It all begins with a simple joke: It’s been said that “Dogs have Masters – Cats have Staff”. Cats may call you Master, but tend to live a self-centered life – where you are there to serve and take care of them. On the other hand, Dogs are eager to see and please their master.
“A dog may look at you and think, ‘You feed me, you pet me, you shelter me, you love me — You must be god!” On the other hand a cat can look at you and say, ‘You feed me, you pet me, you shelter me, you love me — I must be god!” — You see, they both look at the same information, but because of their self-centered or master-centered attitudes, they come to totally different conclusions!
About 75% of high school graduates walk away from their faith when they go to college. This statistic is both shocking and disheartening, but what can we do? How can we help our children cultivate a faith in God that cannot be uprooted when they leave home? Cat & Dog Theology by Bob and Debby Sjogren seeks to address this question. Designed for 7th-12th graders, this study asks students to carefully examine their own relationship with God. In addition to rethinking their relationship with their Master, students will be challenged to live passionately for the glory of God.
This one-year curriculum consists of a student workbook and key, a CD that contains three lectures, and two readers. The first reader, Cat & Dog Theology, explains the cat and dog analogy, exposes the dangers of cat theology, and shows readers how to have a true relationship with their Master—one that is all about Him. The second reader, Cat & Dog Prayer, challenges students to rethink their conversations with their Master. “The church has existed more than two thousand years, yet in the last fifty years or so, our diet of strict me-ism has affected our attitudes, our way of life, our theology, and especially our prayers.” This book addresses the tendency of modern prayers to be self-seeking and weak. It definitely stepped on my toes a couple of times, but I’m glad! It really helped me to think, “Am I praying for comfort and temporal blessing, or am I praying with God’s will and His eternal kingdom in mind?” The full-color student workbook contains 90 lessons. Each lesson includes a reading assignment and Bible study and is designed to take about 30-45 minutes per day. The material is engaging and thought provoking.
The clever cat and dog analogy was well liked by my two children (7th and 10th graders). As cat owners, they really understood that “dogs have masters and cats have staff” and were able to apply that analogy to their own relationship with God. The student workbook includes stories about a brother and sister who are learning and struggling to live for the glory of God. Both of my children found these stories realistic and relatable. One of my children said, “I will never look at youth group the same way again.”
Each week, the reader is asked, “How is this changing your life?” Unless we help our children to cultivate a right relationship with their Master, 3 out of 4 of them will turn their back on their faith. I highly recommend Cat & Dog Theology because I think it’s exactly what we need to reverse this alarming trend—a Bible study that will change our relationship with our Master, a Bible study that will change our lives.
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