Thursday, September 29, 2005

A Mortifying Lesson in Humility

Let me do a disclaimer at the beginning of this post:  If you are easily offended by bathroom humor, please do not read this post.  Also, if your idea of pastors and their holiness is such that you have placed them in a non-human category, do not continue to read because you might get disillusioned.

Having said that, let me tell you how God is a creative genius when it comes to manufacturing ways to knock us off of our personally constructed pedestals.  Last Sunday, He kicked me off mine, and I believe it was hilarious.

I mentioned in an earlier post how I was having to deal with a stomach virus this weekend.  On Sunday morning I decided that I was well enough to go ahead and go to church and preach the services.  By the grace of God, I made it through…sort of.

We have breakfast here at Church every Sunday morning.  I showed up and ate some homemade biscuits covered in gravy, and I guess I had two cups of coffee.   I was feeling fine and ready to go upstairs to my study and pray during the Sunday School hour.  

Everything was going according to my typical routine until around fifteen minutes before Sunday School lets out and people begin filing into the sanctuary for services.  That’s when it hit me.  Yes, I had a stomach virus, but this was not the front end problem that struck me.  My stomach, or innards, made that bubbly groaning sound that most of you are familiar with.  It is the signal that means you have about twelve seconds to find a bathroom or you are going to be in serious trouble.

Fortunately for me, the bathroom is only six seconds from my office, two if you are at a dead sprint, which I was.  You see, it would take me two seconds to get there and at least five to get out of my suit to the point where there would be no damage.  That leaves only a few seconds to spare before certain doom.  I was hustling to the bathroom to say the least.

Here’s where it gets really good.  By the time I hit the bathroom and got prepared to do business, the Sunday School bell rang.  My church is small, and so there is only one men’s bathroom in the Sanctuary area.  The bathroom itself is rather small also.  One urinal and one throne potty, both crammed in about an eight square foot area.  I was sweating bullets for two reasons:  One is that I was having serious stomach and bowel issues; the other was that half the male population of our Church was about to walk through the door of that bathroom…to possibly die instantly.

I was mortified.  Here I was, the dignified pastor of the First Baptist Church, fogging up the bathroom with abandon.  I thought about picking up my feet so no one would recognize the shoes, but it was needless.  No one stayed in there long enough to notice my shoes.  This was not only humiliation, it was revenge.  Once upon a time I went into a bathroom at a conference, and low and behold the President of the Southern Baptist Convention was in there.  He said something like, “Ya’ll better clear out” and then he went to do his business.  He let’er rip.  I thought that this was the funniest thing ever.  I told everyone that I’d heard the SBC President fart.  It suddenly isn’t so funny anymore.

I have tried to help myself through this experience by consoling myself with the fact that Jesus went to the bathroom as well.  He was, after all, fully man.  I don’t think that he played “pull my finger” with the disciples, but surely after all that time together he must have cut one at least once.  He, after all, designed us to do that, right?

My point in all of this is that I’m not so great after all.  I am a normal member of the human race.  I believe that I can still maintain my dignity in business meetings after this episode, and it has helped myself (and others) not to take me too seriously.  Calvinistic type pastors have often been accused of being “wine and cheese” theologians, sometimes we are viewed as just plain snooty, and most of them would probably believe that this subject matter is beneath the man of God.  However, I believe that it is funny.  And whatever protest they may make, they fart also.  


pappy said...

i must wipe the tears from my eyes...

ColinM said...

My wife easily could believe I wrote this. I must admit, though, Jesus farting has never crossed my mind in theological context...well, in any context, but now it has. Maybe the docetists talked about it? Fantastic post-thanks for the uplift.

MColvin said...

I'm in tears here. Having grown up with you makes it even funnier. What boggles me is that when this occurs, it's not so funnym in fact it's horrific. Yet in retrospect, it's comedic genius! I had a similar incident recently during a workout. I was doing crunches and the "girgle" began. It was a bad seriously bad time for my trainer to push on the stomach muscles I should be using. Her intent was good, my was to stay clean. Trust me, miracles do happen and me not soiling myself on the gym floor during this incident is proof.

Julie said...

Well, this is what you need to start your day. That was so funny! Thank God it was not during the time you give your message. I must say I totally understand. I think everyone can relate at at least one time in their life. Keep on blogging!

Daniel said...

I had an anomolous "gastric event" once that could not have been described without using words like "rupturing" and "ballistic" and perhaps the phrase "circus freak show."

Consider yourself fortunate. :)