The Case of the Mystery Dog Turd

It’s funny how we can want something so bad, then get it and be disappointed.

Maybe it’s not funny, just sad.

We live in a lovely Norman Rockwell picturesque type neighborhood in Maple Valley.

You know the kind that still has block parties and Independence Day BBQs.

It took us a little by surprise actually.

In our previous neighborhood people drove by one another nervously waving.

Here people go outside and talk. It’s weird.

From the day we moved in my socially adept wife joined the neighborhood HOA Facebook page to stay up to date with neighborhood gatherings and events.

I stayed away. I would just ask Stacey when an event was approaching and she’d pull up the neighborhood egg hunt info from the HOA Facebook page.

I started to feel left out. I wanted to be in the loop. I wanted to be part of the “cool kids club.”

I asked Stacey how to join.

Easy. Jump on Facebook and send a request to a group member.

A request. I need to be approved? Is there a screening process? Will I pass the background check?

After much deliberation I submitted my request and nervously awaited the response.

The first day I received an update from our neighborhood HOA was a great day.

Someone had found a lost dog and was trying to return it to the owner.

How wonderful. I loved my new club. I felt like I belonged. I was an insider.

As time went on I began to grow tired of my club.

This wasn’t a page for neighbors to connect and have fun, it was a place neighbors would post vaguely critical comments at other neighbors while sitting safely behind their computer / phone screens.

It was ugly.

What’s the rule about ‘this thing my neighbor is doing that really bothers me, but I’m too afraid to talk with them about it in person?’

Trivial stuff.

#1stworldproblems type stuff.

Whiny and I’m entitled to perfection type stuff.

My wife and I would laugh about how ridiculous these posts were becoming.

Then it happened. Our Facebook page stooped to a new low.

A neighbor who was upset by a mystery dog turd in his yard posted a video shot from a surveillance camera perched on his garage.

It showed both perpetrators, the dog and his owner, committing the crime.

I wish I was joking.

I’m not. Neither was he.

He wanted all of us to be on the lookout for the owner and his pint-sized pup.

I get it. I don’t know all the facts. Maybe this has been happening for weeks or months even.

Maybe the dog turd was really stinky, but this whole thing is just insane to me.

Instead of trying to connect with one another and build relationships our neighborhood has turned its HOA page into Maple Valley’s Most Wanted.

It’s dumb. We’re better than that. We have more important things to do.

At least I hope we do.

Church can creep into the same territory if we’re not careful.

People are nervous to join and get involved.

They make their attempt.

Once successful they feel good, they finally fit.

Then they begin to see the trivial stuff.

Small hang-ups become contentious issues that give way to rules and oversight committees.

Soon the real point of church, welcoming home new family members, loses its importance and we turn our focus inward.

This is sad. This is stupid. This keeps our churches small.

Let’s keep the main thing the main thing.

I want my life to count. I don’t want to waste it on the trivial stuff.

Paul said it this way:

“My life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” (Acts 20.24, NLT)


What are some trivial issues that have you distracted?

What can you do today to refocus your priorities and keep the main thing the main thing?