Wine, Urine & Jesus

Wine, Urine & Jesus

“A drop of urine in a bottle of wine ruins the wine, but a drop of wine in a bottle of urine has no effect.”  –Rozin & Fallon, “A Perspective on Disgust”

In “disgust psychology,” scientists have labeled some human thinking “magical thinking.” It is thinking that makes no logical sense, yet is profoundly powerful, creating boundaries that are often irreversible. An example is the statement above: A drop of urine in a bottle — probably even a swimming pool — of wine ruins the wine, but a drop of wine in a bottle of urine has no effect. Studies show that even if that wine was filtered, most people would still not drink it because “once impure, always impure.” Logically, in parts per million measurements, this doesn’t make sense and is scientifically beyond demonstration. But once our eyes see and minds determine, the label cannot be removed.

“Magical thinking” also speaks to the one-way effect of disgust:  the urine has the power to ruin “pure”, but the wine has no power to change the state of the “impure.”

While this disgust mentality might be beneficial at times with food, when we apply it to people and practice, it runs counter to Jesus’ intent and abilities. He reverses the state of impurity. He is the wine that changes the nature of the urine. His blood makes our invasive imperfection perfect.

When we talk of impure worship, straining gnats out of musical style or whether or not “enough” of the liturgy is present, we have moved into magical disgust talk, on an impossible trek, especially in a broken world full of impure people.

When we stick some types of people with ‘disgust’ labels — homosexuals, abusers, __________ (whatever type of person you label and find yourself using that label when thinking of them), we have allowed our psychology to trump our theology.

A sacramental life transforms the recipient because of the presence of Jesus, who is transformational. It offers this transformation to all, disallowing labels.

One Comment

  1. “When we stick some types of people with disgust labels – homosexuals, abusers, (or people who ‘talk of impure worship’ or ‘whether or not ‘enough’ of the liturgy is present’), we have allowed our psychology to trump our theology.”

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