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Billy Graham Admits 20th Century Regrets, Pope Benedict Issues 21st Century Warning

Aside from the Roe v. Wade anniversary — featuring a huge anti-abortion crowd at the March for Life in Washington — the top two religion newsmakers today each concerns an elderly white male Christian leader with an unexpected message: Pope Benedict (age: 83) issued some cautionary advice about social networking — YouTube, Facebook, blogging, etc. — while the Rev. Billy Graham (age: 92) reflected on the past in an interview with Christianity Today, including what he should have done differently:


I’d spend more time at home with my family, and I’d study more and preach less. I wouldn’t have taken so many speaking engagements, including some of the things I did over the years that I probably didn’t really need to do — weddings and funerals and building dedications, things like that. Whenever I counsel someone who feels called to be an evangelist, I always urge them to guard their time and not feel like they have to do everything.

I also would have steered clear of politics. I’m grateful for the opportunities God gave me to minister to people in high places; people in power have spiritual and personal needs like everyone else, and often they have no one to talk to. But looking back I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn’t do that now.


Politics Daily and USA Today have more on the Billy Graham interview, and you can check out the AP and Reuters for more on the pope’s message for the Catholic Church’s World Day of Social Communications:

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.


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posted January 24, 2011 at 8:14 pm

When one hits a certain age and reviews one’s past, there is bound to be a few things they wished they hadn’t done or had done differently. Hindsight is wonderful! Graham is apparently doing just that.
Benny seems to be doing what many have done with “new” technology—warn about the ability to abuse it. Use everything in moderation.

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posted January 25, 2011 at 9:49 am

Considering how big a part he played in bringing us GWB and all that came with him I’d think even Graham would have regrets. Then of course there was his conversation with Nixon about Jews that I’m sure he never expected to be made public.
He could have exerted so much positive influence on so many things that he didn’t. I understand that at least his organization was integrated before its time.
Overall I think he’ll be judged, by many of those who bother to judge him, as a man of missed opportunities.

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posted January 25, 2011 at 12:28 pm

The world and who we are is a learning experience. I don’t think there is a person alive or dead who hasn’t missed opportunities.

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posted January 25, 2011 at 2:44 pm

A life lived without regrets has been lived without risk or challenge. That is hardly worth the effort! Glad to know BG is feeling some regret for actions and sermons he preached without full consderation for the consequence.
So do you thnk B16 has a “shadow page” on f’book where he lets loose with rants and maybe even offers little teases to people who catch his eye? I wonder what his other facebook moniker would be?

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posted January 25, 2011 at 4:20 pm

The politics link was interesting. Billy Graham did stay clear of politics compared to some of his contemporaries (e.g. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell). I’d agree that probably his close call with Nixon probably made him more cautious in this area.

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posted January 25, 2011 at 7:58 pm

What would Benny’s Facebook moniker be? Perhaps “Red Shoes”.

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Michael in Abu Dhabi

posted January 26, 2011 at 12:50 am

BG had a great life, and his message gave hope to millions.
pagansister: Yes, “Red Shoes” would be a great moniker. The red shoe bit is something the popes picked up from the Caesars, as the emperor class singularly wore red shoes or whatever formal footware that was available to the nogs of the time. Of course anyone can wear red shoes, but in those days it was only for 1. The emperor of Byzantium ended up wearing purple shoes. That is how the Turks identified his headless corpse when Constantinople fell on May 29, 1453.

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posted January 26, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Michael in Abu Dhabi (really there?) Interesting biton the red shoe history—and on the poor emperor of Byzantium and his purple shoes being an ID for his corpse. Ick!

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