RR5 – As Shrewd as Brer Rabbit, As Innocent as Doves

~Fond memories enshroud such classic tales as Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby with a kind of literary magic for hundreds of Americans.  His adventures, mishaps, and clever getaways have given Brer Rabbit the reputation of the shrewdest escape artist in American folklore.  Indeed, shrewdness seems extolled in these folk-tales as the only moral worth having.  In my attempt to apply Scripture to Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby, I came to the conclusion that, while Brer Rabbit might serve as colorful and memorable figure in literature, his fictitious character can only rightly teach us half of a godly principle.  In Matthew 10:15, Jesus spoke these words to His disciples: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.”  The description “shrewd as serpents” fits Brer Rabbit and his associates well.  But, far from being “innocent as doves,” the Brers seem dead-bent on their dirty tricks and mean revenge!  So, we can take from this tale two things: one, a reminder to “be as shrewd as serpents,” and two, the delight that comes from reading of Brer Rabbit’s escapades.  But, while we enjoy Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby, let us also keep in mind our Lord’s injunction for innocence and purity in a fallen world.


~carreen a


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