“Stop swinging, Samson!”

anvil[This is a traditional tale from American folklore which I've slightly modernized in tone but not substantively altered. I think it says as much about the relationship between man, God, and the force called Satan as might be found in a library's worth of theology books.]

Satan said to Samson, “They tell me that you are the strongest man in the world.”

“Yes, I reckon I am,” said Samson. “Let us today try our strength.”

Satan said, “I will first try this hammer that knocks upon the anvil.”

“Throw that hammer up, see how high you can throw it,” said Samson. Satan threw that hammer seventy-five miles in the air.

“Satan, have you another hammer?” said Samson.

“Why, yes!”

“What’s the name of that hammer?”

“That’s the one we weld iron with.”

“How high in the air can you throw that hammer?” says Samson.

“Oh, about a hundred miles.”

“Huh,” says Samson. “You can’t throw at all. I thought you were a man. Now, Satan, you stand back. You ain’t a man at all.” Samson stepped up and took hold of the anvil instead of the hammer. He looked up at the sky, and said, “Michael and Raphael and all the holy angels! Stand back, ‘cuz here comes the anvil!” And Samson started to swing the anvil.

When he had swung it around twice, Satan suddenly said to Samson, “Stop! Don’t throw that anvil! Save heaven!”

Samson slowed down swinging the anvil until he stopped.

“If you knocked heaven and the host out of existence,” said Satan, “what will we do for a living?”


As Jesus said: "Family, Schmamily. As long as there's pie."
Mary: "How do I feel, Joseph? Pregnant. Very pregnant."
If hell is real, then love has no meaning
Going through hell to find the secret to life
About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is the executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • mike moore

    I like this. I’ve often thought that Satan is a terribly convenient excuse for our own misbehaviour and vanities, and here, he seems just as human and silly as we.

  • http://icarusalways.blogspot.com/ daemon

    I have no idea what this means at all.

  • n.

    i think the whole novel GOOD OMENS (Gaiman and Pratchett) is sort of based on this story. It’s even more fun, because in a novel you get a lot of details …

  • mike moore

    GREAT book. I want the demon’s Bentley.

  • Jill

    On the amazon wish list now, and a PERFECT birthday gift for the kooky Gemini friend who has read everything!

    I love this blog! ;)