Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What's a shepherd? (heavens, this has nothing to do with local church stuff...)

I posted a chart on the board and had the class read the story about a lion with a thorn in his paw (an adaptation of an Aesop's fable)

Here's the synopsis of the story.

There was a lion who was hurt by a thorn in his paw; the paw was bleeding and was already inflamed. Then a shepherd passing by noticed the lion's suffering. He was moved by the lion's helplessness and cry of pain that he sat down and took the lion's paw on his lap and removed the thorn.

The shepherd was later arrested for a crime that he did not commit. He was sentenced to be put in a lion's pit to be devoured. But as fate would have it, the lion was the one he helped and when the lion recognized the shepherd, instead of attacking, the lion put his paw on the shepherd's lap. And when the king heard about the story, he let both of them go. 

So, I had the class read it and then I threw in some comprehension question. I was in the middle of the discussion when I noticed a hand being raised. So, I paused and called on the pupil. 

Pupil: "Sir, what is a shepherd?"

Me: "A shepherd is someone who tends or takes care of an herd of animals like sheep and goats. Pastol in Tagalog"

Pupil: "What is a sheep?"


Another Pupil:"What is a tupa?"

Me:"Tupa is a goat like animal...Shepherds are the people who visited Jesus in the manger."

Another Pupil: "Isn't that the three kings?"

Me: "Okay, here you can see shepherds in the bukids (ricefields) taking care of carabaos. (Realizing later that carabao shepherd is not really a shepherd in the real sense of the word. Carabaos are not herd animals like sheep or goats. Carabaos are working animals.)

I have taken for granted the fact that today here in Taytay and Cainta the carabaos are already extinct. There are no more carabaos and there are no more rice fields except the one in highway 2000 that is now being developed into a subdivision. There are no more pastols and there are no more agriculture hence many agricultural words do not mean anything to my pupils anymore. I am reminded of a Wittgenstein quote: "The limit of my language mean the limit of my world."

This also got me thinking about the Bible. Since most of the images used in the Bible are agricultural, it would be a challenge now to share its message by using this language. In a world where cows are mechanically milked, sheep and other herd animals are equipped with GPS tracking devices and tended by motorized herders, crops are planted, tended and harvested using mechanical equipment sans or with minimal human intervention, crop dusting, genetics, hydroponics, etc. 

Even with school children in cities and urban areas, the change or the shift of language from agricultural or organic to technological and cyber lingo are so evolved and (it seems final) that even words we took for granted about a decade ago like "araro" or plow are now out of their vocabulary and hence beyond their comprehension.

Even books have evolved. It's now paperless. So, what happens to the Bible now that it is about to lose it's physical (paper) form and is now available in digital form. In fact, more and more people are using e-Bibles than the traditional paper books.

Just thinking. Now that technology has advanced to a point where it can develop and create more and newer technologies at an exponential rate, theologians and ministers have a lot in their hands: How to share a timeless message in a dated language?

Or they could take a new look and rethink the Bible stories and myths. 

As for me, I'm content with tending to a few little tress and mini roses.

This has gone far enough...hahahahhahahaha!

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