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What is a "rod?"


Buzzard

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I had an interesting conversation today regarding the pieces of shit (pearls) and their child abusing book TTUAC.

My lunch mate is a very religious christian woman, bordering on fundie (baptist), and had a fascinating and well thought out answer to their ridiculous interpretations.

1 - The notion of "spare the rod..." isnt in the bible - its in proverbs and reading the entire thing is enlightening (KJV for our fundie friends):

1A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.

2A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.

3He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

4The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

5A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.

6Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.

7There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.

8The ransom of a man's life are his riches: but the poor heareth not rebuke.

9The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.

10Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

11Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.

12Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

13Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.

14The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

15Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.

16Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.

17A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.

18Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.

19The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.

20He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

21Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.

22A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.

23Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.

24He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

25The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want.

This proverb is not a commandment of God, and the meaning of the rod is unclear, until we see Psalm 23:

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

SO, historically speaking... who may use a rod and staff??? Could it be a shepherd? What is the most valuable commodity to a shepherd? Their sheep... do they beat the shit out of their sheep? NO! They use their rod and staff to guide them - GENTLY - because beating the shit out of them would damage them, and damaged goods aint right...

How can a rod and staff comfort one, but be an implement of violent teaching in the other? They cant - it doesnt make sense. The proverb is telling the reader that if they love their children they should guide them. If they misbehave they should correct them prompty (less they fall off a cliff like a sheep), but gently because hitting does not = good business. The bible often uses analogy to help the reader understand so why should this "rod" be any different?

Fuckers... read the whole damn book before you (again) just pick out the parts you like...

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That is a very good way of putting it. I have always interpreted "the rod" to mean "discipline." Discipline doesn't necessarily mean spanking.

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That is a very good way of putting it. I have always interpreted "the rod" to mean "discipline." Discipline doesn't necessarily mean spanking.

Exactly the way she put it. A shepherd uses a rod to discipline his flock by guiding them. Its similar to sitting down with a child and using reason/values/morals to explain the error of their ways and placing them on the right path. To a parent, the "rod" is experience, faith, values etc. and is used to guide towards the correct path. The rod to a shepherd is used to block the path that is wrong (and here she went off on a tangent about how herding dogs dont bite but use their bodies to guide and if they nip it never causes pain) and guide to the correct point.

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I once parroted an (evil) school teacher to my mother when my younger brother was acting up, and said "Spare the rod, spoil the child." My mother about hit the fan, and said that not only did I misquote, but the rod was simply what the shepherd used to show the sheep where to go, and only a moron would think you'd use it to hit another person. When she grilled me on where I heard such claptrap, my mother then told me that it was "common knowledge" that the rod was a metaphor for education, and that my teacher was a bloody fool if she didn't know that. Furtheremore I was told that if she were to lay a hand on me, or any other kid in class, I was to walk out and get myself home as fast as I could.

In other words, "It's not meant to be taken literally, it applies to all manufacturers of dairy products."

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Minor correction - Proverbs is part of the Bible, it's just not part of the New Testament.

But yeah, this is what comes of people trying to literally interpret words written in another culture and time within the context of their own lives. Back then, everyone would have known that a shepherd would use a "rod" to lightly tap or guide a sheep in the right direction, much as a father might "chasten" a child with an explanation of what in his/her behavior was unacceptable, and they would be able to understand the message being conveyed was that guidance was an important parental obligation.

But someone who likes to dominate others will use any excuse.

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When I was little, I thought "spare the rod, spoil the child" was a direction. As in, "here's what you need to do: you need to spare the rod. You need to spoil your child. Because beating your kids with a stick is so bad, it's actually better to let them be spoiled."

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Minor correction - Proverbs is part of the Bible, it's just not part of the New Testament.

But yeah, this is what comes of people trying to literally interpret words written in another culture and time within the context of their own lives. Back then, everyone would have known that a shepherd would use a "rod" to lightly tap or guide a sheep in the right direction, much as a father might "chasten" a child with an explanation of what in his/her behavior was unacceptable, and they would be able to understand the message being conveyed was that guidance was an important parental obligation.

But someone who likes to dominate others will use any excuse.

Especially if it makes them money! I would REALLY love to see a special on discovery/TLC/oprah... with a discussion from various faiths along with some child psychologists. Sure, the people that read the Pearl's bullshit wont watch it... but you never know...

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Patsy,

You're an insightful GENIUS, you know that, don't you?

As a kid, I was totally spoiled, but not the least bit entitled. That crazy uncondtional love tends to work that way, doesn't it? I hope my kids look back at me the way I do my parents, because I'm trying to do the same thing. Beating with a stick isn't love, and you can't spoil a kid with love, can you?

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"Spare the rod, spoil the child" is actually a line from Samuel Butler's collection of poems "Hudibras", which was partially intended to poke fun at the Puritans. Not in the Bible.

Yeah, I've never heard of a shepherd beating the sheep, especially not the lambs, with his staff. :?

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Buzzard, if it helps any, this christian mother agrees with you and that is how I always read the word rod. I used the "rod and the staff" with my children and neither ever touched the skin. So some of us know what it means but sadly the majority doesn't.

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Buzzard, if it helps any, this christian mother agrees with you and that is how I always read the word rod. I used the "rod and the staff" with my children and neither ever touched the skin. So some of us know what it means but sadly the majority doesn't.

My parents never laid a hand on me or my siblings. In fact, I didnt know anyone growing up that was struck. The Pearls make me sick...

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When I was little, I thought "spare the rod, spoil the child" was a direction. As in, "here's what you need to do: you need to spare the rod. You need to spoil your child. Because beating your kids with a stick is so bad, it's actually better to let them be spoiled."

When my son-in-law and his siblings were little, their beloved grandfather took care of them while their parents were at work. One day, the kids were running around like maniacs and Grandpa said, "All right--that's it! I'm gonna get the strap!" and the kids calmed down--because they thought he meant he was going to strap them to a chair (as with a seat belt). It never occurred to them that an adult might hit them. Grandpa certainly wasn't intending to--it was just an empty threat born of frustration.

Amazing how many kids grew up to be fantastic adults without being hit.

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When I was little, I thought "spare the rod, spoil the child" was a direction. As in, "here's what you need to do: you need to spare the rod. You need to spoil your child. Because beating your kids with a stick is so bad, it's actually better to let them be spoiled."

i always thought this, too. actually, until recently i STILL thought this.

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I think this is one of the biggest problem with the bible. references are small info is left out details are not there. so people add their own and look out.

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I asked a protestant priest about that saying and she said that the shepherds used the rod both to guide the sheep in the right direction (as in hold it out to make sure that no sheep runs away from the pack) and to defend them from predators. So good Christians are not supposed to use the rod to spank children, but to guide and protect them.

I liked her explanation.

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The problem with hardcore fundies is that they will still always find a way around well-reasoned arguments. I don't know how many times I heard in the church I grew up in that "spare the rod, spoil the child" still referred to spanking (as well as being a metaphor for a shepherd's relationship with his sheep), because if a lamb wanders off too often, the shepherd will break the lamb's leg to keep them close by. So obviously (to the fundie), just because the parent is supposed to shepherd their children doesn't mean they'll never hurt them.

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Sort of OT, but when I was a kid we used some of the Rod and Staff homeschool curriculum (Mennonite, I believe) and it wasn't until I was an adult thinking back on it that I made the connection with the Psalm 23 reference. As a kid I thought it referred to the owner of the publishing company ("Rod") and the people who worked for him. Like "Rod and Sons" or "Rod and Co." It still makes me laugh.

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And all of this just proves the point:

EDUCATION IS KEY! Education does not mean just reading and basic math, it includes critical thinking and contrary opinions. People are not sheep. We are not meant to be guided, fed, watered etc and just follow along. We have brains and language because we are supposed to THINK and question and wonder... Beating the shit out of kids is the easy way out. Educating them, answering their critical question, and guiding them is hard but its the right thing to do.

The pearls are "best selling authors" because they offer the fundies a biblically based easy way out and they know damn well they will never read deeper into the meaning or the harm to question them.

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"Breaking the lamb's leg" is a load of poisonous nonsense. Ask any shepherd. While discussing this in another forum I heard from someone whose Italian relative really is a shepherd up in the Apennines (sp.?). She relayed the story and he basicallly went :shock: :evil: and said that anybody who did that to a lamb while he was watching would be OUT.

Think about it. When does a whole flock of sheep have only one lamb in it? So what happens to the other lambs? Do they all wander off and get killed? Do several dozen people (for a flock of 40 sheep) wander the hills for a month, each carrying a lamb? What are they going to live on? And how in the world can the shepherd guarantee that a broken-legged lamb being hauled around won't be permanently crippled? Casts for lambs? What, there were vets in the ancient world? Even now, a grass-eating animal with a broken leg generally gets shot in the head.

Again, as the Italian shepherd put it, anybody who deliberately breaks a lamb's leg is no shepherd. The animal has to be killed because it costs more to mend it than it will bring in during its lifetime. It goes into the stewpot and the idiot who decided to break it in order to make it better goes down the hill and mucks out stables for a living instead.

Jesus the Good Shepherd is shown carrying a lamb on His shoulders because the poor thing is tired. He did not say, "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will break you to your place."

On a lighter note, "Spare the rod and spoil the child" is indeed from the satirical poetic work Hudibras, not from the Bible. Specifically, it's from one of the bawdy passages. In context, it means roughly, "I love it when you get rough." (The "child" is Eros.)

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Jesus the Good Shepherd is shown carrying a lamb on His shoulders because the poor thing is tired. He did not say, "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will break you to your place."

On a lighter note, "Spare the rod and spoil the child" is indeed from the satirical poetic work Hudibras, not from the Bible. Specifically, it's from one of the bawdy passages. In context, it means roughly, "I love it when you get rough." (The "child" is Eros.)

Thanks for posting this! Some time back, I went online and found Hudibras. The phrase is used so far out of its original context nowadays. Proves that people decide to believe what they want to believe.

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