A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Saturday, January 24, 2015

If All Dogs Go to Heaven then Why Can't They Join the Church?

Meet Lulu, also known as Boo-Boo Bear. She is our baby girl. And yes, this makes her a PD, a preacher's dog. Therefore, imagine my disappointment when I learned that the United Methodist Church does not consider her a candidate for baptism or church membership.

What?! This is a joke, right?  Wasn't it Mark Twain who said that if going to heaven was about doing good works, his dog would get there ahead of him!

I can't tell you the number of times that I have practiced my sermon during our "walkie" time helping me to refine my delivery. She has scared away a couple of thieves who were trying to break into our church building early one morning. She also lets little children pet her after church on Sunday morning as long as they make an appointment ahead of time and mommy is there with her. Here we are during one of our afternoon bible story times.

[Lulu listening to her afternoon bible story.]

Do you know how many times she has to smell delicious covered-dish casseroles making their way into our church building. It's torturous for our Boo Bear to be subject to this kind of exclusion. Aren't we a church of open hearts, open minds, and open doors?

So here is her church directory picture. Doesn't this count for something?

Lulu McDowell

If dogs ever become eligible for church membership, we will need to change the name of our membership process from "Confirmation" to "'Cat'echism" for obvious reasons. This move will also necessitate that we do a better job of teaching "'dog'ma."

In the meantime, maybe we can offer "Dog's Church" or "Moments with Dogs" during worship. I told Lulu that we are at least allowed to have a pet blessing but that it would have to be outside the church building. I could tell by the look in her eyes, that she felt patronized.

I swear I could hear her say, "Doggonnit!" No pun intended.

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