Summary: The Apostle Paul addressed the proper and healthy functioning of the Body of Christ by talking about the three "D’s" - Design, Diversity, and Display.

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Anatomy 101

I Corinthians 12:12-31a

January 21, 2007

Our bodies are truly wonderful things, yet they can also be the source of some really gross smells, noises, and other stuff. I think that I have told you before that I spent seventeen days in the hospital at Mayo Clinic back in 1996. My time there convinced me of the truth that if you want to get rest, stay away from hospitals.

Every morning, sometime between the hours of 2 and 5 o’clock, they would come in and wake me up. Every night, they would take me down for x-rays. I would just get back to sleep and then they would come to weigh me. After I settled down again, they would wake me up to take blood. This went on for seventeen days! I finally had a good night’s sleep after I got home.

I am sure that there was a reason for all of this early morning poking, prodding, weighing, and picture taking. I am sure that it was so the doctors could have the results first thing in the morning when the arrived on the floor. Still, I joked with the nurses (actually, I’m not sure I was joking) that they had to find stuff for the night shift to do, so they went around thinking up ways to keep us awake.

Isn’t it funny the things you remember? There was this one nurse on the night shift that I came to dread. She was a lovely young woman, very skilled, very kind, and always gentle with me. The problem was that she was Indian and I learned that Indian people like to cook with curry. I also learned that curry gives you incredibly bad breath. I smelled her breath the moment she walked in my door. It was really awful.

You may think I’m joking, but in 2000, an Indian farmer was charged with manslaughter after killing a police officer with his breath. The officer was trying to arrest this farmer when he smelled the curry on his breath and died on the spot from an asthma attack.

I don’t know if you know who Dave Berry is or not. Dave Berry is the humor columnist for the Miami Herald. He and I are just about the same age. I first read of him when, on my fortieth birthday, I was given a copy of his book, “Dave Berry Turns 40.” Ten years later, I got a copy of new book, “Dave Berry Turns 50.”

My daughter gave me a copy of his new book for Christmas this year. He begins by writing about snoring, and then digresses from there. He writes this.

“Women…can be the worst snoring-deniers, because women are taught from an early age that it is not feminine to emit any noise or aroma that would indicate that they are biological organisms. Men, on the other hand, consider bodily functions to be a highly masculine form of manliness. That is why men are not afraid to haul off and let go of a hearty burp, often as a way to emphasize a rhetorical point…

There is some other stuff here about other bodily noises and smells that I think I’ll leave to your imagination (or you can go out and buy the book and read it yourself – “Boogers are My Beat” 2003. New York: Crown Publishers).

There is a traveling exhibit going around the country to children’s museums and museums of science titled, “Grossology: The Impolite Science of the Human Body.” This exhibit allows children to climb through giant noses to see cilia and mucus up close to discover how the body defends itself against airborne pathogens. Take a trip through the intestines to how bacteria breaks down food, complete with stomach gurgles and burps. Kids can watch the process of stomach acid regurgitating up the digestive system.

Let’s face it. Our bodies, as wonderful as they are, can sometimes omit odors and sounds and fluids and other stuff that is less than pleasing. I’ve been thinking about our bodies for a while, in light of I Corinthians 12.

The Apostle Paul is speaking about the body here – the Body of Christ. One of the things that we have learned is that sometimes the Body of Christ can be difficult, to say the least. Like our human bodies, the church can be less than pleasant at times. We do not always live in harmony. We do not always love each other well. We don’t always care for each other. We argue, and fuss, and fight with each other. We are sometimes arrogant, thinking that we are somehow better than someone else. Maybe we think, because we’ve got a leadership position in the church, that we are more important. Maybe we think that because we put a large financial gift in the offering plate, we are somehow deserving of more respect. Maybe we think, because we are always here to wash dishes, or teach Sunday School, or bake cookies for Vacation Bible School, or help out mowing the lawn, that they ought to pay more attention to us. Being the Body can sometimes be pretty gross.

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