Wednesday, May 17, 2006
The Theology of Goober Pyle
I love The Andy Griffith Show. I have watched it since I was a small child. I suppose it has remained popular with so many people all these years because of what it stirs up inside us all -- feelings associated with the innocence of simpler times. The show is a Norman Rockwell painting put to drama.
I was watching an episode last night that revolved around Goober Pyle. (You know, Gomer's cousin?) Goober had participated in a discussion group on American history. In typical Goober fashion, he couldn't get anything right. His comments about the historical events the group discussed were the bumbling, disjointed, self-conscious ramblings of a man who didn't know what he was talking about. He embarrassed himself in the group.
The next day Goober left Mayberry to go hunting. When he came back a few days later, he had grown a beard. Andy told him it made him look like a deep thinker. Aunt Bea said, "It makes you look like a scientist or ambassador or something." When he went into the barber shop to have it shaved off, Floyd (the barber) absolutely refused. "Shave it off? Never! I'll never be a part of that. It's magnificent! Makes you look brainy!" From that point on, Floyd began to oooh and aaah over every word Goober spoke, despite the fact that his remarks were completely silly. (Example: "My theory is that we all carry our weather right in our own body. That'll give you something to think about." and "Even great philosophers can be wrong. A man's best friend is not his dog. It's people. Of course, I still love dogs.")
As Floyd continued to affirm Goober's newly discovered wisdom, Goober waxed more and more "eloquent." It was at that point that he spoke the line that jumped out at me. It was a statement about identity. He said, "The me that is really me was being held back by the I that I am, [but now] it's coming out all over my face." "The me that is really me was being held back by the I that I am." Deep, huh? :) His statement reminded me of a statement made by the comic strip character, Pogo, who said, "We have met the enemy and he is us."
The thing that struck me as really funny was that Goober's statement reflected the theology I held for a lot of years. It is the mind set that who I am is what has been holding me back in life. For a long time, I looked for something to change myself so that I would see myself differently. Just as Goober believed that growing a beard had made a new man out of him, I believed that there must be something I could do that would cause me to become the person I wanted to be. When we don't know our true identity, we are always on the lookout for something to change us and make us become a better person.
I'm glad I finally became comfortable with myself. It's tiring to try to remake yourself when you feel like you don't have much to work with anyway. Trying to act like somebody we aren't defines the meaning of hypocrisy. It was a real release to me to find out that my Father adores me just like I am. I still act and feel like a Goober at times, but I'm pretty much okay with it now. There are things I don't like about myself, but I can't change them. Maybe, in time, God will do it. Maybe He won't. Either way, I'm encouraged to know I can just be myself without worrying about how to improve myself. I am learning to become comfortable living with my weakness.
The me that is really me is not holding back that I that I am. That's a Goober theology. I am God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. I think I'll just hold on to that truth and relax.