Faithspotting “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

Listen to the episode Won’t You Be My Neighbor:

Kenny Dickson and Mike Hatch discuss the cinematic and faith elements reflected in the Fred Rogers Documentary Film Won’t You Be My Neighbor, available for streaming rental or purchase on YouTube, Amazon Prime and other streaming services.

Although not categorized as a “faith film,” Won’t You Be My Neighbor communicates elements of faith and what it is to employ faith by serving God as a disciple of Jesus. In showing the how Fred Rogers cared for and taught children, families, and other adults, the film allows viewers to witness truly effective proclamation of the Gospel and reflection of the person and teaching of Jesus. 

Faith Elements Spotted:

Incarnation, God With Us: Fred’s willingness and courage to be present with people, through television, in the midst of challenging, difficult times as well as good or ordinary seasons.  John1:1,14-18 (The Word Dwelt Among Us,) John 3:31-36 (The One Who Comes From Heaven,) John 8:12-20, (Jesus the Light of the World,) John 11:28-35 (Jesus Weeps,) Matthew 18:19-20

Jesus Honors and Welcomes Children: Fred respected children enough to include them and talk to them as people even in the midst of unpleasant or tragic situations.  Matthew 18:1-5, Matthew 19:13-15, Mark 10:13-15, Luke 18:15-17

Holy Space and Moments, Worship: Where ever two or three are gathered.  Itinerate nature of Jesus ministry. In the towns, countryside, Samaria, homes of sinners. Allowing faith to determine moral beliefs rather than moral beliefs and opinions determine how or what we believe. Mark 1:40-45 (Jesus ministers outside towns and cities) Matthew 4:23-5:2 (Sermon on the Mount) , John 4:1-42, (Jesus with the woman from Samaria.)

In all things and times, God works for Good.  Romans 8:26-28

Calling: Having the faith to follow even when one does not know where or is unfamiliar with the ministry God is calling one to. Jesus to disciples. (Call of Abram) Genesis 12, (Jesus Calls Disciples) Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20, (Levi) Mark 2:13-17, Luke 5:27-29, (First Disciples, Philip and Nathanael) John 1:35-51 (Would Be Followers) Matthew 8:18-22, Luke 9:57-62 (Rich Young Man) Mark 10:17-31

Photo: Fred Rogers Photographer: Robert Ragsdale.

Living in and by the Ways of the Kingdom of God vs ways and values of the world. Accepting criticism and attacks. All children of God, are special and unique because they are created and loved by God.  (Sermon on the Mount) Matthew 5-7 (Servant Leadership in Kingdom) Mark 10:41-45.

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About revkennydickson

I am a United Methodist minister and my professional passion is connecting issues of life and faith to film and other artforms. I am also interested in autism awareness and ministry and special needs. I am married to Michelle and have two children.
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