Tag: inspiration

Mister Rogers . . . a Radical Faith

When Fred Rogers died of cancer in 2003, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously voted to honor “his dedication to spreading kindness through example.” (Variety) Tyler Huckabee at the Washington Post observed, “Rogers was a man defined by his Christian faith, and the message that he taught every day on his beloved children’s show was shaped by it.”

Now, as Tom Hanks is slated to portray Fred Rogers in a coming biopic, there is renewed interest—and nostalgia—about Mister Rogers and his perspective on a gentler, kinder way to endure life’s storms . . .

“Mister Rogers” even showed up at the Sundance Film Festival this year in a documentary titled Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Variety notes: “[Director Morgan] Neville’s fantastic archival footage reveals . . . his philosophies, if not the childhood memories that gave Rogers the ability to understand a four-year-old’s brain, almost as if he still carried his in his cardigan pocket. He knew what kids needed to know.”

Huckabee opined, “[Mister Rogers’] show debuted . . . after the Cuban missile crisis, and the world remained on tenterhooks. [His] message upended a few apple carts in his own time, and remains countercultural today. He said, ‘When we look for what’s best in the person . . . we’re doing what God does; so in appreciating our neighbor, we’re participating in something truly sacred.’ Mister Rogers’ theology was radical in 1962 . . . and it remains radical today.”

The #hashtag effect

by Dan Rupple

Over the past few awards seasons, the “voice” that overshadowed “And the winner is . . .” was the collective voice of an industry crying out about harassment, offenses, or injustices. You may or may not agree with the ideologies behind one or two of these voices, but it’s hard to deny the pain in the hearts they come from.

Heartbreaking accounts of sexual leveraging or the infamous “casting couch” have long been emanating from the private sanctum of the media industry. Throughout the decades, with an increase seen in the 90’s, numerous individual voices made public allegations of abuse. But why did these previous voices stay individualized? How, suddenly, do today’s voices get amplified? Why are they only now sparking the media industry and cultural change?

All too often, fear of exposure or shame will lead a person to believe the deadly lie that they are alone in their struggles, that no one else cares, that they  are stuck in their affliction with no possible relief or rescue in sight.

Then they hear a voice. A singular, courageous voice standing up, saying, “This is my experience . . . .” And the hearer cries, “That’s my experience too! I am not alone in this battle, this struggle; I am not alone in this journey!”

And a discovery is made. By standing in solidarity with others who have been hurt as they have, a solitary voice can become a collective voice. And with the assistance of a #hashtag, this “voice of the voiceless” can spread throughout varied social media platforms, increasing in volume. When that occurs, what began as a “still, small voice” can suddenly spark a movement . . . a movement for cultural change, as “private pain made public” gives the world a sense of the magnitude of the problem!

This is what we are seeing within the media industry. The collective voices of innumerable victims are being heard, and the media world is responding. It has been termed “empowerment through empathy” with a proactive focus on determining the best ways to hold perpetrators responsible and to stop the cycle.

I can’t help but think of Zacchaeus in the Gospel of Luke (Chapter 9). Zacchaeus was a wealthy tax collector in Jericho, despised and vilified by the Jewish community. Shunned by society, he suffered alone. Until one day when a huge crowd gathers to see Jesus. Zacchaeus, a man short in stature, climbs high up into a sycamore tree to get a glimpse of this man of peace. Zacchaeus’ life is changed, because not only did he see Jesus, but far more important . . . Jesus saw him!

Zacchaeus realized he wasn’t alone. Someone saw him. Someone acknowledged his pain, his isolation, and his loneliness. And then Jesus did the incomprehensible—He asked to come into Zacchaeus’ home and dine with him.

If social media had been around when Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, He might have used #IAMwithU. The Beatitudes were a voice to the merciful, the peacemakers, the persecuted, the poor in spirit, the mournful. Jesus was, and still is, telling people the liberating truth that they aren’t alone in their hurt . . . an all-loving God sees us in our pain and walks with us on our journey to healing.

In this unprecedented time of upheaval and despair in the entertainment industry, may God use these digital megaphones and our relational connections to further Mastermedia’s “voice of faith” and spread His dynamic life-changing love, grace, and truth to those who are lonely and isolated.

Billy Graham’s Hollywood Star

He wasn’t a star, but a simple preacher of the Gospel . . . yet on October 15, 1989, the city of Hollywood honored Billy Graham with the 1,900th star on its legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Mr. Graham was awarded the star for his work as a minister of the Gospel using radio, television and film. His star has a small, old-time microphone symbol, signifying his work in radio beginning in the early 1950s.

Johnny Grant, honorary mayor of Hollywood and chairman of the Walk of Fame Committee, remarked in Billy Graham: God’s Ambassador, “I doubt there is anyone in Hollywood who has been seen, heard, or enjoyed by more people than Billy Graham.”

With characteristic grace and humility, Mr. Graham shifted the attention to Jesus Christ as he accepted the honor . . .

“My primary desire today in having my name inscribed upon this Walk of Fame is that God would receive the glory,” he said. “I hope someday somebody will come and say, ‘Who is Billy Graham? What did he stand for?’ Perhaps a child will ask his parents or grandparents, and they will tell him that he was not a celebrity, not a star, but a simple preacher of the Gospel. And that they might explain the Gospel to him, and that many might find Christ in that.” 

www.billygraham.org; Billy Graham Trivia