168: LOL #9: How the Robin got its red breast

“Welcome to the personal polemic that is Zingcreed. It is a totally unique Christian/Atheist blog where I think aloud about religion and the world. I hope you get something out of it!” Peter Turner, M.A., M.Sc.


Most of the stuff I was taught in Sunday School as a child was straightforward mainstream Christianity. It was a C. of E. affair run in the church hall of a large modern church in a middle class area of Gloucester, and very proud to be part of the national Sunday School movement founded by the local Gloucester journalist Robert Raikes in (I think) the 18th century. Unlike today, when only 5% of Britain’s kids go to Sunday School, back in the ’50s, half of us went.

One cold wintry afternoon, the dear strict lady who was the Superintendent gave us all a talk on ‘How the Robin got its red breast’. It seems the bird was just brown all over, and it happened to be standing under the cross where our saviour was hanging. Some drops of His blood fell down and splattered the dicky bird’s breast. And that sign has been there to this day to remind us all that our Lord shed his precious blood for us. I remember that even as a little kid this just seemed so implausible; I went up and asked her afterwards how this stain on the bird’s front could be passed on to its offspring, and wasn’t the Holy Land too far away from England for birds here to have the same marking? (For you see, I was an amateur bird watcher, and knew that the Robin was not a migratory species). I remember being disappointed to get the usual reply I should have known I would get: It’s not for man to know God’s mysterious ways.

It was crap like this that lessened my respect for the church, until it reached the point that I ceased my attendance at church services altogether and went walking  in the countryside on Sundays instead, feeling sorry for those left behind , trapped in a dull act of worship where blinkered preachers treated them as if they had little or no intelligence.

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