Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

“I Am The Good Shepherd”

Every time I read those words from the Gospel of John, I am transported back to our first tour in Jordan, sitting outside our little villa near fourth circle, watching the shepherd and the sheep go by. Dusk is falling, you can hear multiple calls to prayer issuing from nearby mosques, and the shepherd is crossing back to their night time pastures.

But there is a ditch, a deep ditch, for new sewer and water lines, and there is only a thin board by which to cross.

One by one, he carries the sheep across. It takes a long time. The sheep are restless, but with a few words, he calms them. They don’t stray, they wait for him to lift and carry them across. Once across, they wait for the rest to follow before they all head on their way. The shepherd is grimy and dusty, covered with mud from ferrying the sheep across the ditch.

The sheep know the shepherd’s voice, and when faced with a new threat, they trust that he will deliver them safely. Sheep are pretty stupid. On their own, they can get into all kinds of trouble. If they have a good shepherd, they are safe.

This is today’s Gospel reading from John:

John 10:1-18

10‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ 6Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

7 So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

11 ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18No one takes* it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.’

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September 8, 2012 Posted by | Biography, Character, Community, Cultural, ExPat Life, Faith, Jordan, Lectionary Readings, Living Conditions, Middle East, Spiritual, Values | 5 Comments

Ten Shot While Kuwaiti Youngsters Are ‘Just Having Fun’

As AdventureMan and I read the Pensacola News Journal, we often wonder if we knew what we were getting into. Shootings in Pensacola are frequent. Killings, by gun, by beating, by knife – are equally frequent. Pensacola has one of the highest violent death rates per capita in the nation. Just this week a 72 year old man shot a preacher at his church because he thought the preacher was having an affair with his 69 year old wife. He then tried to enter the child care center where she was caring for small children, still with his loaded weapon. The paper quotes his wife as saying he has mental health issues.

What are people with mental health issues doing with loaded guns???

My Southern friends ask me if we more strictly regulate guns, how will they protect themselves, that the ‘bad guys’ will still have guns. Right now, they can protect themselves, they also have the right to shoot to defend their property? I can’t answer. All I know for sure is that the more people who carry guns, the more likely guns are to be used when the instinct strikes, whether it is a real threat or a perceived threat.

And then – there are these Kuwaiti teens, shooting passers-by, and when arrested, still carrying the shotgun used, say that they were ‘just having fun.’

KUWAIT: Jahra detectives, in cooperation with criminal investigation detectives, have arrested two Kuwaiti 17-year-old juveniles on charges of misuse of a hunting gun, which resulted in the shooting and wounding of 10 people in Jahra area. Police received several reports of pedestrians being wounded after they were shot by unknown assailants. Following an investigation, the juveniles were arrested with the gun still in their possession. They confessed to the shootings, claiming they were only having a good time. The teens were sent to concerned authorities. Later, Ministry of Interior officials called upon citizens and expatriates to watch their children and prevent them from behaving in ways that might cause harm to others, as the parents could be held liable for their children’s acts.

By Hanan Al-Saadoun, Staff Writer
Kuwait Times

The link refers to ‘hunting gun misuse.’ Because they are Kuwaiti, and because they are young, they are unlikely to have any severe punishment. They are likely to be released into the custody of their parents. Where were these parents when their children wounded ten innocent people? What lesson do these young men, 17 years old, learn if they can shoot ten people and be charged with ‘misuse’ of a weapon?

The only good thing I can think of in this case is that these youngsters had so little self-discipline that they never learned to shoot straight, thus no one was killed. They weren’t just lacking in any compassion for their fellow human beings, they were also bad shots. (I’m from a hunting culture. That’s an insult.)

September 8, 2012 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Civility, Community, Crime, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Interconnected, Kuwait, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Parenting, Pensacola, Pet Peeves, Rants, Safety, Social Issues, Values | 4 Comments