MY DOG’S NAME IS FRANK. He is a little white-haired terrier. He may be small, but he lives large in the Gungor family. He thinks he’s one of us and believes his is the role of protector. If you came to my door right now and we were trying to talk, Frank would be a force with which we’d have to reckon. He’d be freaking out that a “stranger” is at the door. And his bark is unnerving. He doesn’t have the high-pitched arf-arf-arf of tiny dogs—it’s more of a midtoned rarf, rarf, rarf! And he would just keep on barking until I yelled, “QUIET! Go to your kennel!” at least a couple of times. Then he’d reluctantly shut it down and stroll toward his kennel, stopping every few feet to look back, grumbling under his breath.
It’s not that Frank is overpowering. Nor does he elicit fear. He certainly doesn’t project any kind of authority. He’s just a little dog. But you can’t ignore him either—he’s too there. And he makes his thereness known.
Small dogs are like that. They may not run the world, but you can’t tune them out—especially when they’re speaking. I’ve learned some great life lessons from Frank. In a way, I think God wants people to be more like the small dogs. It’s true that God made “big dogs” too—the good-looking, excessively talented power people. But I don’t think they do the most to change the world.
Maybe you feel like one of the small dogs, but if your life consistently carries the tone of the eternal, you can’t be ignored. I believe that, for the most part, the world gets changed by “small” people. I am small. We smalls may not run the world, but neither can the world tune us out. If it weren’t for small dogs, the world might be a much quieter place; but it would be a needier one as well.
Having spoken up for small dogs and having acknowledged my attachment to Frank, let me add that I’m not a dog lover in the general sense. For instance, there’s Fluffy, the tiny dog that lives next door. She’s not a small dog. She’s microscopic—a four-legged, rodentlike creature with an incessant, high-pitched yap. If she tried to live at my house, Fluffy and I would have to discuss adoption options. Neither do I get along with my wife’s sister’s dog, Bear. He’s too big and lumbering. I’ll give him credit for settling down a little since the neutering, but our relationship wouldn’t have survived his puppy phase. He was a mammoth, uncoordinated black lab who either knocked over or chewed everything. I just can’t do high-maintenance dogs.
But Frank has been good for me. Coaching me in the way of the small dog, he has made me a better person—even a better person of faith. I’m a follower of Jesus, and in my attempts to follow him more closely, I’ve discovered that God speaks to me through all sorts of things—circumstances, relationships, events, weird relatives, and even my dog—to show me what he wants me to learn.
Frank is my current tutor in the art of living the small-dog life. It’s true that he has his issues (as do all of us). But all in all, he is a dog that knows who he is and what he wants in life. He’s a small dog with a mission.
I’ve been seeking the way of the small dog for some time now. If you join me, I guarantee we won’t be ignored in this world.
© 2010 Ed Gungor
How to Live a Life That's Hard to Ignore
One Small Barking Dog
How to Live a Life That's Hard to Ignore
In this humorous, insistent book, Pastor Ed Gungor demonstrates that the world is changed most by ordinary people—the "small dogs" of the human race. Small dogs may not run the world, but neither can the world tune them out. If it weren’t for small dogs, the world might be a quieter place, but it would certainly be a needier one.
With chapters like "Dare to Be Small," "Fight the Big-Dog Lie," and "The Bark of Faith," Gungor challenges the notion that earthly prominence, status, and power are essential to significance. Reminding us that small is the new big, he inspires us to fall in love with life—the everyday, normal kind—and shows us how to make an eternal difference.
Living a Life That’s Hard to Ignore
The thing about small, barking dogs is that they can’t be ignored. They may not be show-dog material or win outstanding awards, but through their persistence and insistence they make themselves known.
Only a handful of people ever achieve notoriety and "greatness," but the energizing truth of One Small Barking Dog is that every single one of us can change the world. New York Times bestselling author Ed Gungor debunks the big-dog lie and clearly teaches "ordinary" people how to live out their faith in a way that not only changes the world we live in now but that affects lives for eternity.
By the time you finish this book, you won’t be worried about being small. You’ll be ready to take on the world. You’ll know how to live a life that can’t be ignored.
Whether you’ve just graduated from school or you’ve been at this life for many years, Ed Gungor’s concrete principles and simple life wisdom will show you new ways to make a big impact on your world.
- Howard Books |
- 240 pages |
- ISBN 9781476786445 |
- April 2014
Read an Excerpt
Reading Group Guide
Author Ed Gungor focuses on the small things in life, like his dog Frank, a Westie. Though Frank is just a small dog, in small ways he’s a very motivating personality. And with that idea in mind Gungor explains how being small—living a regular, normal life— can still make a big difference in the world. You don’t need to be famous, beautiful or talented to be used by God. Instead, you can be one of the small dogs of the world that have a big impact.
Questions for Discussion
1. The basic theme of the book is that leading a simple, normal can be better than trying too hard to stand out. Do you believe this to be true? Have you seen examples of this in your life?
2. The author quotes Jesus’ saying “the greatest among you will be your servant” (7). How is this idea built upon throughout the course of the book?
3. Why does the author use the comparison to dogs and their personality traits? Does this help you understand the deeper meaning o see more