Archive for Monday, April 4, 2011

Church uses ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ to teach timeless lessons

April 4, 2011


— When “The Andy Griffith Show” first aired in 1960, its producers and actors probably had no idea the program would run in perpetuity or that it would someday serve as the basis for Bible studies in churches across America.

Yet more than 50 years after the series debuted on CBS-TV, “The Andy Griffith Show” continues to air on television — and in some unlikely places, such as church basements, where Bible studies based on the program take place.

In Topeka, Mater Dei-Assumption Catholic Church is showing the program on Sundays during Lent, with an informal Bible study and discussion time following.

A classic black-and-white episode is shown each Sunday night through April 17 — Palm Sunday — on a large screen in the church basement.

Afterward, group leader Dan Tritsch, a member of the Mater Dei church, leads a Bible study, complete with Bible verses and discussion questions related to the episode.

On a recent Sunday night, about 50 people sat at tables and munched on popcorn while watching an episode based on Andy misunderstanding the intent of his son, Opie, in wanting to hold onto his money and only contributing 3 cents to a school drive for underprivileged children.

Near the end of the program, Andy finds out Opie wants to save his money to buy a new coat for a girl in his school, whose mother didn’t have enough money to buy her a new one.

The Bible study that followed the show used a Scripture passage from Matthew 7 in which Jesus tells his listeners not to judge others.

Attendees commented that the show sent a message of owning up to a mistake and asking for forgiveness.

“The Andy Griffith Show,” Tritsch said, has retained a timelessness for a half century, in large part because of its themes that center on morality and values.

“I’ve been a big ‘Mayberry’ fan all my life,” Tritsch, 57, said before the program began. “It’s a good, clean program you can show to church people. Some of the things on TV these days you can’t play in front of kids, and we have a lot of kids here tonight.”

Tritsch said he found out about Andy Griffith-related Bible studies online. He purchased some Bible studies on the Internet and bought the corresponding episodes on eBay.

The church also showed “The Andy Griffith Show” during Advent last December, with about 50 people attending each session.

The Rev. Jon Hullinger, Mater Dei pastor, assisted Tritsch with selecting “Andy Griffith Show” episodes that had Lenten themes.

Charlotte Konrad, 87, a church member, said she attended the shows and discussions in December.

“I enjoyed it,” Konrad said. “That’s why I came back.”

Linda Finch, who said she was “over 60,” said she enjoyed watching “The Andy Griffith Show” when it first aired in the 1960s.

“I like the shows, because they don’t have any sex or violence in them,” she said. “It’s good, clean fun.”

Even younger attendees picked up on the show’s message and themes.

“I liked how it showed how Andy judged somebody before he knew all the facts about it,” said Jared Koopman, 12, a sixth-grader at Mater Dei School. “It showed that it isn’t good to jump to conclusions.”


cato_the_elder 7 years ago

Just one more reminder of how nighttime televison used to have at least some redeeming qualities before it became the cesspool that it has been now for some time.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

I agree-- we need more teevee shows starring unabashed liberals like Andy Griffith, AKA Gandhi of Mayberry.

cato_the_elder 7 years ago

Bozo, there were certain universal values dealing with basic tenets of morality that liberals used to embrace, which were at times reflected on television in the '50s and the early to mid '60s. That all ended with the late '60s and the years that followed, when many liberals rejected traditional notions of morality and embraced a species of bitter, winner-takes-all realpolitik that resulted in the birth of the Religious Right and leaves us where we are today.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

Oh, those evil, bitter liberals. Dontcha just hate em? (except Andy, of course.)

somedude20 7 years ago

That show was clean? Didn't they show Cooter on the show from time to time?

make_a_difference 7 years ago

What do you mean by "the deal between Aunt Bea and Andy"?

Andy was a widower with a small child. Aunt Bea was an older single female family member. Both had life challenges to cope with and were able to help one another. Andy was in a situation of having lost his wife, the mother of his son...he was in need of someone to run the household & care for a child. Aunt Bea was in need of "a purpose"...something to give her reason to begin each day...she needed to "be needed" feel contribute. This was set during a time when several things were different from current times. People were more inclined to help others, even when it meant making changes in their personal lives...especially family. Older women weren't necessarily raised to be or encouraged to be "independant" and live life independantly. It was considered important to have an adult presense fulltime in the household where children were living...usually a female. It wasn't unusual to have multi-generational households.

Aunt Bea moving in with Andy & Opie created a "family unit" better able to deal with life. A support system. A family. Everyone involved benefited tremdously.

They all lived a better & receiving love.

make_a_difference 7 years ago

Everyone involved benefited tremendously. (spelling!)

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