But the fact that I'm a Christian who values the lives of animals by not wearing or eating them, kind of makes me an anomaly among most of those who share my faith.
So imagine my delight when I came across the opportunity to read and review a book written by a fellow Christian that champions the idea of how precious and special animals and our relationship to them actually is.
God of All Creation: Life Lessons from Pets and Wildlife, by James Robison and James Randall Robison, was a refreshingly pleasant read.
James tells the story of how he and his wife Betty fall completely in love with a miniature Dachshund, they named Princess. The story begins the way many do when one member of the family becomes smitten with an adorable dog or cat, but others in the household are not so supportive.
James's wife Betty when first hearing that he wanted little Princess, had a decidedly negative response. "I don't want a dog in the house", "we travel too much", "it's too much trouble." He was disappointed, but then decided to fight "dirty" and use their grand kids to get her to relent. Once all four of them got a glimpse at Princess, it was over..
What I really enjoyed about this book was how the author was able to express the many parallels to how God views and relates to us and his relationship with Princess.One instance that particularly tugged at my heartstrings, was when he shared about how sometimes his little companion gets into trouble while exploring outdoors and getting sandburs stuck in her paws.
I love how he relates his chosen response to her getting into mischief and getting hurt to how he sees God responding to us.
As I was reflecting on this process, I realized some profound truths. When I can tell that she's in pain, I lovingly invite her into my lap to take of it. People also need a compassionate invitation in order to gain their trust so they will come for help. Princess would never come to me if I shouted, "Stupid dog. Get out of the yard. Quit sniffing around. You're going to get what you deserve. I told you not to go there!" That would not make her want to get on my lap, in fact, she would probably run from me! But this is what many children hear from their moms and dads... This is also what we too often hear within the family of Christ. Believers can be harsh, judgemental, and unforgiving: "I can't believe you did that! You will reap what you've sown!"
Now, in all fairness I should let you know that is a book written for an evangelical audience, by an evangelical minister. Some might say televangelist. But, he and his wife Betty's ministry, Life Today, is one that reaches out to poor families and children around the world in amazing ways that include food, water wells, and rescue from sexual slavery.
But even with it's evangelical bent and some churchspeak, I am thankful that there is a resource I can point to for many of my fellow Jesus followers that both honors their faith and the importance of seeing God's creatures as more special than they may have previously believed. It's such a sweet story. I highly recommend it.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.