S _ _ T Stirrer

Luke 13:1-9 – The third Sunday of Lent – for March 3, 2013

“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way that they were worse sinners than all other Galileans?” (Luke 13:2)

Remember this encounter from the 1994 film Forrest Gump*?

Bumper Sticker Guy: [running after Forrest] Hey man! Hey listen, I was wondering if you might help me. ‘Cause I’m in the bumper sticker business and I’ve been trying to think of a good slogan, and since you’ve been such a big inspiration to the people around here I thought you might be able to help me jump into – WOAH! Man, you just ran through a big pile of dog shit!

Forrest Gump: It happens.

Bumper Sticker guy: What, shit?

Forrest Gump: Sometimes.

It does happen, doesn’t it?

In the fanciful Forrest Gump, the dialog above depicted the life-is-like-a-box-of-chocolates Gump as the inspiration behind one of the enduring phrases from the twentieth century:  shit happens.

Oops! Aren’t I supposed to be circumspect and convey the offensive word through dashes like s _ _ t?

But it does happen, doesn’t it? In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus mentioned the death of eighteen people killed by the collapse of a tower in Siloam. Didn’t shit happen to them? In my family, my father’s dementia could’ve been categorized as shit. At a church I served in the 1980s I had an awkward chat at lunch with someone convinced gay men deserved AIDS . . . in other words they deserved the shit they caused.

0214-Carnival-Triumph-passengers_full_600Recent news highlighted the dismal situation for the thousands of passengers aboard the crippled Carnival Triumph. Their luxury toilets didn’t work and soon a whole lotta literal bad shit happened. What’d they do to deserve such a mess? Immeasurably worse—though it rarely makes the news—are the 2.6 billion people (according to the World Health Organization) that “lack even a simple ‘improved’ latrine” the 1.1 billion people without “access to any type of improved drinking source of water.” Are those billions being punished? Continue reading →