This week Tom Hanks new movie about Mr Rogers is releasing nationally. When I attended Christ Community Church in Kansas City, Missouri in October of 2018 Tyler Chernesky preached about Fred Rogers. In light of this new movie this blog is hoping that Tyler Chernesky’s next article for the Christ Community Church blog can address themes from the movie.
“Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.”
“All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That’s one of the things that connects us as neighbors–in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver.“
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24 NIV
Tyler Chernesky of Christ Community Church
As I write and travel about the Evangelical Free Church of America I was in Kansas City, Missouri in the fall of 2018. My Dad was dying and he wanted to travel, so me and my sister helped him travel. When in Kansas City I attended Christ Community Church to take notes, observe and sit in the back and watch it play out. If you have been to Christ Community downtown its a really compact church in a storefront. In the sermon Tyler Chernesky talked about one of his favorite individuals Fred Rogers. You can read about that in, “Tyler Chernesky of Christ Community Church in Kansas City on Friendship and Proverbs. Seeing What was Taught in a Sermon Play Out in Kansas and Missouri.”
Tom Hanks “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”
In 1998 Tom Junod for Esquire magazine wrote an article about Fred Rogers called, “Can You Say…Hero?” Mr. Rogers did a children’s television show, that was broadcast from WQED in Pittsburgh. To be quite blunt if you didn’t have Mr. Rogers in your childhood then you childhood was lacking. His television show ran from 1968 until 2001. He addressed themes such as acceptance, loss in life, love, friendship, loneliness, embracing your feelings, how no one thing defines us and death and grieving. Mr Rogers addressed the Robert Kennedy assassination in June of 1968 and also the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He died in 2003 of stomach cancer.
Junod’s article was turned into a documentary in 2018. I watched it while flying across country and deeply enjoyed it. Tom Hanks is going to be playing the role of Fred Rogers in a feature film. The movie is about the relationship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. Tom Hanks talks about making the movie in this Vanity Fair interview which you can read right here. The movie which had its world premier in September of 2019 in Toronto will be released in the United States in November of 2019.
Possible Themes that Tyler Chernesky Could Write About
Its this blog’s hope that Tyler Chernesky can tackle this subject again. It can be a follow up to his talk on October 7, 2018. Maybe Tyler can explore the film in the context of love, faith, and friendship. Tyler can look at friendships both from Proverbs, the Old Testament such as Jonathan and David to some of the friendships in the New Testament. Tyler could do into a number of themes and do a deep dive as well. Tyler as a pastor is very articulate and its my hope that Tyler’s next post for the Christ Community Church blog can write about this topic and share some of his wisdom.
We Need a Mr. Rogers in 2019
This afternoon I spent time meeting someone who was discussing an alleged grooming situation of a teenager by a sexual predator. The teenager attempted suicide and after discussing this for three hours I wanted to vomit as I stood next to the car contemplating what I heard. Earlier this month I was in Chicago meeting people from both the Harvest Bible Chapel and the Willow Creek Community Church scandal. The stories of abuse, waste, greed and fraud of people from individuals like James MacDonald and Bill Hybels were upsetting. This blog writes about the EFCA denomination and people approach me about dark situations as well at churches around the United States. Its hard to listen to those topics. This blog knows that some EFCA churches will engage me and is also aware that a number will ignore the issues that I raise. And that in itself is troubling. But as a former evangelical I am aware of how insecure many can be inside evangelicalism. After this post I have to write about the Harvest Bible Chapel scandal again which is ongoing. And I do that knowing that I will never find my peace from my mess from a former Sovereign Grace church. Who ever thought that evangelical Christianity can be so dark and cancerous in society?
But its not just the church that has failed. Its also organizations like the Boy Scouts which covered up child sex abuse as well. I think of my Eagle Scout award and remain horrified that the organization which talked about honor and respecting and following the law, in the end ignored it. This evening I scanned the newspaper that I subscribe to – The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and New York Times. I saw that the President is bullying people on Twitter again and his defenders blindly defend it. I became saddened seeing how politics has fractured many relationships and how its dividing the church even more so. People like me have pushed away from church for a lot of reasons and that is one of them. Its profoundly sad that some people choose to fight instead of getting to know or listening to differing people and what they have to say. I state all this to say the following. If there ever was a time that we needed a Mr Rogers its right now. How I wish I could turn on the TV and see Fred singing that you’re special and valued. You certainly can’t get that from other institutions today. The evangelical Christian church has forgotten the message and is basically lost today. But we need a Mr Rogers today and if it was within my power I’d turn on the TV and hear him say, “Hello neighbor” I’d have him back on the air.
Since Tyler Chernesky likes Broadway I am going to leave him with a song from Dear Evan Hanson. I saw Dear Evan Hanson at the Kennedy Center and wrote about it in, “#YouWillBeFound Lessons About Social Media in Dear Evan Hansen.”