Good news to share – and loving community
Dianne and I are both members of HDB – Highland Dogblog. It is an impressive organisation. Working through the internet it has grown to over six thousand members in a very short period of time – enabling dog owners to meet, offer support, share insights together and walk their dogs together.
HDB has proved to be almost infectious. I remember meeting a fellow dog owner in the woods at Monadh Mor. Had she heard of HDB I asked. No she said. Look it up on Facebook I said. And she did and she joined. It really has spread that easily – through fun events, sweatshirts and hoodies, and word of mouth.
Of course there is more to sharing faith than that. And yet I cannot help reflecting that it is a shame that often we do not speak of our faith with such enthusiasm – and that our church is not as easy to access and engage with. So often we seem to be trying to get people to buy into a complex liturgy, a complicated institution, doctrine worked out over hundreds of years. Where is the easy access point?
Last night (as I write) one of the HDB dogs got lost on a mountain around Dalwhinnie. Within hours HDB members were searching the area in the last of the daylight, providing food and bedding to the owners who had decided to sleep in their car overnight, spreading the news through the web, and signing up to meet this morning to climb the mountain and use the day for a more thorough search. I am happy to say that the dog turned up late last night but what an impressive display by HDB members of community concern and action.
Once again I could not help reflecting how in churches we rarely mobilise so willingly or so quickly when one of our members is in need. Certainly human needs can be lot more complex than that of a lost dog but too often a rapid response applies only to our particular friends. Somehow too often we keep our distance.
There is a proper place in the life of our churches for properly structured initiatives for sharing faith and for properly structured pastoral care. But HDB shows that simply spreading the word of what we have found valuable and a simple willingness to help one another can be very powerful.