A Man on a Mission

I just finished reading The Preacher and the Presidents, a book about evangelist Billy Graham and his relationship with eleven U.S. presidents and their wives and families.  While I was at times bored with the details of political plans and strategies, I was fascinated with Dr. Graham’s basic character and his manner of reaching both the high and the low among us mortals.

Although I’ve never attended one of his crusades, I have listened to snippets of many of his sermons. I also have a daily devotional book of his that I purchased at a mountainside flea market and keep on my bookcase at work. It’s entitled Day by Day with Billy Graham, and it’s soothed my soul on many a crazy, stressful day. I’ve always known that he was a charismatic and effective evangelist, but I didn’t realize just how phenomenal he was (and is) until reading the book about his relationship with the presidents from Truman to Bush (both of them).

The essence of the book is that although Dr. Graham associated with the powerful movers and shakers of the world (yes the world), he always remained humble and spiritual. Certain of his mission to spread the good news of the gospel, he wasn’t wowed by money, fame, or fortune.  In fact, as I read about the presidents and other world leaders, I realized that Dr. Graham probably touched more lives in a positive way (worldwide) than any political leader. Even so, he was not without his critics and pundits. Amazingly, he was often cricitcized for being too forgiving, too conciliatory, and not judgmental enough. Huh??? And get this, many of those criticisms came from well-known religious leaders.

The gist of Dr. Grahams’s message is this: We all want to be loved, both the prince and the pauper, and God truly loves us all.  If you want to read details of luncheon dates, prayer breakfasts, golf matches, and traveling to Russia, read the book. My most lasting impression is that Billy Graham remained a man of integrity and faith despite his access to the rich and powerful.  

Author: jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer

4 thoughts on “A Man on a Mission”

  1. Well said Jayne. I admire your ability to stick with all the minute details and get to the heart of the message. I fear I often lack patience and get sidetracked by the details.

  2. I always end up doing research reading your blog! I never really knew much about Billy Graham. He always seemed like a slightly-off-his-rocker evangelist. Orson Scott Card wrote a short story about evagelists, one in particular whose fraud changes a young boy’s life.

    When I looked him up on wikipedia, they don’t mention his religious views, moreso his political ones.

    This, frankly, astounded me.

    He opposed segregation during the 1960s and refused to speak to segregated auditoriums, once dramatically tearing down the ropes that organizers had erected to separate the audience.[14][6] Graham said, “There is no scriptural basis for segregation. … The ground at the foot of the cross is level, and it touches my heart when I see whites standing shoulder to shoulder with blacks at the cross.”[6] Graham paid bail money to secure the release of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from jail during the 1960s civil rights struggle; he invited King to join him in the pulpit at his 16-week revival in New York City in 1957.[14]

    That is truly truly amazing. Everything that he has stood for politically is something I have always passionately believed. I definitely will be taking another look at Mr. Graham. I still think Falwell is an idiot, though.

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