David Bruce: 250 Anecdotes About Religion, Volume 2 — Art, Baptism, Bible, Birth, Candles


• In 1843, Englishman Sir Henry Cole invented the illustrated Christmas card. He wanted to remind his friends to give to the needy during the holidays, so he commissioned an artist to create a scene of a family enjoying a holiday feast while ignoring needy people nearby. He then sent these cards to his friends.

• Louise Nevelson created artworks for the Chapel of the Good Shepherd in St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in New York City. When a reporter asked the pastor why a Russian-born Jew had been picked to create works of art for a Christian chapel, he replied, “Because she’s the greatest living American sculptor.”


• One winter, some Dunkers held an outdoors baptism, breaking the ice on a river to do so. After being baptized, one of the men was asked if the water had been cold. He replied, “No, not a bit.” The other man who had been baptized told the preacher, “You better baptize him again, and hold him down a little longer. He hasn’t been cured of lying.”

• Max Weber, the sociologist, once saw a banker in the American South being baptized in a cold stream. When Mr. Weber asked what was happening, he was told that the banker was being baptized so that the people of the town would trust him and so do business with him.


• Many of us read the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, in which the Pharisee says, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as that publican [tax collector]. I fast twice in the week. I give tithes of all that I possess.” Unfortunately, when many of us read this, we think, “Thank God that I am not as that Pharisee.”

• Ellen C. Waller, a Quaker, asked the children in her class to check and make sure that they had the Revised Version of the Bible, from which she was teaching. One child said that she had the wrong version of the Bible, because it wasn’t “Revised” — it was “Holy.”


• Elizabeth Cady Stanton once asked why this statement was read in the synagogue each week: “I thank thee, O Lord, that I was not born a woman.” She received the reply, “It is not meant in an unfriendly spirit, and it is not intended to degrade or humiliate women.” However, she was not satisfied with this answer, so she said, “But it does, nevertheless. Suppose the service read, ‘I thank thee, O Lord, that I was not born a jackass.’ Could that be twisted in any way into a compliment to the jackass?”

• Si-tien, a Buddhist priest, asked some men, “Which is more moving: the cries of an animal being killed, or the cries of a woman giving birth?” No one answered, so Si-tien gave the answer: “The cries of a woman giving birth. The cries of an animal being killed is an ending, but the cries of a woman giving birth is a beginning.”


• New York Yankees Waite Hoyt and Joe Dugan went to church together one day, and Mr. Dugan lit a candle. That afternoon, he batted 3-for-4 and the next day he batted 4-for-5. Therefore, Mr. Waite went to a church and lit a huge number of candles. Unfortunately, he was a pitcher and the opposing team’s batters knocked him out of that day’s game in the third inning. Mr. Waite asked, “How do you explain it? You lit candles and get a bunch of hits. I do the same thing and get knocked out.” Mr. Dugan replied, “Easy. I saw you light all those candles in church, but right after you left I saw two gamblers come in and blow them out.”

• Do you know the story behind the tradition of putting candles in windows during the Christmas season? This is an Irish tradition that stems from the days when the Catholic religion was persecuted. Catholic families longed to have a priest come to their house and celebrate Mass on Christmas. To help guide the priest to their house, they put a candle in the window.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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