"A few weeks ago, I was sitting in the bathtub trying to figure out how many baths I have taken. I'm in my mid-thirties and have taken a bath every day of my life. On days I mow the lawn I take two baths. That means I've taken nearly thirteen thousand baths in my lifetime. In all of those years, I have never killed anyone. I wonder if there's a correlation. Maybe we ought to make more bathtubs and fewer bullets.

"I grew up in a house with a bathtub. It also had a shower, but we couldn't use it because it leaked down into the kitchen. When I was nineteen, I moved to my own apartment. It didn't have a shower, so I kept taking baths. Then I moved to a farmhouse which didn't have a shower, either. It did have a seven-foot, bright pink bathtub. Sometimes I lie awake at night and think about that tub.

"Seven years ago we moved to the house we live in now. It has a shower inside the bathtub, but after a lifetime of baths, the habit is ingrained. You're either a bath person or a shower person, and whichever you are is pretty well determined early in life.

"My wife is a shower person. She grew up in a house with a bathtub and a shower. The shower was in their cellar. Her mother didn't want her father coming in from the fields and tracking dirt through the house. So her father tapped into the water pipes and hung a shower head smack in the middle of the cellar next to the furnace. No shower stall. You put your soap and washcloth on a stepladder. The water runs across the cellar floor to the drain. As showers go, it is wonderful. The water comes straight down on top of your head, so you don't have to bend and stoop to get wet like you do in most showers. Still, it is a shower and is therefore inferior to a bath.

"Since Sunday through Friday are work days, I have to hurry my bath along. But on Saturday mornings my bath is slow and luxurious. While the water is running, I walk down to the end of the lane to fetch the morning paper. By the time I get back, the water is hot and deep. I lock the bathroom door so the kids can't come in and float boats while I'm reading the paper. The daily news goes down a lot easier when you're soaking in a bathtub. I read about bank robberies and riots in distant cities and it scarcely fazes me. I think to myself how much safer the world would be if folks just stayed home and took a bath. I never feel like rioting or robbing a bank while I'm reclining in the tub.

"For years now, I've been trying to sell my wife on the virtues of baths. While showers leave one clean, they also leave a person feeling jangled and edgy. A bath gently laps at your body; a shower pummels and assaults you. My wife smells great, but once a year she battles an ulcer. I'm betting it has something to do with the showers.

"The house we live in now is owned by the Quaker meeting I pastor. They've been fixing it up for us. First they fixed the kitchen; then they fixed the basement. Now they want to fix the bathroom. They've formed a committee. All of the persons on the committee are shower people, and I'm starting to worry. They're talking about how much bigger our bathroom would be if we replaced the bathtub with a shower stall. These are ordinarily very nice people, but they're starting to get meddlesome. We've never had a church split, but I can see one coming.

"Jesus, I'm pleased to report, was a bath person. Scripture relates how Mary once bathed his feet in perfume. Judas complained that a bath like that was a big waste of money. I bet Judas was a shower person.

"For all their benefits, baths can also lead to trouble, Bathsheba, a lovely woman with an even lovelier name, was taking a bath when King David spied her from his rooftop. I'm not going to tell you what happened after that. This is a family book, after all. You can read all about it in 2 Samuel 11. But I warn you — when you're finished reading, you might need to take a cold shower. Unless, of course, you're a bath person."