5 05 2021

In my Article from a few weeks back, I mentioned the fact that I used to love watching NBC’s Sunday Night Movie Mysteries. Well, it stirred something within me that made me revisit one of the rotating shows of that series. Dennis Weaver who made his claim to fame as Marshall Dillon’s Deputy on the Western Gunsmoke, returned to the small screen as Deputy Marshall Sam McCloud.

McCloud aired on NBC from September 16, 1970 through April 17, 1977. The fictional Deputy Marshal Sam McCloud came to the Big Apple from a small western town in Taos, New Mexico. They had loaned him to the New York City Police Department (NYPD) as a special investigator.

The reoccurring theme in every program was the supposed conflict seen between the good-natured, clear-eyed buoyancy of McCloud and the metropolitan hard-nosed cynicism of the residents of New York City. The signature of McCloud’s character was his Western unflappability and seeming inability to recognize an insult, especially from his NYPD superior, Chief of Detectives Peter B. Clifford, played wonderfully by Actor J.D. Cannon.

At the beginning of every episode, it appeared that Chief Clifford wanted no part of giving McCloud any assignment of substance.

One of my favorite assignments that was given to McCloud was helping a lonely beaver in the Central Park Zoo. But McCloud was not the “Hick from the Sticks,” everyone assumed he was. McCloud always seemed to find himself solving another crime and rescuing the damsel in distress as might be better known in Dodge City! McCloud’s attire, typically consisting of a sheepskin coat or Western jacket, a bolo tie and his signature cowboy hat and boots, allowed for implied comic relief in many encounters with New Yorkers. Under his jacket or coat, he usually wore a khaki uniform shirt with a brown star-shaped uniform patch with gold trim on left sleeve, lettered “Marshal’s Office Taos, N.M.”. There was a yellow circle in the center with the number 33. He wore two collar pins one was “NM” and the other was “33”. McCloud carried a blued .45 Colt SAA Western-style six-shooter with a 4¾” barrel.

McCloud was the embodiment of the American law officer who always sees the good in people but knows the real stakes and he spares no pain to catch the bad guy. The character’s catchphrase which was a must on television back in the 1970’s was, “There Ya Go!” Another memorable moment was when a character played by John Denver, at the end of the show that he guest starred on, traded catchphrases with Weaver. Denver responded “There ya go!” and McCloud chimed in with “Far out!”

Let me bring into the light why I chose to write about McCloud and me in my article today. Many times, others who think that they know you will attempt to pigeonhole and typecast you into who or what they think you should be. They underestimate your talent and don’t factor in the difference faith in Jesus makes in your character and personality. I have tried very hard to never judge a book by the cover because to do so shows laziness. Before you send somebody out to play a position, you should at least do your homework and know what somebody actually brings to the table.

How many times have you pre-judged someone only to find out later that your perceptions were way off base? You probably don’t like when an authority of yours doesn’t give you a fair shake. Why then would you believe that it is acceptable behavior to do this to another?

Just take a look at Jesus. When He came on the scene, He did not look like, talk like, walk like, live like what the religious establishment had pre-ordained Him to be. So, in too many cases, the crowds walked right by the Christ who just happened to be in their midst. Jesus in many ways was just like McCloud. The avant-garde were in tune with the Savior from Nazareth because they were already out of the box that society tries to squeeze us into.

When will Christians ever come to accept that their God is experimental, radical and truly unorthodox with respect to how to get it done here on Earth? Status-quo has got to go. Apathy is a trap you see! Man made boundaries need to be tested especially if God is calling you to go way beyond the tightly woven legalism of an insecure congregation. There are those precious miraculous moments that Jesus invites us to add much needed color outside the lines!

McCloud was always courteous, kind and a good guy but he would not be locked into desk work when he knew that he was called to make a difference outside the walls of the building. As a Pastor, I have always believed that my real call is not to hide safely inside the steel frame of the Lighthouse Church structure. The Lord is calling us to risk it all by loving the unlovely, bringing hope to the helpless and really loving God by being Jesus in skin to all those we come in contact with. I am not looking for the bench. I want the Coach to put me in the game. I want to be challenged because that is the way that I am authentically changed. I will never be satisfied just looking like a member of the clergy, I want to be practicing what I preach in how I behave the Bible.

Remember, our ultimate unconditional obedience should only be given to God. He is the only one I need to submit to with no questions asked. There will be time when a boss, a teacher, a coach and even a friend will try to betray your future with a simple kiss of compromise.  Watch who those lips are kissing up to. What profits a man if he gains the adulation of this present dimension only to discover that he has forfeited his soul in the process. If God puts you in a situation for such a time as this to ignore playing it safe so that you can follow through in radical faith like Queen Esther, then ditch the desk and grab your badge and pony up. This is one time I relate more to McCloud than I ever did to Chief. Titles come and go. Destinies are a matter of the heart!

What script will drive your story?



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