Repairers With Creation

Just before graduating from college in 1951, Fred Rogers turned on a television for the first time, and what he saw totally appalled him. “I saw people dressed in some kind of costumes, literally throwing pies in each other’s faces,” Rogers later recalled. “I was astounded at that.” 

But while Rogers “hated” what he saw in that first show, he was also intrigued by a vision he had for how the medium of television could be redeemed and used for good, particularly in demonstrating Christ-like character to children. So he decided to put on hold his desire to go to seminary and become a minister but to go into television production. Sound like quite the gap between career paths does it not?
 
Eventually, Rogers did both, attending seminary classes on his lunch breaks while producing his show. But upon graduation from Western Theological Seminary, Rogers knew he had to choose between TV and pastoral ministry. For Rogers, the decision to commit to a career in television was a relatively easy one, as he felt that’s where he could be of the utmost service to his “neighbors.”
 
In the mind of Fred Rogers, there was no divide between the sacred and the secular. He understood that man’s first calling in the Garden was to emulate the Creator Father by creating new things (Genesis 1:28) and that the path to having the greatest cultural impact for the gospel is often found in embracing the call to create. Fred Rogers may have never held a located ministry within a local church but as one Presbyterian minister said on Rogers’s behalf, “Here’s an individual who has his pulpit proudly in front of a TV camera. His congregation is little people from the ages of about two or three on up to about seven or eight.”
 
Fred Rogers knew that he was called to create a show as a means of influencing culture with the Christian values he held so dear. Later in his career, Rogers said, “No matter what our particular job, especially in our world today, we all are called to be ‘tikkun olam’—repairers of creation.” “Tikkun olam” implies that while the world is innately good, its Creator purposely left room for us to improve upon His work. All human activities are opportunities to fulfill this mission, and every human being can be involved in tikkun olam—child or adult, student or entrepreneur, industrialist or artist, caregiver or salesperson, or any one of us struggling to keep afloat. 
 

The Bible says in Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 


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