It happened one Sunday morning in my previous church, and I didn't notice it until I began to preach. A dog had joined the worship service. What I earlier thought to be a hungry tummy turned out to be an authentic growl from a scruffy, black-and-white mutt pacing near the rear of our colonial sanctuary. His leash led to a thin, dark-haired woman-a stranger-who, like her dog, seemed vaguely uncomfortable.

That made three of us.

She must be blind, and that's her seeing-eye dog, I surmised. Then I saw her reading the bulletin.

When the dog persisted in yipping, the congregation began to fidget, and I realized I had only seconds to consider my options. I could try a little humor ("Is my preaching going to the dogs?"); I could boldly instruct the ushers to remove the beast; or I could get on with preaching and hope he didn't bite anyone before the benediction.

I took option three. I preached with one eye on my notes and one eye on the dog. As my sermon wore on, I grew increasingly angry. Why has ...

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From Issue:Spring 1987: Emotions
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