To Kill a Mockingbird by: Chad Gibbs

Posted: October 19, 2012 by jperritt in Drama
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I was introduced to Chad Gibbs through his first book, God & Football. It was just as funny as it was challenging and I recommend it to anyone who loves God and enjoys football. He recently published Love Thy Rival, a book I have not finished reading, but has been equally as funny and challenging as GF. Buy his books, you’ll enjoy them! Anyway, when I asked Chad if he would be willing to write a post for us, I was thrilled that he said yes. Enjoy!

When I was asked to guest post on Reel Thinking I was a little hesitant. I don’t watch a lot of movies. We don’t even have Netflix. I do read a lot though, in part so I can occasionally watch movies that are based on books, then snootily say, “The book was better.”

Of course the books aren’t always better, Gone With the Wind and Forrest Gump are two films that many agree were greater than their literary sources (I cannot make this claim, because I actually haven’t read either book.)

But every once in a while an amazing film is adapted from an incredible book, as was the case with one of my favorite novels of all-time, To Kill A Mockingbird.


My wife gave me Harper Lee’s masterpiece just after I finished college. I devoured it in a few days, and was actually moved to try writing myself, a career that has since earned me tens of dollars.

I wrote Harper Lee soon after, thanking her for her gift to the world, and for the inspiration to pick up a pen and paper (I actually write on a computer, but you know what I mean.)

A few weeks later I received a postcard from Harper Lee, postmarked New York City. The note was kind and gracious, and I framed it and it still sits on a shelf in our bedroom. Then weeks later I received another postcard from Harper Lee. This note was kind and gracious as well, and while I hoped it signaled the beginning of a pen pal relationship, it was fairly obvious that Ms. Lee had mistakenly replied to my note twice. Even so, like Scout and Jem checking the hole in the tree, I check the mailbox every day for a note from my friend Harper.


For this post I was asked to write about film and theology. Writing about film was scary enough, never mind the fact that I’ve been told by more than one Christian publishing house that my writing doesn’t really have any spiritual takeaway.

To Kill a Mockingbird has spiritual takeaway though. Perhaps more subtle than films labeled ‘Christian’, but for me all the more powerful. It’s a film that shows what it means to love thy neighbor. A film that shows what it looks like when we fight injustice and hate. A film that shows us how creepy a young Robert Duval can look when he’s hiding behind your door.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this; if someone asked me to point in film to a character that best exemplifies how a Christian should live, I would point them to Atticus Finch. And if they were to ask me whether they should watch the movie or read the book, I’d tell them they can not go wrong either way, which is about the highest praise I can give.

And now a question for you. Not counting Jesus in the variety of films about his life, who is the most Christ-like character in film?



Chad Gibbs, former baby, is the best-selling (okay, regional best-selling) author of God & Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the SEC and Love Thy Rival: What Sports’ Greatest Rivalries Teach us about Loving Our Enemies. He has written for The Washington Post, CNN.Com, RELEVANT, and has made multiple (okay, two) appearances on ESPN’s Outside the Lines. If you’d like to talk to Chad about his books, or about life, or about how to lose baby fat, he can be reached at or by raven.


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