Fred Rogers knew his audience and his mission in life and, importantly, himself. Famous as a television educator of generations of children, he was also an ordained minister in the Presbyterian tradition.
Six years before his death at age 74, Rogers sat down with famed interviewer Charlie Rose for a 14-minute one-on-one that covered many topics important to Rogers.
We don't see a lot of this these days - that is, media professionals whose religious commitments are worn openly on their sleeves but without browbeating or making others seem less-than. Rogers is what we all came to expect of him down through the years: warm, clear, accessible, vulnerable (without being cloying), and quite undifferentiated about his person.
He's also willing to turn the tables on Rose and ask key pastoral questions - not to be cute, really, but because he wants to know the answers; and, like any pastorally gifted minister, Rogers wouldn't be asking if he didn't think Rose might profit from having to think about his own life for a while.
Nothing new, I suppose. A 2005 appreciation of Fred Rogers by Amy Hollingsworth, for example, mentions how in his seminary days,
Rogers and his ... buddies [went] on a road trip to hear a famous pastor speak, only to find a substitute preacher--and a boring one at that--putting the congregation to sleep. Rogers was incensed by this, only to turn to the woman seated next to him and notice her crying because the message spoke to the deepest part of her need. Rogers decided at that point that it was unwise to be judgmental because he could never know how the Holy Spirit was touching someone.