06
Jul
07

Stirring the Pot

posted by Mandi Logan, Ed.S., NBCT, guest writer for www.justonemore.info
On my last day as guest blogger, I had to leave you with something a little “out there”. Some of you may agree with the article below and some may agree that it is “out there”. I am not trying to be offensive in any manner but I do not share the perspective that this person does. I do believe God created animals (hello, Genesis) and we need to take care of them, but I am not sure that they are the purest form of God’s unconditional love. Set me straight if you disagree with me. Freedom of speech and opinion can be very fun! Ryan, will you start adding pets to the hospital visits (just curious)?

Animal chaplain prays, anoints, gives last rites
GREG GARRISON
News staff writer for The Birmingham News
ggarrison@bhamnews.com

Next to an open Bible on a table inside the Riverview Animal Clinic on U.S. 280, pet Chaplain Marcus Allison cuddled a sick, shivering brown puppy in one arm, reading aloud a verse of scripture.

Then he stroked the dog’s fur and spoke softly. “The Lord loves you,” he said. “The Lord has shined his grace on you. We love you.”

Becky Pearce, 22, who works at the Riverview clinic, found the female puppy abandoned on a road in Pleasant Grove. She picked her up, brought her to the clinic and named the puppy Paige. A veterinarian contacted Allison, a Homewood-based chaplain who specializes in caring for the spiritual needs of animals.

Pearce said the puppy was in bad shape, and would be difficult to save.

“He said he’d like to see her and pray for her,” Pearce said.

Allison was recently ordained by the Rev. Keith Brown, founder of The Chaplain of Pets Ministry in Stone Mountain, Ga.

Allison’s services include praying for and laying hands on pets, anointing them with oil, providing grief support for pet owners, giving last rites to dying pets and performing memorial services for pets. He draws on traditional Christianity, but he considers the ministry interfaith.

The former grief counselor says he has been through traumatic experiences with pets and was disappointed at how his own pastors have dealt with the issue of animals and the grief of pet owners.

“My ministry is for animals and people,” he said. “My goal is to help people connected with animals to have faith.”

Pets have souls and are an expression of God’s unconditional love, Allison said. “My greatest spiritual lessons have come from animals.”

He believes prayers have helped two of his own pets recover when they were on the verge of death.

“There’s nothing as good as prayer,” Allison said.

Allison, who previously ran a pet-sitting business, said he had a dog that had congestive heart failure and kidney failure, and could no longer walk. He asked his pastor to pray for the dog and the pastor said no. So he did some research looking for a pet chaplain and found Brown, who agreed to pray for the dog.
“She suddenly got better,” Allison said. “She just came back alive and could walk around the block with me again.”

Earlier, he had a dying cat. “I prayed, `Let me accept your will,'” he said. “She lived another year and a half.”

Allison likes to cite biblical references to animals.

“In Revelation, Jesus rides a great white horse,” Allison said. “Where’d that horse come from if there are no animals in heaven? Scripture says the lion will lay down with the lamb. How can the lion lay down with the lamb if there are no animals in heaven?”

Allison believes animals have souls.

“God created animals before man, before the fall,” Allison said. “They can’t sin. They don’t need salvation. It’s already assured to them. Who could be more pure than an animal? The greatest teachers of God’s love are animals. It’s the closest we can come to God’s unconditional love.”

Many people like to have a memorial service when a pet dies, Allison said. He does services to celebrate the lives of pets.

“A lot of people feel left out in the cold by the attitude of ministers toward people grieving over animals,” he said. “That’s why animal clergy is needed. Some people experience more grief when an animal dies than when a person dies.”
Not everybody has been welcoming of his offers to pray for pets, or his views on pet salvation. Some think he may be kidding, or crazy.

“Some people think it’s silly or look at me like I’m from Mars,” Allison said.
Still, some veterinarians have welcomed Allison, saying patients may find spiritual support with their pets helpful.

“Marcus is real sincere, very kind and caring,” said Dr. Arthur Serwitz, co-owner of Riverview.

“For certain people, spirituality is very important and they want to be reminded that their pets are God’s creatures,” said Dr. Amy Tate, also an owner at Riverview.

A day after the visit from the chaplain, Paige the puppy took a turn for the worse. Tate said the puppy may have had congenital kidney problems.

“It was a real complicated case,” Serwitz said.

The puppy died on Monday. “It was comforted at the end,” Tate said.

Allison may be reached by e-mail at chaplainmarcus@gmail.com, or check his Web site, chaplainmarcus.org.

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5 Responses to “Stirring the Pot”


  1. 1 Anonymous
    July 6, 2007 at 9:29 am

    Mandi,
    Well, I am assuming that you wrote this one and I agree with you. Some people are a little bit toooooo far out there when it comes to pets. Yeah, I have two precious dogs that I call “my boys” but I realize that they are just pets, not humans. God made them, but He made man in His image, not dogs or any other kind of animal. And I don’t know that animals have souls??? Where is that in the Bible? I know there will be animals in heaven but I am leaving it up to God as to how they get there.
    Unconditional love? Sometimes I can see this in my own dogs but I have had other dogs and cats that there was no love at all in them except when they needed food. Yeah, I know this can be very controversial especially around children who love their animals and want to know if they will see them in heaven. Maybe they will, maybe not, I don’t really know because the Bible doesn’t say anything about that. Now if someone could show me scripture contrary to that, please show me! I am with you, Mandi.
    Roxie Elliott

  2. 2 Jen C
    July 6, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    So I have 3 dogs that I love dearly. They are our “children” and they get spoiled and punished like children. I hate to see them hurt or suffering in any way. I absolutely HATE to see animals abused in any way… HOWEVER, I have drawn the line there. If an animal dies, it is dead. There is no soul (in my opinion)… I do have a funny story about this though.

    My dad is a pastor and one afternoon he received a call from a church member whose gold fish had started swimming crooked. She called because they had already laid hands on and prayed over the fish and they wanted to know if he’d anoint it with oil… He of course said no, the fish died and the lady never mentioned the fish again. It’s really quite funny to me… a FISH… a goldfish with a short life expectancy anyway.

    It’s all just a little much for me!

  3. 3 Ron NeSmith
    July 6, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    Animal chaplain prays, anoints, gives last rites
    GREG GARRISON
    News staff writer for The Birmingham News

    Internet Ordination:
    “Allison was recently ordained by the Rev. Keith Brown, founder of The Chaplain of Pets Ministry in Stone Mountain, Ga.”
    Just click on this URL and you will see how you can depart with $105.00 and become a Chaplain of Pets! ( http://chaplainofpets.com/APPLICATION.pdf )

    The greatest teachers of God’s love are animals. It’s the closest we can come to God’s unconditional love.” I wonder if Mr. Allison believes that polar and grisly bears demonstrate unconditional love? Under the right conditions man is nothing more than a food source. He obviously believes that only domesticated animals that have been inter-breed for man’s pleasure will be in heaven. Stop feeding your dog for a week or so and then tell me about unconditional love. He will go to anyone with food because animals have instincts, not emotions or love. ( http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/instinct) God loved us even before we were born and no matter how we “treat” Him during our life time he will forgive us of our sins and reward us with heaven IF we confess, change our life, and live for Him. His food is available to us always and we are the ones that leave the trough. Many more animals than not depend on themselves for survival. Man is a food source. If you are reduced to being a food source, is that your unconditional love or that of the animal?

    “A lot of people feel left out in the cold by the attitude of ministers toward people grieving over animals,” he said. “That’s why animal clergy is needed. Some people experience more grief when an animal dies than when a person dies.” This is without a doubt the sadness statement of all. That any man would grieve over an animal more than his fellow man who has a soul, and without Christ, is doomed to an eternal Hell. This is another example of “It’s About Me” and not about my fellow man who will be with me in heaven or hell depending on our individual acceptance of our spiritual salvation thru Him who made us.)

    The English dictionaries prove that Mr. Allison is at best misguided and at worse a heretic. Mr. Allison uses the following list of words that contradict his premises. If animals have souls (“Pets have souls and are an expression of God’s unconditional love.”) then they need grace. However he says, “”They can’t sin. They don’t need salvation. It’s already assured to them. Who could be more pure than an animal?” If they can’t sin, they don’t need grace. If they don’t need grace, why do the have a soul?
    Grace – http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/grace
    Souls – http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/soul
    Salvation – http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/salvation

    “Allison likes to cite biblical references to animals.”
    To bad that Mr. Allison reads the Bible to animals but doesn’t listen to the Holy Spirit that speaks to him thru the Word.

    “My greatest spiritual lessons have come from animals.”
    Spiritual – http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/spiritual

    Animals are different and distinct from man.
    Animal – http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/animal
    Animals have instincts, not love. They have survival and procreation instincts, not love for other species or man. Both man and beast are a food source to animals. All animals left alone and forced to exercise these basic instincts will do what is necessary to survive, even if it means biting the hand that once fed it.
    Instinct – http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/instinct

    “In Revelation, Jesus rides a great white horse,” Allison said. “Where’d that horse come from if there are no animals in heaven? Scripture says the lion will lay down with the lamb. How can the lion lay down with the lamb if there are no animals in heaven?” ( Isaiah 11:9 (NIV) 9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. ) The scripture says this will happen on earth, not in heaven. There are other horses mentioned in Revelations, most of which are not bearing good news or redemption for mankind, only judgment. Horses are not only symbolic but a tool to carry out the judgment on all mankind.

    Reverend? A title that has no meaning if Mr. Allison and Mr. Brown have unfettered and unchallenged access.
    Souls? If man and beast both have souls why did Christ die for the salvation of mankind alone? Doesn’t that leave out the animal kingdom? What about the birds of the air, the fish in the sea and all of the other creatures that inhabit the planet.
    Unconditional love? If this kind of love is reduced to the fact that a dog will jump up in your lap and lick your face when you come home at night, then mankind hasn’t a clue who God is.

  4. 4 mandi
    July 7, 2007 at 11:03 am

    Jen- Very funny fish story- better than the usual ones!!

    Ron- Amen on all accounts!! I especially like the point on bears and other wild animals showing unconditional love! It is amazing that someone would pay $105 for such a thing! This world is amazingly selfish and out for the next best scheme. Thank goodness we’re just passing through!

  5. 5 myoung
    July 12, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    While I do think some of his “services” are a little “out there”, I think there are some very valid points in the article.

    June 2nd of 2005 our cat died. My wife had the cat for 20 years and I’d known the cat for 12 years. After we got married she came to live with us and became our “child”. Erase those images of crazy pet owners who give their animals bottled water or escort their pet through the house in the wee hours of the morning with a flashlight – we aren’t like those people. But we did love her!

    Being so old she developed kidney failure and gradually got weaker and lost weight. We told ourselves that once we saw her quality of life was gone, we would have her put to sleep. Well that time did come and we made an appointment to have her put down. However, she ended up dying peacefully in our living room as my wife held her during her final breath.

    We buried her the next day and planted a flower over her grave. Then our grief began and most people didn’t understand what we were going through. We have tender spots in our hearts for animals and it was extremely hard losing her. Many of you will read this and think “it’s just a cat”, but I’m willing to bet there are others who can identify with our feelings.

    I guess all of this is to say, the loss of a pet can really impact some people. We found it hard to deal with our loss, especailly since it seemed our friends and family didn’t really get what we were feeling. We also turned to God during this time to ask Him to ease our suffering and grief – not unlike what we’d do with the loss of a human life.

    The grief experienced for some people is all too real, so I can appreciate part of what this minister is trying to accomplish. The annointing with oil, giving last rites and laying on of hands seems a little “out there” to me.

    I don’t know if animals have souls. I don’t know if we’ll be reunited with our beloved friend. However, they are God’s creations and capable of thought and emotions. So who’s to say there won’t be pets in Heaven?

    Sorry out this rambling message. I just thought a different perspective would be good.

    Matt


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