Beliefnet
Everyday Spirituality

sheep shepherdFor the lack of better words, religions generally refer to shepherds and sheep. Church leaders are the shepherds and church members are the sheep. As with any union, there will be disagreements.

Problems in religious unions arise, not because of the disagreements but because the disagreements aren’t resolved. Unresolved differences lead to anger and resentment over time, which leads to behavior that dissolves the union.

The old-time roles associated with shepherds and sheep are evolving. Shepherds are learning they need to be more than just a provider of instruction. Sheep are learning to speak up when they disagree with what the shepherd is expecting.

This is happening—only it is after anger and resentment got the upper hand and shepherd and sheep hurt one another by looking elsewhere to evolve.

Pew Research studies show that “More than one-quarter of American adults (28%) have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion – or no religion at all.”

But, can the original religion or union be saved?

Yes, and probably the union will be stronger than a new union.

The demand for shepherd and sheep will be heftier because both will need to go back and correct mistakes made. Whereas moving on to a new relationship tempts avoidance of these corrections.

Shepherd and sheep can rise to the occasion and learn to recognize frustrations and deal with them constructively, rather than destructively. A religion will never ultimately be ruined by human beings who can’t get along, however, the religion that first tied shepherd and sheep together can be more promising in the world as shepherd and sheep work through the struggles and overcome them faithfully.

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