Chapter

Theology and Dogtalk

Stephen H. Webb

in On God and Dogs

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780195152296
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849178 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195152296.003.0006
Theology and Dogtalk

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This chapter argues that Christianity provides a helpful bridge between the particularity of care and the demand for broad changes in individual attitudes and social structures. Theologians can take the excess of pets seriously because the gift relationship between the human and the dog is an important example of grace in action, of a relationship powered by a spontaneity and smoothness that belittles human efforts at control and manipulation. Moreover, theologians should confront the category of excess in terms of its ramifications of waste and surplus. Is there room in a universe created by a good God for relationships and creatures that do not serve a specific purpose, that do not conform to utilitarian constraints? How does God value that which does not serve God's purpose? Does the human–dog relationship say something not only about us but also about God? It is argued that the image of God as a dog lover is a wonderful way to express the dynamic of God's grace.

Keywords: God; pets; dog lovers; Christianity; God's grace

Chapter.  9441 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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