Dung – Excrement of animals – Scat

A sign of the season

A sign of the season

In the authorized KJ version of the New Testament Philippians 3:8 reads,”Yea doubtless, . . . I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ . . ..” Chester Wenger had these words from Saint Paul on his mind when he wrote his letter to the Mennonite Church.

The context of chapter 3 begins in chapter 2 with an appeal for church unity through adopting the mind of Jesus.  According to Paul, Jesus did not hold on to the status of deity, but counted it as nothing, letting go of it to serve humanity. In chapter 3, saint Paul had the mind of Jesus when he let go of his superior position among Jews by counting his status nothing, in order to know Jesus among the Gentiles.

cow pie-excrement-scat

cow pie-excrement-scat

New saints have emerged in the writing of a modern day chapter.  Chester and Sarah Jane Wenger were like Jesus and Paul when they turned away from the assets accumulated through a full life of honored ministry. They considered the whole batch worthless, useless and waste in order to follow Christ as they understood him when Chester married their gay son to his partner in variance to Mennonite Church guidelines.

When Paul described his assets he used a Greek word that occurs only one time in one verse of the New Testament. In the KJV it is translated “dung”. Later translations are more polished.  In the draft of an earlier blog I used a word to which My Joy objected because she deemed it to be vulgar.  I yielded to her sensitivity because many seniors would likely share her feelings. I remembered that if I had used that word as a child I would have been reprimanded.

compost pile

compost pile

I don’t know how much St. Paul knew about the farming  practices of his day, but he must have had close encounters with the excrement of donkeys, camels, and oxen while traveling from city to city. An environmentalist informed me that the proper name for excrement of animals is “scat.”  From now on I will conform.

As the son of an organic farmer I know the value of chicken scat.  I know how to build a compost pile made of the “stinky” stuff, straw, and a little soil. Water it down, turn it over occasionally, and after a few months of transformation by bacteria it has the sweet smell of compost that could be used to nurture berries, vegetables and flowers to sell on the farmers market in Chambersburg.

spring-floweringI feel that Sarah Jane and Chester Wenger have turned  96 years of scat into a compost with which they honored a gay son and his companion by marriage. This act may bring luxurious bloom and fruit to a wilting church. That is, if other brothers and sisters will likewise count their Biblical and world views and traditions to be nothing but scat to be composted. Doing so they will take the mind of Christ and promote the unity and fruitfulness of the church.


About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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4 Responses to Dung – Excrement of animals – Scat

  1. Myron S. Augsburger says:

    Martin, we’re not on the same page on this issue. I would like to hear from the gay persons them selves, not just from parents and friends who seem to miss the identity in suffering love that will participate with the person in their life experience. This is the pain of love at the cross. I want to join with such persons in seeking the transforming grace of knowing that for the believer one’s very body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Myron A.

    • Myron, thanks for your kind comment. It is obvious that we are not on the same page on this issue. I look for a third page on which we can meet without either of us needing to change our minds. I joyfully anticipate our meeting at the great feast where the unworthy will be given the chief seats.

    • Lin Garber says:

      Myron, I don’t think Martin will mind if I piggyback on his blog to respond to you. Just what is it that you want to hear from “the gay persons themselves”? As one of those gay persons who recently (March 2013) celebrated his own legally recognized marriage to his life companion of 49 years and eight months, and mourned the loss of that companion eleven days later, my first suggestion to you is that you read the books of Roberta Showalter Kreider, that prophetess whom Martin celebrates on his blog today. You can read my own story, “Please Don’t Be Afraid of My Happiness,” in the third of her books, *The Cost of Truth*. I do thank you for wanting to hear from us. At a conversation room session at the Pittsburgh MC USA convention in 2011, I expressed to 300 conversationalists how tired I am of being talked *about*. But it’s not at all hard to hear our voices, if you really are earnest about wanting to hear them. I’ll be happy to help you find them.

  2. Raymond Martin says:

    Thank God for the 9 saints who opened a beautiful door to all of us in MCUSA. Sometimes I have cracked that door and peeped through. Yes, I have such a door and by God’s grace I can and will keep it open. Thank God for Martin, Myron, Lin and Roberta and all the “unknown” saints who have stepped through this gracious door. Can we send some or all of these 9 heralds throughout the church to share “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”?

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