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The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers: Spiritual Insights from the World's Most Beloved Neighbor Hardcover – February 1, 2005
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Asked in 1994 by her employer to do an interview with Fred Rogers, a man not given to interviews, Hollingsworth was able to secure that interview by sticking up for Rogers in an editorial response she wrote to a snarky article by a New York journalist that condemned Rogers as nothing more than a panderer to self-esteem and the latest pop psychology. So the author lays out the beginnings of her friendship with the gentle man whom she later credits with saving children's television, particularly PBS's version of it.
Her stories of Rogers get to the one side of his persona that he kept very quiet, his Christian faith. In his younger days, Rogers started off as a puppeteer on a children's show and saw the need to bring the Gospel into the way that television reached out to children. To this end, he enrolled in seminary, only to find resistance to his being ordained. The ordination board did not know what to do with a man who did not want to pastor a local church, but instead wanted to pastor every person who watched a children's TV show he led. But Rogers's insistence that the Holy Spirit was able to speak truth even through the airwaves convinced the seminary board; he was ordained in the United Presbyterian Church.
The show he became famous for first debuted in Canada, then came to PBS via WQED in Pittsburgh. Rogers lived right down the street and walked to the studio every day.Read more ›
The author organizes each chapter methodically with a series of lessons she learned from Mr. Rogers. She has done a nice job documenting the human inspirations for Fred as well. Who knew of his friendship with Henri Nouwen?
I didn't want the book to end. I found a lot more spiritual depth than you might expect from a children's televsion host.
Using the analogy of "toast sticks," a treat Rogers cited as a milestone in his childhood, Hollingsworth gathers up the "spiritual toast sticks" Rogers bequeathed to her --- toast sticks of the heart (inner disciplines), for the eyes (seeing others), and for the hands (using practical things we've learned). She adeptly weaves snippets of her own life throughout, exemplifying the influence Rogers had on her life.
Hollingsworth paints a portrait of a disciplined, contemplative man of deep faith ordained by the United Presbyterian Church as an evangelist with a unique charge to serve children and families through television. And rather than conform to what passed for quality children's programming, he determined to chart his own course. "I'm so convinced that the space between the television set and the viewer is holy ground," he told Hollingsworth.
There was no frantic Sesame Street action in "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood." Each of the 900 episodes opened with a traffic light flashing in yellow. Slow down, was the message. Take time. "And so, for me, being quiet and slow is being myself, and that is my gift," Rogers told Hollingsworth. "Sometimes slow is better: in understanding, in learning to be patient, in 'going deeper' spiritually," observes Hollingsworth, a self-confessed Type A, hyperactive person.
Rogers also used the unlikely medium of television to teach about silence.Read more ›
In the months before Mister Rogers' death, I read the articles that began to appear about him. I even came across an article that he wrote, which appeared in Reader's Digest. What I read confirmed to me that he was an extraordinary man. When I saw that this book had come out, I couldn't wait to read it.
My expectations were high, and I was not disappointed. Just pages into it, an obscure image from the movie review section of the San Francisco Chronicle summarized what I was feeling. On weekends the Chronicle published summary reviews of movies in a pink Datebook edition. Each review was accompanied by a depiction of a man sleeping, looking bored, sitting and clapping, or out of his seat clapping fanatically. It served as a visual summary of how good the movie was. As I read through the introduction and opening chapters of Amy's book, inside I was like the little man who was out of his seat clapping hysterically. I was singing on the inside. This book is a delight.
Not only is it extremely well written, the author made a great choice in how to present the material. It's not a beginning to end life story of Mister Rogers. Instead the author gives an overview of his life in the introduction and sets the stage for what is to follow. The book has more to do with the legacy of Mister Rogers-what we can learn from him-than a chronology of events.
Each chapter covers a different subject. How Mister Rogers lived and thought about solitude and silence, prayer, the work of the Holy Spirit, forgiveness, difficult times and other subjects are covered.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you grew up watching Mister Rogers and felt that his life made yours better, then you already knew that his faith, though quiet, was the animating... Read more
We used this book in a small group as a discussion piece. It was wonderful.Published 1 month ago by Pamela Graves
This is a delightful book about a delightful person--Fred Rogers. Mister Rogers lived and worked in my home-town, Pittsburgh, and although I was a grown-up when his... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ruth M. White
Very insightful and intimate look about Mister Rogers very few people knew.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent book. Worth the read. We read this book for my book club review.Published 4 months ago by Joy Sickafoose
When I am enjoying a book I read slowly and purposefully. I back up and read the sentence, or even the page, again to be certain that I have absorbed all that I can in that moment. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Mister Rogers has influenced my life so much. He helped me love my own feelings and see them as good after surviving childhood spiritual abuse, which taught me that I was bad and... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer