John Bloom's picture
06.17.2008 | Comments(17)

Footprints in the Muck

“Footprints in the Sand,” the hands-down favorite for Most Nauseating Christian Poem Ever Written, is headed for federal court as three different authors make claims to be “Anonymous” and, therefore, entitled to copyright protection every time the words of the poem are engraved on a Neon Jesus Ashtray.

nameContenders for authorship include Margaret Fishback Powers, an itinerant Canadian evangelist who claims to have written it in 1964 at a youth camp in Ontario; Carolyn Joyce Carty of North Carolina, who has claimed at various times that her grandmother wrote the poem in 1922 and that she wrote it herself in 1963 (when she was six years old) and that she also wrote the lyrics to the Beatles song “In My Life”; Burrell Webb, an Oregon landscape artist who says a polygraph test has proven that he wrote the poem in 1958 after his girlfriend dumped him; the late Mary Stevenson, a former showgirl and nurse, whose descendants say she composed the poem as a teenager in 1936 after the deaths of her mother and brother; and at least 12 other people who seem to genuinely believe that they wrote it. Unfortunately for all of them, Rachel Aviv of the Poetry Foundation has found the basic idea of the poem in a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the Baptist preacher whose writings were widely disseminated well into the late 20th century. The date of that sermon: 1880. This doesn’t matter, though, because I wrote it.

Some Grey Bloke Turns Spiritual


Mike Booth, the British animator who writes, voices, draws and produces a series of hysterical vlogs starring himself as “Graham,” better known as Some Grey Bloke, who experiences life entirely through the Internet, has created the ultimate video on Religion Shopping, in which Graham sorts through all the religions of the world and decides on the one that’s best for him. We win (I think). One of the first things Graham has to deal with as a convert is the possibility that he will burn in hell, but the Calvinist nature of his choice is still being worked out.

An Alternative to Strangling the Youth Minister


Bono Fatigue: A Place for Bono Vox Detox is one of those websites you can’t stop reading, even if you’re not personally involved in Bono recovery. My favorite post comes from Jami-dog of Grand Island, Michigan: “I have found that listening to the Tijuana Brass helps because their music is so unlike anything U2 has ever done. It’s a sort of antivenin.” Keep this URL handy, because It Could Happen to U2.

Designing Ben Stein


Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, the Ben Stein movie about intelligent design that caused a minor stir when released last month, is fourwalling theaters this summer for any church group that can muster 300 guaranteed admissions. You just call up our old buddy Tripp Thornton in Dacula, Georgia, and two to three weeks later he’ll have a screening set up in your neighborhood theater. We recommend rounding up some atheist pickets to maximize attendance. or 678-546-5580 for the details.


SRebbe | 10:33 am on 6/18/2008

what about the times G-d dropped you to see if you could walk on your own?

budda | 12:51 pm on 6/18/2008

Funny! I have got to get that water-proof keyboard. 2nd time this month I've spewed diet pepsi all over it.

Joanne | 12:25 pm on 6/18/2008

A more realistic version of that mawkish poem:

FootPrints In The Sand - From Another View

Lord I know
There's some who say,
You walk beside them
Most the way.

But as I look back
At the sand,
I see the prints of just one Man.

Those prints are Your's Lord
From start to end,
For Your Word declares
I'm in Your hand.

Those prints are Yours
All the way,
Not just in hard times
As some might say.

Before the world began
It's been Your plan,
To share Your glory
With no man.

It's only by
Your grace alone,
You're turning to flesh
This heart of stone.

My GOD please touch
The heart of man,
Till we see Your footprints "only"
In the sand.

..................Les Barkley

Of course, if you don't like the idea at all, this version won't fly with you either...

tc | 12:38 pm on 6/18/2008

Me likey.

Me likey.

And No.. I ain't Mikey.

budda | 12:54 pm on 6/18/2008

When I look back I see marks in the sand where it looks like someone has been dragged kicking and screaming.

Eric | 12:56 pm on 6/18/2008

What about the footprints that go...


Aren't they either when God was kicking me in the arse or me trying to do a guilt-laden Buffalo Shuffle when confronted with my sins...


that calvinist doug | 01:57 pm on 6/18/2008

Eric, it sounds more like the Hebrew waltz.

that calvinist doug | 02:02 pm on 6/18/2008

If anyone wants a good laugh, click on the link for "burn in hell" in the Some Grey Bloke post. I found it hilarious, and I'm a Calvinist.

SRebbe | 03:53 pm on 6/18/2008

it is hilarious as was 'choosing my religion' parts I and II.

budda | 04:50 pm on 6/18/2008

Doug, click my name/link and write me a note, got something for ya.

budda | 04:51 pm on 6/18/2008

or just click S's. That would work too.

Amarie | 07:01 pm on 6/19/2008

Okay, first off--everyone knows Al Gore wrote it. Seconal, I mean, second off, I just found this in my mother's hatbox. Though worse than all the other contenders, it may have some historical significance. It was written by one of the lesser-known Inklings, Barry, who actually gave JRR, CS, and E Burdon most of their better ideas:

I dreamed I was in a Hollywood movie. And I was the STAR of the movie. In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets, sometimes there was only one set, sometimes there were about 168 sets, but the Lord told me that was when some joggers were passing.

One time there were just little marks in the sand kind of willy-nilly. The Lord said that was when I had to hop because the sand was really hot those days. Another time the whole beach seemed to be marked up so you couldn’t make out my footprints from tire tracks, and other prints and impressions. Confused I asked the Lord, “Please, Lord, what on earth caused this chaos in my life? Where were you?” He said that I’d stumbled across the set of a Beach Party movie. He was over watching them film The Agony and The Ecstasy.

In one scene I looked quite parched. This bothered me so I said to the Lord, “Hey, You promised me that if I walked with You, that You’d always be with me. So much for all that ‘never thirsting stuff?’ How about an iced tea with fresh lemon?” “Sorry,” He says, “It doesn’t work that way.”

We go back and forth, I mention Cana. He says he’s not a bloody genie in a bottle and I should’ve planned ahead. Finally we agree to rochambeau. I win. Aha! (note: if you ever play Him, go with paper. He ALWAYS uses rock) Grudgingly, He says, “Okay, but I only do wine.” I say, great, just not the cheap stuff. He rolls His eyes in an “as if.”

In the next scene I see hoof prints in the sand. Mr. Tumnus comes along blowing a mean jazz flute. He whispers in my ear something crazy. He says, “Spill the wine, take that pearl--of great price!” I say, “Huh, what the heck does that mean?” Then a nearby hunter shoots poor Mr. Tumnus. (Not a music fan) But I ask the Lord (pulling bits of delicious Tumnus Jerky from my teeth) why there are now just one set of prints in the sand. He says, “That, my child, was when I flung you into the depths of the sea (think-the whale shot in the new Will Smith movie trailer) And paper cannot cover My Rock!”

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