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Billy Graham reflects on long life, issues warnings in CT

January 24, 2011

Christianity Today has a fascinating Q&A with the 92-year-0ld Billy Graham. He talks about aging and regrets and offers some warnings/advice for today’s evangelicals. It’s a quick and compelling read, so be sure to check out the whole thing.

One remark I found particularly revealing had to do with Graham’s reflection on his own storied career. Like so many regular people who worked hard for success, he wishes he had slowed down and spent more time with family.

But this regret (below) was a bit surprising to me:

I also would have steered clear of politics. I’m grateful for the opportunities God gave me to minister to people in high places; people in power have spiritual and personal needs like everyone else, and often they have no one to talk to. But looking back I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn’t do that now.

Wow. Hard to imagine the modern presidency without the presence of Billy Graham. True, he didn’t always balance religion and politics well (there’s a great segment in Rice professor William Martin’s book With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America that looks at Graham’s back-room support for Richard Nixon’s candidacy against JFK), but compared to some of the conservative evangelicals who’ve gotten mixed up in the political racket, Graham seems pretty tame.

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 24, 2011 10:37 am

    You beat me to it with your last comment.

    I find that “Ministry” is often a code word for personal media empire. It’s interesting to me then that he avoided the pitfalls of some of his more theatrical peers like Oral Roberts and Jimmy Swaggart.

    He was more like a wandering troubadour than a wealthy landowner protecting his interests.

  2. January 31, 2011 3:19 pm

    Sort of wish Reverend Graham had this insight a few decades earlier! The sentiments he expressed remind me of another book I enjoyed last year: Crazy for God by Frank Schaeffer. It was a fascinating study of life with his father, an amazing minister who got sucked into politics in the heady Reagan/Falwell days in the 1980s. Check it out.

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