Aug 122017

Pastures and fences…this is one of my favorite analogies to the theological thought life of a Christian.

To be healthy spiritually and to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, both are needed.

We need boundary markers that tell us which areas that is good pasture and we need that good pasture to feed us.

Where we break up the big herd (so to speak), is that while some of us see one great big pasture with fences off in the distance, others fence in part of the pasture for themselves and believe it the only good forage.

Now, I believe the early church set up the fences in the early creeds and confessions of the church.

These defined the Trinitarian and Christological orthodoxy of the church without defining a host of other issues, many of which separate the church today.

They gave us and broad and generous orthodoxy, one with real boundaries, but also with an expansive pasture.

Because of this, I can roam about in the pastures of the Orthodox, the Lutheran, the Reformed, the Roman Catholic, and the evangelicals feeding on what is good and leaving behind that which isn’t suited to my taste.

Some folks are not comfortable with such a large pasture and low fences.

They want high fences (which often turn into walls) and they only want to feed inside that small area with a like minded herd.

That’s ok.

It’s still good pasture.

Some of us thrive on a varied diet, so of us don’t.

We still belong to the same herd under the same Shepherd.

Make your own application…

  5 Responses to “Pastures and Fences”

  1. who would think that we’d get such a sound application to our life in Christ out of fences and pastures – thank you, Michael

    yesterday someone’s comment sent my mind off thinking about these applications to fencing in/off herds… we have 2 beautiful horses here – an “accidental” blessing from God to my daughter some 20 years ago – a gelding and his older sister… a neighbor recently adopted an abused horse and asked if she could board it with our 2 – of course she could, except for one little thing – our beautiful mare is something called a “boss mare,” gentle with people, but she’s the herd boss and her brother bears the scars to prove it… no place to put an abused horse… too many of our churches have “boss mares” and are no place for abused folks to heal…
    i truly believe this from observation over time and it is a sad thing to see

    as Michael’s kitties have proved here, God gave us animals to learn from, no doubt

  2. “too many of our churches have “boss mares” and are no place for abused folks to heal…”


    The world, the flesh, and the devil abuse us all in some form or fashion…we’re all broken and we all have scars.

    Our own healing comes from helping heal others in the name of Christ by the Holy Spirit.

  3. No matter what pastures we roam, we’ll eventually come back to the feedlot and water trough; and don’t have to be driven there, but willingly come out of necessity.
    May the Lord graciously give you the healing you need. Your site has helped many (including myself) to heal their wounds.

  4. Michael, I like the perspective you laid out. Thank you.

    By the way, how goes your household, according to the felines? Haven’t caught up with their news recently.

  5. Enjoyed reading this, Michael, and the comments posted by John 20:29, JD, and Owen. I’ll be thinking on this today.

    Interesting comment on the “boss mares” and has me thinking about three cats we adopted – all strays. The second one, Miss Casey, had been abused and kicked by her former owner. She had been taken to the vet to treat her injured leg (rescued by two dear cat loving ladies here in my neighborhood).

    My family was then asked to take Miss Casey in – and see how she would do in our home. At first she stayed completely isolated – she’d hiss at us and she’d also become upset when the other cats came near her.

    One of my sons decided to take Casey on as his project – he spent considerable time reading his books near her and attempting to pet her carefully. He talked to her kindly. He became the “cat whisperer” and with time, she calmed down and began to trust him.

    She’s definitely a friendlier cat today some 5-6 years later. The only time she “flips out” is when someone tries to pet her from behind and she can’t “see” — almost like a post traumatic stress trigger. I think she’d been kicked from behind and that’s why she gets so funny. However, as long as we say her name and she sees us approaching, she accepts a good rub on the head and neck.

    The best part of her story and how she’s grown to trust our home environment. I love seeing her sitting with the other two cats…just chilling and taking life in around them. 🙂

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