Difficult Christmas moment


On Christmas Day at my house a close family member (raised Catholic; unknown religious beliefs at this time) unwrapped a present from her non-Christian partner. It was a Green Day product – a DVD or CD – entitled Bullet in a Bible. I said (my reactions here were off-the-cuff and not well thought-out) something sarcastic like “Nice Christmas present” or “nice title” and the partner sheepishly said something like sorry, he didn’t look at titles. The recipient laughed and said, “Don’t worry, he [meaning my small son, I think] can’t read it.” I actually said, “You laugh?” and I said that I was offended, meaning it was not just about whether the children should be exposed to it. I didn’t say anything else about it while they were there because there was another, more irascible family member present and I wanted to avoid big blowups. But I was really down about it afterward.

Later I looked up this item on the Web and learned that the title came from a visit to a war museum where an employee asked if they’d like to see a Bible with a bullet in it.

What would you think/do if this happened in your house on Christmas Day? I’m glad that the band didn’t make the title up just to express aggression against Biblical religion, but it’s still a provocative thing to use as a title, and most people are not going to know the context on sight. As I later said in e-mail, I couldn’t imagine the relative laughing in regard to objection to the same title with “Koran” or “Torah” at the home of a Muslim or Orthodox Jew. I know that the person knows I take “orthodox” Catholicism seriously, and that we view Christmas as a religious holiday. I am just wondering whether people here would be a) openly outraged, b) shrugging, “Rock bands. Shock value. What are you gonna do? Fight with people because of the presents they get on Christmas?” or c) something in between. What would you say afterward, if anything, if you chose not to address it at the gathering?


I’d go with B. Just the title “partner” would tip me off that these two were not going to see things the way I saw them. And I would pray for them.


I agree. Pick your battles. With people who’ve rejected any formal belief structure and use modern terms like “partners,” you’re not going to get anywhere. Just be an example, but don’t ACT like you’re being an example.

Seriously, the best thing for my peace of mind (and evangelization) is praying for those who I think need to be prayed for, but living as though most of the world is simply on a greased slip-n-slide to Hell. I used to feel the burden of converting the world on my shoulders, or registering appropriate anger/shock/whatever at offensive stuff. Now, I don’t bother with it.

Unless, of course, some jack***** is mouthing off ignorantly about The Catholic Church. Then I’m loaded for bear.


It would be best to let it go. The gift wasn’t to you and wasn’t to your child. Those actually giving and receiving the gift indicated quite clearly that they had no intention of scandalizing anyone.

The eyes of your child, remember, are primarily on you. Your initial remarks were not particularly gentle or kind, did not seek to believe the best of others first, and by your own admission had a measure of rash judgement to them. It is not a good example to your child to be in a rush to be offended, especially over unintended slights by guests in one’s home that were obviously not aimed at you in the first place.


if the gift was given to someone else, I would keep my mouth shut, NOMB, unless it had a provacative picture, in which case I would quietly ask the recipient to put it away so the children don’t see it. I would still not comment on the giver or his motives. If it was given to me I would politely say thank you and if it was something I don’t want, would exchange it for something else. If it was really objectionable I might say, “I can’t believe you thought of me when you saw this,” in an awed tone (but not whiny).


Me too. I think it’s tough sometimes to know when to open our mouths and when not to, but I am learning that unless something is directed at me I need to be very careful how I react. The idea is to attract people to my religion and not to just promote it…which, I must admit, I am not great at doing.


I might be showing my age in the following post because I grew up during Vietnam, my Grandpa was in both WW1 and WW2, my dad caught the tail end of WW2 (like he was just 17 or 18 at the end of it) and joined the military right before or during the Korean War so much of what I have to say is from actually hearing about these things.

Let me get this straight, Green Day is a band right? They don’t sing anything excessively offensive that I have heard (that doesn’t mean they don’t, just my local Alternative station doesn’t play anything offensive) and to decide to title an album “Bullet in a Bible” is to me honoring the fact that many a Bible in a pocket took the bullet and saved a soldiers life starting with the Civil War (at least that is the earliest I have heard of it happening).

Do a google and I will bet you will find many stories of Bibles doing this as well as Blessed Medals and Rosaries! What a great testament to God’s love for us that He would use His Word or His Saints to save us from death during war!

BTW, my daughter tells me this is an old album of Green Days to boot.

Showing my age, Brenda V.


I tried googling “bullet in a Bible” and only came up with Green Day sites for said album/song. Sorry. It will probably take more to come up with the stories I was talking about. If I find anything I will post it for you all here.

Brenda V. (who was going to edit her previous post but the capability was no longer there :frowning: )


The “bullet in the Bible” is an old lgend, starting back as far as the Civil War as far as I know (it might be even farther). Guy carries a pocket testament or small Bible near his heart, sometimes promising Mother, sometimes a wife or sweetheart. Guy goes into battle, gets shot, but his Bible saves him. After the war (whichever one it is) he then becomes a clergyman of some sort, and keeps his Bible or testament as a memento of his harrowing escape from death.

I only said “B” because I have a big mouth. If I knew I could do it, I would just keep my big fat yap shut.


[quote=Brenda V.]I tried googling “bullet in a Bible” and only came up with Green Day sites for said album/song. Sorry. It will probably take more to come up with the stories I was talking about. If I find anything I will post it for you all here.

Brenda V. (who was going to edit her previous post but the capability was no longer there :frowning: )

You are so funny…and I think we are about the same age…YIIIIIPPPPPEEEEEEE


I got the same gift and LOVE IT! Except mine is a combo dvd/cd

Its called “Bullet in a Bible” and has the cd as well as a Greenday concert from earlier this year!

At first I was curious where they were coming from with that title, but there is a scene in the dvd where they visit the London War Memorial Museum and there is a bible with a bullet in it.

For being a “Punk Rock” band, I love this group. They are very anti war and their songs challenge our youth to think for themselves and not swallow all the slop our Govts feed them.


thomasina–I want to speak to the situation of inappropriate behavior in your house (rather than the particular CD). My experience is as a parent, an orthodox Catholic, and a sister to several siblings who have less than Catholic lifestyles and views. I have had similar experiences with my siblings. When something happens like that, it is generally unexpected and not something that you can anticipate. As a result, our reactions tend to be immediate, rather than well thought out. But those immediate reactions are often what comes across most clearly and will remain with those who witness the situation. Your sister, her partner, children (if they are old enough), and others absorb the values that you conveyed in your reaction. Some may not want to acknowledge that they got the message, but on some level, everyone present got the message. And that message is that not all things are appropriate in your home and that you are upholding certain values in your family. So although you may not have handled it exactly how you might have with more warning, recognize that you made clear your values. And that is what is important. So I say: :thumbsup:


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