Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Billy's Book

I don't want to count Billy out, but Nearing Home is very likely his final book.  He seems to think so, too. But the book isn't morbid, gentrified, or maudlin in any way . . . it's rather a practical book for younger and older alike, and Billy Graham takes on everything from youthful learning experiences to building a financial future to preparing for life's final passage--whatever that may be.

It is obvious that Billy misses his wife, Ruth.  Approaching his mid-90's, Billy has been subdued by Parkinsons and other physical maladies, but he's still witty and insightful in print.  Even if a person isn't nearing home, it's a good title.  And Billy sets out to help everyone create a better home in the "here and now" also.

I like Billy.  And I wonder what the world will do without him now that we have to face the often odd and stilted opinions of his son, Franklin, and a bevy of warped and wilted televangelist preachers who seem to crave the personal attention of the camera and whose followers are more enlightened by charisma than by common sense?  I won't see another Billy in my lifetime, and God save me, I hope not to see any more of Pat Robertson or Robert Tilton, either.  The gamma rays from all of that television exposure has fried their brains.  But, as long as there's a buck from TV, there will be TV preachers, I guess.  Too bad most of them don't have actual congregations.  But they probably couldn't hold a job.

All of this talk about Billy also makes me pine for The Wittenburg Door . . . a religious satire magazine that I contributed to for nearly two decades. I miss these pages dearly, and if Joe Bob Briggs or Ole Anthony or Bob Darden ever want to revive the magazine . . . give me a call, boys!  I'm in.  I'll be the first in line for a ten year subscription and you can count on me for a curt and sassy contribution every month.  I miss bashing the wild and wacky world of the church or, as Woody Allen once wrote into the script of Hannah and Her Sisters:  "If Jesus Christ returned to earth today and saw all of the things that Christians do in his name, He would never stop throwing up!"

Amen!  Thanks, Billy, for staying above it all.

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