Pastor Rogers?

Copyright © 1995 - 2008 Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). All Rights Reserved

Did you know that Mr. Rogers was an ordained pastor? Yep, that Mr. Rogers. What would it have been like to attend a church service where “Pastor Rogers” preached?

My old comedy act Mitch & Allen (I was Mitch), started riffing on the idea of a laid-back zinger-dropping Pastor Rogers and a religious hypocrite named Mr. Deacon.

Watch the video now, and then meet me for milk and cookies below!

“God loves you, but if you don’t get right, he’s gonna fry your face off!” A smidge condemning, perhaps. But then Mr. Deacon is the world’s most annoying person, so you almost want him to go to hell.

Have you ever known a religious hypocrite? I guest-preached at a church in Chicago one Sunday. It was a great morning. Until a stiff-suited man came up and rebuked me for “cussing,” then turned and walked away.

What? (I do not “cuss” when I preach.)

“That was Frank,” the youth pastor explained. “It was because you said ‘gee,’ I think.”

“And you consider that ‘cussing’?”

“No, but Frank does. But only on Sunday. He cusses like crazy the rest of the week. Plus, I’m pretty sure he’s having an affair with his next door neighbor. I don’t think he gets the whole Jesus thing. He’s just ‘religious,’ you know? We’re trying to fix that.”

Psychologists call it cognitive dissonance: the uncomfortable state of living at odds with what we believe.*  To resolve it, we have to make one of two choices: either live what we believe, or believe what we live. The first takes effort. And humility. The latter is easy, but requires some mental twisting.  E.g. Do you steal from the company you work for? Don’t stop stealing, just tell yourself, “They underpay me and they know it. It’s expected!”  Voila!  You now officially believe what you live.

The problem with believing what you live is that your hypocrisy can be exposed at any time. Pastor Rogers’ biblical zingers have this effect on Mr. Deacon. Stripped of his self-deception, he collapses in a fit of self-pity.

But there is a way out, Pastor Rogers explains. Not just an escape from some future hell, but from the hell of self-deception. Right now. It’s a matter of giving up and letting God remake you into “a new creature.” Jesus’ message really is that simple.  He tells us we must “become like little children.” (Matthew 18:3)

Before an infinite Creator, how could it be any other way? There’s nothing we can give God—and nothing else he wants—but our love. The real Mr. Rogers understood that. And, yeah, he was a first-class preacher!

Now, who’s up for milk and cookies?

If you’d like to own a copy of this video, you can download it here!

*This is one of several ways in which the term cognitive dissonance may be applied.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Movies, Popular Culture & Entertainment, Quips and Quotes, Videos and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Pastor Rogers?

  1. abeaustin says:

    “Not just an escape from some future hell, but from the hell of self-deception.”

    I do find myself wondering if there is any other kind. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find that the awful torment of the wicked…is nothing more than being stuck with themselves. I’ve done my own straying in life, and the festering of an unsatisfied conscience could VERY accurately be described as a burning torment.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Diana says:

    I did not know that Mr. Rogers was a pastor! That is very interesting. I never watched his Neighbourhood when I was a child because I did not live in the US, but I was converted recently to his principles just after watching a couple of shows. I was struck by his kindness, simplicity and unassuming nature. I did not think such a human being could exist, much less on a TV show! I think I was “reborn” after watching just a couple of his shows and he restored my faith in humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Eliza Ayres says:

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Love the video, Mitch. You and Allen wrote some very clever material! This statement especially caught my attention: “There’s nothing we can give God—and nothing else he wants—but our love.” You mean he doesn’t want/require our perfection?! For so many years I assumed that God couldn’t really love me (perfect as HE is) unless I was perfect too. Alas, Mr. Rogers wasn’t in my neck of the woods to set me straight!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The best illustration of cognitive dissonance I’ve read. I’m going to add it to the comments section of my essay “The Cognitive Dissonance of Abortion ‘Rights'” VMK

    Liked by 1 person

  6. simplywendi says:

    Mr. Rogers is one of the most amazing people who has ever graced this planet! I have blessed enough to meet Mr. McFeeley, twice, and listening to his stories about Mr. Rogers was such a lovely treat……

    Liked by 1 person

  7. numrhood says:

    matthew 43:02 thou shall do a new thing
    what is your favorite carl reiner film


  8. SarahC says:

    i do find it quite funny as when bosses and others understand your a ‘church’ person and start stepping all over themselves apopogizing for the @#$ words ha ha

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow, the part where “frank” walked out for cussing cracked me up🤣🤣christianity is not a religion, it is an experience; an encounter, a relationship. Thank you for this great piece, it really blessed me

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I enjoyed Mitch and Allen, a very effective way to deliver your message! (Mr. Deacon sure had an annoying laugh, didn’t he?)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    Love, love this piece. I remember hearing this in a Christian comedy collection. Amen. Keep sharing these!

    Happy Thanksgiving!


    Liked by 1 person

  12. dyskosa says:

    That’s a really an undiluted message and this will help motivate and make people realise what knowledge ……….By Prophet Alex Akosa

    Liked by 1 person

  13. smzang says:

    super!! and the super bowl commercial too…two thumbs up!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Christi says:

    I read an article recently that said in order to understand Mr. Rogers, you have to understand his religion. Can’t tell you how much I love that statement. If only we all lived our religion in such a way.
    By the way, in order to be ordained in the Presbyterian church, you have to have a congregation or ministry where you serve people. They made a special allowance for Mr. Rogers, as they recognized that in many ways, his audience was his congregation. (It’s things like this that make me happy to be Presbyterian. 🙂)

    Liked by 2 people

  15. gregoryjoel says:

    I loved it! I was too old (the ripe old age of 12) when Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood began on PBS. However, my younger sister had him on in the afternoons after school. I began to appreciate Mr. Rogers more after I had my own kids. I learned that he was an ordained minister and I loved him even more. Oh that we could all live out our calling as well as he did. Thanks for showing us this!

    Liked by 1 person

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  18. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:


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