Matt Rawle is a Louisiana pastor who has carved out something of a book niche – exploring literature and popular culture to find evidences and examples of faith. He’s published books on Victor Hugos’s Les Misérables, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, the Nutcracker Suite, and Doctor Who. And he’s also the author of The Faith of a Mockingbird, a look at themes of faith in the characters of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
To Kill a Mockingbird is the 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about racial justice and injustice in small-town Alabama, set in the 1930s. A staple in schools for more than 50 years, the story is told through the eyes of a young girl, Scout Finch, whose father Atticus defends a black man against a false charge of raping a white woman. The trial’s ending is a foregone conclusion; white juries in the 1930s wouldn’t find a black defendant not guilty, especially of a charge like rape. But what Atticus Finch does is prove the man’s innocence, even though he and the town know the defendant will be found guilty regardless.
The Faith of a Mockingbird is designed as a small group Bible Study. Rawle considers the four main characters in the story – Atticus Finch; Tom Robinson, the defendant; Scout Finch, the young girl and narrator; and Boo Radley, the mysterious recluse whom children fear and imagine all kinds of stories about. Rawle summarizes the story of each of the four and, with Scripture passages, explains how each character illustrates a number of Biblical teachings and truths. And he does more, including an application to current life. Discussion questions are included throughout each chapter.
Rawle has also published, with Josh Tinley, a leader guide for the small group discussion, including how to facilitate the discussion, planning and structuring each session, and helpful hints.
Rawle is lead pastor of Asbury United Methodist Church in Bossier City, La. He received his B.A. degree in music from LSU and his Masters of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School. He is also the author of What Makes a Hero?, The Grace of Les Miserables, The Redemption of Scrooge, The Gift of the Nutcracker, The Salvation of Doctor Who, Almost Christmas: A Wesleyan Advent Experience, Hollywood Jesus, and The Marks of Hope.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a modern classic, but what few people today realize is how so many Christian themes are reflected throughout the story and its characters. Rawle’s The Faith of a Mockingbird helps to create that understanding. Perhaps unintentionally, it also makes a strong case for looking for Christian themes in the products of popular culture.