Wednesday, March 01, 2006

More on Don Knotts and Barney Fife

Danny Miller has a wonderful post on Don Knotts and the character he played on The Andy Griffith Show, Barney Fife.

Danny was kind enough to link to my post on Knotts, here.

But I had to respond to his characterization of what I wrote about Knotts' comic persona. "Following Knotts’ death," Danny wrote, "Christian bloggers [and here, he linked to my piece] weighed in on the spiritual impact of Barney Fife."

I wrote to Danny:
Actually, though I appreciate the link, Danny, I don't think that I "weighed in on the spiritual impact of Barney Fife."

What I was trying to say, perhaps ineffectively, is that if one wondered at the appeal of a faith that calls on us to admit our foibles and weaknesses, as both Judaism and Christianity do, one might consider the appeal of the Barney Fife character.

There is nothing heroic about him, at least not as heroism is classically defined. It's his transparent weakness that gives him his appeal. And Barney is at his most lovable when, his humanity on full display, he acknowledges the weaknesses he tries so to hide and breaks through to some new insight about himself and about life.

For the Jew and the Christian, faith and life begin when we can, like the Twelve Steppers whose program was taken straight from the Bible, admit that we are powerless to overcome our own compulsions and that we need our Higher Power.
I recommend Danny's personal appreciation of Knotts.

[By the way: What is it with my Twelve-Steps obsession today? It's like the unintended theme of the day, probably appropriate on Ash Wednesday.]

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