Within my first year of marriage, I bought my wife a Yorkshire terrier. You know the kind of dog I’m talking about? A Yorkie? They are small to tiny house dogs, hypoallergenic, high energy.
We named our little guy Diesel. Diesel was a part of our family for 9 years, God rest his soul, he has gone on to the great dog park in the sky.
The Yorkie breed has an interesting story. They began their development in the mid-1800’s and it’s believed their primary original purpose was to catch rats in factories during the industrial revolution.
The breed is believed to be the result of 3 specific terrier type dogs that were intentionally bred for their traits. There is even one specific male Yorkie named Huddersfield Ben from the 1890’s who’s considered to be the father of the breed.
The Yorkie is a developed breed. People created them to be exactly what they wanted them to be. Since the industrial revolution the Yorkie transitioned from a small working dog with a purpose to a small long haired lap dog that ………sits on your lap ………. that you can dress up ……… that you can put in a purse ………. Diesel was a bumble bee for Halloween once.
Did you know the Yorkie finds it’s heritage in Scotch terriers? And the Scotch terriers find it’s heritage in something else, which comes from something else, which comes from something else.
Many scientists believe that if you go far enough back in the heritage of any dog you will eventually end up at a wolf. In other words there is a belief that all dogs share some sort of common ancestry with a large, wild, non-domesticated wolf type dog.
It’s crazy to think about how something deep within grandma’s Pomeranian, the one she pushes in a stroller and makes wear diapers and sunglasses, there is the blood of a wolf.
We’ve taken a big, strong, wild, beautiful animal and made it something small and weak and cute. We’ve made it a thing that what it used to be, would eat for a snack.
We’ve domesticated dog.
We’ve domesticated God.
We’ve taken this big, unfathomable, beautiful spirit being and we’ve named it “God”. We’ve put it in a cute costume and we’ve taken him for a walk in our pet stroller.
For as long as there has been people we’ve been trying to shape and form and create an understanding of “God” and a language by which we can speak of him.
By the time you get to 21st century American Christianity we’ve bred “God” into a lap god.
We’ve figured him out and he looks a lot like us. Haven’t you ever heard that thing about how dogs and their owners look alike, that’s a real thing. He looks a lot like us and he behaves a lot like us.
He lives within the 4 walls of church (cage) that we’ve built for him. We dress him up for special occasions like Easter and Christmas.
We love our cute little lap God.
He’s safe, we can pick him up and put him down as we see fit. He fits our lifestyle so well.
The problem of course with this is that “God” can’t be domesticated.
He is. He is the essence of all things. He is the sustaining life force for the entirety of the universe.
Ephesians 4:6 says – There is one God who is over all, in all, and through all.
or what about….
7 He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. 8 He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. 9 He covers the face of the full moon, spreading his clouds over it. 10 He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness. 11 The pillars of the heavens quake, aghast at his rebuke. 12 By his power he churned up the sea; by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces. 13 By his breath the skies became fair; his hand pierced the gliding serpent. 14 And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”
All of this is just a whisper. Can you imagine his thunder? Wow.
There is a sense of awe and excitement and of being alive that you experience when confronted by a wild animal that you just don’t get with a long haired, domesticated, pampered, lapdog.
We would do well to recognize the creator of the universe as the creator of the universe. To recognize the size, the power, the scope, the ever expanding and ever including, wild, and untamable nature of the divine.
Small dogs are the worst.
Small Gods are even worser.