I have a public confession to make on a very controversial subject. With some hesitation (I already can imagine the e-mails I’m going to receive!), I admit I’m one of those “under” people when it comes to toilet paper rolls. Yes, I have seen the posts on Facebook showing the original toilet roll patent with the paper going “over”. I’m still not convinced. “Over” totally goes against my upbringing, life-long practices, and what makes me feel comfortable. I haven’t looked, but I’m sure I could find Biblical support for my position (be honest, how many of you just thought about searching for this in the Bible?)!
With some disappointment, I realize the United Methodist pastor who married my wife and myself over thirty-four years ago did not address this “hot-button” issue. It wasn’t until we were already married when I found out my wife is an “over” person. How did this never come up in all of our discussions as we tried to determine if we were “right” for each other? It seems like a critical discussion.
For over three decades my wife and I loaded the toilet paper in opposite directions. In the search for solace, even the bathroom has controversies (don’t even get me started on the proper way of squeezing toothpaste!). This past May one of the birthday gifts I gave to my wife was to turn the toilet paper to being “over”. I have found many of my gifts have to be explained, and this was one of them. Out of this, something unexpected happened. The toilet paper roll has become one more way to say, “I love you”. Most of the time now I find the toilet paper roll in the “under” position. I enjoy changing it to the “over” position to keep the “love message” going!
One of the regular questions I hear is if unity requires uniformity. We are in big trouble if we are waiting for everyone to agree with each other! If we have trouble agreeing about toilet paper rolls and toothpaste, what makes us think we will ever all agree about the big issues? Are there ways we can share love for each other without having to agree? Acceptance might not require agreement. How can we support one another? Is part of the answer the need for each of us to have an attitude adjustment?
The question “What makes me comfortable?” seems to hold a lot of authority in our lives. As I study Christianity, I don’t see where it was Jesus’ goal to make us comfortable. My take is Jesus was constantly making his followers uncomfortable, along with those who were watching Jesus and his followers. What types of things does Jesus want us to do that makes us uncomfortable?
This is a good week to be uncomfortable! Who is Jesus directing us to be? Are there new ways we can let people know “I love you”? Is there something in our attitude we need to adjust to make it possible to go where Jesus is sending us? Is there any anger, frustration, judgment, or expectations we need to let go of in order to lower barriers?
The hardest part of being a “world changer” is it usually starts with changing our own lives. How far are we willing to go to follow Jesus? Who are we willing to love?
Your brother on the journey, Mark
The Rev. Mark Conrad serves as superintendent of the South District of the Desert Southwest Conference of The United Methodist Church. This post is reprinted with permission from his blog, Mark’s Musings, on the district website.
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