Billy Graham’s recent passing way at age 99 stirs up deep emotions as I consider the impact of his preaching and service. In addition to billions hearing the gospel and millions converted, thousands of leaders were trained and millions more helped with compassion outreach.
Along with John Stott, Graham is the founder of the Lausanne Movement, a global evangelical network that is dedicated to evangelization and human flourishing in the kingdom. In just over 40 years, we have seen a shift in global Christianity from “the West to the rest” to ministry now being “from everywhere to everywhere” and the majority of Christians residing in non-Western nations.
As he reflected in an interview with Diane Sawyer on his life and ministry he said, “I wish I would have done more about race.” This from a man who integrated his meetings and lost friends as he rightly rejected racism and segregation. He also regretted the lack of time with his family and proper self-care…what humility for a world leader!
A voice of my lifetime, bearing witness to grace and truth. our best tribute? Faithful service and witness in all I do. And continually growing in kindness, love and wisdom. May we begin every encounter with every person with love and respect. The Cross welcomes all and when the Holy Spirit is working, there is a new sociology.
Even when it is not “well with my soul” it is still well with the Lord, who perseveres in his love and pursues us with holy determination.
Today, let’s release every internal barrier to flourishing: anger and nostalgia, regret and pride, rebellion and ignorance…and choose forgiveness and hope, humility and learning, pursuit of the Triune Lord and the good of others.
Transformation comes responsive decision at a time.
In a world quick to label everything a “…phobe” I confess a “phobe” I must wrestle with:
Translated: fear of (real) thinking. This affliction is spreading as some try and silence all dissent that departs from their narratives. How about befriending people of diverse beliefs and cultures? Then any vestiges of our phobias will transform into mutual respect, genuine debate and, perhaps, principled ways of helping all flourish.
Dear anarchist, please share what your “there” looks like.
Dear traditionalist, please share how all people are included in your vision of “there.”
To all friends of conscience, let’s articulate a just and loving, safe and sustainable future.
It is hard work aiming for principled compromise and proximate justice.
Much easier to alienate, marginalize, yell epithets and delegitimize concerns of “enemies.”
Will you join me in a new era of civil dialogue?
With the contentious political environment, compression of events and the overwhelming amount of data we are all juggle, gaining perspective is an important virtue. I offer the following as reflections that I hope will refresh and renew, stimulate sound thinking and compel kind action. Enjoy – and pass on!
Dear political opponents: state objections to candidates and policies based on principles, not memes and reactionary obstruction.
Dear thoughtful conservatives and progressives: stop labeling and shutting down arguments and seek principled compromise and proximate justice. Let’s all grow up.
There is a “more excellent way” than our current anger: it is agape love that is holy and humble, selfless and serving, uniting deep compassion with durable convictions.
A guiding question for each day: How have I added value to someone’s life?
Labeling keeps us from listening. We can learn even from “opponents.” Look past age, class, color, ideology and listen to the ideas, facts and logic. You may also make a new friend in the process.
“Searching for a heart of gold.” Neil Young describes our longing for integrity – especially in politics, Left or Right. The search begins in my own soul: “Create in me a clean heart, O God…”