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Sunday Reflections: The gospel by way of Jim Rockford

Jim Rockford taught me how to respond when asked, “How much will this cost?” I reply, “Two hundred dollars a day, plus expenses.”

Actually, not. My response when asked about ministerial fees is I have none. I’m a minister of the church and the church pays my salary. Therefore, I’m available to help as I can. But I do have a little fun with Rockford.

A friend told me about a streaming app with some old programming, including “Perry Mason” and “The Rockford Files.” The latter was my favorite TV program in the ’70s. It’s been fun to rewatch a few episodes lately. I found Garner’s autobiography in our local library, “The Garner Files,” read it and learned a few tidbits.

He was born James Bumgarner. The series creator wanted the character to be Tom Rockford, but Garner insisted on his own first name.

Garner earned two Purple Hearts in Korea.

Rockford drove a Pontiac Firebird that seems to have been indestructible. Garner said they actually used three Firebirds every season, adding extra shock absorbers for his stunt driving. He did most of the driving himself since he was a race car devotee. There’s even a spin-around move that’s still called “Rockford,” also known as a “moonshiner’s turn.”

Garner revealed he got punched at least twice in every episode. Strange, however, that I don’t remember Rockford bleeding or bruising much. I had a similar discussion with a friend when we good-naturedly discussed the best Bond. I stuck with Roger Moore since he never bled or bruised, unlike the latest Bond who did, and also died.

I remember discussing bleeding and bruising with Dr. Gill in Decatur years ago. I don’t recall what brought up the discussion, but he said he’d stitched up a lot of men.

“It’s not pretty when grown men fight,” he told me.

Thus, it’s only make-believe that heroes don’t bleed and cars don’t crash. Entertainment doesn’t match real life; it’s fake news, as it were.

Fake news isn’t confined to TV networks. Sometimes it’s in print, such as when Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, read his obituary in the paper. The reporter confused him with his brother, labeling Alfred a “merchant of death.” It shocked Nobel so much he became a philanthropist best known for the Nobel Prizes.

There’s fake news in Christendom, too. Some say Christians can be so holy they don’t ever mess up. Others say God wants all his children to be wealthy. However, the greatest Christian who ever lived, the Apostle Paul, said he struggled with bad choices and sometimes went lacking.

Fake news abounds.

We should strive to learn the difference between entertainment and biblical truth.

“Reflections” is a weekly faith column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster. The church’s website is siluriabaptist.com.

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