Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hybrid Hounds Won't Be Found in Heaven

You've heard it said - they go together like salt and pepper or peanut butter and jelly; chips and dip or Bert and Ernie. Combining opposites or compatibles is often considered an art form in culinary circles and interior design. It is a publicists dream to market a famous team like Dean and Martin or create a dynamic duo like Batman and Robin. But some things, I contend, are still better left as one. Too much crossing can lead to strange outcroppings that will make one wish they had left well enough alone. For example, consider the craze over hybrid dogs or designer dogs as some call them. They are becoming quite popular, but I wonder if we haven't taken the freedom to intermingle a little too far. It looks to me like we've reinvented the mutt.

The word “Hybrid,” when referring to genetics, is the offspring of genetically dissimilar parents or stock, especially the offspring produced by breeding plants or animals of different varieties, species, or races. In general the word means “something of mixed origin or composition.”

Try these newfangled creations on for size and decide for yourself whether it's a mistake or genius. American Bullweiler – this is a cross between an American Bulldog and the Rottweiler. Envision being attacked and killed with slobber. How about the American Eagle Dog. Take an American Eskimo and breed it to a Beagle. Voila' – you get a cold season tracker who can pull the sled down every rabbit trail he whiffs, knocking you off with low-lying branches as you traverse the Great Divide.

If you want to keep the cattle or sheep rounded up in the snow, an Ausky is your breed. The cross of an Australian Cattle Dog and the Siberian Husky will make livestock driving far more lively if the dog pulls you on skies!

In short, a Bascottie is not an English biscuit. It is a Basset Hound and a Scottish Terrier. Here is the plan: Take a sturdy little dog with short legs, a long head and pointy ears and breed her to a short, heavy dog with a large, round head and droopy ears. Since the front feet of the Terrier are larger than her back feet, put some pounds on her rear quarters with a Basset behind. Not only will their pup's ears hang low and its rump be heavy in tow, he'll also have bushy eyebrows and a beard to drag the ground.

Don't be fooled, a Chiweenie is not something on a Taco Bell menu, but it does sort of look like a burrito with tortillas for ears. If this little hybrid can't win by a nose in a dog race, maybe it could fly across the finish line. Asta la vista, puppy!

I discovered countless crosses with Poodles and Beagles and Labs, Oh my! Borders and Shih Tzu and Pinchers and Poms dotted the hybrid hodgepodge. And there seems to be a penchant for turning upland game dogs or waterfowl retrievers into useless doormats by breeding the sport right out of them.

So it goes – different strokes for different folks. But I wonder what the dogs think about the erratic match making. Is a Labradoodle afraid to get its hair wet? Will a China Jack mess up its crest when it chases a rat? Does a Rat-A-Pap feel naked or a Schnekingese miss its schnoz? Does a Sheprador herd the cattle on dry land or drag them by the nape just as they cross the creek? Is a Petite Goldendoodle really ever certain whether to bark in English, Spanish or French?

While poking fun at dog designers, it is no laughing matter when Christianity is viewed similarly. Faith designers try to redefine truth with hybrid formulas comprised of opposing beliefs and “mixed origin.” The outcome is a worldly, man-made, mutt religion. No real accountability exists if my faith system is based on relative morality. I don't need to worry about my eternal destiny because everyone goes to heaven as a hybrid. You see, without a registry, I can be whatever I want to be and call it Christianity.

The Word of God clearly distinguishes true believers from composite Christians and clarifies the purpose and destiny of each. “There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called – one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)

Our registry is written in the book of life by the blood of Christ. If we are not covered by His blood and if we do not bear His Name, we are without identity and destined for destruction. “If anyone's name [is] not found written in the book of life, he [will be] thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)

Each breed of dog has historically been developed to be an expert at something – Great Danes hunt lions. Border Collies herd sheep. Blue Tick hounds track raccoon. I detect in many of the new hybrids there is no clear purpose for the combination; many look like obvious mistakes or the product of human amusement. Christians take note - there are consequences for watering down true faith with man-made ideas. The result may actually hinder a genuine believer from utilizing his God-given gifts.

“But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it...It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ...From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (Eph. 4:7,11-13,16)

Heinz 57 no longer means a mixed bag of canine wonder; it factors into mega bucks for the kennel crowds who develop novel and profitable products. Melting pot religions are just as trendy, but they are ultimately worthless and costly. As for me, I think I still prefer the original version in dog breeds as well as Christianity. At least I can pronounce my pet's breed and not sound like I'm sneezing. And I know what my purpose is – to be obedient to the one true Master who loves me, cares for me and bids me sit at His feet.

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