Where we wrestle with the sublime, mysterious, powerful and often frustrating paradox of God's necessary grace.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Please, God, bless my farting."

"If our lives are the pages on which God writes, then He seems to be drawing cartoons on me." --Me.

How many of us spurn moments of grace because they're not big enough, flashy enough, or "important" enough?

I'm a member of a ministry team at my church that cooks dinner between the two evening services for the pastor(s), musicians, tech staff, and anyone who shows up. There's no place nearby to get food and with only an hour between services, it's impractical for these people to go home to eat and then drive back. So, we feed them.

I enjoy helping out this way, and my wife and I are very much a team in this. I think it's good for our marriage and our souls. Everyone who eats always thanks us and says how much they appreciate our efforts.

For a long time I was dissatisfied with working in this ministry. It's didn't *feel* like a ministry, I didn't sport a shiny halo like I assumed I would if I were, say, evangelizing or working with low income kids. All I was doing was making meatloaf and green beans. Where's the ministry in that?, I thought.

Recently I finally woke up to the truth. I had the wrong idea about "ministry." Yes, evangelism and working with low income kids are good, laudable, but they are not the only cards in the Holy Spirit's deck. Where do the evangelists and the child workers go when they need a hot meal or a cold glass of lemonade or even--gasp!--a beer? If I'm out trying to be like them, then I leave them hungry, thirsty and empty. I neglect my role in favor of one I think i should like better, and God is not honored nor His children, and grace is not served--in any sense.

So, too, we can easily overlook or ignore the earthy, the mundane in favor of the more "SPEER-chool." This weekend I'm struggling with severe stomach distress, my gut is full of gas but little of it is forthcoming. As I sat on the toilet a bit ago, hoping for an exodus, I prayed, "Please, God, bless my farting." I realized it was one of the first times I'd asked God for help in this. I knew God was good for help with cancer, broken bones, diseases and major crises. But farting? C'mon, our bodies don't get more basic than that. It's a mistake when we assume God is a god only of the sublime and not also the sticky, earthy, muddy, glorpy bits of humanity that make up the less attractive aspects of human life.

Then it struck me: If I can't trust God to help me fart (and burp), how can I say I trust Him to help me with the big issues in life? For me, there is no middle ground. Either I trust God or I don't. Either I allow Him to be God over every aspect of my life, or I don't. As I write this my gut is bubbling and percolating like a mad scientist's laboratory, so I trust in God He'll move things around me in His time to give me relief.

So: Please, God, help me fart. And thank you for teaching me that all things matter to You.


Anonymous said...

For every scientific epiphany we have, God's been there, done that. He's more familiar with your bowels than you are. I'm sure that the body he designed has reasons for taking it's time expelling the offending bacteria/virus/chemical whatever.
God knows stuff.

JackAz said...

Rest in peace, my friend.

Save me a place at the table, ok?

Anonymous said...

I just heard of Ken's death.

My prayers for his family.

(Ship of Fools)

Anonymous said...

A warm and beautiful light has been extinguished. My deepest condolences to all who loved him.

Encyclopedia Bruin said...

God bless you, Ken...

David from the Ship

No longer that said...

Prayers for Kens family. RIP Ken.
Pants (from The Ship)

Lindsey Jessup said...

Hello to all Ken's friends who followed this blog. He died on 10/31/09 as a result of a bacterial infection in his blood. I miss him more than I can even feel - it's beyond my capacity right now. I want you to know that he was honored by you reading his thoughts. Thank you for your kinds thoughts and prayers. He's with his Lord now and breathing the true grace oxygen of Jesus' presence. I look forward to the day I will join him and hope to see each of you there too!
God bless you all.

Betty said...

Rest in Peace, Ken. Full of Grace.

Anonymous said...

God is giving you relief now Ken. God bless you, may you rest in peace.

Loveheart from the ship

Monkeywrenchmel said...

Ken's wit can not be matched by anyone. I miss it already but someday in that room God prepared for him, I shall see him. Lindsey (((hugs)) and much love to you and your son, my sister. Take care and any prayers ascending. -Mel

Anonymous said...

May his memory be eternal.

Mousethief from the Ship of Fools.

Anonymous said...

Rest in peace, Ken.

kingsfold (Ship of Fools)

Ruth said...

May light perpetual shine upon him.

Prayers ascending for Lindsey and all of Ken's family and friends.

--RuthW from Ship of Fools

Anonymous said...

Prayers arising for the surviving. Gratitude for having known his posts and profound insights and moving discoveries.

Rest in peace, and rise in Glory.

Wesley J (Ship of Fools)

Anonymous said...

May you rest in peace, KenWritez, and rise in glory. You will be very much missed.

My sincere condolences to all who loved him.

Duo Seraphim (Ship of Fools).

Mark said...

May you be comforted in this time of grief by the good memories you have and the knowledge that Ken was truly and dearly loved.

cqg (Ship of Fools)

Kelly said...

What an absolutely perfect last entry. God bless you, Ken.

Kelly Alves

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear of Ken's passing

1 Thess 4:13-18

Michael, AP. said...

Ken, now every time the spirit of the LORD moves in my waters, I'll think of you, and bless you.

Love you mate, see you soon.


Anonymous said...

I was a personal friend of Kenwritez, and was present when he passed into the presence of his dear Lord. He often referred to his interaction on the Ship of Fools with great fondness and joy. His health limited him in many ways, and I think his energy and passion poured into venues such as yours. Much of your characterization of him in your posts on "Ship of Fools: RIP Kenwrites" reflects what he was in person. "Fun, interesting, delightful, witty, larger than life, insightful", etc., are accurate in my opinion. He will be missed on SofF and in person. The posting, "Please God, bless my farting" is being included in his memorial service program. From our limited perspective medically, it was probably this sickness, described in this post, that eventually took his life. May God bless you all. Lyndel

Anonymous said...

oh Lindsey
This news makes me so sad for your loss.. our loss.. I had just read the blog was so happy to find the perfect word "glorpy" and had come to comments to laugh with my dear, old friend about it, only to find that he's gone home. I am still in too much shock to have the right words but I could not leave without saying my heart is so sad, and I will miss Ken, and pray for you.and your families.. I know he was so happy to find you and marry you and be your husband and familyman and I've always been so happy for him and you in all of that.
When I think of Ken I will always thank God for giving me the gift of our friendship... He made me think, and laugh, and he challeneged me, and loved me thru stuff... he even explained free will vs preordination in a way that I could actually understand it ( I pestered him for that) I find that I quote him a lot as I lead a small group at my church... I learned a lot from Ken like we all did. God bless you... I hope to talk with you in person sometime down the road..
Emily in Nashville..

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

I'm so sorry. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

Laura said...

I just love the idea that Ken's last blog entry was to ask God to bless his farts! He trusted God for the big things as well as the small, for the farts that could be measured on the Beaufort scale, as well as the cheeky, tiny little bubbles.

Blessings and peace be on Ken, and all who knew him, and read his writings. This guy had such a capasity for love and laughter. It has been a joy to know him.


Scot said...

I miss you, Ken. You've been on my mind of late.