What Happens Outside The Pulpit Could Have A Larger Impact.

August 24, 2018

 

Mr. Fred Rogers, may be the single most iconic television personality in the past four decades.  While being the brunt of various jokes and urban legends, the truth of his life is more fascinating than anything the could ever be dreamed up.

 

In 1963, Mr. Rogers graduated from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and was ordained as a minister of the United Presbyterian Church.

 

While in college, like many college students, you become involved in social causes that you feel very strongly for.  In Mr. Rogers case, he felt a strong desire to reverse the course of the nonsensical or violent programs  that were offered to children, shows that glamorized the wild west shootout scenarios, or clown throwing pies at each other, or puppets hitting each other to resolve their conflict.  Rogers worked at various TV stations on different childrens shows before venturing out into a new type of broadcasting that relied on view support instead of commercial advertising, and paved the way for what is knowing in the United States as the Public Broadcasting System.

 

In 1969, then Prisident Richard Nixon wanted to cut Public Television funding from the then 9 million dollars in half and Fred Rogers passionately addressed the Senate Subcommittee hearing on communications and not only preserved the 9 million dollars they were getting but an increase to 22 million dollars.

 

 

In 1979, Fred Rogers testified in the Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc. case also known as the VCR case, that the ability of families to be able to record his program and others to watch at a later time, known as private time shifting, should not be objected to.  By the time this case reached the Supreme Court in 1983, his testimony was virtually the singular point in which cause the court to rule in favor that the Betamax has not infringed on the rights of the television stations.

 

What if, instead of following his passion for children's television, Fred Rogers would have taken up a pastorate and preached to the same congregation every week, from 1963 until 2001?  I guarantee that his outreach could not have had even 10% of the impact that he had in his television work, public speaking role, and advocacy for the advancement of the public broadcasting system has had.

 

Which begs the question, what are you passionate about, and how can you fulfill what God has created you to do?

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