“Have you noticed the girl who brings her dog to church,” someone asked me.
“No,” I answered. I didn’t react well to hearing the information. Much public news seems to center around”It’s all about me” people who do what they want with no concern for others.
Afterward, a counter-thought came to mind. Biblical stories brim with allegory. After arrival, Mary put Jesus in a manger (a feeding trough for domestic animals). The Son of God sheltered among domestic animals (in their house), a vulnerable, but secure newborn. How can we not welcome a domestic monster now in the house of the Lord, his house. Yet, a dilemma may accrue from such welcome.
As I understand it, the girl has aged to the point that she barely can come to worship at our church. The creature has become her strength, her source of courage about leaving her house for any purpose. She has passed the point of reason about whether her puppy can go where she belongs. If the dog cannot go, then she won’t.
Once I heard about the woman and her dog, many church services have happened, yet I have not located her. Someone told me that she arrives late, just before the beginning of the service, that she sits in the last pew, and that she puts the dog at her feet in order to stand and to clap her hands during the singing portions of the church service.
“From habit, the dog shakes itself just after she places it at her feet,” someone said. “If you listen carefully, you may hear its small chain and tag rattle. Otherwise, you will not understand, for the dog never makes a noise.”
As in any public place, at a restaurant, at the theater, at your kid’s school play, on a cruise ship, in an airplane, owners, managers, and members have permitted patrons’ animals. Some do that conditionally. Those animals admitted may not all rattle a very small chain and lay quietly in their owner’s feet. Society has become ever more political and outspoken, and doesn’t appear to tolerate exceptions. Allow 1 wee dog in church and the team will risk a problem when dozens of dogs attend church with their owners.