“I’m suspicious of people who don’t like dogs, but I trust a dog when it doesn’t like a person.” Origin unknown
I am writing another short post today as well.
Today, I am nursing Lily, the pug. As some of you know, I currently have three rescued pug dog: Lily, Petunia and Tulip (double entendre intended, bless her heart). Dogs have brought me great joy in my life. A number of years ago, I read "First Friend," part of Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories. This story dealt with the Adam and Eve in the Garden. How this quote touched my heart!
When the Man waked up he said,
"What is Wild Dog doing here?"
And the Woman said,
"His name is not Wild Dog any more,
but the First Friend,
because he will be our friend
for always and always and always."
I have always viewed dogs as a special gift from God. They love unconditionally, make us laugh and break our hearts when they pass away. Since I am dealing with John Piper, I believe a quote from a theologian he might respect is in order. Martin Luther said:
The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common. Our Lord God has made his greatest gift the commonest.
Unfortunately, John Piper decided to answer a question on dogs, Do Pets Distract the Christian Life? It appears that his answer is "yes" and "no." As usual, the man is confusing.
It is my understanding, from SGM Survivors, that CJ Mahaney, whom John Piper loves, discouraged his followers from having dogs since the money they spent on dogs or other animals could be money given to the church to support their *programs.*
Dogs can distract you from giving God glory
Piper makes this statement at the beginning of the audio transcript.
The first thing I would say is: Surely, yes, pets can take up too much of your time and too much of your money,
He goes on discuss all sorts of things that can distract one from the glory of God such as food, health, hobbies, etc. In other words, just about anything can divert us from keeping our eyes constantly on God.
food can and health can and family can and church can and work can and every hobby under the sun can and sports can and all manner of entertainment can and cars can and clothes can
How one goes about assessing this, in my opinion, is quite difficult. For example, when my daughter had a brain tumor and my son was born between her two surgeries, my life was filled with merely coping, along with prayers in between the difficulties for God's strength. So, in Piper's world, was a newborn baby, a deathly sick child and another daughter (4 yo) clamoring for attention from her terribly stretched parents to be viewed as seducing me away from the glory of God?
Is your conscious indicting you while your scratch you dog's ears?
So, if your conscience is indicting you for the money you spend or the time you spend combing your dog’s fur or scratching her behind the ears, you should stop, stop. You should get rid of the dog. No pet is worth the damaging of your conscience.
I can assure one and all, that never once has my conscious troubled me as I have played on the floor with my pugs or having spent hours rehabilitating Petunia who was terribly abused by her former owner. I believe that God smiles when sweet Petunia can happily greets a stranger to our house. When I got her, it took a year for her to even sit in the same room with others.
Instead of spending too much time and money on your dog, you could be performing more edifying activities.
The question with regard to time and money is not only whether it is exorbitant — which it can be, but shouldn’t be. But even if it is modest, would that time, if you had no pet, be devoted to more refreshing, more encouraging, more edifying, more loving, more God-glorifying tasks?
Piper goes on to say that he has no mathematical formula for assessing what is too much time. So, you have to figure that one out for yourself.
Piper claims that God obviously wanted us to have animals.
First because they are useful.
And besides the sheer usefulness of animals — like a horse to get around once upon a time or fish for food or cows for milk or worms for the soil or sheep for sacrifices and sweaters
Secondly, pets fall into the category of God-saturated fascination and joy.
Piper quotes a number of Bible verses.
Job 12:7–9? “Ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?”
Lastly, they help us to feel shame which is a good thing in Piper's theology.
Piper's dog, Dusty, is a God glorifying type dog since we know that Piper wouldn't have it any other way.
She loves people more than food. She overflows with affection without testing your character first. She is indomitably happy, rain or shine. She holds no grudges whatsoever, no matter how she is treated. Her youth at eight seems to be renewed like the eagles. So, if you, Father, so taught a beast with no soul, no moral or spiritual capacities, to live that kind of life, how much more should her master feel ashamed that even with the Holy Spirit I struggle to do those things?
Unlike Piper's dog, Dusty, my pugs are not perfect. They are sweet and make me laugh, But, they can try my patience at times. Tulip likes to run out into the garage and refuse to come in when I call her. So, I shut the door and make her bark to be let in. Lily likes to save her rawhide treat when I give it to her. Then, when the other two are finished, she parades her bone in front of them, occasionally inciting a riot.
I just spent a great deal of money to have most of Lily's teeth removed. Pug dogs are notorious for terrible teeth. I am sure Piper would not agree with the expense. But it is the least I could do for a pet that has brought me so much joy. Does he expect us to put down a dog who suddenly has an easily fixed problem like bad teeth because it costs *too much money?* What is too much money in his world?
I find it quite difficult to understand Piper.
Will our pets be raised from the dead?
Let me close with another animal point of view from Piper. Once again, I am confused. By the way, I hope to see my pugs dogs in heaven.
Now, lastly, with regard to specific pets being raised from the dead, that would, I think, be pure speculation. The only biblical point of it that might cause you to think that would be that God intends you to be fully happy with him. And if the presence of that pet is essential for you to know and love God that way, I suspect he will be there. That might be what I would say to a four year old. On the other hand, to the 15 year old or the 35 or the 85 year old lady who just lost her cat, I would say it is spiritually perilous to cultivate a love for an animal that has such a prominent place in your heart you think you need him for eternity.
If you need a laugh, my favorite website is Dog Shaming.