The new movie, The Art of Racing in the Rain, is a cute story that uses auto racing strategies to get through the challenges of life. The main character of the story is a Golden Retriever named Enzo whose master is an auto racer. Once Denny picks out Enzo from a litter of puppies and takes him home the race is on. Enzo learns to watch auto racing on TV with Denny, and he becomes an enthusiast at home and at the tracks.

Viewers will fall in love with Enzo whose voice-over is Kevin Costner. Enzo tells the story in the movie. It’s a tear-shedding movie for many. As my wife, her sister and I were leaving our seats, a young boy in a row behind us said, “That was a sad movie.” I replied, “Yes, life can be sad. Where are you from?” “Dallas.” said the boy. “Do you have a dog?” “Yes, Ginger. She’s a Black Lab.” I wish I had more time to talk with him, but I didn’t. The movie contains sadness, grief, loss and challenges. The boy was consumed by the sadness, but there was humor, happiness, and joy in the movie, too. It ends on a happy note.

The next morning I made a list of dogs I grew up with, dogs my wife and I have had, as well as, other people’s dogs. This brought back many fond memories. Jan and I had two Golden Retrievers I thought often about as I watched Enzo. Nugget was so important to us. He was our first “child,” a wedding present from Jan’s sister and her husband. He was a mentor for our three sons. He helped them learn to stand and walk by holding onto his fur. Nugget never complained, growled, nipped or barked. I shed a lot of tears when he was put down and I buried him. I buried our other two dogs Gunner and Wolfie, as well.

I’m ashamed of some of my disciplinary tactics with Nugget and Gunner. One of them is portrayed in the movie that reminded me of my shame. In spite of this reminder, the movie ends on a happy note. It ties the story together and is based on the Mongolian view of reincarnation. This will please people who believe in that particular worldview and will lead others to be more open to accepting it as a valid explanation for death and new life. However, it disappointed me, because reincarnation is a philosophy of salvation and enduring life which conflicts with my understanding of resurrection. There have been many views throughout history about reincarnation. Mongolian reincarnation includes dogs being reborn as humans or human beings reborn as dogs. [1] Historically, Mongolians have revered their dogs for their shepherding role and as companions. Dogs are, or can be, wonderful companions and assistants. Can a dog imagine being reborn as an auto racer? Not that I know of, at this point in my life. Enzo wanted to be reincarnated as a human auto racer. Do dogs or humans, if reincarnation is true, have the choice of what they will become in their next life? Mongolian reincarnation views developed long before race cars and auto racing were on the radar screen.

A better explanation for human destiny, in my opinion, is found in the good news of Jesus Christ’s death, resurrection, and eternal existence. His death was for our sake and is the ground of God’s forgiveness of our sins and justification. His resurrection is the assurance of eternal life after death for us. The risen Lord spoke to his disciple John, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever.” (Revelation 1:17-18).Trusting in him is the unmerited means to receive our Creator’s forgiveness, justification, and eternal life. Like Mongolian reincarnation, the Bible doesn’t tell us about automobiles or auto racing, but it does assure us the best quality of life which far exceeds anything we can imagine.

The Art of Racing in the Rain gives some good insights into navigating life’s challenges, but the theological foundation of the storyline must be pondered. For, you see, last Saturday morning I met a Toastmaster Club President named Enzo at an Officers Training Event in Niceville, Florida. He is Italian, too, and an adult, but he doesn’t have aspirations of being an auto racer.


[1]https://www.bankhar.org/bankhar-dogs/Accessed 08/21/2019 at 10:57am.

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