O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith


Don’t Wait! Call Today!

posted by Jason Boyett

My brother-in-law sent me the photo below. It’s a screen capture from the Billy Graham Christmas special (with Franklin Graham), which aired on local stations somewhere between Dec. 6 and Dec 14 this year. I didn’t watch the show — thanks, but I’ve been evangelized plenty in my lifetime — but it’s likely I would have been equally amused and annoyed by the graphic at the bottom right of the screen:

I know there are few evangelicals more respected than Billy Graham and his son, Franklin. Despite some well-documented rebellious years (and despite having suspicious hair) Franklin has largely followed in his dad’s evangelical footsteps — only with less interest in befriending presidents and more interest in social justice. His Samaritan’s Purse, for example, is an excellent relief organization working on behalf of children and fighting poverty and AIDS. Good job.

And I know that Franklin’s (and Billy’s) “thing” is large-scale evangelism. Big events. Stadiums and arenas and thousands of decisions “to follow Jesus.” While I’m not in the theological place where I think salvation is necessarily the oversimplified pray-this-prayer-and-now-you’re-saved approach the Grahams have made popular, I can’t deny that many, many people have taken their first steps toward God through their evangelistic campaigns.

But surely somebody on Graham’s team saw the unintentional hilarity and/or ridiculousness and/or cheapening of the Gospel that comes from putting this phrase on the television screen:

For a relationship with Jesus Christ: 1-800-631-7141

As if they had whole pallets of relationships with Jesus stored in the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association warehouse, and they’d drop one in the mail to you immediately.

As if you should act now — don’t wait – because if you call within the next ten minutes, not only will you get a relationship with Jesus Christ but we’ll throw in a commemorative plate of the Last Supper, too!

As if they also had Jesus on the phone, standing by, and as soon as they determined you weren’t a crazy person and gave you security clearance, they’d transfer you over to his line and the two of you could chat for a bit and start building that relationship.

As if operators were ready to transform the condition of your eternal soul over the U.S. telecommunications grid.

Billy Graham and Franklin Graham are good guys and have done lots of good things. Evangelical Christians are mostly good people and have done lots of good things. But TV graphics like this one help explain why people think we’re weird.

Anyway, phone lines are open. Call now.



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Matt

posted December 22, 2008 at 9:50 am


At least it wasn’t a 900 number with a Barry White voice over. Although that would be pretty entertaining…



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Carrie Hutchings

posted December 22, 2008 at 2:25 pm


Jason,



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Kevin D. Hendricks

posted December 23, 2008 at 10:10 am


While I think you have a point, it could be worse. Seems like there are worse instances of Christianese or insider church culture (like assuming non-Christians want to sing hymns).But you might have a point with Franklin’s hair. ;-)



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Michael

posted January 3, 2009 at 8:14 am


I couldn’t read your post without thinking of Ry Cooder circa 197ish singing “Jesus On That Mainline”.If there’s no answer, leave a message.



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j

posted December 13, 2009 at 6:43 am


HAHAHAHA! "Overheard in the control Room" FB group! I do cg, and this is my favorite graphic ever! If I was not afraid all my not Xian co-workers would just LAUGH I would use this as my profile pic. SADLY I think they just might. Read it before you put it on the air.



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