Confident and unapologetic in our faith

  • Sep. 4, 2011 12:00 p.m.

A few years ago, my oldest daughter brought home a little tabby kitten.

I don’t know what happened or when it happened, but somewhere in those first six months with our new resident animal, Dilly, he turned into a wimp, a woose, a weasel, a wiener. He grew and gained weight as expected, but he became a recluse, a hider, a scrammer, a don’t-touch-me-you-human fraidy cat.

If you were able to secure him onto your lap, you had to the count of three to release him or face the claw-piercing, pain-searing, blood-drawing consequences.

And yet he was most content spending hours on the recliner purring on my mother-in-law’s lap, or cowering under the couch or bed.

Many times we went on a cat hunt thinking that he had gotten outside and had run away, only to discover him later as he meandered out of some hiding place in the house.

One day we introduced him to the outdoors. We opened up the front door and encouraged him to come outside. No way. He came up to the door, sniffed about, looked around and stood his ground. This reluctant feline wasn’t venturing out of his safe-house. So we gave it up for a lost cause and another day.

After a few of these attempts at cat and mouse, Dilly finally and cautiously made his way a couple steps outside the front door, crouched low, nearly on his belly, wary, sniffing, nervous and quick-back into the entry way in case the bogeyman showed up.

One day another cat arrived in our yard. This was a fine-featured black female with white paws and a small white star on her forehead. She was a neighbourhood cat and we were never quite sure where her home was, but most of the time she hung out with us, and often cuddled up on one of our deck chairs. I kind of grew fond of her as she allowed me to pet her and occasionally give her some of Dilly’s treats.

The contrast between these two cats was intriguing. They appeared to be about the same age, but this black female neighbourhood cat (I just called her ‘Kitty’) was light years ahead of Dilly. She may have been smaller, but she was quicker, as I found out one afternoon when her lightning fast claws sunk into the back of my hand. She was confident and curious, gentle and yet dangerous. You didn’t want to move too quickly around her. And of course, she would leave the obligatory dead mouse and bird on our front doorstep from the green belt across the street.

One afternoon I was cleaning out the trunk of my wife’s old Nissan Sentra and out of the corner of my eye I could see Kitty walking across the street towards our yard with something in her mouth. When I turned to look I saw a black garter snake that she had deposited on the grass and as it slithered away, she reached out and batted it with her paw and continued this little game of cat and snake for several minutes.

It made me reflect on that big old fat male tabby cat hiding somewhere in our house. Somehow, maybe it was my fault, we were raising a dysfunctional pet, totally reliant on humans for provision and protection – entirely unprepared and afraid of life on the outside. And yet this smaller female was the complete opposite. Outside, she was in her element. She seldom went home and, in fact, didn’t really need to. She was self-sufficient and confident in her world.

These two cats represent two different types of Christians. We get to choose which kind we will be. It’s easy to fall into the trap of becoming a Dilly-type Christian.

Or we can be more like Kitty: charming, friendly, innocent, but unapologetic and confident in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Les Warriner is pastor at Living Way Foursquare Church in Maple Ridge.