Monday, June 1, 2009


Last year we attempted a toilet ministry with the local baseball league. I suggested using our bathrooms as an hygienic alternative to the port-a-potties across the street. My inspiration was the mother who demanded that her child 'Hold it!' because she dare not expose her son to a dirty outhouse. A stressed bladder and soiled underpants were preferable to the port-a-john.

I brought the idea before the board. The official board exists to filter ideas. We wrangle about with details. Some ideas we approve; the LGBC Toilet Ministry was flushed. Instead, we voted to provide a third port-a-john with a sign: Toilet provided by Leesburg Grace Brethren Church. I added the tag line: A Holy Place to Unload.

For the board, the septic stress and toilet paper consumption was not the determining factor. The broader topic was building usage. If we opened our doors every night to any bowel movement, our property might be endangered. Insurance might not cover poop stains; the pipes might not handle flushed baseball mitts.

"We could be vandalized." "We could be robbed." "We could be defaced." "We could be mistreated."

These are legitimate fears (cf. Mt. 5:11-12; 10:1ff). So we approved a tertiary toilet. Unfortunately, the plan did not completely work. One year later and a vandal was recently among us. For scratched into the wall, above the toilet paper dispenser, someone etched the word: F*#!

Herein lies the institutional rub. We want people to use our bathrooms and building, but we also demand that they respect our beliefs. "No potty-talk in our church," we say. "Not in the foyer, sanctuary, or stalls. If you want act filthy, go across to the outhouse. That's why we rented it for you."

Of course, with the filthy word scribbled on our wall, I cannot properly digest there. Fortunately, there are three outhouses across the street. Who knows, maybe I'll even make some spiritual connections over there.

No comments: