Friday, December 19, 2008

Barn Yard Theology

I never would have known that a person can learn some things about life by observing a simple barn yard, if we wouldn’t have moved to the country and started raising animals for ourselves. Not long after we moved here I noticed that every kind of critter has a pecking order and not just birds.

Every kind of animal has a boss or bosses who dominates the herd or flock. And if you have more than a few it is even more apparent. The top dog bosses everyone, the second most bossy dominates the rest and the third in line bosses who ever is left. It goes on down the chain of command. The last on the totem pole, the smallest or weakest, is left out in the cold, hungry and alone, until everyone has gotten their fill. The left-overs are all they can expect.

To me there was a striking similarity between the pecking order in a barn yard and that of the lives of human beings. Especially in the world of politics, be it of the governmental variety or in the work place. It’s a dog eat dog world out there. It’s one person stabbing the other person in the back in order to get ahead. It’s the back biting and gossiping that is associated with life in the “Big City“. Not that the country is exempt from all that. When I say “Big City” I simply mean it metaphorically. It’s a brutal world out there, just like in a barn yard.

Here we are on the heals of the recent presidential elections. It is fresh in all our minds. We can readily recall the boastful promises and scathing accusations that come with competing for the top spots. Or look at the social order in any organized establishment, a business or corporation. Perhaps an educational institution or hospital. It is very easy to see people bossing one another with so many working hard to get ahead climbing that corporate ladder. The cream rises to the top you might say. The smartest, the quick witted, those who speak most eloquently, the controlling. Controlling people usually get ahead where ever they are.

I don’t mean to diminish the merit of those hard working honest folks, who by virtue of an excellent work ethic earn their way to the top. Those kind of people seem few and far between but, they are out there. My point is about what we see most often out there in the worldly system. The ones who live by the motto, “those who die with the most toys win”. But, then again there is the rebuttal to that phrase, “those who die with the most toys still die”. Death is the great equalizer.

If you take a look at a flock of chickens you see a brutal hierarchy. A peck and squawk hierarchy. One chicken will get after another one and the one who got beat up will squawk and carry on like there’s no tomorrow. And you know something, I know people who, when they get all upset about something, sound just like a chicken. It’s kind of funny actually. I think to myself, “man that person sounds exactly like a chicken”. Squawk, squawk, squawk! Squawk, squawk, squawk!

When you look at animals all they care about is themselves and what ever it is they crave. They are ruled by their cravings and their own self comfort. They care nothing for any other living creature. It’s all about them. Sure most of them like to hang out together. Birds of a feather all flock together is a true saying. But, I think that has more to do with self preservation than anything else. It’s all about satisfying whatever craving they have at the moment. If they’re hungry, they look for something to eat. If they’re cold they look for warmth. If they’re hot they look to get cool. If they feel the need to procreate, they try to find a mate.(I tried to put that one as delicately as I could) But, you get the idea. If it feels good do it! That’s the way of life in the animal kingdom. That’s the law of the jungle.

So I see a similarity between animals and people, they both behave in much the same way. And I would go as far as to say that when people behave badly they are behaving exactly like animals. When people fight and carry on they’re acting no different than a chicken in a hen house.

As I sit and ponder the brutal life in the barnyard, that dog eat dog world that seems eerily familiar, kind of like the worldly system, I think about how when Jesus gets a hold of a persons life, they change. They become softer and more giving. More for-giving. Their priorities seem to get turned upside down. Instead of life revolving around themselves they start thinking of other people and put others first. They learn how to love.

If you look at the teachings of Christ you find things like, “blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” or “the first shall be last and the last shall be first”. Gods Kingdom is not a survival of the fittest like we see in the natural world. Jesus teaches that instead of repaying evil for evil we should do good to our enemies. This is polar opposite to the worldly system. Also, God opposes the proud. This too stands in contrast to the way of the world where it takes self promotion to be noticed in virtually every endeavor.

I believe that when Jesus comes back there will be peace in the barn yards. No longer will the animals compete for whatever it is they need or want, with the strong pushing out the weak. Animals will no longer eat each other as we see the in these old testament prophecies: The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them . Isaiah 11:6 or The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain," says the LORD. Isaiah 65:25 The lion will eat straw like the ox, it says in the King James version.

Things will go back to the way they were in the Garden of Eden. What we see currently in the world with all it’s brutality will pass away and the Prince of Peace will reign the world over. Oh, what a day that will be.

Until Next Time


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