Editor's note: This essay from Christian musician Jason Gray is abridged from a blog post at The Rabbit Room.


"L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux." Translation: "What is essential is invisible to the eyes." From Antoine De Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince.

These are the words on a plaque hanging in the office of my new hero. Who might that be? Kierkegard? Billy Graham? Bono?

Would you be surprised if I told you it was … Mister Rogers?

Let me explain: On a recent set of tour dates, I was talking books with Neil Tankersly, keyboardist for Echoing Angels, when he recommended a book about children's television icon Mister Rogers. At first I was skeptical and feigned enough interest to be polite, but not enough to encourage him to tell me more about it. Not taking my cue, he continued to rave about the book and then even started looking up YouTube videos of Mister Rogers for me to watch. This was not cool, and it made me seriously question not only my new friend's taste in books, but his masculinity as well.

I remember groaning inwardly at the prospect of having to sit there and watch what I imagined would be lame video clips of a man I had pre-judged as a bland, out of step, simple, cardigan-wearing milquetoast with little to interest or offer a cultured and savvy sophisticate like me.

The lesser of my confessions today is my regret over my self-righteousness and the countless ways it blinds me. But my more pertinent confession is that I couldn't have been more wrong about Mister Rogers! It wasn't 30 seconds into the first clip before I found tears in my eyes and was doing everything I could to suppress embarrassing sobs as I watched Fred Rogers's acceptance speech at the 1997 Emmy Awards, a speech that was such a ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.