RR12 – Cat and Dog Theology

Rudyard Kipling’s short stories unveil the workings of a strange worldview.  While I lack the familiarity with his writing to form a full idea of his religion, I did find an interesting display of perspective in Kipling’s tale The Cat that Walked by Himself. Perhaps you have heard of Cat and Dog Theology.  Author Bob Sjogren explains it in this way: “A dog says, ‘You pet me, you feed me, you shelter me, you love me, you must be God.’ A cat says, ‘You pet me, you feed me, you shelter me, you love me, I must be God.’”  Rudyard Kipling, consciously or not, fleshed out this “theology” in his satirical story of the dog, the cat, and their differing relationships with their master.

While we may laugh about the all-too realistic picture Kipling’s tale draws, we may also find that, viewed with godly rather than human glasses, it hits uncomfortably close to home.  Do we simply use God to get what we want, as cats use their earthly “masters,” or do we accept His provision with thanks and endeavor to serve Him faithfully as He deserves?  When I take an honest peek into my own heart, I find that I resemble cats much more in this respect than I like to admit.  My prayers often sound more like a grocery list or a letter to Santa than the petition of a sinner to her God.  As silly as it sounds, I believe we may all learn a valuable lesson from the simple service of dogs.  Whether we choose to delve for metaphors or just enjoy the tale, Kipling’s story provides a humorous way to look at a very real situation.

~c. a.


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