We can’t make this up: The Blessing of the Toilet Paper

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"I have never been so down on my luck that I had little or no access to toilet paper ~ but that is not the case with many people. We at the Congregational Church of Patchogue want to thank you for helping us to help people meet their most basic needs: simple foods, toilet paper, soap, feminine hygiene products and other items. This photo is from "The Blessing of the Toilet Paper" at the church. We serve people without regard or question as to their address, age, preferences, orientation, ethnicity. The only requirement is that they seek what we have to offer. And what we can offer is up to you. Please send contributions to The Congregational Church of Patchogue, 95 East Main St. Patchogue, NY 11772. Write pantry or TP in the memo section. 100% of contributions go to purchase much needed items. Thank you, Rev. Dwight Lee Wolter."
Photo courtesy of Rev. Dwight Lee Wolter

"I have never been so down on my luck that I had little or no access to toilet paper ~ but that is not the case with many people. We at the Congregational Church of Patchogue want to thank you for helping us to help people meet their most basic needs: simple foods, toilet paper, soap, feminine hygiene products and other items. This photo is from "The Blessing of the Toilet Paper" at the church. We serve people without regard or question as to their address, age, preferences, orientation, ethnicity. The only requirement is that they seek what we have to offer. And what we can offer is up to you. Please send contributions to The Congregational Church of Patchogue, 95 East Main St. Patchogue, NY 11772. Write pantry or TP in the memo section. 100% of contributions go to purchase much needed items. Thank you, Rev. Dwight Lee Wolter." Photo courtesy of Rev. Dwight Lee Wolter

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(RNS) Our guess is that they prefer Angel Soft.

  • Seriously Now

    And it came to pass that Moses took the two tablets and went into the wilderness, where he did indeed need the aforementioned product.
    And he said unto the people, “behold, I am friend or I am enema”.

    😉

  • Dave

    And we wonder why mainlines are declining so rapidly.

  • Larry

    Jokes off the top of my head:

    Atheists love this because allows people to wipe their behinds with God.

    Patient Christians love this because it shows that God’s will requires taking a lot of crap to get to the bottom.

    That being said, the church should be congratulated for such a simple, important and charitable effort. Charity as it should be. Its not associated with proselytizing or sectarianism. Using funds strictly to go back into providing the goods to be provided. Plus its goofy enough to get noticed by a wider audience.

    Good for them!

  • “Please send contributions to….toilet paper prayers”

    Such a worthy cause!
    As Nepal suffers from earthquakes and children drown with their parents off the coast of Africa it is clear that Christ is the source of all morality – because he would rather make time for your toilet paper.

    What is the benefit of *blessed* toilet paper anyway?
    Do angels guide its passage to the sewers – leaving all the unblessed toilet papers to fend for themselves?
    Does Jesus weep every time you used the unblessed toilet paper?
    If Toilet paper is better when blessed, why not Tampons or Maxipads?

    And why stop at Toilet paper?
    Shouldn’t the bowl be blessed? The hand towels? The soap?

    And what about the most unblessable bathrooms of all – the port-o-potties?

    “At that moment the curtain was torn in two from top to bottom.” – (Matthew 27:51)
    “And God will wipe away…” (Rev. 21:4)

    The prophecy is fulfilled! 😀

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  • Larry

    Lets not be so harsh on this church here. The picture was clearly in jest as a way to draw attention to a serious effort by them.

    They are already committed to giving the stuff away. Might as well keep the reverend busy by blessing the items. Its not like he has a real specific function to perform for all of this effort. Plus its amusing enough to garner much needed attention.

    There are significant numbers of people who are homeless or in poverty in the community, who could use the sanitary products involved. If there were no demand for it, there would be need for such a specific item being supplied through the charity.

  • Seriously Now

    The job ain’t done till the paperwork is finished, and that looks like it will be some time.

    Meanwhile, blessed are the weak bladdered, for finally they shall inherit a lot of toilet paper.

    🙂

  • @Larry,

    I understand what you are trying to say.

    But a church which mocks its own sacraments of prayer with playful stunts – has no problem turning around when it is convenient to make vicious war against anyone who dares question those same sacraments in other situations:
    homosexuality, a woman’s right to her body, unbelievers, genital mutilation…

    In one tone of voice the church says: “let’s kid around and bless some toilet paper”
    In another tone of voice they say: “the only salvation for homosexuals is that they be put to death” – Pastor Robbie Galaty,
    (Tennessee Megachurch, Sept. 2014)

    Religion is not a sweet bunny rabbit.
    It is a nightmare of unreason and superstitious hogwash.

    The Holy Toilet Paper is the least of what the church should start flushing away.

  • Candy Man

    Max,

    Just out of curiosity did you check out the church that you making such generalizations about? Turns out that in addition to giving away necessary supplies, they also run a soup kitchen, an annual bicycle give away and school supply give-aways.

    Funny there is no mention on this church’s website about their theological or political opinions.

  • PV

    Atheist Max – why so angry? Jesus loves you, Atheist Max, and as one of his followers, so do I! Peace be with you!

  • Larry

    Plus we are talking about Eastern Long Island here. It is not exactly a bastion of fundamentalism or even mild sectarian discord. We are talking about a heavily religiously mixed part of the nation. Civility between sects is the byword there*

    They definitely look like the good guys here.

    *Former Long Island native. I know the area.

  • dmj76

    Max

    I used to attend a Congregational church before I became a nothing. They are non-creedal and absolutely not fundamentalists, I read that in New England they share summer camp with Unitarian Universalists.

    Your arguments would be stronger if you recognized than there is a spectrum of spiritual practice. Carl Sagen capitalizes the word Cosmos because ….

  • @PV,

    “why so angry? Jesus loves you..”

    I’m not angry at the blessing of Toilet Paper. I find it amusing.
    But if a church wants to make a joke of itself, don’t you think it should acknowledge that it doesn’t really believe its own claims?

    As for Jesus loving me, I’m delighted to hear it. Again.
    Apparently he loves even those who don’t believe in him which means I get to skip church entirely and still be heading to Heaven.

    Of course that contradicts other things I’ve heard about Jesus – but coherence is not apparently important to Jesus either.

  • @dmj76,

    “Your arguments would be stronger if you recognized than there is a spectrum of spiritual practice..”

    Sure, I recognize all of these variations and degrees of religion.

    I realize that many people only mean well – they decided (against any evidence) that Jesus and God are synonymous with Love and forgiveness. They also decided that these notions are good and are benign at worst (wrong, but never mind.)

    Some people like the church. They like the club. The friends. The music. Hearing encouraging words.

    Guess what? That’s fine. No problem.
    If you believe Jesus is Love and you like church you are not my enemy.

    But if Christianity means: “Hell exists”, “Homosexuality is wrong”, “Women don’t own their bodies”, “Sex is bad”, “Jews are bad”, “Science is wrong”, “Evolution isn’t real” – that is just ignorant and religion fully supports such ignorance.
    Such a person is less informed, and less useful to the rest of society.

  • “They are non-creedal and absolutely not fundamentalists…”

    They claim Jesus is real.
    That is not benign.

    I don’t have a problem with “Maybe god is not real”
    But I do have a problem with the claim, “God is real”.

    To make a claim one cannot prove – is to lie. The church lies.
    The church also defends faith, which is the whole problem.

  • thegrayhairedlamb@gmail.com

    ALthough Im a devout christian I have to agree with Max that I no longer taker the sacrament of blessing things as seriously anymore and its a little disenchanting for me. I would never want a blessing from that pastor.

  • thegrayhairedlamb@gmail.com

    while your at it, why not make communion wafers out of toilet paper – same effect

  • Diogenes

    I applaud them their good works. I am just priggish enough to look askance at the act of making a blessing a ‘stunt.’ A true blessing is a powerful thing, even when it only reinforces a holistic point of view.

  • Jazziscoolithink

    Because they’re trying to meet people’s needs as opposed to threatening hell to everyone they disagree with?

  • Jazziscoolithink

    There is low-level, tribal religion, and there is a higher-level, mature religion. These gradations exist in all religions. And violence doesn’t require a god to be enacted–goodness doesn’t either.

  • Jazziscoolithink

    Not sure what you mean by “they claim Jesus is real.” Congregational churches would claim that Jesus existed historically, and a lot of them wouldn’t go any further than that–except, possibly, to claim that Christ is “alive” metaphorically in the lives of those who follow his example.

    Are you kidding? Claiming anything that you cannot prove in the moment is a lie? What a claim you make, Max! How would you go about proving it?

  • Jazziscoolithink

    Max, you wouldn’t stand for such sweeping generalizations about atheists. How about people start equating you with the Khmer Rouge?

  • @Jazz,

    I never said anything about “Christians.”
    I’m not talking about “Christians.” I was a Christian myself once – remember?

    Don’t put words in my mouth.

    I object to Christianity: the foolish claims and dangerous practices.
    Not Christians. Christians (such as I was) are victims of a primitive cult.

    Religions are just ideas. That is all they are. They are products on the market – like Fords and Hondas.

    You have not applied enough thought to these matters.

    If I reject your Honda that doesn’t mean I reject the people who drive Hondas!

  • @Jazz,

    “There is low-level, tribal religion, and there is a higher-level, mature religion.”

    That is the seed of racism right there.
    Your religion is superior to ‘their’ religion? You think you are clever and above such depradations. But that is delusional. You are engaging in sophistry.

    “These gradations exist in all religions.”
    Sure. So what? That doesn’t make any of them true.

    “And violence doesn’t require a god to be enacted–goodness doesn’t either.”
    There is violence in the world
    and no sign of any God. So of course no God is required for violence.
    But God directs enormous violence:
    ISIS, Al Queada, Hezbollah, The KKK, Catholic Rwanda, Catholic Slovakia, Catholic Bosnia, Catholic Ireland….etc.

    “Execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)
    “Slay them all” – ALLAH (Sura 9:22)
    “Kill the non-believers in daylight” – Yahweh (Deuteronomy)

    “We must all just get along” – Atheist Humanist

  • @Jazz,

    “Are you kidding? Claiming anything that you cannot prove in the moment is a lie?”

    I just went swimming with a mermaid.
    Do you believe me? No? Need evidence? Too bad!

    “Believe or be condemned” – JESUS (John 3:18)

    I think Jesus is being a jerk. Commanding people to believe things under threat of death!? And you think this is not abusive and dishonest?

    One does not need to refer to the depravity of Old Testament to find religion hurtful.
    The New Testament is full of depravities of its own.

  • @Jazz,

    If there is no Hell, there is no need of a Savior to protect us from Hell.

    You underestimate how thoughtful most Atheists are.
    We have been through all this!
    Most of us were Christian and we have had the experiences of church for many years – but it simply does not add up intellectually or emotionally.

    Hell, Jesus, Yahweh, Blood of Jesus’ sacrifice…none of this makes any sense at all. Even if a God existed, why would he require blood to be spilled from one particular person in history? It is preposterous.

  • Jazziscoolithink

    Max, that’s a very narrow understanding of Christianity and its teachings. I understand how someone could get the idea, living in the US, that it’s the only legitimate Christian teaching. But it’s not. Most of the Christians I know don’t believe in that God either, or the necessity of blood sacrifice, etc. I think they’d agree with how preposterous it is.

  • Jazziscoolithink

    My point is that coherence and consistency are not human traits, as much as anyone would like to claim them.

  • Jazziscoolithink

    We must all just get along. You say that as if it and humanism arose in a vacuum, unaffected by history or any of the other various contexts from which ideas arise. When, in reality, humanism is a descendent from Christianity–like it or not. So sure, you can say we’ve evolved past religion. But you can’t say religion wasn’t necessary to get us where we are, for good and for bad.

    And you keep assuming things about me that you can’t possibly know. You obviously don’t live up to your own humanistic standard. Your ethics and your critical thinking are as flimsy as anyone else’s.

  • Jazziscoolithink

    I guess I didn’t expect you to address the substance of what I was saying. You’re all logical fallacies and specious thinking. Not that I disagree with everything you say. It’s just that your way of getting there is ignorant and helps no one.

  • polistra

    Thoroughly hard-headed and practical idea.

    Simple fact: Money becomes drugs, and thus doesn’t help the beggar.

    Food goes uneaten, and thus doesn’t help. Some other things get sold to buy drugs. But toilet paper won’t get sold or spent. It will get used by somebody who needs it.

  • Fran

    Max,

    There is no hellfire (as taught and promoted by many religions); but there is only the common grave, where the dead are sleeping and not aware of anything at all (Ecclesiastes 9:5,6,10; Psalm
    146:4).

    So a savior is not needed for a place of fiery torment forever; but a savior is needed for relief from old age, sickness and disease, old age and death. We have inherited those things because of the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve (Romans 5:12).

    The benefits of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice will be applied to humans during Jesus’ upcoming millennial rule from God’s kingdom in the heavens (Matthew 4:17); and it will get rid of all those “inherited” conditions. Man will live forever on a paradise earth with the greatest of conditions in true peace and security (Revelation 21:3,4). This will only come about by God and his son, Jesus, because of their intense love for mankind.

  • @Jazz,

    “We must all just get along. You say that as if it and humanism arose in a vacuum”
    Because it did!
    Humanism PRE-DATES religions. Getting along is exactly what our primitive forebears did to survive. Religion has no right to take credit for biological evolution – least of all Jesus (LOL!)

    “humanism is a descendent from Christianity–like it or not.”
    No. Your claims are getting way out of hand.
    Human beings have been as we are for about 200,000 years – we did this by cooperating and getting along. Way before the guesswork of gods and such.

    “you can’t say religion wasn’t necessary to get us where we are, for good and for bad.”
    Slavery and murder of natives at the direction of religions is how we got here. I’d like to hope we can do better in the future.

    “You obviously don’t live up to your own humanistic standard.”
    I’m honest. What’s the problem with that?
    I only believe when there is evidence to believe.

  • @Jazz,

    “Most of the Christians I know don’t believe in that God either, or the necessity of blood sacrifice, etc.”

    Right.
    1. They invent a god in their head.
    2. The Gods in their head are man made.
    3. They don’t believe the communion turns into Jesus and they don’t believe the wine turns into his blood – but they just don’t care to fight the priests over these claims. Blood sacrifice is alien and primitive so they just pretend it isn’t really part of the service!

    Most Christians don’t care. Until someone points out how crazy it is that a person was forced to be tortured and bloodied and his guts had to spill to the ground from a cross – for everyone’s personal benefit!

    But they have the right to not think!
    ISIS and Al Queda function on similar ‘faiths’ – also unthinking and primitive.

    I think we would do better to abandon all of it.

  • Jazziscoolithink

    Again, Max, (this is tiring) most Christians don’t believe what you say they believe. And they don’t believe them for the reasons you mistakenly assume they do.

    And do you really think a total abondonment of religion (an abstract concept that doesn’t exist in reality) would really bring about the end of violence? A cursory knowledge of 20th century history would show that for the idiocy it is. Your commitment to rationality is astounding in the face of your irrationality.

  • @Jazz,

    “the end of violence”

    Oh, stop.
    I never said violence would end with the abandonment of religion. Nationalism and wars over resources will still happen.

    But the Tai Ping rebellion was a Christian war – 45 million non-Christians were slaughtered.
    Rwandan priests killed 800,000 non-Catholics.

    Taking the superstitious nonsense out of humanity at least somewhat would reduce such incidents.

    The world cannot afford to keep denying science and evidence – humanity will destroy itself for such ignorance. And it is the responsibility of Christians to insist on proper science education and not this Creationist garbage sweeping the nation.

  • Beth Moore

    Max,
    I would like to clarify a statement you made…
    Here is a quote you attributed to Jesus:

    “Execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    If you were to read that chapter of Luke, you would see that Jesus was not commanding that anybody be executed. Rather, that is a quote from a parable about a king that Jesus was telling. (The parable actually starts at Luke 19:11.)

    If you continue to read Luke, you will see that, unlike the king in the parable, Jesus asks God to forgive his enemies (Luke 23:34), and Jesus also commands people to love their enemies (Luke 6:27).

    I respect your right to abandon your Christian beliefs, but it isn’t helpful to anybody for you to post misleading quotes.

  • John

    There is only one Church. She is one, holy, catholic and apostolic. Be not deceived. The Catholic Faith is true.

  • Jazziscoolithink

    “And it is the responsibility of Christians to insist on proper science education and not this Creationist garbage sweeping the nation.”

    I’m not sure (and I hope you’re wrong) about creationism sweeping the nation, but I completely agree otherwise.

  • Catholic

    Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes when people forgot to bring their lunch. In one end and out the other — wonder if they needed extra TP. Seriously I think this blessing is a great idea. Who knows, supplies might multi-“ply” — or at least donations might increase. Who wouldn’t want to be without an endless cache of necessities — one less thing to have to buy and worry about.

  • @Beth Moore,

    “it isn’t helpful to anybody for you to post misleading quotes.”

    I’m not trying to mislead anyone.
    Someone needs to explain to you about the second coming – Jesus is the Nobleman of the parable of the Minas. It is a barely veiled warning.

    Perhaps you never went to Catholic School as I did. Have you heard of the Parousia? The nuns taught this:
    The Parable of the Minas (“Execute them” – Jesus ) is a warning from Jesus.

    When Jesus returns (as the Nobleman did) he will line up the good servants and they shall execute the bad servants – this will be a gift to the good servants – they shall have the pleasure of executing the disobedient servants.

    The privilege of execution is in the hands of the good servants.
    In this way Jesus will separate the ‘wheat from the chaff’ – the goats from the lambs.

    Jesus is appealing to vengeance – the desire to hurt someone who did not make an equal sacrifice.

    It is the seed of fascism.

  • TJ

    I believe the shedding of Blood by Jesus Christ is the central point of Christianity. It is what redeems us. It shows the love and mercy of God who is willing to go to even death for our sake. This ,then, becomes the basis as to why we as Christians must practice love to our fellow human beings.

  • To address a few stated concerns on this thread: My denomination, the United Church of Christ (UCC), ordained its first openly gay minister in 1972. That is 45 years ago. We ordained our first woman to the clergy in the mid-1800’s. We love to talk and embody theology and we also love to help others who come to us, not for theology, but for food, sanitary products, diapers and, yes, toilet paper ~ which is, by the way, very expensive. As regards “The Blessing of the Toilet Paper”. Being able and willing to meet people at the level of their deep needs is indeed a blessing. And the food pantry guests are a blessing to us. I am willing to do this and many other things to lead people to (pun alert!) give a crap about others. The only thing I won’t do (so far) is to dump a bucket of ice water over my head to startle people out of their apathy. The food pantry is open now and there is TP to be distributed to grateful and loving souls. Please help us to help others. Thanks! Bless!

  • @Rev,

    You are running a humanitarian, compassionate campaign to raise money and solve problems for poor people. Good for you.
    You claim God is your inspiration for this – again, who am I to disagree? Good for you.

    You are reaffirming for me the fact
    that most people become clergy because they want to help people. Great!

    But 90% of the Bible is dangerous nonsense. And the 10% which is good suffers for the rest. I can only imagine how you must navigate the threads of illogic!
    Any church, despite its best intentions, keeps the Bible on a life support which it does not deserve.

    “Kill Homosexuals” – GOD (Leviticus 20:13)

    I mean, really. This baggage must be utterly abandoned.
    We need to find ways to help people without leaning on religion.

  • @TJ,

    Why blood?
    Why not a handshake? What does shedding of blood have to do with anything? It is ridiculous.

  • Thomas Rotella

    Clearly, he is a poophead.

  • Patrick

    Atheist Max – You are brilliant I

    Would that I, as a Freethinker, had your knowledge of scripture and Religion !

    However you stated of Rev Dwight :

    “You are running a humanitarian, compassionate campaign to raise money and solve problems for poor people. Good for you.”

    Please audit (Good Luck !) the minister’s/ church’s financial records before commenting on his ” Good Works” . What % of his revenues are actually spent on “Good Works” and how much goes for overhead and/or into his pocket. The RC Church strains to give away 3% of its revenue for ” Good Works” – the rest goes into keeping the Church and it’s worldwide institutions alive. The Church’s only priority is self-preservation. The rest be damned. Check out Msgr Nunzio Scarano and his $ 20 million money laundering scheme involving the Vatican Bank. Check-out Banco Ambrosiano from the 1980’s and more recently – http://www.religionnews