Thoughts on Church (Limerick)

There once was a priest who farted,
And got mad when the audience parted,
It was all going well
Then came the smell,
That emptied the church when it started.

© Denis Adide 2010


The comment here is one that rebukes the pride of both the leader and the congregation. It is a poem about the consistent flaw at the core of humanity, that is the lack of humility that creates the illusion of a difference between the “flock” and the “shepherd”. We are all cut from the same cloth and, if not for divine intervention in the work of Christ, would be doomed. This lack of humility is what leads us to judge; both from the pulpit as well as from the pews.

Church was meant to be a place to celebrate the gift of God to man, a place for fellowship and accountability: where we could come – priest and pauper – and bear our scars, weaknesses, failings (burdens) before each other: lightening the load in sharing. Somehow fashion kicked in and we all – me included – over generations have worked to hide the emergent stench. Concealing our humanity, with our fickle propensity to be indisciplined, causes pain to both the wearer and his/her fellow. Lack of openness leads to lack of acceptance, lack of fellowship, and lack of love (the language and personality of God).

I wrote this poem as a lament of the situation, a challenge to change, and also an acceptance of the stagnation caused by our human condition to the progress of the Church. In its humor I embrace my own pride, mourning in it yet celebrating Grace (God’s ability to forgive and allow communion with stubborn and unchanging weaklings). I laugh at the futility with which we try to conceal our imperfections (nakedness) from each other with steadily rotting fig leaves, hiding behind tassels (books and microphones), and then complaining at our ineffectiveness.

Picture a church where the man in tattered clothes who just walked in is free enough to sit at the front next to the leader. The woman who needs a Job is not afraid to ask. The son struggling with lust is not embarrassed to confess before the countless men who cary the same burden: the arms would be open, not just to ourselves but to the world we are called to differ from while at the same time be a part of.

Adideism: If we all accept that we smell bad, then Christ – the only perfect odour, is glorified.

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