©07 The Media Desk
As the Desk writes this it knows something. Yes. Maybe for once in its life it KNOWS something.
Recently the Reverend Billy Graham's wife of over 60 years Ruth passed on. Rev Graham himself has been in poor health for several years.
Her race is done. His is nearly so.
As the Desk told a co-worker, "Grieving can kill you."
But as of this writing. He is still with us, and we are the better for it.
Billy Graham, born in 1918, has been the 'chaplain to the President' for everybody since Eisenhower except JFK who was a Roman Catholic. He was one of the few people Nixon counted as an actual friend. He has spoken at multiple official functions such as Prayer Breakfasts as well as other assemblies both at the White House and elsewhere.
But there is something even more astounding.
For The Most Part- Graham and his evangelical organization have always been above board.
When multiple scandals have brought down or forced the major reorganization of various national or TV ministries, Graham's has stayed out of the fray.
Money troubles rocked Jim Bakker from the PTL club, and Oral Roberts. Not Graham.
Sex scandals had weeping front men in front of TV cameras from Jimmy Swaggart to local preachers across the country. Billy was not involved.
Political dealings made Jerry Falwell both a hero and the butt of jokes. Graham stayed out of it.
Fraud allegations constantly swirl around 'healers' like Benny Hinn. Graham prayed for the sick, he didn't 'heal' them.
High living, fancy watches, and excess attention still plague Al Sharpton and others. Graham got a minimal salary and lived in a modest home.
Pat Robertson has become more well known for saying really stupid things on TV and radio than his ministry. Billy Graham had his verbal missteps (AIDS most notably), but it was far from the norm for him.
Trinity Broadcasting has been raked over the coals for fancy sets and even fancier outfits on its 'stars'. For his crusades, Graham usually had a bare stage and wore a simple suit.
This article is NOT the place for the Desk to go through Graham's theology, that is better suited to another forum such as "Dancing in the Sight of the Lord".
But suffice it to say here and now that although Mr. Graham was a Southern Baptist, there were, and are, several sticking points between his personal beliefs and those of the umbrella organization. One of those being Mr. Graham's belief in the baptism of infants, which is not scriptural and is not practiced by most mainstream Baptist churches. Yet Rev Graham had all of his children baptized as infants to cover them under Original Sin (which is something else not in the Bible).
Yet if you ever watch or listen to one of Mr. Graham's messages, usually to the theme that "Christ is the Answer", you get the impression that he not only believes the things he is saying, he passionately believed them, and had from about 1940 on. He was speaking from his heart.
Something you seldom get with the others.
Graham had that spark of Charisma that gave him the ability to transfix an audience. Watch the crowd shots during his sermons. They aren't just listening; they are spellbound by the man with the clinched fist hammering home a point.
He also had the gift to take otherwise complex theological points and simplify them for the rest of us. The official website of the ministry, www.billygraham.org (link below), has page after page of his answers to questions sent in over the years. From the rather mundane to the terribly complex. His answers are always well thought out and clear. Whether you accept it or not is up to you.
As was the case with another spiritual leader, Pope John Paul the Second, Mr. Graham has earned the respect of those who may not agree with him, or even appreciate his message, but they acknowledge that his motives are good and what he says, he means.
The Desk is one of those.
To Mr Graham from the Desk:
The Official Website: http://www.billygraham.org
The Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, and a biography of Mr. Graham.