Dick Rhodes led us in an interesting discussion regarding Gospel of John's version of the "I am the Good Shepherd" passage. (I don't have the reference with me here in the library.) Not only did we have considerable discussion about the character - or lack of it - of sheep, but we spent quite a bit of time working at the teaching inherent in the following points:
1) What does it mean to be "sheep" to Christ's "shepherd," and at what point does the analogy break down?
2) to whom was Christ referring when he talked about the hired shepherd who runs when he sees a wolf because he has no real love for the sheep? and
3) to whom was Jesus referring when he said, "I have other sheep that are not of this pen."
I know the simple answers to these questions (except for 2, possibly) but the concept of Jesus being God while still calling him "the Father" I find to be theologically difficult in this chapter of John. "I know my sheep and my sheep know me" is vital to the Christian's concept of the relationship between God and his followers, seems to me.
Dick asked if I would be willing to teach the class on February 18th, and I consented.
Tomorrow, Amzie and Jason from the church and SOOPers LaVerne and Maurice and I will work again on siding the Habitat house . Building is somewhat different here from what I'm used to. For one, there are no basements; the city sits on a shale bed and digging basements simply doesn't work. Laundry facilities and water heater are in a small room on the main floor and, generally, a heat pump on the roof provides both heat and air conditioning. Construction consists of 2X6 walls with blown insulation, no vapour barrier and gyproc (they call it "sheet rock" here). Siding is 12 inch composition board with artificial grain running either horizontally or vertically. The house rests on a concrete slab.
Just outside Carlsbad is the Living Desert State Park. Agnes and I spent yesterday afternoon there walking around in a combination zoo and botanical garden learning as much as we could about native plants and animals. We now know the difference between Yucca, Prickly Pear and Otillo, as well as the fact that tarantulas are harmless while scorpions bites are similar to a wasp bite, at least the scorpions found here in the Chihuahuan desert. You don't want to stick your hand in among branches if you can't see for fear of the adult female black widow who could be hiding under the leaves. A bite from her could ruin your whole day. I also know the difference between a Western Rattlesnake and a harmless King Snake, but I'm assuming that that knowledge won't benefit me much since I will probably take off at the sight of ANY snake. The chances, by the way, of us coming across a Rattler are miniscule. Our landlord has lived here most of his life and he has yet to see a Rattlesnake in the wild. Our chances of coming across a two-legged snake are much greater.
I can't get over my revulsion for the caging of wild animals. To me, all their body language speaks rage. The eagles in a 20' by 20' by 20' cage for instance. They screech as if they were being tortured. And the turkey vulture eying us as if we were carrion (which to him, we might well be) should be soaring over the desert and mountains, and here he sits - grounded and miserable. Zoos should be abolished.