Piety on the bus

In 'Should your Bible be more visible' I promised to share a story about parading piety in public. Doing good things, even praying, primarily to get reward and attention is something Jesus warned against.

I don't know the origin of this story, but here's my version:

A well-known pastor got on to a double-decker bus in Berlin. He found a seat on the upper deck, took out his prayer book and silently began to pray. He’d hardly begun when the passenger next to him commented on what he was doing, loud enough for everyone on the bus to hear.
Look at this man, he climbs to the top of a bus, takes out his prayer book and starts praying so everyone can see him and think he's great man of God!”
Everyone turned to listen as the man continued his attack,
“When I say my prayers, I do what Jesus says in Matthew’s gospel. I go to my room and shut the door and pray in secret.”
To which the pastor quietly added,
“And then you climb to the top of a bus and tell the whole world about it!”


  1. Or you write about it in your blog? Food for thought here.

  2. Just wondering why having a bible in public should be an issue?

    Despite 50 shades of Grey, the bible remains the best selling book worldwide, so wouldn't you expect it to be seen in public sometimes?

    Or are people ashamed to be seen with a bible? Or, do they think being seen reading a semi-porn book in public is a sign of status?

    I suspect that having it on a kindle or other electronic device overcomes this, because, everyone these days seems to be studying something on a mobile device.

    I have the bible and MP & EP and Lectio Divina on my mobile, nobody ever asks me what I'm doing, they take it for granted that I'm texting or something :(

  3. I do get your point, but would just like to add, that I often read my bible in public, not to 'show off' (in fact it's more likely to get the opposite effect in the UK!) but I have had some great conversations with people who have noticed me reading it in public and asked questions...


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