Guy R. Brewer, D. Min, Ph. D
Emeritus Professor of Pastoral Theology
Anderson University School of Theology and Christian Ministry
“Would you like to visit with the Spring Forest goats?”
I wasn’t sure about this off-handed invitation from Elaine, but I wanted to be agreeable. “Sure,” I said, “Let’s meet the goats!”
To my great surprise, the goats were wonderful. When we entered the pasture, they ran to greet us. These were adolescent goats who behaved more like puppies than farm animals. They crowded around begging for attention. A couple of enthusiastic goats jumped up, muddy feet and all, to say hello. Of course, being goats, they also tried to eat my coat sleeves. The goats had names and personalities. They made me laugh.
In that moment, I realized that I am a goat bigot. All my life I had heard prejudicial stories about goats: They smell bad. They are mean tempered and stupid. Since I had never spent any time with goats, I believed the worst about them. I had been dead wrong about these wonderful animals.
I wish my prejudices were limited only to goats. I repent of my ignorant, misguided notions about other people. Often times, I’m not even aware of these community-killing assumptions. May I live into Paul’s vision of Christian community: “From now on we no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view” (2Corinthians 5:16). That includes goats!