The Church of Dogs
|Mary Wakefield Buxton|
by Mary Wakefield Buxton
Urbanna, Va.— A favorite British novelist, Graham Greene, once wrote about the “Church of Dogs” that he had come across in France during his travels. A fine idea! May I have some fun with you today along with a massive flight of imagination?
Shouldn’t the Church of Dogs get started in America? Such a church would grow by leaps and yips, and fast become the largest denomination in the country. If we could bring our pooch to church every Sunday, why even hard core unbelievers would come, and maybe even accept some dogma.
The Church of Dogs would be Christian, of course, for what other religion would include dogs except maybe the Hindus, who already believe the cow is sacred? I’m quite sure if we read the Bible carefully we would discover that Jesus, who loved the little children, also loved dogs.
I’ve seen many pictures of Jesus holding lambs, so it would be quite easy for the Church of Dogs to depict our beloved Savior holding a dog. Or perhaps a pair of devout golden retrievers could be holding Jesus or at least flanking him on either side like two lovable lions.
And why not? Jesus was inclusive and loved everyone equally—men, women, Jews, Gentiles, free and enslaved, well and sick, adults and children. and . . . maybe animals too? Wouldn’t a truly godly person love all creation?
The new church would be an offshoot of the Episcopal Church, I should think (the new community outreach program would be labeled “Operation Woof-Woof”) because this church is so very tolerant. That’s because the Episcopal Church was once so very intolerant, (if you don’t believe me, just ask the Baptists and Methodists or the first women who wanted to become priests). Once a church learns tolerance, it’s a mighty leap for all mankind and animals too.
And now for the greatest news of all, to all dog lovers who share my ardent passion for man’s best friend. Why not join my “Lord” and “Lady” and me at Christ Church with your dogs at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 7, when we will celebrate my favorite rite—St. Francis of Assisi and our annual Blessing of the Animals. You and your dog (or other pet) will be warmly welcomed at this happy event.
Dogs are as good as gold in the pews. “Lord” is especially a devout Episcopalian. He knows well that Father Paul Andersen has doggie treats in his basket. He never takes his eyes off the priest and salivates as the priest moves toward him for his personal blessing. Salivation is a sign of religious devotion of the highest order.
What better sect to expand a new definition of God’s all-inclusive love than Episcopalians who stemmed from the Anglican Church (which was formed when Henry VIII wanted a new wife and decided to bypass Rome), and therefore is English. And everyone knows the English, in spite of their many faults, have always been crazy about dogs and, therefore, are forgiven for all things done and undone. The English can’t help how they feel about dogs. It’s in the genes. This is proved by the famous poetic line . . . “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noon day sun.”
The good thing about incorporating dogs into Christianity is they would be so easy to convert. Dogs are already perfect angels, and priests won’t have to sermonize to a dog because they’re naturally wonderful. They don’t gossip. They aren’t envious, greedy or judgmental, and they would never stab you in the back, lie, or steal (well, they might steal a piece of pie if someone was so foolish to leave it on the counter but never out of pure meanness).
Dogs are loyal; they guard the hearth and home and are always glad to see you when you come home. A dog forgives all things, especially if you have a biscuit in your pocket. A dog will never raise your taxes.
Like humans, however, dogs aren’t perfect. The Dog Commandments are as follows:
Thou shalt not bark at thy neighbor nor chase thy neighbor’s cat.
Thou shalt not eat nasty things found on the roadside.
Thou shalt not sleep in thy master’s bed nor chew Dad’s slipper.
Thou shalt not chase after lady dogs (and turn into a wolf) or lie down in Mom’s flower garden.
Thou shalt not run off in the night for a big time in Urbanna, or hang over the fence and bark like a fool at thy neighbor.
But what about cats? Maybe Catholics could convert cats? (They will need a LOT of sermons.)
Presbyterians could embrace birds? Mormons, horses, etc. etc.
Hope to see you October 7 at Christ Church! Praise the Lord and pass the puppy!