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Out Our Way: Follow the leader?

Romans 18:17 "Watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you learned."

Out our way, there are often more than one "leader" in the herd whom the other cattle will follow without question. The "herd" mentality dominates and if for whatever reason this cow or that appeals to others, they will follow without thought. But what happens when two different leaders going on different trails arise and call the herd to follow? What's worse is if both leaders are on the wrong trails so not only is the herd split apart, but all the cattle are heading away from the good pasture to which they should be going.

It was fall round up, and both Charlie and I were "chasing" cows. The herd had split up and were running on diverse trails, none of which would get them down to the winter grazing. So Charlie and I had to go after each division and try to get them back together and then with Charlie riding point and me riding drag, and swing, get them back to the right trail that led to the pasture gate that opened into the lush winter grazing. A good parable for our times, I think

Joseph Goeebels, the head of propaganda for the Nazi Party famously noted that the easiest way to distract and control the "herd" was to loudly condemn the other side for doing the same things your side was doing. Have you noticed how both sides in this coming election do exactly that?  

It is so easy to become heated and passionate in condemning Candidate A for this or that and ignore that Candidate B is doing the same thing. It is like the followers of both Lead Cow A and Lead Cow B accusing the other for dividing the herd - when both are guilty. 

Big Mike sent Charlie and me to both herds to guide them all back to the right trail. So God has sent the Spirit and the Word of God to us to guide us all back to the Way. In the era of propaganda instead of journalism and political views rather than theology within the Church, maybe it's time to resist the temptation to blindly follow the "leader" and be guided by the Spirit who unites rather than divides. 

Be blessed and be a blessing.

Brother John


The Rev. John Bruington is the retired pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Havre. He now lives in Colorado, but continues to write "Out Our Way." He can be reached for comment or dialogue at [email protected].


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