Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Huck Finn Apologetics

By Brenda Black

“Well, I got a good going-over in the morning, from old Miss Watson, on account of my clothes; but the widow she didn't scold, but only cleaned off the grease and clay and looked so sorry that I thought I would behave a while if I could. Then Miss Watson she took me in the closet and prayed, but nothing come of it. She told me to pray every day, and whatever I asked for I would get it. But it warn't so. I tried it. Once I got a fish-line, but no hooks. It warn't any good to me without hooks. I tried for the hooks three or four times, but somehow I couldn't make it work. By-and-by, one day, I asked Miss Watson to try for me, but she said I was a fool. She never told me why, and I couldn't make it out no way.

“I set down, one time, back in the woods, and had a long think about it. I says to myself, if a body can get anything they pray for, why don't Deacon Winn get back the money he lost on pork? Why can't the widow get back her silver snuff-box that was stole? Why can't Miss Watson fat up? No, says I to myself, there ain't nothing in it. I went and told the widow about it, and she said the thing a body could get by prayin' for it was 'spiritual gifts.' This was too many for me, but she told me what she meant – I must help other people, and do everything I could for other people, and look out for them all the time, and never think about myself. This was including Miss Watson, as I took it. I went out in the woods and turned it over in my mind a long time, but I couldn't see no advantage about it – except for the other people – so at last I reckoned I wouldn't worry about it any more, but just let it go.” (from the
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Samuel Langhorne Clemens, 1961)

Contemporary dialects may have changed, but attitudes remain much the same among those searching for truth. Infernal selfishness continues to rant: If it doesn't benefit me directly and get me what I want, when I want it, then I want nothing to do with it. It saddens me like it did the widow who took Huck in and clothed him and loved him in spite of his sins. The selfish motives of modern man and the total disregard for all that the Lord has done reveals a spiritual ignorance that's lingered for decades.

Huck feared spooks and spirits, but did not fear the living God. His resolve to “just let it go” seems to be the same problem today among many folk, both young and naïve and old and worldly. An attitude of indifference excuses accountability for the present. But a day of reckoning is drawing near and like Huck contemplated, there is either the devil to pay or glory and grace.

There's no time like the here and now to define such providential destiny. While Huck scrambled for meaning in life through the questionable wisdom of others, he would have had a far greater understanding of God's loving plan if he had discovered the whole truth. Instead, he settled for hodge-podged tidbits of legalism, spirituality and tradition mixed with a dab of hell fire and brimstone and tempered with harps and angel choirs singing.

No wonder the world is confused when it comes to truth. We all, at times, have derived our own definitions based often on ignorance and well-intending, but ill-informed tutors. Don't just take my paltry explanations. Look it up for yourself right in the source if you want to know the real plan of God. It's clearly shared in the Holy Scriptures and these days you can get it written in languages and dialects that cover the globe. No longer are the Hucks of the world able to “just let it go.” We all have access to the very throne of God through the Word of God and have opportunity to worship the living God in Christian churches on every corner!

But are those outside of Christ hungry enough, curious enough, in need enough to seek truth for Truth's sake? Maybe the fear of not having the freedom to seek Christ will awaken that hunger. That same selfish drive that keeps us from serving others, may be the very thing that drives us to our knees! If a day dawned in this country when Americans were told they could not proclaim the Christ nor enter a house of worship, I believe we wouldn't “just let it go.” I believe we would see churches swell with a renewed commitment by those who have grown Mississippi River lazy and see people clamoring like the rolling river for the right to pray and worship!

I pray it doesn't take that kind of oppression for people to wake up and embrace truth and freedom found in Jesus. For “if you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,.” Jesus told those who believed. (John 8:31b-32)

Those who hunger for the teaching and hold to it can right now be released from the entrapment of ignorance. They can be set free from a prison of confusion. Right now, today – they can escape the enslavement of selfishness, and live free in Christ. And that, folks, is Huck Finn Apologetics.

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