You may have noticed that I don’t post here these days. I just couldn’t keep up with two blogs at once. Read me, up-to-date, at…
Billy Graham & Oprah…
Some of you may have already gotten a rather cheesy e-mail forwarded to you about Billy Graham’s appearances on Oprah and 20/20. I find most e-mail forwards unconscionable, obnoxious and usually-maddening.

Still, I missed Graham’s appearances on the shows, and was inspired by a few things he said and did. While I may not line up with all of Graham’s theology, he has always seemed so humble and gracious, more willing to err on the side of love and forgiveness than firm judgment or blind certainty. Frankly, I prefer goodness to “correctness,” so I guess I’m a pretty big fan of Mr. Graham.

Here’s the account (slightly edited to minimize the silly commentary)…

Last year, evangelist Billy Graham was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey. Oprah told him that in her childhood home, she used to watch him preach on a little black & white TV while sitting on a linoleum floor. She went on to the tell viewers that in his lifetime Billy has preached to twenty-million people around the world, not to mention the countless numbers who have heard him whenever his crusades are broadcast.

When she asked if he got nervous before facing a crowd, Billy replied humbly, “No, I don’t get nervous before crowds, but I did today before I was going to meet with you.”

Oprah’s show is broadcast to twenty-million people every day. She is comfortable with famous stars & celebrities but seemed in awe of Dr. Graham. When the interview ended, she told the audience, “You don’t often see this on my show,
but we’re going to pray.” Then she asked Billy to close in prayer. The camera panned the studio audience as they bowed their heads & closed their eyes just like in one of his crusades. Oprah sang the first line from his favorite hymn, “Just as I am, without a plea…” misreading the line & singing off key, but her voice was full of emotion & almost cracked.

When Billy stood up after the show, instead of hugging her guest, Oprah’s usual custom, she went over & nestled against him. Billy wrapped his arm around her & she stood in his fatherly embrace with a look of contentment.

Billy Graham was not the least bit condemning, distant, nor hesitant to embrace a public personality who doesn’t fit the typical evangelical mold.

In an interview with Hugh Downs on ABC’s 20/20 show, the subject turned to homosexuality. Hugh looked directly at Billy Graham & said, “If you had a homosexual child, would you love him?” Billy didn’t miss a beat. He replied with sincerity & gentleness, “Why, I would love that one even more.”

The title of Billy’s autobiography, “Just As I Am,” says it all.

Billy complimented Oprah when asked what he was most thankful for; he said, “Salvation given to us in Jesus Christ” then added, “& the way you have made people all over this country aware of the power of being grateful.”

What if we took the things that set us apart, that made us different, which caused us to disagree, & make them an occasion to compliment each other & be thankful for each other? What if we were big enough to be smaller than our neighbor, spouse, friends, & strangers?

please read more about my thoughts on the evolution of Christianity at…
Posted by Peter at Monday, June 25, 2007
Labels: Billy Graham, forgiveness, goodness, grace, Oprah
Existential Punk said…
What a beautiful story! i agree with you that my theology does not all line up with his but he is avery gracious Christ-follower. Thanks for sharing this.


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