Friday, January 19, 2007

The blind man and the elephant

Yesterday, I had a doctors appointment so drove there, then to a Park-N-Ride to take the bus to work. As I was driving, I listened to several podcasts, including several messages.

As we were praying at worship band practice, this illustration struck me. The picture on the right is based on the story of the 6 blind man and the elephant. In the story, the men are placed around the elephant and asked to describe it...

A Jain version of the story says that six blind men were asked to determine what an elephant looked like by feeling different parts of the elephant's body.

The blind man who touches a leg says the elephant is like a pillar; the tail-toucher claims it's like a rope; the one who feels the trunk compares it to a tree branch; the man who felt the ear says the elephant is like a hand fan; the belly-toucher asserts it's like a wall; and the tusk feeler insists the elephant feels like a solid pipe.

A wise man explains to them

All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently is because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all those features what you all said.[1]
As I listened to those podcasts yesterday, the people talking were certainly Godly men. They do not approach ministry or God the same and each sees the part of God they are focused on at that time. In Hebrew, the Bible -- Old Testament -- has the same perspective. You can see a list of all the names for (or attributes of) God here. Each one describes God from a different perspective.

1 comment:

Carol Ann said...

Kind of goes along with the message at church this past weekend...how there are different aspects of leadership that need to be covered...just like the elephant had different parts that made up the whole...the church is made up of different leadership gifts that makes up the whole...

Not sure that made a "whole" lot of sense...