The Coming Storm

Jesus_Lamb_Storm_Boat_640At the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald, I saw this:

London commuters ran onto the tracks after a man began reciting Bible verses out loud

Commuters on one of London’s busiest rail routes forced open the doors on a rush hour train and climbed onto the tracks after panicking over man reading the Bible.

The BBC reports that passengers became scared when a man began quoting Bible passages such as “death is not the end” out loud, causing them to flee the train outside Wimbledon station at 8.30am Monday morning.

One man who was on the train said the Bible reading caused a “crush” and a “commotion”, before someone asked the reader to stop “as he was scaring people”.

The guy stopped and stood there with his head down,” the witness added.

British Transport Police said no one was injured and no arrests were made, but the incident caused severe delays to train services for the rest of the morning.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in The Coming Storm, The future and our choices. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Aquinas Gal says:

    Hard to know what to make of this, because he could have looked like a kook and if he was quoting verses about death, that could set people off. Probably many people didn’t even know he was reading the Bible. The recent bombs on the train have made people edgy.

  2. Mary Jane says:

    If I had been there, I think my reaction would have depended on the manner in which the man was reading…was his reading peaceful and kind? Or was he yelling the verses and acting in a confrontational way (and only reading about the ones having to do with death)? We don’t have enough of the story to know, but I think if he was confrontational, yelling, and only reading verses about death, I might have mistaken him for a madman about to do something crazy and I would probably have run away.

  3. luciavento says:

    The wicked man fleeth, when no man pursueth: but the just, bold as a lion, shall be without dread. Proverbs 28:1

  4. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Yes, it’s pretty common for the “crazy guy” or “drunk guy” or “drugged guy” on a bus to quote Scripture. Holding a book while doing it is pretty uncommon, though. I haven’t seen our local guy for a while, but he can go from harmless to scary in an extremely short time. (And you can’t follow his train of thought, because he mumbles loudly.)

    OTOH, the kind of stuff that street preachers do commonly in the US can quickly get very illegal in the UK. (Police tend to show up claiming that somebody complained, usually about normal preaching being somehow full of religious or racist or sexist slurs. This often has no connection to actual content of preaching, but is difficult to defend against.) So somebody might have decided that witnessing on public transport was safer than preaching on a street corner.

    Shrug. Wasn’t there, can’t tell you. But one would think there’d be phone video, if people thought it was a thing.

  5. greenlight says:

    I’m with Mary Jane. I’ve been seeing this headline going around, making it sound like people were freaking out because someone dared to read a Bible in public, but if he was actually reading out loud, and reading ominous sounding passages, I might’ve decided it would be better safe than sorry.

    On the other hand, I’ve been reading “Lord of the World” lately, and when you talk about ‘the coming storm’…hoo boy. That’ll keep you up at night.

  6. Vincent says:

    As someone who works for the UK railways, this is most upsetting, not least because people being stupid is ruining my yearly bonus!

    On a serious note, you do have to be very careful about how you behave – like when a chap got on the train I was on, put his bag down, and walked off down the train. Turned out he had got on the wrong train and was trying to find the guard, but that didn’t stop people being extremely nervous…

  7. the little brother says:

    It is always best to be sure that the seeds of evangelicalism are not being thrown into the wind, or onto concrete.

  8. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    One of the strangest things I’ve ever witnessed happened on a tube ride in London while I was studying abroad.

    My friends and I sat on the train when a 70-something year old, rosary-holding, disheveled, emaciated man in clerics opened the door between the train cabin we were in and the one upstream of us (he didn’t walk in the side door that passengers get in and out from). He mumbled in Latin and made the sign of the cross over the crowd of people standing in the train, flung holy water on us in the shape of the cross, and then disappeared as quickly as he arrived.

    I was a little afraid the man was disturbed and the train was going to blow up or something. I had an instinct to get off the train, but the doors closed and it was too late…my traveling companions only saw him for the moment before the guy disappeared.

    It was a very surreal event I’ll never forget.

  9. iPadre says:

    I found it kind of weird that someone would read their Bible out loud on a train, or in any other public place.

    When I pray the breviary in public, train, airport, etc… I would not pray it aloud. And, I’ve never seen another cleric do so. Even praying the breviary alone in a church with other people praying, I would not interfere with their prayers, or privacy by praying aloud.

  10. majuscule says:

    greenlight mentionedLord of the World

    I was having trouble getting into the ebook. Then I found the free Librivox audio version! I had not used Librivox for a few years–I used to have to download the files before listening. Now I see you can stream To your phone or other device. If having the different chapters read by various people doesn’t bother you it’s a great choice.

    I am only beginning but I am amazed by the author’s look into the future! Or our present…

    I am also going to have to look up the thoughts of Pope Francis since this is supposed to be one of his favorite books.

  11. JabbaPapa says:

    iPadre :

    I found it kind of weird that someone would read their Bible out loud on a train, or in any other public place.

    If it’s the Vulgate, or the excellent new French Liturgical Bible, sometimes the text can just demand to be read aloud, as it’s what it was written for.

    Perhaps a tangential comment will help explain — ALL Mediaeval French Literature was intended to be read aloud, even when alone, and I found during my studies that trying to read it silently actually denatured the text. And it’s also helpful to understand those texts.

    Most modern Biblical translations of course carry no such expectations nor are they typically written for such purposes — but there’s a genuine beauty to reading aloud that we have lost as a culture, and especially perhaps when it’s the Scriptures.

  12. JonPatrick says:

    Not a smart thing to run out on to the tracks on a subway, since there are conductor rails energized at ~600 Volts DC, 2 such rails in the London system which doubles the chances of stepping on one. Something that one should not do unless directed to exit the train by a crew member. Unless of course there was obvious evidence of immediate danger such as a fire, someone shooting, etc.

  13. The Masked Chicken says:

    Okay, let’s ask the obvious question: has there ever been a situation not involving captives, where a long passage from some holy writ were read before an act of terrorism were committed? I mean, what self-respecting terrorist would telegraph his actions like that? In the U. S., before the person could even get his gun out after reading the passage, he would be shot by those on the train/bus with concealed carry. In England, because they, basically, have no right to self-defense anymore, people freak out without thinking. Did any of the past subway bombers stop to read, out loud, passages from the Koran on the train they were blowing up? The fact that he was reading from the Bible (and, how many people recognized this, even) should have been a strong indication that: a) he was a Christian and less likely to be violent than a Moslem reading from the Koran (Britain does not have the radical Christian militia to the extent they do in the States and not even they or an Irish radical would do something like this – at least I don’t think there has been a single case, barring mental illness) and, b) unless he were an idiot or mentally ill, he was not going to blow up the train, because, unlike in Islam, who believe differently, in Christianity, a person who murders others, even infidels (the Doctrine of Double Effect as applied to hostile combatants is a separate case) will damn themselves. Yes, there were drivers coerced by threat to drive bomb-laden cars in Ireland, but there was no expectation of glory for the act.

    More than this, people just are less prepared for these sorts of things, paradoxically, because they are growing up in a society that pretends that if people were just to be tolerant, violence would, magically, disappear. They are being trained to be passive in the presence of evil. They are being educated to pretend that Original Sin does not exist and man is infinitely perfectable, in this life.

    I have been on buses where people have started preaching. One case was a woman and many people just thought she was mentally ill and in another case, the crowd just ganged up to argue him (with incorrect arguments) into silence. Of course, the guy would not back down, so I gave him a lecture on why his technique was faulty. I don’t think it helped his apologetics approach, though.

    The Chicken

  14. John Grammaticus says:

    I remember several years ago I got some very strange looks for praying the Rosary on the train (I was going to the FSSP Mass in Reading) from a family going up London for a football match.

  15. KAS says:

    The first thing I notice is the massive hysteria involved.

    Like a demon prompted someone to read the Bible aloud then he and others stirred up terror, perhaps to create a tragedy when panicked persons were hurt or killed, so as to increase hostility toward Christianity. Fortunately it seems everyone’s guardian angels were able to get them through it without casualties.

  16. SKAY says:

    Because Islamic terrorists like to scream out a particular phrase before committing their evil
    deeds, I doubt many of these people took the time to listen and think things through. They just
    instinctively ran for their lives.

  17. JabbaPapa says:

    KAS :

    Like a demon prompted someone to read the Bible aloud then he and others stirred up terror, perhaps to create a tragedy when panicked persons were hurt or killed, so as to increase hostility toward Christianity

    Those under a demonic influence are most likely those who succumbed to fear and sought to flee from a reading of Holy Scripture.

  18. jaykay says:

    The Chicken: “and not even they or an Irish radical would do something like this”

    Who are these “Irish radicals” of whom you speak? I normally respect your comments, but that’s just beyond the bounds of absurdity, for anyone with even a basic grasp of Irish history.

  19. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear jaykay,

    Are there really cases where terrorists in Ireland have stood up on a bus or train and read from the bible before they blew it up? All I was doing is pointing out that this is a very bad strategy. I wasn’t citing Irish terrorists, in particular. They just happened to come to mind.

    The Chicken

  20. jaykay says:

    Dear Chicken: no, no such cases, under any actual, or conceivable, circumstances. It wasn’t in reality a religious “war” – it wasn’t in reality a “war” at all, nor were those who perpetrated it “soldiers”, despite their delusions. They were terrorists, with a criminal element, and they’ve now reverted to this on both sides, and become a racketeering Mafia. Fundamentally, it was a nationalist/racist affair, with the Republican side posing as advanced socialists – Gawd ‘elp us! Hence, no such bible-reading incidents – ever.

Comments are closed.