"Mockingbird" Monday Reflections, Thoughts

Mockingbird Monday: Atticus, True Community, and an upcoming Interview with Scot McKnight

Sometimes I think we are misled byour definitions of”community.” We believe our community consists of those who look like us, act like us AND agree with us. Nothing could be further from the truth. Atticus Finch demonstrates that the authentic and transforming practice of community requires that we have a responsibility to our neighbors — ALL of our neighbors. This is most clearly demonstrated in the way he chooses to communicate with the people of Maycomb, even in the toughest of circumstances.

Here is an excerpt from “The Parable of the Last Word”: The ethic that Atticus lives out in his communication is one of connection and compassion toward his community. At the outset of taking the Tom Robinson case, he sits his daughter, Scout, down to discuss the situation. He tells her to remember, regardless of how tough things get that they will still have their friends and a place to call home [No matter how bad things get, these people are still our neighbors]. The conversation illuminates why Atticus communicates with people the way he does. It is his deep understanding of his relation to the people of Maycomb that acts as the compass, guiding the tones, the volume, and the nature of his conversations with them. This character, more than any other, practices community as an ethic, as a responsibility. As I read To Kill a Mockingbird I am always taken aback at his ability to deal with people in this manner. Atticus abhors the racism, the lack of compassion, and the violence that permeates Maycomb. But I believe he is deeply attentive to the power of human associations and relationships. His communication with people leaves the door of influence open. His ethic concedes the disagreement with his neighbors, but maintains the connection that can allow him to bring about change in their lives through relationship — by his example…

Some exciting stuff will happen this week at the site. Check back for new blog-posts (as usual)on Tuesday and Thursday! This Friday, I will post a wonderful interview with Professor Scot McKnight (author of The Jesus Creed and The Blue Parakeet) about his outstanding new book, One.Life.

My focus this week will be on the question of what itlooks liketo live “in community.” I came across a list of several books on the topic that you might want to check out:


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