The Emperor’s New Dog

The Emperor's New ClothesDog

I like dogs. Humans have had a good relationship with dogs for a long time and I approve of them, wholeheartedly. I don’t really approve of cats. I don’t know anyone that went hunting with a cat and besides, they scratch. However, I am showing a prejudice for dogs and do feel mighty ashamed for having these unpleasant thoughts associated with cats. Therefore, the idea came to me that I might feel better about cats if I just changed their names from cats to dogs. That just might make things right.

From now on, I would prefer that everyone I know refer to cats as dogs. Both cats and dogs will be called exactly the same, though it could cause some confusion here and there. But this new rule will make it possible to pass laws that make any public reference to cats paramount to hate-speech against any dog that was formerly called a cat. That way we can have a new civil rights bill that will give the new dog the right not to be called a cat. Wow! What a brainstorm I’m having.

I’m not a real smart guy (some call me a moron) and you might have guessed that from the above paragraphs. But I think this just about sums up my understanding of homosexual marriages. At no time in the history of mankind to my recollection have these types of relationships ever been called a marriage. So in my simple way of thinking about things, I wonder why our society thinks they have a right to redefine something just about as fundamental and easy to understand as cats and dogs. It is a complete puzzlement to me.

Is it hate-speech to call homosexual relationships abnormal or disordered? Because if I saw two male birds building a nest together I would probably say that I discovered something that was really unusual and I might want to take pictures of it to send to a bird magazine or something. Would that be wrong? Or if a cat loved to ride in the back of my pickup truck and go hunting, I’d think someone might soon take notice and say that I have a pretty strange cat. So should I get mad at them? Maybe so, because it looks to me that it is hate-speech if you just want to call something what it really is without making up a new word for what it isn’t. But I must be wrong because the world seems to say that a new meaning for a word changes the entire nature and character of a thing. It magically makes something that is abnormal, ordinary and quite normal in behavior. It must be one of those concepts they study at the big universities, ‘cause I find it way too complicated for me to understand. Might be that algebra stuff.

That’s really pretty neat though. Wait just one second then! (And y’all thought I was dumb), why don’t all of you just redefine my name to Emperor? It ought to work for me too, shouldn’t it? That would mean that my nature and character would change magically and I’d be in charge of everything and everyone. I’ll be filthy rich and live in a castle. And as the new Emperor I might just get me one of them new fangled dogs ‘cause he might just come in handy if someone tries to break into my magic kingdom.

This changing the nature of things by some law or ‘other has got to be true otherwise our whole society wouldn’t be so darn eager to change the meaning of stuff by redefining some words I thought I understood. So if I’m now the Emperor and if you still don’t see my new clothes or my new dog for that matter, you might just find yourself getting arrested. You’d better say that you admire my clothes and my dog even if you don’t. Well, OK, I’ve given you fair warning. I think I might start liking this.

So, for the sake of equality, there will no longer be any cats in this world; only different kinds of dogs. That should end my disapproval of cats. So, as your Emperor (I assume you are calling me Emperor now), I decree that there will no longer be any such thing called a cat. Well that should just about do it as far as I’m concerned. One more problem solved. Now they can go back to the important work of redefining the word marriage.

Boy, after all this deep thinkin’ my head’s hurtin’. So, in ending, please don’t get mad at me. I know I’m just a simple fella asking some simple questions. I’m not nearly so smart as all these politicians who are hard at work on all these vital issues of national importance. After all, that’s why they make the big bucks, ain’t it? As for me, I’m gonna take some Goody’s powder and take a nap.

P.S. Do you think the Supreme Court will vote favorably for my idea of banning the word cat? I sure hope so, but if I could just get them to change my name to Emperor, I could do it all on my own. That would be just to my liking. I think redefining words could work out real good. And it might be fun at that. On that note, I think I’ll just sleep on it and see what they end up doin’.

Can Dogs Go to Heaven?

Fred

I must admit I don’t have an answer to this one and theology does make it seem like an impossibility. But as doubtful as it is, I’d love to think that they do because one thing is obviously certain to me. Dogs can teach us more about living the Christian life than most people. Now dogs have different personalities and natures, so this does not pertain to every dog. However, I have been blessed with some truly remarkable pets throughout my life.

What is it about dogs that I admire? What have I learned from my dogs that I would do well to emulate in my own life?

First of all, loyalty: for the loyalty of a good dog is something to be admired and rarely found among our peers. You can mistreat a dog, forget to feed him or walk him, or ignore him and yet he persists in being faithfully attached and would never abandon your home for another person who offered him better food and treatment; as his loyalty is built on love and trust.

Also, patience: for the patience of a dog is amazing. They wait for their owner to pay them some attention, to play with them, etc. and never give up hope that the hour will come – if not today, maybe tomorrow or the next day.

Obedience is another admirable trait. Some dogs surrender their will to you entirely. They only want to be pleasing to you. Though they do not understand our motives or the outcome of our commands they are only happy to promptly comply with our wishes – no back talk, no hesitation.

An attitude of self-sacrifice is present in many dogs; willing to give their very lives to protect their family and to come to their aid. They do not weigh the odds or ponder the possible failure of their action – they just defend what they have come to believe in, which is us. Their love is agape love or self-sacrificing love and is of the highest order.

Cheerfulness and joy is the normal disposition of a dog that has been properly raised and socialized. They always lift your spirits by their show of happiness and joy at just seeing you after a short absence. Leave the house for 5 minutes and upon your return your dog will greet you like he hasn’t seen you in months.

Long-suffering is another trait that truly amazes me.  They live in the moment with no thoughts about past sufferings or future uncertainties. I have seen dogs on the verge of death lying on an operating table at the vet. At their first sight of a familiar family face they express pure joy by wagging their tail even if they have lost the ability to sit, stand or roll over. When hurt, sick or dying, they suffer in silence without so much as a whimper. They simply go silent and suffer in silence.

A dog may be mans best friend on a number of levels and we might learn more from our dogs than they do from us. I can teach a dog many silly tricks but a dog can teach me to practice the theological virtues of faith, hope and love in a most profound way. An entire book could be written about many other admirable qualities of these fine animals but these will suffice.

If I could only live a life that expressed my love for God in such a manner I might become a saint. Dogs may not go to heaven but they just might help some of us get there by setting a wonderful example. All we have to do is apply it in our lives and thus mimic their behavior in acts of unconditional love for God. That might make them more than man’s best friend; they may be our soul’s best friend and spiritual director as well.

P.S. Wally, dog on the right, went to his reward about 1 1/2 years ago. Fred, on the left, has taken up Wally’s role as spiritual director and seems capable of filling the paws of his predecessor.