Sunday, May 27, 2007

won't you be my neighbor?

i finished reading this book this weekend, and it was a surprising gem. it was written by amy hollingsworth who used to work for cbn (the christian broadcasting network) and, on assignment from the 700 club once interviewed mr. rogers. (side note: once i found out about her connection to cbn and the 700 club, well, let's just say i almost didn't read the book. but i did. and i'm glad i did.) after interviewing him, she developed a relationship with him through letter-writing, mostly, but also over the phone. in this book she weaves stories about their letters and conversations, but it doesn't come across so much as, "look at me, i got to have this relationship with mr. rogers." instead, it is an amazing story of a man who tried to make sure that every day, every moment, every episode of his children's show, every visit to the land of make believe was used as an opportunity to preach the Gospel, and, if necessary, use words (St. Francis of Assisi).

After reading the book, which highlights mr. rogers' focus on things like slowing down, silence, being honest, the importance of sharing your feelings, and viewing every person as your neighbor, among others, i was really moved. it never occured to me that everytime fred rogers was singing to me about being his neighbor, he was teaching a lesson that a guy named jesus taught when he told the story of the good samaritan: everyone is your neighbor, especially those in need.
i have always loved mr. rogers, but never really reflected on what was so different about his show. having read this book, i see now what was happening was an offering of hope and Good News to children. it wasn't about sending money to a preacher. it wasn't about asking kids to make a decision between heaven and hell. it didn't even mention jesus, as far as i know. but it turns out that it was some of the best television ever, in terms of sharing the Gospel.
are there any other mr. rogers thoughts/memories/stories out there?
your neighbor,


greg. said...

what's the deal?

does no one like mr. rogers?

cathyq said...

I always felt the spirit of love and joy when I watched his show. I mean, why does everyone like it so much? Not really that great, but the message is so pure and so simple. It touches us in our hearts. I love the show; admired the man, and would love to read the book.

julid said...

I've loved Mr. Rogers from the beginning he's one of my top ten persons to hang with first in heaven

greg. said...

yes! we will get to chill with mr. rogers in heaven. awesome!