Friday, March 30, 2012

Truth Without Excuse

"For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."
- Romans 1:20 NIV

In 2006, in a local bookstore, I came across a Sunday School curriculum based on The Andy Griffith Show. For $120, you could buy a kit that included four episodes of the show along with a teacher's guide and handouts for students. At first, the idea seemed strange, but the more I thought about it, it made a lot of sense. After all, the show was more than just a great comedy - almost every episode had some kind of moral content. I tucked it away in the back of my mind that one day, I would love to be able to do this class, though I just couldn't justify the price at the time.

Months later, in a casual conversation with someone, we began talking about our mutual love for The Andy Griffith Show, and I remembered the Sunday School kit. "Wouldn't it be great if we could come up with a way to have the class? If only it didn't cost so much!" And then the idea was born. What if I were to come up with my own curriculum based on the show?

The Andy Griffith Show intro
© 1960 Viacom International Inc.

So I began working on the idea, picking episodes I thought would work well, thinking about the moral questions they raised, developing a teacher's guide and student handouts, and in January 2008, I launched "Mayberry 101" on Tuesday nights at the church. For not four but twelve weeks, a small group gathered to watch the show and discuss the Biblical principles they brought up. The class was so successful, I regrouped over the Summer, and in the Fall we had "Mayberry 102" - another twelve-week series. We repeated the courses in 2009 in order to make them available to more and more members of the church.

As I worked on these lessons, I began to see God's truths showing up in all sorts of unexpected places. More and more, God made me sensitive to ways his truths were brought up in the things I listened to and watched. It was as if my eyes were suddenly opened, and I saw that what I had previously viewed merely as entertainment was often a modern parable.

And so, I invite you to explore with me the things of God revealed through popular culture. I'm not going to talk only about The Andy Griffith Show, though it is my favorite show. I'm not going to talk only about programs from that era, though I do love TV, movies, and music from that period. And I'm not going to talk only about "Christian" programming. I firmly believe that all truth is God's truth, and truth can be found even in some very "non-Christian" places. You may end up being surprised at how God uses even those who do not know him. Explore with me, then, how God has revealed his truths to us in ways that can be clearly seen so that we all truly are without excuse.


  1. Great job, son! Very proud of ya!


  2. I enjoyed this post as it brought back pleasant memories. While volunteering at a shelter for Homeless Men I had the privilege of teaching a Life Skills class. Using a curriculum close to what you described (from,Biblical outreach was successful in an environment where any religious teachings were prohibited because of federal restrictions (HUD), or resistance from the residents. Each week the class was met with enthusiasm and relationships were formed where the Gospel message was conveyed without formally calling the class a Bible study. Who can resist an Andy rerun? I never felt the backdoor approach compromised the Gospel story, and it certainly enhanced reception and opened the door for one on one sessions of faith sharing. Thanks!

    Randall in Virginia


Please comment on this post. Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Is there something I left out or should have covered? Was something confusing? I want to know what you think!