Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Christian Martialist as Sheepdog

In a 1997 speech to the US Naval Academy, William Bennett said that the majority of society resemble sheep, and that their protectors are like sheepdogs. A letter credited to Charles Grennel (which has made the email-forward rounds) uses the sheepdog analogy and quotes Bennett at length. Actually, there is an earlier use of the sheepdog analogy in a book by an Army Ranger, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman.

In 1995, Grossman published On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society as a serious study of the residual effects on combatants of taking human life. I found out about the book from a friend of mine who said, "You have to read this. We're in here." I knew what he meant when I reached page 183, where Grossman says,

One veteran I interviewed told me that he thought of most of the world as sheep; gentle, decent, kindly creatures who are essentially incapable of true aggression. In this veteran's mind there is another human subspecies (of which he is a member) that is a kind of dog: faithful, vigilant creatures who are very much capable of aggression when circumstances require. But, according to his model, there are wolves (sociopaths) and packs of wild dogs (gangs and aggressive armies) abroad in the land, and the sheepdogs (the policemen and the soldiers of the world) are environmentally and biologically predisposed to be the ones who confront the predators.

This analogy is even more apt for the Christian Martialist, for God refers to His people as "the sheep of His pasture." Further, Jesus is the Great Shepherd, and He calls certain men as pastors (which means "shepherds") to tend his flock. In this context, the sheepdog must be faithful to the Great Shepherd, loyal to the earthly shepherd (pastor) and watchful for the spiritual and physical well-being of the the sheep. You don't find the sheepdog mentioned in Scripture, but you do find examples of his kind. More on this in "The Christian Martialist as Sheepdog, 2"

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