His methods are quite strange to those of the 'emergent' generation, and yet I don't know that I admire any Christian leader like I admire Billy Graham. As I've been following the news of his final American Crusade in NYC over the weekend, I've been formulating some thoughts. Here are three reasons that I love Billy Graham:
1. Is there anyone on the face of the planet more humble? Literally millions of people look to him as the Protestant version of the Pope, and yet Billy genuinely deflects all the attention that is paid to him. I read in Newsweek that this weekend, in NYC, one of Billy's comments was something like, "You're not here to listen to Billy Graham..." Well of course that's why most of the people were in the stadium were there, but Billy is always pointing to Jesus.
2. Are there any Christian leaders who can genuinely profess to being a-political. Billy has had strong relationships with both the Bushes and Clintons. Because he has refused to enter into the political fray, Billy has earned the opportunity to speak to both sides. I wish more Christian leaders would follow his example. It seems that the more power that evangelical leaders get the more they seem to get behind political agendas. (My cynical interpretation is that it's all a power trip -- to be courted by political types...)
3. Billy's commitment to being relevant. Today's crusade is quite different than the one of yesteryear. I love that Billy has not taken the path of many churches who have decided that what worked in '57 will work today.