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Stray Dog Theology: Musings of a Divorced Christian Man...


               I recently acquired a stray dog…at first I didn’t think that this was anything more than me being a kind animal lover and being the fostering kind of heart that I am, simply acquired him. But the more time that I’ve spent with him and the more time that I’ve been reflecting upon my past few years…I feel strongly that God is speaking to me through this benignly odd relationship.

                Ponder with me for a moment the concept of a “Stray Dog”. What images arise in your mind? Think about the varied responses you would get. Some people would automatically have the most repulsive look upon their faces, cringe at the thought of such a abomination and react violently if said stray dog were to approach. Another may feel bad for the stray, but give themselves the self-assured run of excuses that they’ve rehearsed if ever there was any uncomfortable situation pressing in on them. Then you may have the soft hearted animal lover who already has several strays in their care and simply cannot take of another one, even if they want to (and they genuinely do…understandable…). Lastly, there may by some misplaced glimmer of hope be someone out there whose heart is malleable and they just have never run across a stray yet in this life…and at that the stray is swept into love and grace and becomes part of a family again…

                How far a stretch is it for me to muse upon the idea that divorced Christian men in the Church today are the churches “Strays”… you may find this offensive or you may see my point…neither really matters to me. For you see, I am a divorced Christian man, even more a divorced Christian pastor…Your opinions on this subject matter are of no consequence to me, for I have actually experienced what it was like. Far be it from me to ever really care what people think, but often times I’ve seen the Christian world be so consumed in what other’s think of them, then parade around in masks to hide their true selves, and then create theologies to suit their levels of discomfort and hidden shame.

                I have indeed experienced each of the mock situations that poor stray dog went through above within the walls of the church, the theological seminary where they train Christian leaders…not by all (by no means, I’ve actually found healing as a pastor at Sandy Hook UMC where they have welcomed me in as family). For there are always a remnant that remain truly the Church operating in the actual ways of Jesus Christ Our Lord. But when you can reflect and think…hmmm….at least 85% are either Repulsed or Reticent in your presence coming upon them…that has to take an effect somehow. Am I bitter…no not really…just disheartened by the real fruit of the people in the Church I’ve encountered…as many other fringe worthy people will gladly let you know the same as I say to you now… You see I came from the place of being the scum of the earth and by Grace alone found my way to become a Beloved of Christ. I have long learned the lesson to not judge for I am not the Judge, but to love for I am bought by Love.

                So why bring this up…because I felt strongly that no one is…do I have the answers…absolutely not. I’ve just found myself into the loving arms of a malleable and loving heart after spending almost two years in licking and healing my wounds. (Her name is April by the way…and she’s definitely a God send…) But here’s where I want to challenge the Church and this reaches much farther than just Divorced Men (and Women) but to all those who are on the “Fringes” for one reason or another…Addicts, Homeless, etc…

                Why is it that if a bleeding person came into our sanctuaries our first reaction is to shoo them away and in our annoyance call for a Committee to figure out how we are going to get the blood stains out of the carpet…What would we do if our Bleeding Lord showed up on Sunday…do we sing songs about the power of the blood, yet forget how gruesome and messy the Cross was…let alone we dare take up our own Crosses…

                It’s way too late in the course of Human History for us to continue to keep our sense of Holiness to that of a Moral-Recurrent Façade game…Jesus is coming back someday and we don’t have time to be doing anything other than the real work of the Kingdom. Being vulnerable before God and others, creating safe space for the wounded strays of the world to come, and relying fully on the Love of Christ, the Power of the Holy Spirit and the Will of God for all to come and find Life and that abundant…end…musings…please…ponder…

Enjoy Drinklings coffee while you’re at it…

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