Wednesday, May 07, 2008

God in the Bathroom?

An amazing post below by Wade Hodges (Who is this guy? His bio says "In addition to wrestling with Caleb and Elijah, I love listen to audio books on my ipod, read in the bathtub, and hang out at Starbucks. My favorite part of sermon preparation is going to the movies.
My primary spiritual gifts are teaching, leadership, and sarcasm.
") Needless to say, we like him already..and he already has eleven facebook friends in common with me.)

Wade's post is is everything I tried to say two Sundays ago; but he said it better (You'll have to wait for the podcast to verify). I asked what was the only definition of worship in the Bible was; at least in the form of "True worship is...." We made the point that Romans 12 suggests that wherever you "present/take your body" is (or should be) worship.
It's all spiritual; we duel dualism. I pointed to the bathroom and said something simple and simply subversive like "It's just as spiritual when you go in there and do your business as when you are in this room praying." To beautifully and prophetically punctuate the point, the "prophetic princess" person leading in prayer (guess which one is her in the photo?)at the end of the gathering had to excuse herself to use the bathroom first.

If only I had seen Wade's wonderful post before Sunday; and remembered that the Reformation started in the bathroom, and the Talmud prayer that Wade quotes below..
..or remembered that I have a podcast/sermon (righthand of blog)
called "Jesus went to the bathroom!" (wow, how holy and human;
thus "spiritual" he was!

God in the Bathroom?
The ancient Hebrew language didn’t have a world for “spirituality.” Apparently that category didn’t exist in ancient Hebrew thought because they believed that all of life had the potential to be “spiritual.” This is very different from our dualistic worldview that separates the world into two categories: the spiritual (sacred) and the material (secular). In this worldview, God inhabits the spiritual realm, but he leaves the material realm to us. In order for a dualist to experience God’s presence, he has to transcend the secular realm and tap into the sacred where he will find God. The Hebrew worldview rejects this dualism. Lawrence Kushner puts it this way:

Judaism sees only one world, which is material and spiritual at the same time. The material world is always potentially spiritual. All things– including and especially, such apparently non-spiritual things and grossly material things as garbage, sweat, dirt, and bushes–are not impediments to but dimensions of spirituality.

That means it’s possible to encounter God’s presence anywhere, including the bathroom. Here’s a prayer taken from the Babylonian Talmud that was meant to be prayed while the pray-er was relieving himself:

"Blessed is he who has formed man in wisdom in wisdom and created in him many orifices and cavities. Is is fully know before the Throne of Thy glory that if one of them should be improperly opened or one of them closed it would be impossible for a man to stand before Thee."

If this prayer makes you uncomfortable because you think the bathroom is off limits to God, then you are a dualist.
Wade Hodges


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