel at light speed and does not have the characteristics of both a particle and a wave.

You see where I'm going here? You have to make interpretive choices when you read the Bible because of all the allegory, poetry, parables, metaphors and other literary devices. You can't, as I've heard some claim, take the Bible "just as it is" with no interpretation. Well, you can, but it won't make any sense.

1 comment:

Neddie said...


This is Neddie Jingo from all those years back.

A historian writing a book about John Mobberly has asked me to try to track you down to ask you, How did you come across the information you left in the comment in this post:

Specifically, he wants to know where you got the info that Jane Mobberly married into the Wigington family. Can you help me out?

hbsherwood at mac dot com. I'd really appreciate the help.