Monday, September 7, 2015

Wearing My White Hat

I am a fan of TV Westerns, and the older black and white movie westerns.  The TV cable provider that serves my house can easily track my viewing choices if there is an old western movie on.  I was raised during the years when western movies were the choice of the majority.  My writings have already reflected in several early blogs about Roy Rogers being one of my childhood heroes.  I also liked Gene Autry, John Wayne, Tom Mix, Gary Cooper, Jimmy Stewart, and others.  (Sorry if I missed your favorite cowboy.)

I mentioned TV Westerns at the top of the page so let me mention names which are still of the household category like, Matt Dillon (James Arness), and of course the Cartwrights.  While most of those actors in the westerns were people we like to identify with, their lives were hard, and without the benefit of a lot of the things we have learned to consider common today.  Running water, electric lights, indoor plumbing, to name a few.  My point is that in spite of all the disadvantages they had, they still seemed to enjoy life and helping make living better for others. 

I recently read an article about the morality and good examples of the heroes of the earlier westerns. Admittedly, the newer westerns have followed the course of popularity in the movie industry, many of them including vulgar language and nudity.  But did the westerns of old give us a sense of good morals and right living? 
The article suggest several things you could always count on in a western movie; things that were to be lessons for us in morality, making right decisions, and treating others well.   Let's look at some of them. 

The westerns gave us a sense of believing in the right, and defeating the wrong. I remember a disclaimer that played at the end of several TV shows that said, "Viewers will never see criminals glamorized or the 'wrongs' portrayed as right."  From the writers to the  producers to the actors, they all gave us a sense that making all things "right" would prevail. They also gave us the feeling of respect for those who keep us safe, those who enforce the law.  That respect could be tied to the first suggestion when we knew before the villains were on the screen, the good guys would always prevail. The other suggestion in the article said we were taught the limits of vengeance. Realize it or not, that was usually one of the underlying themes of the old westerns.  Let's see how some of these might compare to the Bible.

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”   1 Corinthians 15:33
"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness"  2 Timothy 3:16
"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."  Ephesians 6:4
"You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."  Matthew 5:48

While I would never suggest that your salvation is based on Ben Cartwright or Gary Cooper, think today of the basic truths of right and wrong portrayed in the lives of our Hollywood heroes, as we wish for the good old days.   God bless, wear your white hat today..........and Happy Trails.


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