This is a restatement of sage advice passed down for three generations. The original story is even less couth. Its origins come from the advice of a father to a son who was so intimidated by the wondrous beauty of a young lady that he could not bring himself to speak to her. “Just remember son, everybody poops.” It is a reminder that we are all human beings no matter our socio-economic status or sense of superiority… (I might add, or race, or sexuality, etc.)
Many years ago I attended a school board sponsored training event on Mackinaw Island. While there I had the opportunity to sit in on a class on public speaking. I foolishly thought it would be a pleasant diversion (since I speak for a living). I left that class shaken to my core… I learned that everything I did as a public speaker and personality was wrong. I didn’t dress properly, behave properly or even speak properly.
Yesterday afternoon I attended another training event which reiterated the point. I will withhold the subject as I intend to discuss it in my sermon this upcoming Sunday when I am back in the pulpit. But believe me when I say that I was very much outside of the formula on display in the room.
This would be a good time to stress that this is a judgment which is more about me than those in attendance. But I will confess I was taken back to my brief tour of duty in High School. There was always that certain table… It was a sign of status to be at home there. The shoes, the clothing, the grooming all combined to tell the world who they were; and who you were not. I have found that many (not all) of those people at home at that table… or later in life, in those positions of social power… can be wonderful, gracious people. Maybe they are unaware of the wall built up around them gating them into a homogeneous community.
As a Pastor and previously a Law Enforcement Officer (and by natural inclination) I am an observer of human dynamics. These roles have brought me into the presence of death and dying which are the great unifiers. Besides the cost of the box our bodies are the same inside. Everybody poops. We are flesh and bone and status is obtained mostly by chance rather than merit.
The awful deceit is the illusion we create when we put others around us down and falsely convince ourselves that we have been elevated when we really haven’t grown at all. This is the danger that I see in many faith-based institutions today (and recently in the not so secular political arena). It is not the gospel. It is not the message of Jesus. It is the opposite of what Jesus taught. When we say that we are more righteous, more gifted, more deserving than others then we are the ones that called out for the outsider from Nazareth to be crucified.