Friday, March 18, 2011

Closed Communion in "To Kill a Mockingbird"

I thought this to be an interesting exchange for a fictional account which has been one of the most popular works in American literature of all time -- which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.

Miss Maudie settled her bridgework. "You know old Mr. Radley was a foot-washing Baptist -- "

"That's what you are, ain't it?"

"My shell's not that hard, child. I'm just a Baptist."

"Don't you all believe in foot-washing?"

"We do. At home in the bathtub."

"But we can't have communion with you all -- "

Apparently deciding that it was easier to describe primitive baptistery than closed communion, Miss Maudie said: "Foot-washers believe anything that's pleasure is a sin. Did you know some of 'em came out of the woods one Saturday and passed by this place and told me [that] me and my flowers were going to hell?" [Miss Maudie liked gardening and spent a lot of time thus engaged as the book earlier describes.]

"Your flowers too?"

"Yes, ma'am. They'd burn right with me. They thought I spent too much time in God's outdoors and not enough time inside the house reading the Bible." My confidence in pulpit Gospel lessened at the vision of Miss Maudie stewing forever in various Protestant hells. . .

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