back to Homepage


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:22-24)

An on-line article brought up the point that this year the Andy Griffith show, the 1960’s sitcom is being lauded for it’s 50th (that’s right, 50 years) on television. The show actually ran from September of 1960 through April of 1968 but has been shown on television continuously in syndication since.

Simply put, the show is a cultural phenomenon. In Mount Airy North Carolina (where Andy Griffith grew up) they celebrate ‘Mayberry Days’ on an annual basis. Indeed as a recent article in the AARP magazine pointed out, in Mount Airy there is a Floyd’s Barbershop and a 1960’s police cruiser displayed prominently in the town.

The article also goes on to mention a married couple in Wisconsin who operate a bed and breakfast that is a replica of the home occupied by Andy, Opie and Aunt Bea. It seems that the bed and breakfast owners actually met on-line in an Andy Griffith fan chat-room, then met in person at an Andy Griffith convention, fell in love and married. To re-create the fictional Taylor home they watched the episodes about 200 plus times to nail down the lay-out, furniture and dimensions of the house. Since there were no actual plans available for the fictional house, they approximated room size by taking into account the Andy is six-feet tall and creating a measure unit which they called a ‘griffith’ to approximate sizes for the various rooms.

What is the appeal of a show filmed a generation ago about people in a small southern town with a widowed sheriff, his son, his aunt, his deputy and the other characters portrayed? Honestly, there is no violence, no sex, no vulgarity and no cutting jokes from one character at the expense of another that seems to be the staple of comedy today. Indeed when you watch episodes of the show, it seems that the characters go way out of their way to avoid bruising the feelings or esteem of each other. One episode I remember is where Andy and Helen are trapped in a cave-in and Barney mounts a large rescue mission to free them. As it turns out, Andy and Helen find their way out of the cave and then, afraid that Barney will be humiliated when the rescuers did through and find them gone, go back into the cave so they can be rescued. In this Andy shows kind and gentle sensitivity to the person of Barney and his need for affirmation and to feel important.

In a recent interview with Ron Howard posted on PopEater 9.22.10, he talked about his experiences growing up Mayberry. “I remember him [Andy Griffith] many times talking to the writers and talking about a particular joke, and saying, ‘Sure, I understand that it’s funny, but it’s not true to these characters, and I don’t want to be making fun of these people. We’re a comedy, but I don’t want this to be about making country bumpkins out of everybody. It’s a show about real people.’ I always respected him for that…” perhaps what Howard has touched on here is much of the genius of the show.

It is not the old clothes, or the cars or the houses that everyone seems to want to return to but the spirit of genteel kindness and love for others that pervades the show.  It is what it represents about the past, perhaps largely nostalgic that we long for. Unfortunately, we cannot return to a fictional Mayberry, a place that only truly exists in our hearts. There is no Mayberry. But Mayberry can be, in a sense, created in our lives toward one another.

This creation is not through some form of determination to recapture the past; where we ‘ape’ the actions of the fictional characters. We, as believers are responsible to treat others with love. We are called to be joyful. We are called to show kindness and be patient with others. For us as believers it is found in asking the Holy Spirit to work in our lives to produce those fruits of the spirit that do impact our behavior and interactions towards others. Those actions that in a sense, mirror the love, kindness and gentleness of the characters portrayed. You know, these behavioral traits of the fictional Mayberry characters we have been talking about.

This really hits me because that means I am to show these character traits with my spouse and family.  Especially with my spouse. I am not given a pass to be act in a non-Holy Spirit filled manner in my behavior towards Anna just because she happens to live in the same house and sees me when I am tired or aggravated, or just plain grumpy. I am called to be loving, and gentle and kind and patient with the one who is closest to me as well as those I happen to meet on the street. As a believer, it is important for me to seek to bring, through God’s empowering grace of the Holy Spirit, the traits into my home that we see in that fictional town. It is important for me to show consideration, to be gentle and act out of loving regard to those in reach. We love Mayberry, because it represents so much of how we know we want relationships to work.

I have a long way to travel to get to Mayberry but each journey starts with one step. That first step is the prayer, “Father create in my life the character of your son Jesus. Fill with the Holy Spirit. Cause me to hunger for your ways.”


Copyright © 2011 Brian Bailey, Author