Billy Hallowell sits down with Mike Rowe and his mother Peggy to talk about fame and faith in an interview with "The Pure Flix Podcast."
Listen to the episode and find the transcript below:
TRANSCRIPT OF PURE FLIX'S INTERVIEW MIKE AND PEGGY ROWE:
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Billy Hallowell: Hey, what's going on? I'm Billy Hallowell: and welcome to the Pure Flix podcast, a weekly show where we offer you interviews with your favorite pastors and celebrities, insight, inspiration, and a preview of what's to come in faith and family-friendly entertainment. As always, we're gonna get started with a little bit of inspiration. Now, I know you guys know about our Pure Flix insider blog, but if you don't, you can go over to insider.pureflix.com. It's filled with daily content that will inspire and uplift you. And so we're gonna focus today on one of the stories we have over on the blog. It's a story about seven people in the Bible and the lessons they can teach us about God's word. So we've got seven great figures. I'm not going to reveal who they are, but I am going to talk about one of those figures. You can consider this a little bit of a mini devotional. Let's talk about John the Baptist. He is, without a doubt, one of the most fascinating people in the Bible, from studying his parents to exploring his own story. There is so much to learn. So we learn in Luke 1 about his mom and his dad that's Zachariah and Elizabeth, they were unable to have children because they were both very, very old. But then this amazing miracle happens. The Angel Gabriel appears to Zachariah and tells him that his wife, Elizabeth, is going to have a baby and that that baby is going to obviously be, John the Baptist. Now, Elizabeth's story, it reminds us that we should always believe in miracles, that anything with God is possible even when it seems completely impossible, like it's not going to happen. It can. It can happen. And so, Elizabeth, as we know, she ends up conceiving John the Baptist, against all odds. Now, John's life too, it shows this man who was obviously deeply devoted to faith and to God, and he paved the way for Jesus's arrival. And a fun fact for those who don't know, when I think most people do, but some of you might not. Mary, Jesus's mother and Elizabeth were actually relatives, as the Bible tells us. Now, John the Baptist is one of the biblical characters who sacrifices it all for his devotion to God. Matthew 14, tells us about John's death at the hands of Herod. I'm gonna to read to you verses three through five,"For Herod had laid hold on, John, and bound him and put him in prison for Herodias sake, his brother Philip's wife, for John, said under him: "It is not lawful for thee to have her." And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude because they counted him as a prophet." And so we get a little more information in there as the verses go on. But John the Baptist spoke up about the relationship, reportedly believing it to have been improper or adulterous. And the price ended up being his death. He stood by his faith no matter what. And that is a powerful lesson for us to keep in mind. Now, that's a quick overview of John the Baptist. But if you go over to insider.pureflix.com, you're gonna have a chance to see so much other content and really learn some other lessons that we can learn. I mean, the Bible is just filled with these amazing people, right, who just teach us so much. And many times we learn through people's flaws and the mistakes they make. Other times we learn through the amazing heroism and the things that they do and go through in their lives, so there's a lot to learn there. Head over again to insider.pureflix.com. Moving on, we have our interview today, and this is an exciting interview. I have been dying to talk to this guy. And the guy I'm talking about is Mike Rowe. You know him from Dirty Jobs and from his Returning The Favor series on Facebook. I had a chance to sit down with Mike Rowe:and his mother, Peggy. Now, Peggy has an amazing new book out, and we get a chance here to really ask them a little bit about their lives. We get to ask Peggy about Mike and you get to hear what Mike has to say about his life as well. So, welcome to the show, Mike and Peggy. How are you guys doing today?
Mike Rowe: We are fantastic. How are you?
Billy Hallowell: I'm I'm great. Well, listen, I. I'm excited to have you both on. And, Peggy, I have to start with you. I have to ask this question 'cause I think people wanna know this? What what was Mike like as a kid growing up? Can you give us some insight?
Peggy Rowe: So you really wanna know?
Billy Hallowell: I really wanna know.
Peggy Rowe: Well, you'll find it hard to believe. But, as a little kid, Mike was very shy,.
Billy Hallowell: Really?
Peggy Rowe: He hated meeting strangers. In fact, sometimes when the doorbell would ring or somebody would knock at the door, Mike would just dive into the hall closet or under the kitchen table.
Billy Hallowell: Is this true Mike?
Mike Rowe: Uhm, I have no recollection of this at all. I can either confirm or deny anything my mother is saying historically, she she tends to tell the truth. But in this case, I honestly don't know for sure.
Billy Hallowell: What happened? Because you are the most obviously outspoken person now. So what changed?
Peggy Rowe: Well, she just evolved. It just took time. And when he had two younger brothers, he sort of had to, you know, take over. So he did grow out of that. I really did worry at times that he would grow up to be a recluse. But, as you know, that did not happen.
Billy Hallowell: Well, that fear was not recognized clearly, clearly. And, you were here today to talk about a variety of things. But the main thing is your book About My Mother. Peggy, so can you tell me why you wrote this book?
Peggy Rowe: I would like to say it's a tribute to my mother and maybe in a way it is. But through the years I've been writing stories uhm, and somewhere about my mother and some were published in newspapers and magazines, and they received such a positive review from people that I decided people would like to hear more about my mother. And Lord knows I had so many stories. My mother was an interesting person, so I decided to share her with the world. And I think people will enjoy reading about her.
Billy Hallowell: Well, the book I mean, the book.
Mike Rowe: You like to hear the truth?
Billy Hallowell: I went, Yeah. You told me the truth. I want to hear the truth now. Yeah.
Mike Rowe: Yeah. The truth of actually what happened is my my mom has been writing her whole life, as she said, but when she finally got an opportunity to write a book, uhm, it was because I started publishing her texts to me on my Facebook page,.
Billy Hallowell: Which I loved by the way.
Mike Rowe:And then I started. Thank you. Uhm, although I didn't write them, I just put them out there because I didn't want to be the only one, you know, with these images seared into my retina. And so I started to share my mom with my five billion fans and publisher said, you know, those would make for an interesting book, but rather than do what the publishers wanted, my mom went away and wrote the stories she wanted to write, which left me no choice but to publish them myself. So the first 10000 copies of her book sold out in two weeks on my Facebook page.
Billy Hallowell: Wow.
Mike Rowe: Now, the publishers have come back and said, OK, you didn't tell us she could actually write. And so not only is she written a book, she's gotten to write the book that she actually wanted to write and then see it on the bestseller list, which is just it's a crazy thing for an 80 year old woman to do.
Billy Hallowell: It's amazing in seeing the book sell. I mean, on Amazon, seeing how well it's doing. It's incredible. And I want to I want to ask you about some of the fans, Peggy. But I have to ask first, Mike, why do you think fans are so captivated by Peggy?
Mike Rowe: Studies show that most people have mothers and grandmothers, and studies also indicate that we're living in a terribly fractured time where most of the country can't seem to agree on anything.
Billy Hallowell: I don't know what country you're living in Mike, this doesn't seem like a familiar dynamic, to me at all.
Mike Rowe: Well, look, in my world, I try. I try and look for themes that are universally relevant. In my own career, it's been an exploration of anonymity and work. But, as I step back from that and look around, you know, the other things I see are relationships in families that are still very important. And I think the most important relationship is, are the ones that hover her around mothers. I never had a sister, so I don't really know what my mom's talking about half the time. You know, she's one of two girls. And this book she's written about her relationship with her mom. I just think it's going to be relevant to millions of mothers who are wondering why their daughters appear to be from another planet and millions of daughters who can't understand why their moms haven't admitted to adopting them. Right. There's there's so much commonality to mine and what my mom has done with these stories. And my view is tap the country on the shoulder and remind us that there's more to life than the stuff that's in the headlines.
Billy Hallowell: And you've done that a lot Mike, I wanna to talk more about that. But as we're kind of talking about this reminder and sort of tapping people on the shoulder, you know, there's been this dynamic, obviously, the text from my mother's segment, you sort of bringing your mother out there. And it's and it's interesting because it does shed light on the commonality. Right. We all have a mother, as you said, we all have these connections with people. So for you, Peggy, what has it been like to be sort of brought into Mike's world and now you've gained millions of your own fans? What's that process been like for you?
Peggy Rowe: It was shocking at first. I was not, I was not on social media at all and just didn't participate. But I did check my page from time to time. So when he began publishing my text, I was really surprised at the reaction. People seem to be. They like short things and they like humor. So, that's what a text is, in my opinion. So they related to my text in a very personal way and I'm seem to want more. So Mike said, Mom, I think we're onto something here. So, I have been writing him the occasional text. So I guess, my goodness, it's been over a year and and I've done dozens of them.
Billy Hallowell: But I love the flip phone text. I went through all of em, read all of them. The one about, you know, your father's flip phone and how it was missing. And it came back. And I'm just I'm laughing because people relate to this stuff. And what you guys are doing is talking about everyday life, funny things, but know the country needs this right now. I think a lot of what both of you are doing with the book here. And then obviously, Mike, with returning the favor of giving people we're so inundated with the negative all day long, all the time, the divisiveness, the chaos, and it's actually impacting families. Right. You're seeing families last year and the year before who couldn't eat Thanksgiving dinner together because they were so upset about Trump or Hillary. And so I love that you're focusing on the positive and you're shedding light on things that really help bring people together. And so I wanted to just ask both of you. I guess I'll start with you, Mike. You know, how much of how much of what you do is motivated by sort of trying to give that other side of what is happening in the world to try to inspire people in some way?
Mike Rowe: Well, you know, I guess on a conscious level, you know, I'm I'm very aware of it, but I'm also mindful of the fact that no matter how necessary it is, nobody wants a lecture. Nobody wants a sermon. Nobody wants their, you know, kind of finger wagged at them. So what I try to do, from dirty jobs through somebody's gotta do it through the way I heard it through returning the favor. I've be doing the same show for 20 years. I just changed the title. You know, every five years or so. And fundamentally, the goal is to amuse myself. And if I if I keep focused on that, if I keep focusing on satisfying my own curiosity about a person, or a place, or a job, or a simple act of kindness, if I'm genuinely curious about something that's going on in that space, then I think I think the viewer feels or the listener feels less like they're being sold something or being exposed to a deliberate attempt to make them feel a certain way. And just watching, as a voyeur. So, you know, going back to the texts and my mom stories, this is just I mean, my mother is certainly not the only person on the planet sending funny texts to her son, but to share something that that that's so common. And do it in a way that that's authentic. That does resonate. And I've worked on dirty jobs. It's always going to work. Authenticity and reliability will always be for sale. It's just it just happens to be for sale right now more than it's ever been, I think in our lifetime.
Billy Hallowell: I think people are desperate for something. They're desperate for even though they might not admit it or we may not even realize it subconsciously to find something that brings us together or to find something we can rally around. And the one thing I can tell you about you is, you know, I was the I was the faith editor at the Blaze.com for about six years. And we would often cover what you were doing, what you were saying, a Facebook post. Same thing at Faith Wire, when I was working there. And it was interesting because stories of you just saying simple things, you being sort of a voice of reason or taking sort of a no nonsense approach to a critic, but leaving people with somebody to think about those stories would go crazy. And it's interesting watching you, because there are obviously many things you could comment on that you don't. And you seem to really take the high road when you do comment. But how do you decide how do you choose what to speak out on, what not to do and how to approach it?
Mike Rowe: Well, the biggest fear. I think, most people share of being really present on social media is the fear of becoming an easy target and to have real criticism brutally leveled toward you. And I was never really frightened of that. My first job in the industry was selling things in the middle of the night on the QVC cable shopping channel. So, you know, I I understand of just how how odd an audience can be. But I also understand that fundamentally, those people on social media, those are they're my boss. You know, I don't really work for Discovery or CNN or or anyone who who pays me. I work for the people who watch my stuff. So to answer your question, the reason that I take the time to engage with people, who so clearly, dislike me or dislike something I've said, is because I have a chance to do it in front of five million others. And I have a chance to not only explain what I think or why I think it, but I get to choose how I explain it. And if I if I want to do so respectfully or with some semblance of manners, then, you know, that shouldn't be a headline in and of itself. Right. But it is, because because there's such a dearth of civility online that when people see it, they're reminded, I think, of a kinder, gentler way of communicating. You know, a more respectful kind of discourse that used to be the norm, but now...
Billy Hallowell: What gets you thinking, I mean, you leave you tend to leave people with. And you're right, it shouldn't be a headline. The unfortunate thing is social media has in many ways created a lot of, ah, perpetuated some of the problems we already had, making them worse. But you sort of leave people with something to think about. And I think there's something powerful about that. That's how we should all be communicating. Unfortunately, we're not. And so it's good when we have people that we can kind of point to and say, well, look, you didn't go after that person for no, you didn't go after them and leave those five million people with nothing to think about. You've sort of said, well, hey, you know, even the critiques about Trinity Broadcasting Network and the way you responded to that, I thought was very thoughtful. You know, fatherlessness, you go down the line, there's so many topics you've tackled in a thoughtful way. And so, Peggy, I would imagine that this comes from the upbringing, some of this. Yes. Tell me about some of the values that maybe your mom instilled in you in some of the values that you've worked to instill in your kids, because it seems to be coming to fruition through Mike.
Peggy Rowe: Well, I can only hope that I've instilled a sense of honesty and authenticity about Mike. He is who he is. And I'll tell you, through the years people have approached me so many times, and said something along the lines of, "I met your son. And you know what? He's just like he is on TV" or, "I've seen your son on TV. And then I met him. And guess what? He's exactly the same". He is who he is. He's he's not put on. And I hope that maybe some of that came from his father and me. He has a sense of, he's a hard worker. He he got that work ethic from his father, I think. He was a schoolteacher and totally devoted. And if Mike does something for you, you know, he's going to do it a 100 percent. I hope we've given him some of that.
Billy Hallowell: I love that.
Mike Rowe: You just want me to sell the book.
Billy Hallowell: You gotta pat on the back so he sells the perhaps you sell the book. Well, it's been successful so far. Whatever you're doing, that book is, is skyrocketing.
Mike Rowe: It's so funny. I don't know if you can hear it, but there's a siren in the background. And it really does strike me as like the perfect metaphor you know for this whole conversation. The country, is listening to some sort of, you know, warning sign, warning, warning, you know, and every day, every minute, every headline is just a reminder that something somewhere is rotten, right or dangerous, or hazardous. There just has to be a world, where a mom can still send a text to her son, and he can publish it and people can laugh and hopefully be reminded that, you know, somewhere beyond the siren, there's something else.
Billy Hallowell: I gotta ask you, this is a loaded question and you know, I don't want to make. I'm not going to make you God here by asking this, but what is your, if you could like what's the solution? How do we solve it? Because I think we all feel that disconnectedness in that chaos getting worse and worse and worse. How do we how do we fix it?
Mike Rowe: I would suggest that the "it" you're talking about is an elephant. You know, it's a big thing and people surround the elephant. It's like the old metaphor with the blind guy. Right. I mean, we're all blind. We're all reaching out. We're all touching the elephant. And some some of us are holding the tail. Some of us have the tusk. Some of us have the foot. And our experience, leads us to conclude that whatever we're touching. Well, that's what the elephants made of, you know. And if you're hanging onto the tusk, you might conclude your you're touching an ivory statue. But you're not, you know, you're you're just touching the thing you're touching. And so I think that's what's happening in the country. I think we're all looking at a slightly different thing. But but what we're exposed to in so many ways is what we're shown. So, I'm not a conspiracy guy, but I do know from my own search history, that whatever I Google, I suddenly start seeing all over the place. So if, for instance, I'm predisposed to the idea that our immigration policy might be in trouble. You know, if I Google, "Caravan migration" and then suddenly I start seeing thousands of stories about, you know, an invasion. Well, then, you know, how am I going to think about what's going on in my world; every single thing I'm seeing, is a reflection of what somebody else thought I was searching for. And so my news feed and my choices of of news channel and my circle of friends all conspire to create a giant confirmation bias. And pretty soon, all I can hear is the siren in the background, because that's all I'm listening for. And so in some weird, clunky, metaphorical way, that that's what I think is going on. We've created our own little bubble. Oddly, we're more connected today than we ever have been in the history of the world, thanks to the device I'm talking to you on right now. You know, I have access to ninety five percent of all the known information in the world, but at the same time, we're more disconnected than we've ever been from the stuff that really matters from our history, from our food, from our energy, and most tragically, sometimes from our friends and from our families and the people in our own lives.
Billy Hallowell: I mean, look at the rates of suicide, and you know, you go down the line. The rates of say everything is sort of worsening. There's that there's a real isolation, a self isolation going on across the board. So absolutely, I think that's true. And it's a really great way of sort of summarizing where we are, where we are. So, you know, you're gonna say something. I didn't mean to interrupt you. Sorry. Go ahead.
Mike Rowe: Well, obviously, just you know, we're just in violent agreement. You know, there was a woman named, Faith Popcorn years ago that used to publish something called, The Popcorn Report". And she turned out to be very much of an oracle. You know, she back in the 70s and 80s talked about something called "Cocooning", which she believed would happen, as technology made it more and more possible for us to stay you know inside and watch a movie on a beautiful new television, you know. And then, that would become even more intense as the technology allowed us to watch whatever we watched on demand and how not just food like pizza or Chinese, but five star meals could be delivered to your home. And then she said this whole "Cocooning" thing will turn into something she called, "Burrowing", where you'll go even deeper, you know, more isolated, more individualistic. And so, you know, on the one hand, you might have many thousands of friends on your Facebook page, but you've never met them. And your life is now suddenly unfolding in a pretty small place that you call home. Where everything you want need to be brought to you, or beamed to you, or streamed to you. And so, all of this information comes at you from all these different sides, and it will inform the person you turn out to be, which is a very long way of saying, that's why my mother's texts to me of will save the world. Thank you very much.
Billy Hallowell: I love that, Faith Popcorn is was brilliant. I actually forgot about her as I'm writing notes down, as you're saying this, I want to go read more about that because she had a very good sense and has a very good sense of what's what was to come. So, Peggy, in light of all of this that we're talking about here, what what do you hope people take away from, "About My Mother"? What lessons are you hoping the public and readers can take away?
Peggy Rowe: Well, you know, to go to what Mike said first, I can't control what happens in the world. I can only control my little piece of the world. And that, is my writing and in my book, About My Mother, I have written stories that will honestly make you feel good and give you hope and make you laugh also. That's my contribution to the world. And hopefully, hopefully people will see it the way I see it. I think they will. I write a daily blog on Facebook and the comments have opened my eyes. Over the past few months, people want something positive. They want something hopeful. And I think my book will do that for them.
Billy Hallowell: People need it. So I appreciate that you've put this out. I think it's the it's the right time for it. And I thank you guys both for coming on this show today was great having you.
Mike Rowe: Thanks. Really a pleasure. Good luck with everything.
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Billy Hallowell: Welcome back to the Pure Flix podcast. We're gonna be gearing up to close the show here, but I wanted to just talk about a couple of the other stories we have over on the Pure Flix’s Insider blog. Yeah, a lot of people really struggle when it comes to prayer. They're not sure what to say. They're not sure how to say it. And I think the amazing thing about God is that, you know, He's open for us to just speak to, that we can just sit down, we can pray wherever we are. If we wanna get down on our knees and pray in our bedroom. We can do that. If we want to just pray in our car, we can do that. So just knowing that we can communicate with God whenever we want, but we've got a really helpful list. It's, "Five Peaceful Night Prayers to End Your Day". If you go over to insider.pureflix.com, you can check that out and read a little bit about some of the guidance and the prayers that might be able to help you get some ideas for how to better communicate with God. And then my favorite piece right now is because, listen, I and before I tell you about the piece, I am one of those people who gets really, really kind of not not necessarily depressed, but just down. I get the winter blues. It always happens after Christmas when all of that excitement ends and you're moving into those cold months. And I live in New York and it gets really snowy and cold here. And so you get kind of the winter blues and we have the cure, allegedly, for your winter blues. But it really is a cure because it's uplifting. Movies, TV series that you can check out. Actually, we focused mostly on movies in this piece. It's "Cure the Winter Blues with These 10 Heartwarming Christian Movies", you can head over to insider.pureflix.com and you can check those movies out in and the best part is, if you wanna watch any of them and you're not currently a pureflix.com subscriber, you get a free trial, you can check it out. Watch those movies, get yourself out of that winter funk and everything will feel better, I hope. Thank you so much for tuning in today to the Pure Flix podcast. Tune in next week for another episode. We're gonna have some great guests on the show and we appreciate you listening.
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