faith, life

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

There’s not much to do when the heat index is 105 degrees so we went to a movie, a documentary, actually, about Fred Rogers.  

I loved Mr. Rogers when I was a kid, I watched him everyday.  I credit him for shaping me into the kindhearted individual I am – or at least was. 

To quote Ouiser Boudreaux (Steel Magnolias), “I’m not as sweet as I used to be.”

I loved Mr. Rogers as a kid, but I didn’t realize his brilliance until I sat in that air conditioned movie theater on Saturday.

Mr. Rogers planted a seed deep in my heart which sprouted into a belief that God loves me,  even though he never mentioned God.  In fact, I didn’t know that he was an ordained minister until I was an adult.

All I knew as a kid was that a kind man who cared about kids, who cared about me, was out there and my little-kid brain extrapolated that into believing a kind God, who cares about kids, who cares about me, is out there, too.

We evangelicals of the 80’s and 90’s had it wrong.

Back when I was a fully indoctrinated evangelical, I was taught that God’s name had to be blatantly emblazoned upon a thing in order for it to be “Christian.”

Christian music had to mention His name, repeatedly.

Christian authors were suspect if their writings didn’t include doctrinally approved Christianese.

But then I started to listen to God more closely.  He said He is Love.  He said He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  My adult brain began to extrapolate that to all that is loving, true and life-giving.

A song about forgiveness is a song about God.

A writing that is noble, pure and true is a writing about God.

A movie that spurs me on toward love and good deeds is a movie about God.

On the way home my daughter said, “My favorite part of the movie was when the minister said Fred’s show preached a better sermon than anything you hear from a pulpit.”

Amen.

“Fred’s work,” he said, “was love your neighbor and love yourself. It was a communication right into their hearts.”

Right into my heart.

Would you be mine? Could you be mine?

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9 thoughts on “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

  1. Oh Julie, I love this post so much! I too have fond memories of watching Mr. Rogers as a kid and don’t recall ever thinking of him as preaching any type of religion. You are so right though that he was teaching us about God through how we ought to be loving other people.

    You’ve encouraged me to see this movie.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post! I, too, grew up on Mr. Rogers. We actually had our own Canadian Mr. Rogers called Mr. Dressup. I saw it more but loved them both. And I love your thoughts on what is “Christian” in these times. He is everywhere we want/need Him to be. Thanks for this thoughtful post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Julie,
    I knew there was something special about Mr. Rogers.
    He had this meekness to him that I always liked.
    You have inspired me to watch the documentary too.😀
    Thanks
    Vernon

    Like

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