Friday, November 9, 2007

The Christian Martialist as Sheepdog, 2

In my earlier post I quoted from Lt. Col. Grossman's On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society. It's a book I recommend to anyone with a friend or relative in military service. Every pastor who may have to counsel someone with post-traumatic-stress-disorder should also have a copy on his shelf. (Although Grossman gives every indication of being a humanist, on pp. 337-339 he gives passages from the Old and New Testaments to help those who struggle with having killed in war.)

As I pointed out earlier, Dave Grossman uses an apt analogy to refer to those suited by temperament and character to protect the innocent. In world filled with sheep and threatened by wolves, the sheepdog stands as an appointed guardian of the sheep. Here is a further quote from pp. 183-184:

I have met these men, these "sheepdogs," over and over again as I interviewed veterans. They are men like one U.S. Army liutenant colonel, a Vietnam veteran, who told me, "I learned early on in life that there are people out there who will hurt you if given the chance, and I have devoted my life to being prepared to face them." These men are quite often armed and always vigilant. They would not misuse or misdirect their aggression any more than a sheepdog would turn on his flock, but in their hearts many of them yearn for a righteous battle, a wolf upon whom to legitimately and lawfully turn their skills.

As you read those words, you will either recognize yourself, or you won't. Some may try to project the words onto themselves, but the message doesn't really resonate within. If you do recognize yourself as one of the sheepdogs, take my advice and don't go talking about it to anyone and everyone. They wouldn't understand, and they'd think you're a crackpot. Besides, it's only the wannabes who have something to prove. The real sheepdog prepares himself mentally and physically, and then just keeps watch.

You may continue reading on this topic at: "The Christian Martialist as Sheepdog, 3"

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