Doing Church on Gilligan's Island

Bob Denver as Gilligan (Wikimedia)


Though Gilligan's Island was not a huge hit when it initially ran from 1964-1967 on CBS, it reached cult status years later due to reruns. There have been debates on who men would rather date: Mary Ann or Ginger. Reunion movies have been made and talks of a big screen movie adaptations have been tossed around in Hollywood for years now. For some, the original show brings back fond memories. For others, it was a wonder why it stayed on as long as it did. For me, it’s a study in sociology.

I have a theory that all the personalities marooned on that desert isle known as Gilligan, can be found in our local churches as well. Think about it. Seven distinct personalities all stuck together creating a community. See if any of these sound familiar to you:

Skippers should be known for their strong leadership skills, but often, they hide behind others. The natural leader of the original castaways should have been the Skipper, but he relinquished his role to the Professor over and over again. Skippers tend to have strict ideas on what is and isn't acceptable in church from what people where to services to the style of the communion plates. Though Skippers would rather someone else be in charge, they do not hesitate to let their opinions be known. Sometimes they think that they would make a better pastor. They pride themselves for always looking their best and are horrified if their children or “Gilligans” are ever out of line. Sometimes Gilligans are confused. One minute they are a “little buddy” and the next, they are getting whacked in the head depending on who the Skipper is talking to.
Some churches are led by Professors who are always busy but don't always make time for others. Just like on the island, while the rest of the castaways are making coconut cream pies or repairing the thatched roofs, Professors have their noses in their books. They are very intelligent, are great at public speaking and they can quote the Bible frontwards and backwards. Unfortunately, they tend to give people pat answers and Bible verses when instead they should be giving a listening ear. Professors just aren't that great at one-on-one relationships. Just as the Professor didn’t understand Ginger’s advances on the show, Professors tend to be oblivious when others are hurting.
Mr. Howell the Millionaire
You don’t need to have a million dollars to be a Mr. Howell. You just need to like money…a lot. Mr. Howells reluctantly give up their tithes every week but not a penny more. But Mr. Howell tend to be overly concerned with other's money as well. They get upset over every new purchase a church makes and don’t understand what was wrong with the old pews. Why, an old hard pew was good enough for his generation. While not all Mr. Howell's serve on the board, many like to dictate on how the church spends its money. They might even threaten to leave if they don't get their way, but everyone else knows that his threats of actually leaving the island are futile. Mr. Howells "don't get" artistic people or young people. They don't see the need for new technology. While they appear to be very social in nature, they tend to only socialize with other Mr. Howells and grumble about how the church is wasting money on silly things.
Mrs. Howell, the Millionaire’s Wife
You’ll find Mrs. Howells at every women’s social event, weddings and funerals. She will often scold others for not attending, but will rarely be seen lifting a finger to help at such settings. Mrs. Howells love the idea of serving others in the church, but often feel as if they are now too old to serve and believe that they have done "their time." Although they act as if they are above the atrocity, Mrs. Howells gossip freely about others on the island. When confronted on such sins, they will pretend that they know nothing about which you speak. If they apologize, it is only that she is sorry that you were offended. 
Ginger, the Movie Star
Despite what is seen on the show, Gingers can be male or female. Just as it is amazing how many outfits that movie star took on a three hour tour, Gingers’ wardrobes are full of the latest trends and an endless supply of shoes. They help serve at various functions with one eye on their work and the other on the singles in the group. Like Skippers, they tend to go Sunday services with a smile on their face even if they are in pain on the inside because you never know who might walk by. Even though they know it’s wrong, they tend to worry about how they look rather than how they act. They are often willing to help as long as it won't take too long or might endanger her nails.
Mary Ann
Mary Anns are those who do 80% of the work and receive only 20% of the credit. Mary Anns are very talented and dedicated. They can do anything from milking a cow to whipping up a coconut cream pie. If there is a work party, they will be there before anyone else and are often the last to leave. They will often overextend themselves to serve as a Sunday School teacher, a greeter, volunteer to do office help and more. They are happy to serve but are disappointed that others don’t value their serving. With that said, if others try to help, Mary Anns will often wave them away stating that they "have it covered." 
Gilligans are the leftovers at church. They tend to stand out, not because of some special gift or ability, but because they tend to lack a special gift or ability. They don't dress the best, are often messy and tend to be loud. They love to serve. If they find their niche, they do it very well. If they don’t, they tend to have their heads whacked by the Skippers. Gilligans are honest to a fault and that sometimes gets them in trouble. Their hearts are in the right place but sometimes at the wrong time. They may know the perfect solution to a problem but are overshadowed by Gingers, Skippers or Professors. Gilligans love easily but find themselves lonely.

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