body functions

Release the Kraken! When I got a Facebook message from Q’s mom (his real first initial but I’ll keep his name to myself) a month or so ago asking if I’d be interested in seeing the new film “Clash of the Titans,” I was beyond interested. I was stoked. The original, while campy and with really bad special effects, was still quite cool when I was 8. Almost thirty years of special effects advancements, and I was very much looking forward to seeing it in 3D. While it was a fully adequate retelling of the story, the three boys (and one of their dads) commented that there wasn’t really enough to the 3D to make it worth the extra cost. Oh well.

This isn’t a movie review, though. What struck me was how overwhelmingly male the audience was. Like maybe 80%. For such a large gathering of boys and/or men, with popcorn and sugary soda in the mix, I was surprised I didn’t smell more noxious odors in our row. Guess that comes in the sleepover that I was glad not to be in charge of.

The human body, while fearfully and wonderfully made, is also funny in a lot of ways. We fart. We burp. We poop. We sweat, and once a kid reaches a certain age, his sweat makes him stink. As we progress through puberty into adulthood, we grow hair in lots of new places, then stop growing hair in places we want it, and finally grow hair where we’d rather avoid it.

I’ve been going through a bit of an experiment lately with “natural” deodorant. After a January one-day liver/colon detox fast, supported by targeted nutritional support on either end, I started to become very aware of not only what was going into but also onto my body. I began to seek meat and dairy without added hormones. I bought more organic produce and other whole-food products. We even got non-bleach wipes made with natural cleaners. But I just couldn’t figure out which deodorant to use.

Turns out that almost all conventional deodorants are also antiperspirant as well. They primarily do this by plugging up your pores with aluminum salts. Ew. Even if you don’t accept the tentative research findings that aluminum can have harmful long-term effects to your health, I still think it’s just a disgusting thing to do to yourself just so you can smell a little better. “Natural” deodorants come in many forms but they usually use some ingredients to either neutralize bacteria (which by breaking down sweat cause the funk) or block it from interacting with sweat. What they do not do is keep you from sweating. That has taken quite a bit of getting used to.

So, I have been through several versions in an astounding array of modes of application. I have tried a familiar-enough stick style that stung like heck, a mineral salt spray as well as a stone that you had to wet before applying (both of which left me quite drippy), a roll-on that also stung like crazy, and Pit Putty, which you had to rub in with your fingers to have it work. I am so thankful Whole Foods has a full refund policy. The one I finally chose seems to be working well, but by the time I get through an intense workout, sweating the way my body is designed, I can get pretty ripe.

Enough intimate details for one post. What it got me thinking about was that when the Body of Christ is prevented from acting in the way it is designed, weird things can happen. When you clog your underarm pores from perspiring, you end up sweating more elsewhere. When a grounded, robust biblical theology is missing from a church, honoring God’s design for marriage can mutate into virulent hatred of not only homosexuals but even the nation itself that guarantees  their right to spew hatred. When working for justice and peace is ignored, churches may become so focused on getting souls into heaven that nobody cares to listen because of their very real need. On the other end of the extreme, churches that focus on the radical agenda of political movements have found themselves allied with worldviews completely foreign to God’s.

All this is to say, no person is perfect and no church is perfect. The overused pastor joke is, if you ever find a perfect church, don’t you dare join it and ruin the whole thing. But that’s the beautiful thing about the Body of Christ. Sometimes it gets uncomfortable, even a little smelly, but doing life together is right where we are supposed to be.

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About andrew burden

andrew blogs about being a volunteer youth leader, teacher, video editor, husband, friend, child of God
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