Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wolves!

There’s not much worse than a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A roaring lion?  At least you know what you're getting with a roaring lion.  If you hear a roaring lion, you know you better run the opposite direction as fast as possible. If you get too close, you’re in trouble, but let’s be honest - who wants to get close to a roaring lion? With a wolf in sheep’s clothing, on the other hand, there is a false sense of security. You think you’re safe. You think you’re with a brother sheep and have nothing to worry about. When he lunges for the back of your neck, you might not even see it coming. But it does get worse. It gets worse when the wolf dons shepherd’s clothing.

Here you have a wolf, the express enemy of the sheep, inside the fold and pretending to care about the sheep. He pretends to have the sheep’s best interests at heart. And outwardly it certainly seems so. He says all the right things. He makes nice with the undershepherds and props himself up as authoritative. He gets closer and closer to the sheep until just the right moment when he removes those annoying and constricting clothes and pounces to devour. But at that point it’s far too late for the sheep to react. The wolf is too close. He can pick off as many sheep as he wants. The more discerning sheep - those who weren’t so easily fooled by his tricks to begin with - were keeping their distance once they realized something funny was going on. They might manage to escape. But don’t expect any help from the undershepherds. Most of them will be over the fence before you can say “help,” proving themselves to be little more than hirelings. And the ones who actually jump in to try to stop the wolf before he devours the sheep? Well they end up getting torn to pieces themselves.

The Evangelical-Lutheran Church is replete with wolves in shepherds clothing. They are everywhere. These wolves have shown their teeth a number of times, so the more discerning sheep among us are well aware of their schemes. They have already begun to attack faithful underspeherds, making hired hands out of some and underhandedly devouring others. There seems to be little hope. But there is something that can throw these murderous liars off guard: exposure. It is easy for a wolf to run around pretending to be an undershpeherd when no one’s calling him out...it’s not so easy to do when he’s surrounded by armed sheep and undershepherds tugging at his less-than-convincing disguise. He’ll start getting nervous; after all, wolves are skittish by nature.

In short, the best way to deal with a wolf is to simply "cry wolf."   Let the sheep know what’s up. Most will be content with complacency. Sheep are stupid like that. But it only takes a few sheep asking questions before the wolves slip up. They can’t handle the heat. They’ll do something really stupid and will make a bigger problem for themselves then would otherwise have been the case. They’ll create more publicity for their scandalous lie than would have otherwise occurred if they had just left well enough alone. So don’t let them leave well enough alone.

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