Yesterday, I finished reading Cat & Dog Theology: Rethinking our relationship with our master; Living passionately for the glory of God, by Bob Sjogren & Gerald Robison. Gerald is a fellow instructor with Walk Thru the Bible Ministries.
The premise of the book comes from observing how cats and dogs go through life and relate to their humans. Dogs say, “You love me, you feed me, you play with me, you care for me, you must be god.” Cats say, “You love me, you feed me, you play with me, you care for me, I must be god.” (Living with a cat, I agree with the author’s analysis!)
As the authors explain, churches are filled with cats who think everything is about them. The church exists to meet my needs. If I’m not fed, I can go elsewhere. Worship should play my favorite songs. Programs should make me comfortable. I go to church to connect with my friends.
Regarding the issue of suffering, Bob & Gerald explain that when a cat is diagnosed with an illness, they respond, “What did I do to deserve this?” A dog responds like Job, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).
The authors stress that we should approach God more as a dog would. Worship is about declaring God’s glory. I should seek to serve and minister to others. God may bring events into my life that will stretch me and make me uncomfortable if they will ultimately bring him greater glory and honor.
On Thursday, we were horrified by the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, OR. Many voiced the questions, “Why would God allow such a tragedy?” “If God really cared, why does he allow suffering and pain?” Without sounding overly simplistic and pious, might God allow a tragedy of this nature to turn the conversation of the nation towards faith? Could God permit a horrific event to provide an example of Christians who stood up for their faith and were martyred as a result? Might God allow something like this to drive Christians to their knees to pray despite the President saying prayers are not enough?
As Christ followers, we should approach God more like a dog than a cat. Rather than pursue our comfort, we should focus on God’s glory. As the book of Job testifies, God can be glorified through tragedy and suffering. We may never completely understand the reasons, but God has the right to do whatever it takes to bring glory to his name.