Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Is the effects of sin like stepping in dog sh*t?

(This is another entry in dictionary of everyday spirituality, under the heading S is for sh*t).

Ok, I know it’s a bit graphic but I wondered today if sometimes sin is like stepping in dog sh*t.

You can clean it off, but the effects, like the smell seem to linger.

Or more sadly, you step in it. But over time, you seem to grow used to the smell. Others notice and sniff. But it’s on your shoe and so it remains hard to detect. It’s in the room, it changes the atmosphere, but it’s hard to get rid of.

And sometimes pastoral ministry is about dealing with the smell. Perhaps actually sitting with someone long enough to find it and name it clearly. Sometimes actually finding the water and scrubbing it off. Sometimes helping them find a new set of shoes.

(Anyone still keen on being in pastoral ministry?)

Not pleasant, but a quiet sense of achievement at days end.

Posted by steve at 05:08 PM


  1. Great analogy. It totally is.

    Raises some questions:
    Is church, then, a place where everyone has dogsh*t on their shoes?
    Do we tell each other?
    Do we all just get used to the smell together?
    Do we help each other wash it off?
    Do we point each other to Jesus, the great shoe washer?
    Do we elevate certain types of sh*t up as if they weren’t smelly at all?

    Comment by Paul — March 22, 2011 @ 7:17 pm

  2. love the theological jump in the “Jesus the great shoe washer”.

    Your question generates some more:

    Do different church denominations tends to have different smells?

    Comment by steve — March 22, 2011 @ 7:37 pm

  3. Steve, yes, this is really gross (!!) but it’s an extremely clever metaphor – especially in the way you de-glamourise ministry and put it in all its gritty reality. Spiritual guide sounds so esoterical – washing off the smelly muck is not nearly so appealing, but it’s more like the reality! “Jesus the great shoe washer” – brilliant!

    Comment by maggi — March 23, 2011 @ 9:22 am

  4. thanks maggi.

    imagination at work here – if they had dogs in 1st century Palestine, then perhaps one of disciples stepped in something on the way to the Last Supper. Puts on whole different spin on the spiritual practise of foot washing on Maundy Thursday doesn’t it!


    Comment by steve — March 23, 2011 @ 11:18 am

  5. […] (Alan’s book is great, by the way, well worth a read if you haven’t seen it already.) But in comes Steve Taylor with this really clever metaphor – sin is like something you stepped in – no-one can quite track down the source of the […]

    Pingback by Sin is like dog s*it on your shoe – Maggi Dawn — March 23, 2011 @ 8:13 pm

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