read carefully before you leap

Anyone who has lived for any significant amount of time can recall a time when someone they knew—or even their self –forgot to look before they leaped; a notion we often describe as jumping to conclusions, or to use a more legalistic phrase, assuming facts not in evidence. An amusing urban legend describes what can happen when we jump to conclusions:

A young woman was driving to her son’s school to watch him do a ‘show and tell’. Her son was to speak about his pet gerbil which unfortunately he had left at home that morning, thus explaining the box containing the gerbil beside her. When she made a sudden stop, the box tipped over, the gerbil escaped and began to crawl up her pant leg. Panicked, the woman got out of the car and proceeded to jump up and down, shaking her leg in order to dislodge the gerbil. A passerby, thinking the woman was having a seizure wrapped his arms around her to calm her down. Another passerby seeing the struggle believed that an assault was occurring, rushed up and began to pummel the assailant. Then the police arrived…


Fortunately most instances where we jump to conclusions aren’t as physical as this brief tale but the conclusions are often just as misguided and the results just as harmful.

Case in point: In last week’s article I included quotes from C. S. Lewis’ small book The Abolition of Man in which Lewis used contraception (in the broadest sense possible) to describe how science in its zeal to conquer nature could over time so alter (to some improve, others transform or mutate) the human race that what was once known and understood to be ‘man’, what God had formed out of clay and breathed life into his soul, would be abolished, replaced by a ‘new man’, redesigned and reformulated, made by some men over other men to be what they wish them to be.

Now in the entire article ‘contraception’ was mentioned three times, all within the first quote: ““…as regards contraceptives, there is a paradoxical, negative sense in which all possible future generations are the patients or subjects of a power wielded by those already alive. By contraception simply, they are denied existence; by contraception used as a means of selective breeding, they are, without their concurring voice, made to be what one generation, for its own reasons, may choose to prefer.”[1]

Please read the quote completely and carefully and try not to jump to any conclusions. Pay special attention to the highlighted portions of the quote. If possible block from your mind any mention of ‘contraception’. I will wager that when Lewis’ words are read with care they will take on new and important meaning and most assuredly a different conclusion.

Earlier this week I received an email from a reader with a dissenting point of view to which I felt compelled to respond, for it raised issues that I believe needed to reach a broader readership.  I will therefore expand upon last week’s article next week.

If interested, my response is available here.


[1]   C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, 1943.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.