several years ago we moved to chattanooga because we felt like God was leading us to come here & start a post modern church. it seemed a bit odd since there are already so many churches in this town, but we clearly believe that we were following God's leading by coming here. very shortly after we arrived we found a few other people who shared our vision & they were already meeting at some one's house on a regular basis for a bible study & some worship time.
we were finally able to work out the details for us to be able to attend one of the meetings (we needed child care because brooke was only 1 at the time & it wasn't convenient for her to be there) where we met the group, mostly for the first time. it was pretty exciting for us to be meeting these people since we really felt like this was the beginning of a big new life change for us & these people were likely to be a part of it. we wanted to make a good impression so that they'd want us to be a part of their group.
we arrived at this big, fancy house & found about 10 or so people there already hanging out & eating. there was a big spread of food & they were kind enough to have some veggie dishes since they knew i'm a vegetarian. i was touched that they'd do that since most of the time when i go to a dinner like that i end up eating chips & dip as my meal because it's the only thing without meat. i happily piled 2 spicy black bean burgers onto my plate & proceeded to chow down.
after the meal, the lights were turned down & we all sat in chairs in a circle in their fancy living room & we had some nice music & a short bible study about foot washing. then someone busted out a big bowl & some soap & water & we were instructed that we'd each be washing the feet of the person to the right of us. chris & i were not sitting next to each other. i was between 2 other men, both close to my dad's age & virtual strangers to me. i started to feel really nervous. this was WAY outside my comfort zone! the only feet i'd ever washed besides my own were my sweet little baby's feet & i imagined they were a far cry from the feet of the man beside me!
now, to increase my discomfort, my stomach started churning, a little at first & then more & more until i could audibly hear it rumbling. i swear, i felt like it was echoing off the dimly lit walls & surely everyone could tell it was coming from me. the washing started a couple people away from me & went in the opposite direction, so i had a little bit of free time while everyone sat quietly & respectfully & waited their turn to have clean feet. i whispered to someone next to me for directions to the bathroom & was pointed to a door directly behind us. i went in there & realized that there was no way in the world i could release the massive build up of gas that was smashing around in my guts without everyone in the next room hearing me. i nearly cried! i couldn't figure out how to fart silently (as i'd learned once before when i tried to plug it with my finger & only managed to fart a very loud, high pitched whistle. but that's another story) and i dared not to even drop my pants out of fear of the coming explosion. so i waited a moment, did the obligatory hand washing & walked back to my chair, doing my own personal rendition of "dead woman walking."
slowly, timed dragged past. i think these people must have been enjoying the process because they certainly took their time about it! inside my head i was screaming, "come on folks, this isn't the time for a full on pedicure & massage, let's move it along!" but outwardly i sat silently w/ everyone else & prayed that they couldn't hear my painfully gut wrenching gurgles.
finally, the man next to me kneeled down & started washing my feet. in the best of circumstances i wouldn't have liked this. the symbolism of it went completely over my head and all i could think about was how desperately i didn't want to blow a blast of gas at this strange man as he rubbed between my toes. don't think about the tickle! don't think about the awkwardness! focus solely on butt control!
ok, i got through my washing, but i still had to manage to wash the dude on the other side of me! so in a rush, i got down on the floor & plunked his feet into the bowl. i wanted to go at turbo speed, but i quickly realized that being in a squatting position, putting pressure onto my stomach & leaning forward required a whole new level of sphincter control. oh my gosh! i felt sure that a noxious cloud of black smoke & foul stench was going to torpedo out of my backside any second if i didn't hurry up & get this job done! it had to have been the least thorough washing to have ever occurred. i didn't care. let them think i wasn't a thorough bather or had a phobia of feet. whatever they wanted to think, so long as they didn't know that more than anything in the world i wanted to fart out the 96 million pounds of pressure that had built up in my guts.
when the washing was finished, i attempted to say my goodbyes as quickly as i possibly could without being totally rude. i still wanted these people to like me. i used the "baby at home w/ a sitter" excuse & ran for the door w/ chris right behind me. i did the clench & waddle out the door at the fastest speed i could manage till i got the car. chris pulled away from the curb & we both started rolling down our windows simultaneously. we looked at each other & started laughing hysterically as we farted ourselves silly in the car, because all the while i was suffering in there, i didn't realize that he was suffering from the same affliction! he'd had the bean burgers too!
ever since then, we've dubbed that feeling "bible study gas" & we both know it's time to clear the room or roll down the windows when one of us catches a case of it.