Friday, May 16, 2014

What My Dog Has Taught Me About Christianity: Pt. 1-Sometimes We Pee on the Couch (Total Depravtiy)

I've decided to try something a little bit different. My wife and I have owned a dog for around 6 months now and she is teaching us a lot about Christianity. I actually got this idea from my mother-in-law who has always insisted that dogs can teach us about faith.

This is Piper. She is an 8 month old Feist, a breed not recognized by the AKC. They're basically the product of American Colonialism because they're descended from English Terriers who bred with Indigenous hunting dogs. If you've ever seen a Jack Russell Terrier or a Rat Terrier, Feists are very closely related to them.

Unfortuantely, Feist also describes Piper's personality. She is extremely fiesty, belligerant, and rebellious. Not only does she do things she knows she's not supposed to do, but she does them while defiantly glaring at us in the eyes.

This brings us to an incident that just happened a few days ago. We allow Piper to sit on the couch with us (unfortunately). Generally, it makes for some good cuddle time that leads to lots of "awwwws" from my wife and I. The other night, Piper was in a bit of a rebellious mood. Her way of telling us that was by standing up on the couch, staring at us, and peeing on our couch.

Needless to say, we were furious. In fact, it took a while to make the smell go away and clean up. However, the whole incident did get me thinking about our relationship with God. How often do I knowingly violate God's commands in the same way? If we think about it like that, I've peed on a lot of couches. Still do. Always will. This kind of reaffirmed the doctrine of Total Depravity in my mind. Total Depravity states that we are so broken inside, it is impossible for us to fix ourselves (now, this can lead to a Calvinistic view, as it is technically a Reformed opinion, but I think it's okay to misapproriate the term to describe our general sinfulness).

Fortunately, God is a much kinder and more patient owner than I am. I love Piper, even though she occasionally pees on the couch. God loves me infinitely more than I love Piper and I pee on the couch every day. What an unrelenting love!

As Brennan Manning says, "...the outstretched arms of Jesus exclude no one, neither the drunk in the doorway, the pandhandler on the street, gays and lesbians in their isolation, the most selfish and ungrateful in their cocoons, the most unjust of employers and the most overweening of snobs. The love of Christ embraces all without exception. Again, the love of God is folly!"

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