Having a Dog to the Glory of God: Part 3, Living with a Dog

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This is the third part of a series I have titled “Having a Dog to the Glory of God.” The basic question behind these posts is: How can having a dog–an expensive, time-consuming, quirky animal–honor God? I have already reflected upon my initial concerns and what it means to “own” a dog, so now I want to look at the topic from a different angle: Living with a dog.

This topic is a big one that I could run with in many directions. But before I do that in succeeding posts, I want to reflect on the topic broadly.

Opening My Home

I am a person who likes his own space. I don’t have brothers or sisters, and didn’t have roommates during or after college. The first person besides my parents that I have lived with is my wife Sarah, and that started less than a year ago.

A home is shaped according to its inhabitants. Here’s what I mean: Even though a house/apartment is made of wood, stone, mortar, siding, shingles, nails, screws, and a lot of other inflexible materials, it flexes according to personality and lifestyle of its resident. That’s why you can take a house with three sorority girls living in it and it look and feel different than if a single 23-year-old male seminary student lived in it. To invite a guest into one’s home is to allow your space to flex enough to fit them for a temporary time. When two people are married, they take their individual ideas of home and happily/painfully/sanctifyingly mold them into one.

It is the same way with a dog. From the first minute those four dirty paws step on your floor, your home begins to adjust itself. Your (see part 2) dog will need a place to sleep, eat, play, and so forth. He will teeth and need to chew on things. He doesn’t understand the difference between my Chaco sandal and his two-dollar rope toy.

To live with a dog is to allow your idea of home some slack. Dogs don’t belong in rigid homes with rigid people. If you are reading this and considering a dog, are you willing to open your home to a creature that doesn’t understand your compound sentences? Or one who has no concept of dirty and clean sheets?

Noah’s Shotgun House

From the outside it looked like a huge, wooden, floating vessel. Not much extravagance, really. But on the inside, it was like a Steve Irwin TV show on crack. Kangaroos, elephants, bears, chimpanzees, aardvarks, and…dogs. Sure it was quirky. But there was no room for the rhinos and the giraffes to say (or grunt, or bark, or honk, whatever they do) to each other, “This arc isn’t big enough for both of us.” And indeed, neither was Noah able to say to the dogs, “This arc isn’t big enough for both of us.” What was the alternative? Face God’s judgment?

God’s favor rested on Noah. He demonstrated righteousness in the way he took care of the animals. He knew that the residents on the wooden vessel were members of God’s covenant. He recognized that all creatures were (and still are) waiting for God to make all things new.

For a family to welcome an animal, specifically a dog, is to in a sense reenact and portray (on a much smaller scale) God’s saving activity of Noah, his family, and the animal kingdom. You may get a cat to lower your blood pressure, or a dog to give you someone to keep you company, but, much more profoundly, by God’s grace, you can display the gospel foreshadowed in Noah and fulfilled in Christ.


Written by keywoodblog

March 16, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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