Tuesday, March 03, 2015

The Essence of a Man's Conscience

I've always thought that the reading assignments in my high school and college education were a little strange - both in what they included and what was not included.  For instance, in 11th grade American Literature, we were assigned the first 12 chapters of The Scarlet Letter.  The second 12 chapters were optional.  I've always thought that was strange. Who thinks it is OK to study just the first half of a book in an English class?

When my older son started high school, he was assigned The Great Gatsby to read over the summer. That was one of the books that had NOT been part of my reading background from school, so I decided to read it as he did.  Truthfully, I didn't like it, but at least I can now say that I HAVE read it.

With the recent publicity of the publication of Harper Lee's new book, I decided to read her first one, To Kill a Mockingbird - another book not included in my educational reading.  I'm in chapter 11, and I'm happy to say that I like it. I love the way she writes and the story is engaging.

All of that to explain why I'm going to write about a quote from the book today.  I just read it today, and decided to stop and write about it.  Atticus (a lawyer in a small Southern town, for those who have not read the book) is explaining to his daughter why he is defending a black man.
"This case, Tom Robinson's case, is something that goes to the essence of a man's conscience - Scout, I couldn't go to church and worship God if I didn't try to help that man."
Of course, I'm a person who believes we go to Church no matter what we've done, but I am touched and stopped by the desire of this man to avoid hypocrisy.  How can he proclaim his faith and obedience to God while not putting his faith into action and while not doing what he believes to be what God is calling him to do?

Do we ever ask ourselves that?  Do our words - what we say we believe - impact what we do?  I think we all know that those words and beliefs should change our actions, but do they?



Post a Comment

<< Home