Monday, December 17, 2007

Luther on Dogs, part II

This post is dedicated to Rowan, Cub, Molly, and Grendel (who begged me). Also, Scout, and Diana over at Wounded Bird. And All the Other Dogs.

Two more quotes from Luther about dogs. These I found in Table Talk, one of the last volumes in Luther's Works. It's called Table Talk because after Luther got married, he always had students and other guests over to his home (the Black Cloister); some of them were semi-permanent guests. Oftentimes, these students would jot down Luther's remarks as he was speaking. The Table Talks contain remarks that are often funny, sometimes earthy, sometimes offensive. Imagine if you were speaking off the cuff, and had admiring fans recording everything you said!

Luther's household sounds chaotic to me. In addition to his wife, six children, his wife's aunt, and several children, the household included students and a wide array of animals, including a little dog, Tolpel (called Clownie in the previous post.)

Dog Provides Example of concentration:
"When Luther's puppy happened to be at the table, looked for a morsel from his master, and watched with open mouth and motionless eyes, he (Martin Luther) said, "Oh, if I coud only pray the way this dog watches the meat! All his thoughts are concentrated on the piece of meat Otherwise he has no thought, wish, or hope." (# 274, pp. 37-8)

A Dog Suggests a Topic for Comment
Dr. Martin Luther played with his dog and said, "The dog is a very faithful animal and is held in high esteem if he isn't too ordinary. Our Lord God has made the best gifts most common. (from #2849b, p. 175)

Personally, I think what Luther might mean in the second quote is that the dog would be held in even higher esteem if he wasn't so ordinary (so common). I love that he says that "God has made the best gifts the most common." To me, that's one of the main points of Luther's theology.


Unknown said...

I ddin't know such things. Nifty.

David said...

As far as the first quote goes, I've seen plenty of men pray for meat in such a way. A good steak and a beer can do a lot for a guy.

June Butler said...

Diane, Diana says thanks to you and Martin Luther. My sweet dog is nearly your namesake, you know.

Pastor Eric said...

I loved this post. Make sure you stop by my site sometime and see what I did to follow this up. It gave me a good chuckle :)

Fran said...

This is so lovely - thank you.

Grendel said...


I pray for Gravy every day. And My Prayer is Answered! So far, so good. God is very good to dogs.

And I think Martin Luther's house was Fun. Lots of things Going On. I am glad to know he Accepted Dogs.

Lindy said...

Oh Diane that is a great post for all us dogs. I knew Dr. Martin gave table scraps... I just KNEW it. Lindy doesn't.

Please pray for my guardian, btw. She is sick and not playing with me.



John, an unlikely pastor said...

Dogs have so much to teach us. Our American Water Spaniel Teddy has shown our family new definitions for
1) faithfulness and trust
2) living in the moment
the part about dogs food and us and prayer is too true. Dog's live with right now on their minds. They chase the bird they see not the one they remember. That's a real lesson for us today.