Sunday, July 25, 2010

Your Dog's Going to Hell, Mine's Already in Heaven

I have never understood Communion.

How is a cracker made in a factory in Ohio, and grape juice bought in a jug at Safeway, the blood and body of Christ?

How is a magical wafer any less funny that magic underwear (Mormonism), or space aliens from another planet (Scientology), or a Monkey God?

And why are Christian churches playing pantomine cannibalism anyway?

I ask this because the latest news is that someone in Toronto is outraged that a priest gave a communion cracker to a dog.

According to those in attendance at the historical church at 188 Carlton St. in downtown Toronto, it was a spontaneous gesture, one intended to make both the dog and its owner – a first timer at the church — feel welcomed. But at least one parishioner saw the act as an affront to the rules and regulations of the Anglican Church. He filed a complaint with the reverend and with the Anglican Diocese of Toronto about the incident – and has since left the church.

“I wrote back to the parishioner that it is not the policy of the Anglican Church to give communion to animals,” said Bishop Patrick Yu, the area bishop of York-Scarborough responsible for St. Peter’s, who received the complaint in early July. “I can see why people would be offended. It is a strange and shocking thing, and I have never heard of it happening before.

Really? They are outraged?

Bishop Yu is running around like a scared gerbil because some nameless, faceless person has complained that "the magic cookie" should not be given to a dog?

I am broad-minded. If you want to go to a church that hates dogs and coddles haters, knock yourself out.

If you want to dance around in your magic underwear while eating magic cookies and talking about space aliens, monkey Gods, and cannibalism I am all for that too.

Each to his own.

But as for myself, I worship at a different church: the First Church of Field and Stream. It in an ancient church, it is the First Church, and it is not under new management:

In the First Church of Field and Stream, the resurrection story is told by fritillary butterflies and red-eared sliding turtles. The story of life everlasting is told by a young couple on a river outting, and a pair of deer bouncing across a bright green field of emerging barley.

You do not have to read these stories in a book; At the First Church of Field and Stream you can see them for yourself.

And, for the record, the First Church of Field and Stream does not hate dogs. In fact, they are part of our communion ritual.

Let us prey.

January 26, 1962 episode called "The Hunt"

From The Twilight Zone TV Series

"A dog's got a right to have a man around, just the same as that man's got a right to have a dog around.... I wonder what kind of a tea party they keep in there anyways? Must be city folks mostly. They'd be the ones most likely to outlaw coon hunting."


Matthijs said...

I don't think I've seen that one since I was 12 years old, but it is exactly as I remember. Thank you for finding it.

ayk said...

Christianity is actually not so far off from the natural scheme of things. The basic tenent, greatly pared down, is that due to originating man's mistake, something has to die in order for something else to live.

Just as the lion has to kill a wilderbeast to survive, someone had to die [Jesus Christ] in order for the rest of us to live [spiritually].

The wafer and wine/grape juice are reminders of this to Christians. Some denominations, notably Catholics, take it literally as bread turning into flesh (as in amino acids), others recognize it as a symbol.

Denominations that are more tradition-based would find it disrespectful to give a wafer, that has already been dedicated to communion, to a dog. Kind of like taking the flag from the Twin Towers site and using it as a dog bed liner.

Hope this helps.

PBurns said...

This is, of course, complete nonsense. But, of course, to so is most dogma, isn't it? The magic underewear people no doubt have some magical fairy-tale rationale for their stuff as well. And, of course, L. Ron Hubbard is king of Science Ficion and kleptocracy.

Christianity explained >>


Carolyn Horowitz said...

The Anglican church let go of the Doctrine of Transubstantiation (i.e., that the wafer and wine are the literal body and blood of Christ) during the reformation nearly 500 years ago. It's purely symbolic, at this point

I'm a lifelong Episcopalian (i.e., American Anglican), it doesn't bother me a bit that a dog was given a communion wafer. My church has a blessing for pets in the church. The outrage is likely part of the overall schism within the church in North America over social issues. Keep in mind, the Episcopal church in North America is the demonination that allows ppenly gay, female, bishops.

A big chunk of the world-wide Anglican church -- including more than a few in North America who have split and reverted to 'Anglican' churches, disagree and are pushing for a return to more 'traditional' values.

Whatever your world-view, and I 'm not going to argue theology, I would think most would agree with Proverbs 12:10, "A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel."

Dan & Margaret said...

We just call it The Church of the Open Field..

Sean said...

And we have St. Aldo and St. Teddy. Our inquisition is the Doctrine of Fair Chase.

Mongoose said...

Maybe you should understand communion more before you make fun of it, at least if you're expecting your mockery to reflect badly on anyone but yourself. Like the others have said, most Christians neither believe in transubstantiation, nor care about the transubstantiation debate. Most of us are just making a ritual offering of bread and wine, as Jesus taught us, for the remembrance of him who died to redeem our sins.

Giving a consecrated host to a dog is rather pointless since dogs have no sin and no covenant with God to redeem their sins, but I don't see how it would do any harm to the dog or to the eucharist. But as we Protestants all interpret the scripture according to our own understanding, if a Protestant is offended by this, then there's nothing wrong with his understanding either.

The only thing that strikes me as ridiculous in the whole affair is people who don't have a clue pontificating about it.

PBurns said...

Hey Mongoose, I'm OK with your mythology and make-believe. Really I am.

Ditto for the Mormons and their magic underwear, Scientologists with their space alien Xenu, the folks who believe in Monkey Gods, and the folks who pray to statues carved by the guy up the road (the animists).

If you think my saying "it's all the same thing," is mockery, perhaps you should check yourself. Are you mocking the God Xenu? Are you mocking the Monkey God? Are you mocking the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or the Reformed Druids of North America? Are you saying these religions are less than yours? Apparently! But why???

Of course, all of this stuff is entirey made up (all religion is), but I know it is therapeutic for some people and I am not mocking it at all. All I am saying is that all of these religions have parity. And yes, people are free to believe it and "intepret" it any way they want. And people are also free to shake their heads and wonder about the nature of collective madness. Surely you are not going to discount the beliefs of nonbelievers? They are the largest theological persuassion on the planet! I am not mocking them either, let me hasten to add.

You say dogs have no sin, but humans do? Really? You believe that? Based on what? Do you think dogs have no free will? Do you think people are not captive to instinct and desire?

Most folks on this planet don't believe in Jesus, of course. I wonder if they are going to go to Hell for that? Is it a sin not to believe in Jesus? Is it a sin to believe in Mohammed or the Monkey God, or Xenu, or nothing? Do sinners go to Hell? Will Mormons go there? Catholics? Methodists? Muslims? Sikhs? Animists? Bhuddists? The people who believe in transubstantiation? The people who don't?

Of course, Communion is not in the Bible, so one has to really wonder if it really matters. Maybe (just maybe) it's more stuff people cling to like a security blanket, and it's just one more thing people use to divide each other and to punish each other because of their biggotries.

I notice that the Catholic church is very quick to excommunicate (i.e. NO COMMUNION) those who are involved in the ordination of women (see ) but they have been pretty darn slow to take any action against pedophile prists. I guess being a woman is a sin that the magic cookie cannot fix, but being a pedophile is. Interesting this magic cookie!


Mongoose said...

Oh please. How is "And why are Christian churches playing pantomine cannibalism anyway?" mocking anyone but Christians? And again, why are you talking if you don't even know? Of course communion is in the Bible.

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you."
(Luke 22:19-22)

Like I said, if you're gonna talk trash about others, you should at least know what you're talking about.

PBurns said...

You are right Mongoose -- communion IS in the Bible; it's the TRINTITY that's not.

So much nonsense is said in Church it's hard to remember what's actually in the Bible and what was made up after.

Simply a time line of invention, of course. What fiction was first? My mistake -- YOUR fiction was first!

As for communion and cannibalism, I take it you don't think this says what it ACTUALLY says?
_ _ _ _

John 6: "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and will raise him up at the last day.

For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and in him.
_ _ _ __

So eat the meat of Jesus and drink his blood. That's communion. And when it's done with bread and wine, it is indeed pantomime cannibalism.

And for the record, I am OK if you want it to be allegorical. Most Christians pick and choose what they want to believe from the Bible. But being allegorical, does not change the fact that when you act it out with bread and wine, it's pantomime cannibalism.

I notice you danced away from the questions about Hell and other religions.... Don't you think your dogma is about the same as Xenu and Magic Underwear and Monkey God ? Or is yours better because all others are worse?

Is everyone going to Hell except those of one faith who believe whatever is accepted at one period of time?

And, to get back to it, do you really believe humans are always guided by free will and animals are not?

I love the fact that Christians deny animals have souls, but elevate themselves to be "the image of God."

Really? We look like God?

You would have thought he would have done better. ;)


Mongoose said...

I didn't "dance away" from your other questions, I ignored them because they're not what I'm discussing, I'm just talking about what you wrote about the dog who was given a communion wafer.

Your badly-referenced quote comes from a much longer discussion where Jesus compares himself to bread sent from Heaven to feed the people. Like much of what he said, it's a metaphor. Especially as recorded by John, who was a sucker for all things metaphorical.

And the trinity is everywhere in the Bible, every time they mention either the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit.

The more you talk, the more you don't know jack about Christianity.

PBurns said...

Actually Mongoose, you are showing your ass. But hey, why don't you listen to a PRIEST tell you how communion is cannibalism, eh?

You see it IS the blood and body of Jesus for Catholics.

And Catholicism is the FIRST made up Jesus religion (and also the largest by far) so it must be the right one, right?

And as for the Trinity, it is NOT in the Bible and it was NOT an idea believed in Jesus' time -- it became dogma after the First Council of Nicea. Look it up.

And the fact that you will not talk about how he Magic Underwear is no worse (or better) than the Magic Cookie says a lot. It is in fact what outraged you about the post. What? Your religious belief are given as much credence as Xenu? That's outrageous!

Which it is, if you think your made-up crap is better than anyone else's made up crap. Which apparently you do, or you would have said otherwise.

Which is fine.

I count it all equal (Zeus was a God once, right?) and respect it for history and story, and if people want to believe it, I am all for it. But no one who thinks can take it too seriously. Morality, sure, but not religious dogma. And your magic cookie is certainly that. Have a nice day!


Mongoose said...

Catholics can believe whatever they get told; I'm Lutheran, so I believe that I have to read the Bible and figure it out, as Martin Luther taught us. And no, the Bible doesn't specifically speak of the Holy Trinity, it's just a word that we use to refer to the way that God appears from time to time as the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. The reality of it is everywhere in the book, we just had to come up with a word for it. Just like the first guy who used the word "cancer" didn't invent it, just recognize and name the reality of it.

And if you want to get specific about what is and isn't in the Bible and when things were added on, transubstantiation is definitely not in the Bible and wasn't invented until the eleventh century. And it's specifically one of the add-ons that the Reformers wanted to get rid of.

And don't presume to tell me what outraged me, because first I'm not outraged, and second you're not a mind-reader. Apparently, you're not even a good reader of the written word. Likewise your absurd comment that if I didn't think my religion is better than everyone else's, I'd have said so. Why would I say so, whether I think it or not, when that's not remotely relevant to the topic? I'm only discussing the giving of a communion wafer to a dog. By an Anglican, mind you, which is closer to my denomination than anything else you've spoken of, so odds are very good that I know more about it than you do. As for other religions, I couldn't care less what everyone else believes and whether they'll meet with success in the afterlife. That's their problem, not mine.

In any case, it's nice to know that you're so comfortable writing authoritatively about things you don't know the first thing about, and putting words in people's mouths. I've been reading your blog thinking you were knowledgeable about something, but who knows that you're not just a blowhard in other matters as well?

PBurns said...

"I'm a Lutheran....and have to read the Bible and figure it out."


So the Bible can mean anything you want it to mean? You get to invent your own religion.

Perfect! That's what everyone's been doing since the beginning.

Now, when you read the Bible to "figure it out," what version are you reading? The Greek? The King James version? The New Modern?

Apparently the Gospel of John (one of only four Gospels) has been kicked to the curb (or at least has a big astericks next to it according to you). And, of course, the other three do not completely agree, do they? In fact, the Bible does not even have one version of the Ten Commandments. So yes, figure it out. Drop what you don't like and take what you do. All good. I am all for free-form religion.

What a funny thing for a Lutheran to lecture anyone about communion, however. You see, Martin Luther Himself actually believed in the eucharist as pantomime cannibalism. You do not have to believe it is human blood and human flesh, of course, but you really should know that Martin Luther did. He called it the "Sacramental Union" and you can read all about it here >>

_ __ _ _

"In the sacramental union the consecrated bread of the Eucharist is united with the body of Christ and the consecrated wine of the Eucharist is united with the blood of Christ by virtue of Christ's original institution with the result that anyone eating and drinking these 'elements' — the consecrated bread and wine — really eat and drink the physical body and blood of Christ as well. Lutherans maintain that what they believe to be the biblical doctrine of the manducatio indignorum ("eating of the unworthy") that even unbelievers eating and drinking in the Eucharist really eat and drink the body and blood of Christ sustains this doctrine as well as any other doctrine affirming the Real Presence. This view was put forward by Martin Luther in his 1528 Confession Concerning Christ's Supper....
_ _ _ _ _

So there you go. Pantomime cannibalism. And the founder of your faith was a huge supporter of it too.... But, of course, you do not have to be. You can make up your religion as you go along. As humans have done since the beginning....

Peace be with you!

And if you no longer want to come to this blog because I do not salute confusing religious dogma (which, according to your free-form Lutheranism, you believe you are free to embrace or reject depending on your whim), then I will have to live my life without you. I am sure we can both get by ;)

Have a loook here, however >>

Which one do you think is right?

And are the ones who are wrong going to Hell??