I’ve Finally Gone to the Dogs

A while back I told some Christian publishing and writing muck-a-mucks with whom I was having lunch that Crosswalk.com had engaged me to write a blog for them (everything I post here on “Suddenly Christian” also runs on Crosswalk and Christianity.com).

“Oh, no,” said one of my lunch-mates, an author of “Christian Living”-type books. “I’ve done work like that before. It drives you crazy. You have to turn everything that happens to you into a little story lesson about God.”

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I pretty much never do that. But that guy’s statement created in my head a kind of ongoing comedy routine, where I always imagine having to turn something I’m seeing or experiencing into one of those little pat Christian Life Lessons About God that pastors and Christian authors are always boring you to death with. Like, if I’m waiting in line at a Starbucks for a cup of coffee, I’ll think … “Waiting for God is just like waiting for a cup of coffee. You want that rich, full, warm, galvanizing experience—but you don’t quite have it yet. To get it you have to wait until the time is right—and only God knows when that is. Like Matthew said before he quit his day job as a tax collector and started following Jesus, “C’mon already! Fork it over!” Poor Matthew. He clearly drank too much coffee. But like that oft-chagrined disciple, we, too, must wait around in a cramped little space with people who have morning breath that could knock out a Rottweiler. For God is the sweet mint that so many of us fail to ingest before we venture outside …” and so on, until my coffee’s ready, or the light’s changed, or the debris from the accident’s been cleared away, or whatever.

It’s stupid, but … whaddaya gonna do?

Anyway, two days ago a woman who works with my wife Cat dropped off her dog for us to take care of for ten days while she goes to visit her family of, apparently, dog haters. (Kidding! I have no idea why she didn’t take her dog with her. I know she’s flying some place far away. Where, apparently, there’s no oxygen. Kidding! But, seriously: God is like travel plans you don’t really understand. You know that after a long journey you’ll end up somewhere, and chances are that place will be delightful. But you’re not sure how to pack for the trip, are you? Does God give provide dental floss? Should you bring your favorite bulky slippers, or pack the little flat ones your niece basically stole from the hospital where she works? For it is not just our souls that we care about, but, let’s face it, our soles.)

Anyway … right.

Dogs. Dogs are huge in publishing right now. People love stories about dogs. I think it’s because dogs are irresistibly cute, emotionally needy, and very easy to please. That is one catnip of a combo. But what do I know about dogs? I’ve always had cats. I’ve had more cats than Old Yeller had fleas. I love dogs—but we’ve never had one, because we’ve always lived in apartments. For some unfathomable reason, apartment owners seem to think cats are less damaging to their surroundings than dogs are. And that’s true—as long as you don’t count the air in it as part of a place’s surroundings.

Anyway, since I’ve been walking, playing, and napping with this dog we’re watching, my brain’s been veritably bombarded with poignant, heartfelt, “What My Dog Taught Me About God” type stuff. Some of which I was going to share with you here. Except now this post is way too long for that. So next time.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter. If you shop at Amazon, help support John by entering the site through this link right here--Amazon will then send John 3-4% of the cost of anything you buy before exiting the site again.

 

  • http://thesearethecrazytimes-christine.blogspot.com Christine

    That is exactly what I start to do when my non-christian friends tell me they expect me to do it. You can turn ANYTHING into a cheesy God diagram, they crack me!! I know someone who does it for real and it makes me laugh, which is bad cos they are being serious, which makes me laugh more!! I'm such a bad friend LOL

  • http://odgie.wordpress.com odgie

    John, that is so awesome! God used an incident just like that to teach me something the other day! I was driving around in a parking lot looking for a parking spot and getting more agitated when I saw a little old lady hobbling on a cane out to her car at the far end of her parking row. I realize that God probably gave her arthritis to remind ME to be more grateful for my health and mobility! I stopped, cried, and said a prayer of thanks for His awesomeness. And the fact that you wrote about this so soon after just shows that He is EVERYWHERE and is EXTRA-awesome!

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Christine: If you NON-Christian friends are that familiar with how often we do that, that's bad.

    Odgie: too, too funny.

  • http://wineymomma.wordpress.com wineymomma

    How about this for a God diagram—Cats are more like us…instant gratification, go about our day to day lives not caring where the blessings come from or even realizing what the blessings are, just taking them for granted~~~Dogs are more like we want to be in our relationship with Christ…open, unconditional love, accepting everything good that comes our way as the best thing that could ever happen.

    Of course, there is always room for interpretation…

    Great, John, now I am going to be adding this over-analysis to everything else I already do!

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

  • Candace

    Funny, I totally nodded my head when reading what you're saying in this post, John, but being a lifelong fancier of all things canine, my mind is ultimately fixed on the fact you didn't tell us what KIND of dog.

    Wineymomma, the parallel goes even further — dogs also accept the bad that comes their way, perhaps not as the best thing that could ever happen, but certainly with the sort of immediate surrender and open forgiveness that we humans would hope to display but rarely achieve (at least I don't).

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    It was the "random" taunt on your video blog a couple of days ago, huh?

    Your devotionals always make me cry.

  • http://wineymomma.wordpress.com wineymomma

    I thought of a few more after I submitted my comment but never got back to put them on! Thanks Candace!


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X