Note: This article was originally posted November 21, 2005.
by Pastor David Deets
Most all of us know the lyrics to the well-known nursery rhyme of “Rock a Bye Baby.” However, most of us probably do not know its origin or meaning. It is commonly held that this lullaby actually came from a young pilgrim boy. He had spent much time observing the Native American practice of suspending children from tree branches in cloth and basket cradles. This practice enabled the baby to be rocked while freeing the mother to attend to other matters. While this lullaby is an observation, it also gives us a warning! Be careful what kind of tree branch you hang your child from. As can be seen from this lullaby, there are drastic consequences for hanging your baby from the wrong bough. In modern America today, we have a lot of broken boughs (homes), and we have lots of falling cradles (casualties among children and teens). The problem is that the child does not get to decide which bough he is hung from. He has no choice as to which home he is given to or which parents he has. He simply has to do the best he can with where he is. So the great problem faced by a lot of teens and children today is, “How will I respond to my home situation?”
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One of the side benefits of owning a site like SharperIron is that I get to scratch an itch that is a major burden of mine: helping pastors and church leaders. Outside of pastoral ministry, nothing in ministry gives me more satisfaction. Hearing their struggles, listening to their rebukes, directing them to resources, and getting to know them better have been some of my greatest joys of the last two years. However, my burden for them has increased ten-fold. I have come to believe that pastors are America’s greatest, yet most under-valued and under-appreciated, men. It’s no longer in style to respect the man of God. After all, with Swaggart and Haggard, why should anybody respect the clergy? I hope to answer that question.
On Paul’s second missionary journey, he wrote a letter to the Thessalonians. He addressed many areas, including the need to be faithful amidst persecution, to encourage them regarding those who have already passed away, and to address errors. He hit on moral laxity and laziness, and then he addressed their tendency not to respect their church leadership. The problems of the Thessalonians are present in today’s church as well. I believe every church member should appreciate his pastor.
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
—Jesus of Nazareth (Matt. 22:37–39, KJV)
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
—The Beatles (“All You Need Is Love”) 
Are John, Paul, George, and Ringo, living 1900 years after Jesus of Nazareth, reiterating His message to a new generation? Is this similarity evidence that the same basic message underlies all world religions and worldviews? That after we strip away all the external, all the ceremonial, all the legal, all the theological and metaphysical considerations, every religion pursues the same basic values, usually including “love”?
That all religions are basically the same is an idea held both by the man on the street and in the halls of academia. Consider what Paul Tillich wrote: