Reading a John Grisham book
The best-selling author, John Grisham, wrote A Painted House. The Times said it was "his best work."
Luke Chandler's grandfather was a strong character. When he drove his old Ford car he kept both hands on the wheel and looked neither left nor right, didn't shout or wave to anybody and some said he was rude; but Luke said, "Personally, I don't think he cared how the gossip ran." Isn't that a great trait? Shouldn't we want to be like that—have an honourable disregard for the opinion of others? I realise such a trait needs to be balanced by other traits but you have to admire a man who's at peace with himself. Don't you agree with that and what kind of balancing traits would you say are needed in such a case?
The grandfather was looking for workers to bring in the cotton and came across a couple with big teenage boys who said they'd driven a long way to get work and were looking for a farmer called Crenshaw. He directed them to Crenshaw's farm though he knew he could pay these people more than Crenshaw and he was in desperate need of them. "Pappy" was honourable like that—didn't believe in taking advantage of people. I think we should be like that. A farmer about ten miles up the road from Pappy wasn't like that so he didn't mind hiring the Fulbrights who were already working for Luke's grandfather—hired them right in the middle of the first picking and left Pappy in a fix. That was shameful. What do you think? Do you have a comment to make?
Darla Latcher's daughter got pregnant without a husband and Darla was absolutely mortified. Her daughter really needed a doctor but the poor woman was so ashamed she didn't want to get one and was asking Luke's mother for some kind of help while asking her to keep the matter quiet. Mrs. Latcher didn't want the word about her daughter's shame spread through the entire county but Luke said, "She was desperate to keep a secret that had been the talk of Black Oak for months." I think it's so sad that people can be isolated by shame. We should do what we can to make it easier for burdened people to open up and find peace. Especially since matters like this have a way of getting out. I think it's better just to bravely face the public music and not go around afraid of every word and every glance. Of course, I don't mean that people should go around blabbing about things like this all over creation. What's your opinion on a situation like that?
Anyway, Luke sneaked up to the window when his mother followed Mrs. Latcher into the house to see her daughter. The boy wanted to get a look at a pregnant girl but he was very afraid of being spotted and getting a beating from his dad. Besides, taking an unauthorised look at a girl was a sin of the first magnitude and he was afraid of being struck blind on the spot. Despite his fear he was willing to risk it. We have a lot to learn from this, I believe. It seems that people are always in fear that when they sin they will be punished for it; as if God didn't know how to forgive without punishing. What do you think about that? Then notice that his fear wasn't enough to keep Luke from doing what he believed to be sin and I think that's typical. Sin gets such a grip on us that even fear of punishment or at least getting caught can't keep us from it. Do you have an opinion on that point? Is fear a good thing?
Grisham's book is filled with incidents that show us how cruel people can be and the kind of behaviour we should avoid. Still, it also has strong characters, the kind of people we should model our lives on. A book like that helps to make us morally strong and upright. That's really the bottom line to life, isn't it?
Oh, you wonder what Grisham's book's about? I thought I was telling you. And I thought when I asked you to comment rather than just listen to me that you were personally gaining an understanding of his book. You mean your comments wouldn't really be about Grisham's book at all?
Is this how we do Bible study? Is the Bible a source book of character specimens, some of whom we should follow and some we should avoid? Is it the source of "principles to live by"? Are the events and incidents recorded so we can illustrate the rights and wrongs of the moral life? The plot doesn't matter, the Author's purpose is incidental or reduced to making us better? Hmmm.©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.