The Toilet-Paper Debate

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The age old debate: Should toilet paper be placed so that it is pulled from over the top or from under the bottom?

It's amazing how heated the debate of this seemingly insignificant topic can get.

This made me consider how many of these "toilet paper" issues do we let consume us when it comes to our faith?

What is the best way to worship? Hymns or contemporary?
When is the best time to have church? Saturdays or Sundays? Mornings or Evenings?
Should Christians be reading fictitious books with debatable theology?
What is the right way to baptize someone? Full immersion or sprinkling?
What is the right way to serve/receive Holy Communion?

How often do we see issues such as these dividing religions, denominations or even local churches?

I believe that there are primary issues and secondary issues in our Christian faith. Primary issues are core to the universal church and deserve to be debated. Secondary issues are beliefs that we personally feel strongly about, but are not really life or death (salvation) issues.

The difficulty is determining which are the real primary issues and which are the issues that we are only debating about because we personally feel strongly about them.

The older I get and the more I study God's Word, the more I believe that there are less primary issues that actually deserve to be argued over and more secondary issues that might be important to our church or denomination, but are not essential beliefs that every person has to agree on.

In fact, I would argue that debating these issues so strongly is not only dividing Christians against one another, but causes many non-believers to not want anything to do with the church at all.

Maybe the right way to consider this topic is to change the phrasing of our question from "What is the right answer to this question?" to "Is the item in question serving its purpose?"

Is the toilet paper serving its purpose whether it comes from the top or the bottom? I'd like to think so...

Is the church helping people connect with God and sending them out into the world to partner with God in bringing God's Kingdom to the world? If the answer to this question is yes then perhaps we should spend less time debating HOW this is being done.

"Avoiding a fight is a mark of honour; only fools insist on quarreling." 
- Proverbs 20:3 (NLT)


  1. This is so good! I thought of Rob Bell's "marker trick" in Everything is Spiritual. Do you remember it? He holds up the black marker he is using. He shows the audience. From one angle it's a rectangle and the other angle it's a circle. But they're both of the same thing. Same with "toilet paper" issues. Hymns or Contemporary? Hold up the marker and say "yep" - I dig that!

    1. Thanks D. Yeah, that exact analogy popped into my head while I was writing this post.


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