Pastor’s column references Updike

Dr. Fred Andrea, pastor of Aiken’s First Baptist Church, wrote a column on “Faith and Values: How far is away?” for the Aiken Standard in which he begins,

“John Updike’s novel, Rabbit, Run, centers on a man who cannot accept responsibility and, therefore, lives each day with the suffocating feeling of being trapped. Confronted with a decision or a demand, he runs away. When the novel concludes, he is still unable to cope. His marriage is in shambles, his family life is conflicted, his friends have all abandoned him. Miserable and frustrated, he still cannot decide what to do, and so avoids doing anything. The final scene is set on a summer evening and reads as follows:

“‘As he goes down the stairs, worries come as quick as the sound of his footsteps. Guilt and responsibility slide together like substantial shadows inside his chest. Outside in the air his fears coalesce. Afraid, really afraid, he remembers what once consoled him—and lifted his eyes to the unlit windows of a nearby church.’

“‘Rabbit comes to the curb, but instead of going to the right and around the block, he steps down with as big a feeling as if this little side street is a wide river – and runs. His hands lift of their own, and he feels the wind on his ears, even before his heels hitting the pavement at first, but with an effortless gathering, out of a kind of sweet panic, growing lighter and quieter and quicker, he runs. Ah, runs. RUNS!'”

Before shifting to talk about the Old Testament prophet Elijah, who also ran away, Andrea asks, “How many persons at this very hour are running away, trying to hide or to escape? Some do it in the name of liberation, believing they are free only when they have no limiting obligation or responsibilities. Others run away to avoid facing themselves, and some are running away from love and from God.”

Read the whole column.


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