Sorry to dump this on you. Perhaps you may even feel this is a waste of time.
The subject has become a bit draining after all and is sometimes defecalt to discuss. Yet I feel like I can stall on this topic no more and that it’s my absolute duty to bring it up…
…because many people feel like our nation is going down the toilet. The divisiveness over the issue at the very least runs deep.
Butt if you don’t chuckle just a little bit at the thought of it, I think urine denial about just how plumb silly the whole things sounds.
One of our biggest national conversations right now is…over where we should pee and poop.
Yes, ladies and gentleman, we have plunged to that level!
In fact, the whole thing is just so assanine, that I hereby declare that every headline and discussion about it from now on should specifically reference peeing and pooping.
Drop in the loaded fact such conversations also include discussions about whether people have penises or vaginas and the whole things sounds like the target of a middle schooler’s dream joke.
The fact that we’ve resorted to such potty talk, I think speaks metaphorical volumes to the mess our entire nation is in.
Now I won’t flush out the details of the whole debate (you can see plenty of that streaming across the internet – at least every online news-paper rolls out something about it seemingly every hour), but the crux of it is this:
Some insist you must pee and poop in a certain room based upon whether you have a penis or vagina according to your birth certificate, while others insist you should be able to pee and poop in the room associated with whatever gender you comfortably identify with, regardless of whether you have a penis or vagina.
Both sides of the debate stand (or sit) high upon their pedestools, absolutely insisting the other is completely and morally wrong. They each insist that their side is THE only way to go.
But is it possible that neither one is actually right? Is it possible there is more to it than that?
To illustrate this, underneath my back porch is an old cleanout pipe that connects directly to our sewage line. I say “old” because a few years ago plumbers installed newer ones further away from my house.
The old one has been missing its plug for several years now. Why not put a new plug on it you ask?
Because genius me figured out that as long as it is left open any sewage back-ups would come up underneath the porch rather than into the house. Besides, what a great way to signal when the sewer line is clogged:
“Honey, do you smell that? Why does our entire backyard smell like a giant poop?”
“Hmmm. Let me check. Aha, see underneath the porch there that bubbling geyser of brown chunky water, forming into a ginormous puddle? Must be the sewer is clogged again. Whew, good thing it’s not backing up into the shower.”
As any homeowner knows, usually these clogs happen when waste debris or tree roots get caught up somewhere down the line.
Of course, being the cheapskate that I am – too cheap to hire an official plumber who is capable of permanently removing the main blockage – this also means every time it happens I get to crawl underneath the porch, armed with a hose and a drain bladder in a feeble attempt to temporarily clear the line and drain the puddle.
Never mind that I am also probably causing major health code violations across several states. It’s a small price to pay…
…until it happens 3 weeks in a row.
Yes, each time it happened earlier this year, as I found myself on my hands & knees, literally wading in my family’s own (pardon my French) sh**, I kept asking myself if I made the right decision. Do I keep doing this? Or do I plug it and let it back-up in the house next time? Is poop better under the porch? Or poop better in the shower?
Of course, I know what you geniuses who are more genius than me are thinking: “Steve, you idiot, you need to just go ahead and hire a plumber. While you are sitting there in the middle of a mess debating about temporary solutions, neither of which is good, the real issue isn’t under the porch. The root problem is further up the sewer line.”
And that’s precisely my point.
While we are sitting here debating about where people should poop or pee, could it be that neither solution is truly good? Could it be that the problem is further up the line?
This is not to take away from the seriousness of the current debate or the legitimate arguments of both sides.
On one side of the debate you have individuals who, regardless of where you stand theologically on the whole issue and regardless of your theories of how they got to this point, have genuine struggles in their gender identity. For most it is something they have dealt with their whole life.
Statistically, many are bullied and suffer from depression, and there is a high suicide rate. What is pretty much a straightforward decision for the average (cis) person – men’s room or ladies’ room? – is not so simple for them.
These are real people and they are just trying to find a comfortable place to pee and poop.
On the other side of the debate, many parents have taught their children that we have certain parts we call “private.” These parts are not meant to be seen, particularly by the opposite sex, unless that person is a doctor or your parents (for non-sexual reasons), or your spouse when you are grown up.
Obviously, when you are peeing or pooping, which requires to a degree that those parts be exposed, you put yourself in a more vulnerable position. Restrooms have typically been seen as a safe place for that.
In addition, you have individuals who have been victims to some type of sexual abuse. For them, the mere exposure of private parts, either from or to someone of the opposite sex, can be traumatizing. While no place is completely safe, being able to choose a place of potential vulnerability entirely reserved for people of the same biological sex, has always at least felt a little safer.
These too are real people just trying to find a comfortable place to pee and poop.
While activists and politicians throw out short soundbites to make it sound like simple solutions of right and wrong, of good versus evil, and throw in terms of “pervert,” “bigot,” “pedophile,” or “phobic,” the truth is it’s a lot more complex.
And real people get lost in the middle…of our great big potty mess.
Could it be that there simply are no good solutions? Could it be there’s not a case where everyone can win?
Perhaps instead, we need to look at the root problems filtering further up the line.
In the film The Dark Knight Rises things appear to be going well in the city of Gotham. But unbeknownst to everyone there has been trouble brewing beneath in the sewer system that soon tears the whole city apart. Soon enough we learn that while there was indeed a lot of good, much of it was built upon a lie.
Could it be that we are seeing trouble brewing today because some of our beliefs are built upon lies?
As I explained in far more detail in A Sordid Tale of Sex and Sin…and grace we human beings in general are all confused about sex. Between pornography, trafficking, infidelity, unplanned pregnancy, and STDs, we clearly don’t have it right.
Along with that we are all confused about intimacy and identity. We confuse intimacy with sex and lack the kind of healthy intimate relationships we all need. We take on roles we were never officially designed for and have false ideas about what it is to be a real woman and what it is to be a real man.
And we’ve objectified and oversexualized our own bodies, forgetting that nakedness isn’t always about sex, and shame was never in the original plan.
Yes, that’s right, our exposed body parts once represented innocence and not the other way around. The root goes back to the beginning when the first man and woman dissed the designer and we’ve been trying to re-cover ever since (pun intended).
Add to this, we’re also all really confused about the intended antidote – that amazing thing called grace. We forget we need feel no shame or fear because we are unconditionally favored and accepted with exactly who we are – both inside and out.
And we forget to pass that onto others – so they know they are completely favored and accepted “as is” as well.
Is it any wonder that we’re in the mess that we are?
And that’s not the only mess we seem to be in: from battles over presidential candidates to the environment to immigrants to wages to the color of our skin…. we have a knack for wading ourselves in deep…
…to where we get so deep we can no longer see our way out, and we end up just treating the symptoms and not the roots.
For some of us the solutions are always a call to return to the way things once were, forgetting that while some of it may have been right, we were still messed up people making messed up decisions back then, too.
For others the solutions are always a change to something new, forgetting we’re still messed up people making decisions now, too, and that it’s not always a good idea to mess with what’s actually worked.
Does this mean we don’t do anything or don’t treat the problems where they are at?
No, just like when a doctor prescribes medicines for digestive problems, you still sometimes need to take the medicines to deal with the immediate pain.
But there are often side-effects that go with those medicines; so while temporary, they’re still not always perfect or best. As any good doctor will say you’ll also need to look at the root of the problem which is often in the ways you eat and take care of your body…and further back still in the ways you think.
In our public battles we are often just pointing out the side effects of each other’s imperfect solutions rather than dealing with the sources of our pain.
So how do we get out of these messes? There are two key parts (or at least I picked two because it seems appropriate there should be a number one and number two):
Number 1: Seek Outside Help
We can’t fix this ourselves. So just as I needed a plumber who has cameras that can see things I can’t see and who can reach into places I can’t reach, we need a helper that can see past our mess more clearly than us.
And for that we need to seek the only One who is way above our mess but who isn’t afraid to let himself wade in our excrement to clean our clogs.
He’s the One who can give us the wisdom to know what to do and has the tools to clear things up. And while there will always be sh** throughout our lives, at least He’ll be there to make the pathway a little more smooth.
Number 2: Cut the Crap and Change
And when I say change, I don’t mean asking everyone else to change. I mean you need to start with you. We often like to talk about Romans, chapter 1, but the first few verses of chapter 2 say:
Those people are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn’t so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you’ve done. (Rom 2:1-2, The Message)
Throughout my life I have: been judgmental, objectified women, mocked LGBTQ’s and anyone who was different, avoided close relationships with men out of fear, failed to stand up when needed, viewed pornography, been materialistic, looked out for myself more than others, been arrogant, responded in anger, lusted, stereotyped, acted misogynistic, failed to listen to others needs, made fun of other’s religion, been ashamed of my own body, believed lies about others, believed lies about myself, failed to offer favor to those I didn’t think deserved it, and the list goes on.
Some of these I have changed in, some I am working through, and others I still have a long way to go. In short I, like everyone else, need a roto-rooter of the heart.
If we want to get out of our messes, change starts with you.
Sorry to make such a commode-tion but tanks for taking the time. And sorry for the potty humor. These are just a few of the things that swirl through my mind, as I sit in my thinking chair, waiting to pee and poop.