In anticipation of the book’s release in 2014, I am going to offer a series of excerpts on this blog. I hope these selections wet your whistle; may you be like my son, Sam, who knows the word, “more”!
I found my dog, Nikki, on the side of the road when she was a
puppy, so while we don’t have an exact way of knowing her
pedigree, her interaction with Sam has confirmed our long
held suspicion that she is some kind of collie. Shepherding
comes naturally to her.
This sheep dog’s relationship with our little one
changed rather quickly. It all started when Sam began to figure
out that those strange fleshy appendages flapping across
his line of sight actually belonged to him. Once he discovered
his hands, Sam would lie contently on his back and
just stare, opening and closing his fingers again and again,
utterly transfixed. But then he started to reach for things,
including Nikki. He was very awkward at first, somewhat
like a dog pawing at an object on the ground. But unlike
canines, Sam has an opposable thumb, which means he has
the ability to grab. With the development of this skill, our
long-haired furry friend began to avoid this little creature
who seemed to be constantly tugging and pulling on her.
No longer was she trying to shepherd him; now she needed
protection from him!
What do you think? Is it possible to teach an old dog
a new trick? If I may use this question as a segue, it is popular and
trendy nowadays in certain denominations to talk about
how we want to welcome the “little ones” into our congregations
by which we refer, not only to children, but especially
to young adults and families. We also like to remind
ourselves that we welcome the so-called “lost” in reference
to those who previously have not been in communities of
faith, the so-called “un-churched.” Yet we often find ourselves
biting off more than we can chew.
Copyright Andrew Taylor-Troutman, 2014; Wipf & Stock