Furry Christianity

furry-christian Having speculated about Christian mission to furries the other night it turns out the darn thing does exist.

Here are a just a few of the sites I found:

That last one is actually a church. I think I am going to have to eat some of my words here. In my defense I can only say, only in America.

Actually, no, my argument that it helps not the furry isolated in Perth essentially holds.

Still, I am left gobsmacked that there’s a church.

Encyclopedia Dramatica has this to say: “Rarely found in nature, the Christian furry is a bizarre mish-mash of ideals. It appears this exists only because the Narnia series had talking animals and Christian overtones. Unfortunately, the spiritual side only seems to make them more Batshit crazy, as they make claims about the Garden of Eden being a furry paradise “… because the animals were able to speak, clearly they were Furries.” Are as likely to start preaching about Jesus as they are about the evils of fursecution. The only eventual outcome is for a Christian furry to begin whining about the lack of furry representation in the Bible, particularly the lack of detail regarding yiffing on Noah’s Ark (also known to them as history’s first furry convention). After all, they DID require one of each gender for “reproductive purposes”…”

I have to admire the audacity even as I shake my head.

Postscript: the above comments were written in the midst of my surprise at finding a Christian mission to furries and were not intended to slander furries. The Encyclopedia Dramatica quote is not an accurate portrayal of the subculture. Read the comments for further information.

14 thoughts on “Furry Christianity

  1. I would have to say that Encyclopedia Dramatica would be a BAD source for something like this.
    I am a Christian and I am a furry. I have never seen anything like what is mentioned on ED. Whoever made that article was bat**** crazy. I have to wonder why people write these things or even why other people believe them without further research.
    As for the church, a few non-furry people attend. I even send the IRC logs of the services to one of my bosses. Actually a nice place. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming, and anyone is welcome to join in. People from Canada and Wales frequent there.
    Crusader is a personal friend of mine. A very strong Christian with exceptional knowledge of the Bible. A very nice guy if you get to know him.
    Before you slander us, at least try to talk to a few Christian furries. I think you would be pleasantly surprised.
    Even main-stream furries aren’t as weird as ED portrays them to be. There was an article written by a reporter who went to a furry convention. He wrote that he was one of the most dressed up people there and that he might as well have gone to a Halloween party at a Catholic school.
    http://www.hartfordadvocate.com/article.cfm?aid=3873

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  2. “Hell hath no Furries” LOL. Very interesting article Fletchman. Thanks for the link. Slander was not my intention, even if I was being a bit flippant. Part of the problem is, precisely as I said in my earlier post, that the movement is so diffuse that its hard to observe face to face. There are no conventions near me that I know of. Prior to this the best material I had come across was some YouTube vids of a Furry convention and some articles by Furries which, judging from this, were at more the extreme end of the movement. I don’t think this invalidates my original suggestion, that contextual church planting amongst furries is unlikely to work any place near me. But you do raise my curiosity. What is it like to practice Christianity as a furry? What is different for you? What is not?

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  3. Taking things in the order you typed it.
    First off, since slander was not your intention, you might want to edit the original post at some point, or do a retraction that is as visible as the problematic post. Christian Furs don’t need any more people getting incorrect ideas than already do. Furrys in general have terrible PR, which is something we at the CFF are trying to fix by proving that Christianity and furriness are not incompatible.
    A lot of your points in your last comment could bear with reconsideration given that we are an INTERNET church. We don’t have a physical building, and probably never will. We meet on IRC. Thus, I would argue, contextual church planting not only COULD work “near you”, it already HAS. Also, you could easily come to our services. Which actually brings up an interesting point somewhat in favor of your original thesis about contextual church planting. If you did choose to come visit us and wanted to come to the service, you would have to remember that we meet on Saturdays, rather than the more traditional Sunday. This is quite simply because we recognize the value of ‘brick and mortar’ churches, and thus encourage dual membership where possible, and thus have our services Saturday evenings rather than when they might keep people from face to face contact with other Christians on a regular basis. Ergo, it could be convincingly argued that we only are “three-quarters of a church” or some such as far as church planting goes. The other way around to look at it is that in this one case it seems like the drive for a specialty congregation is strong enough that the body of Christ can have its cake and eat it too.
    Now for the questions you asked. “What is it like to practice Christianity as a furry? What is different for you? What is not?”
    Theologically, there are no differences per se. Other people might claim otherwise, but the people they are referencing (including themselves) would not be Christians who had a basic, or genuine, understanding of the Faith. Pastor Oren Otter took our Statement of Faith from the one used by his father’s church pretty directly. Of course, certain questions are unlikely to come up in a “mainstream” church are commonly discussed among furs. “If I want to have a skunk body when I get to Heaven, can I?” is something that many pastors of ‘brick and mortar’ would just blink and say “Well, I have no clue, but I do know that whatever body you have will be something you fully enjoy.”… where-as we would get into entertaining speculation, not only on the subject of whether or not such is possible, but as to, if it is, whether the spray glands would be absent, present but unused, or would spray sweet perfume.
    As for the details about how we tend to worship, well, we do hold our services “in character” as we feel it’s most certainly a part of who God created us to be, much like we tend to drift towards services that link up with our preferences in music and liturgical stylings. I think that the CFF is the only play you will ever, even rarely, see a prayer phrased in terms of a pet’s reckless affection for his Master. The illustrative stories that introduce our sermons are all stories about anthropomorphic characters, rather than base-line humans. (These can be read in the online sermon archives if you want first-hand data).
    The other thing that is different is that we often get misunderstanding (which can lead to outright hatred in some cases) from both non-Christian furs and non-Furry Christians. The non-Furry Christians often think that we are all sexual perverts by definition. While there are some very vocal minorities of homosexuals, for example, in the fandom, they are the sick people who need our doctoring. The non-Christian Furrys sometimes think we are going to throw hell-fire and damnation words at them any minute and open up with a preemptive verbal strike on that basis. Almost all of us know that “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
    P.S. The questions you asked were very useful… are you sure you wouldn’t ALSO like an equally, or more detailed description of how being based in a chat-room rather than a building flavors our operations/worship/mission? It seems that that would be an interesting thing to consider in terms of the original point about over-specialization that you were trying to make.

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  4. Draco, ok, I can make some editorial adjustments to the original post. In the interests of openness though I think I’ll leave the text intact and just do a postscript.
    As for internet church, I didn’t realize that was the situation when I first posted, so apologies there but you mask it better than most. However I must admit that I do have some reservations about internet church so called. I can see how virtual interaction can complement face to face interaction (in fact I do heaps of this myself) but I can’t see how it could ever serve as a substitute for it (and believe me this is not for lack of trying). So, given you yourselves have found the need for dual membership, for me it does raise questions about what we call church and what we call parachurch. But that being said, this isn’t the only situation that raises these sorts of questions.
    You have got me intrigued about how you run your services though. I would be tempted to try that sort of thing amongst my own tribe, recontextualized appropriately of course. I think I’ll be checking your archives. And yes, feel free to bring on more detailed descriptions.

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  5. A postscript works just fine and thank you very much for doing so.
    Might have something to say on Church vs Para-Church, and almost certainly WILL have something to say on how we carry out our services (if someone else doesn’t beat me to it), but I have been staring at this box with writer’s block for too long without acknowledging your gracious edit so I am going to just hit “post” at this point.

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  6. Ok, here’s a reflection. My personal preference is for shrines over services in an online environment. Services require synchronization, a particularly difficult prospect for me here in Australia. Shrines are more asynchronous. You can leave things – a reflection, a confession – and maybe come back, maybe not. Less immediate sure, but more practical I find.

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  7. If I understand you right, Furrs Fur Christ and Christian Furs would be more like what you are talking about, given that they have areas for prayer requests and such. Oren felt that even with such things existing, there was still a niche for a Church with services, partially as an outreach to furry fans who feel that Christians hate them and that all Christians believe that God hates them. And hey, we are still at it, so it seems to be worth it. We have our own forum area on the Ottercomics forums (which mostly gathers dust), and fellowship usage of the channel in which we meet is not limited to any particular time of day. Many of us keep odd hours, and we already have regulars diverse time zones (including Europe and Korea), thus there is someone there at least 75% of the time I would say to greet anyone who should drop in. It might not always be a mature Christian but a friendly muzzle is usually about.
    As for what we do differently as an online church let me throw out a few things at random:
    Hymns: We follow the link in the bulletin to download the instrumental versions of the hymns from the church library of such on a page that also includes the lyrics. We then sing along separately, but God hears our voices together.
    Disruptions: If someone came into a normal church during a service and started screaming obscenities or loudly offering free copies of Playboy or yelling that anyone who gets a tattoo is doomed to Hell… it would be a big deal. With us, it may disrupt the mood, but generic trolls, spammers, and fur-haters are par for the course, and we just kick or ban them as necessary and move on. If they are making theological objections, almost no matter how ludicrous, we will usually ask them at least once to take it to a private message, or wait until the service is over. One of my designated duties is actually “doorman” or “bouncer”. That role isn’t actually very much about evicting people who cause trouble. Any of the other operators can do that perfectly well. My special responsibility is about finding ways to wrangle them into a position where they are only being rude to ME, privately or otherwise arrange it to maximize the chance of turning an enemy of God into a friend with gentle words and calm logic.
    Communion: Twice a year if I recall correctly… bring your own bread and grape juice to the monitor. Good thing most of our members don’t subscribe to transubstantiation. 😉
    What might or might not turn out to be a more perminant link for those reading this years from now: http://furryfellowship.org/ .

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  8. For communion specifically? If so, as a first impression, I have to say that due to the focus on physical symbols that are meant to be tasted rather than just looked at, that would be the part of the services that would LEAST benefit from a video link.
    As for video links in general, even if you meant a one way link, Live would require high bandwidth for the attendees, and a repeater on a server to distribute the signal without overtaxing the Pastor’s connection. Pre-recorded stuff (perhaps on You-Tube) would be more technically possible. In our case I don’t know that Oren would WANT to do that since it would make the suspension of disbelief that goes along with our particular mission focus.
    Two-way video links are a currently highly problematic from a technical perspective. There are two problems last I heard:
    1.) Bandwidth. Not a problem for executives of multinational companies, a problem for average churchgoers.
    2.) Eye-contact(perhaps). With a low pixel count, each person’s face should take up most of the image they are transmitting. The attendees will probably have a single image streaming to them, that of the pastor. This then creates a feeling of close personal distance which might be twisted around to a feeling of being ignored by one simple fact: You can’t have two people looking into each-other’s eyes over the internet with any commercially available technology I know of, and certainly not anything that is going to be cheaply available right now. If the camera is above or below the screen, they are always going to be not looking right at the screen if they are looking at the camera, and vice-versa. I have, however, heard of attempts to make projection screens and such that put the camera behind the screen in various ways. With the rapid pace of technological advancement, I hesitate to guess how short or long the wait might be before such things become technologies available at the local computer or office supply store.

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